28, The Street Bible | Kingdom Of Judah | Jesus

The Street Bible

A new and interesting take on The Book of Matthew and The Book of Acts By Rev. Juan Galloway

THE STREET BIBLE

The Street Bible was made possible by New York City Relief board member Daniel Benson, COO, American Senior Communities, Indianapolis, IN and his wife Karen.

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INTRODUCTION
This book is not for the faint of heart, so brace yourself before you read it. What a tragedy that we would sometimes have a few moments alone reading the Bible that we could only classify as boring, and not too meaningful. Here is the most amazing book in the world with all the answers to life, love and peace - and sometimes we find it dull! We’ve all had this disappointing experience at one time or another. There is a saying that familiarity breeds contempt. The more familiar we are with something, the more we tend to think “Oh yeah, I remember that. Big deal. La dee dah. Been there, seen that, done that, bought the t-shirt, let's move on.” With the Bible, we need to come back again and again. We need to dig out the multitude of truth and wisdom that we still haven't completely gotten, and more importantly, that we haven't completely applied to our everyday lives. This new take on the Book of Matthew and the Book of Acts may help you rethink the Word and re-digest it, so that you get meaning from it that you can apply now. That's the whole point, isn’t it? Many of us can quote quite a few verses that haven' t seem to have made a change in the way we talk, act and live. Whatever happens, we can never allow this superbook, this vast incredible storehouse of love, wisdom and power to become just more religious rhetoric. Some of the words, phrasing and terminology that I have used might be offensive to some people, because it doesn’t sound very dignified or seem like it gives the Word of God honor. The more I worked on this book, the more I discovered that so much of what Jesus said was in extreme terms, yet it became so familiar in repeated reading that it didn’t pack the same punch as when He actually said it. If this book makes you a little uncomfortable and makes you look back to the King James, NIV, NARS or whatever version, to see if that's what it really says, I’ll be ecstatic. You may not agree with every modern day analogy I substituted for Jesus' analogy. But, if it will make you think and force you to interpret, or maybe re-interpret, the Word of God then that's good enough for me. If you seek Him, you’ll find Him.

THE MAKING OF
Imagine sitting down and rewriting scripture in your own words, verse by verse, off and on for four years, and then you can imagine what a job it was for me to write The Street Bible. This book is over 52,000 words long! I grew so much in God's Word while creating this project and I gained a much deeper understanding of the books of Matthew and Acts as I studied

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through them. It was a blast. Never would I have imagined how much other people would enjoy reading this over the years. I gave out hundreds of these to homeless people and was overwhelmed when they returned to tell me, “I read this every night before I go to bed under a bridge”, and “I read the whole thing last weekend in the abandoned building I live in. It really made the Bible come alive to me.” Matt's Book and Movers and Shakers are written in conversational, everyday language. Jesus and all the disciples spoke in conversational everyday language, and never in their lives spoke the words thee, thou, etc. If you're not familiar with the Bible, even basic words of our faith such as repent, worship and salvation may not have a lot of meaning to you, because you don't ever say them or use them in your daily life. On the other hand, you may know the definition of these words, but not the real meaning when you apply them to a relationship with God. The believers of the New Testament didn’t use a lot of fancy, hard to understand words. They were a bunch of fishermen, farmers and tax collectors, and their leader was a former carpenter. Many times, even Jesus will quote common phrases that the local people would use, to get His point across. Working on The Street Bible forced me to stop isolating verses and really look at what Jesus said in context to what He said right before, and to what He said right after. It really all goes together to show the big picture. The Bible really is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. You don’t have to get a degree in divinity, or go to seminary to discover the most profound Person and Truth that exists. You simply have to respond to Jesus' call to, "Follow Me" or as Matt's Book would say, "Come hang out with Me." Count the time you spend reading this book as "hanging out with Jesus time." Make a date with Him, bring some snacks and have a blast. Rev. Juan Galloway Copyright 2004

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MATT’S BOOK

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THE FAMILY TREE
This is a super long list of Jesus’ relatives. They were a very interesting bunch. They were multi-ethnic, courageous and even scandalous. They were a lot like our families. Abraham was Isaac’s dad; Isaac was Jacob’s dad; Jacob was Judah’s and his brother’s dad; Judah was Perez's and Zerah’s dad - their mom’s name was Tamar (Tamar was Judah’s son’s wife. Judah slept with his daughter-in-law. Yuck!); Perez was Hezron’s dad; Hezron was Ram’s dad; Ram was Amminadab’s dad (say that really fast three times!); Amminadab was Nahshon’s dad; Nahshon was Salmon’s dad; Salmon was Boaz’s dad; Boaz’s mom’s name was Rahab (Rahab was once a hooker!); Boaz was Obed’s dad, Obed’s mom’s name was Ruth (Ruth originally came from an evil society that practiced human sacrifice!); Obed was Jesse’s dad; Jesse was King Dave’s dad; King Dave was Solomon’s (the wise guy) dad, Solomon’s mom’s name was Bathsheba (King Dave did a peeping tom routine and saw

Bathsheba taking a bath. As a result, he slept with her, even though she was already married. He got her pregnant and then had Bathsheba’s husband murdered to cover up what he had done!); Solomon was Rehoboam’s dad; Rehoboam was Abijah’s dad; Abijah was Asa’s dad; Asa was Jehoshaphat’s dad; Jehoshaphat was Jehoram’s dad; Jehoram was Uzziah’s dad; Uzziah was Jotham’s dad; Jotham was Ahaz’s dad; Ahaz was Hezekiah’s dad; Hezekiah was Manasseh’s dad; Manasseh was Amon’s dad; Amon was Josiah’s dad; Josiah was Jeconiah and his brother’s dad when they were all stuck in Babylon. After they got out of Babylon: Jeconiah was Shealtiel’s dad; Shealtiel was Zerubbabel’s dad; Zerubbabel was Abiud’s dad; Abiud was Eliakim’s dad; Eliakim was Azor’s dad; Azor was Zadok’s dad; Zadok was Akim’s dad; Akim was Eliud’s dad; Eliud was Eleazar’s dad; Eleazar was Matthan’s dad; Matthan was Jacob’s dad; Jacob was Joe’s dad; Joe married a girl named Mary. Mary had a famous baby named Jesus whom this whole book is about.

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THE STREET BIBLE JESUS' BIRTHDAY
This is how Jesus Christ was born: Mary, his mom, was just about to tie the knot with Joe, but before they could get hitched, she found out that she was pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Now being found pregnant when you aren’t married was bad news. If the locals found out, they would treat her like dirt. Joe was a really cool guy and didn’t want Mary to be treated like a tramp, so he decided to sneak off and break the engagement with her on the sly. An angel came by and said, "Yo Joe, Big Dave’s boy! Don’t feel like you’re getting damaged goods by hooking up with Mary. She didn’t go sleep around. The kid in her belly is from the Holy Spirit. When the papoose is loose, call him Jesus, because this guy is going to rescue everybody from all the bad habits, crummy ideas and stupid mistakes that eventually do them in." All this stuff happened because a guy who was a mouthpiece for God said it would, “A girl who has never fooled around with any guy is gonna have a kid named Manny” (a name that translates as “Big G is hanging with me”). Joe woke up from this wild dream and made Mary his number one honey. They didn’t do it until after Jesus popped out.

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STAR-EYED
While Jesus was still a newborn, some men on a quest came to Jerusalem. They went to Herod, a real control freak who was pretty much a powerstarved- lunatic of a dictator. They didn’t know this however, so these men told Herod, "We are on a quest for a Jewish kid that is so cool, he’s going to be the new king in town. We have come to see this little miracle man for ourselves and have been following a star to lead us to the superstar. Where is he, man?" Kind Herod went ballistic over the situation and everybody in town started to freak out too, because they knew trouble must be coming. You see, Herod had a reputation for doing violent things when he lost his temper. Herod called together all the grand, high religious muckety-mucks and told them to spill the beans on where this Jewish kid would be born. They must have been in on the take or terrified, because they gave him the skinny real quick. They quoted some famous prediction from the Old Testament that said, "Bethlehem, you’re not just a ’hole in the wall’ town. You will be known as the birthplace of the greatest hero the world has ever known." Herod, the weasel, tried to be sneaky and trick these naive, but

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good intentioned guys into helping him kill this little boy. He was so paranoid that he saw danger to his precious throne everywhere, even in an infant peasant. So King Villain lies to the stargazers eloquently: "Dear friends, please find this precious gift of life so that I may go and murder,I mean worship him." Being so touched by this moving speech, they hit the road. Stopping for directions didn’t work, so they decided to follow the star again. Sure enough, the star knew where it was going and led them right to Jesus - go figure. They walked in to find a poor teenage girl named Mary with her new son. They were blown away to see this little boy who was going to change the face of history and they bowed down to honor the One who was going to save the world. These guys were filthy rich, and since there was no baby shower, they just decided to throw one themselves and were very generous. After they left, Jesus’ stepdad saw another angel in another wild dream. The angel didn’t beat around the bush. He said, "Wake up before you all die in your sleep from very unnatural causes. Herod the butcher is on the warpath and there is a price on your heads. You need to skip town immediately and head to Egypt where you’re going to hold down a part-time job as a refugee". Joe did just that and they all stayed in Egypt until Herod croaked. When Herod realized he’d been tricked by some country bumpkins, he was really ticked off. This evil psycho had all the babies and toddlers murdered in cold blood in Bethlehem and the surrounding suburbs. This was all in an attempt to wipe out Jesus. This was predicted by God’s mouthpiece named Jeremiah who said, "Mothers will be so devastated and brokenhearted over the murder of their sons that they will never let go of the pain." After Herod died, Joe decided to go home with the fam. He found out Herod Jr. was in charge, so he slipped into a quiet, nondescript town called Nazareth to lay low. Of course, this was predicted too: "Super King will come from Nowheresville, the pauper will become a prince."

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CRAZY JOHNNY, DESERT WILDMAN

Back in the day, there was a guy who hung out in the desert named Crazy Johnny. Crazy Johnny told everybody the same thing, "You are a sick puppy and your life is messed up, so admit this to yourself and God so that you can start turning your life around before it’s too late." He was kind of blunt that way. Isaiah, a guy who was a major mouthpiece for God, once said,

THE BETHLEHEM MASSACRE

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"This guy ranting and raving in the desert is going to make it clear: ’Clean up your act, God’s coming to town!’" Crazy Johnny had what some people call a fashion emergency and could have done with a makeover. Even his clothes needed a haircut, because he wore a camel’s hair shag rug thing held together by an old belt. He also ate bugs and honey, so you could say he stood out in a crowd. Folks came from miles around to hear this wild and woolly mouthpiece of God’s. Amazingly, people did admit to him that they were twisted and let Johnny dunk them in the river to show that they were serious about cleaning up their acts. Some of the green-eyed religious leaders came out to see who was stealing their thunder and Johnny started tearing into them, "You bunch of jerks! Are you starting to get nervous that maybe God is a real person who will hold you accountable for abusing your power? God sees through all your smoke screens, so you’d better start backpedaling quickly and prove that you regret the way you have been treating people. And don’t think ’I’m Jewish. I have a safety net and God likes me over all those filthy heathen.’ God can find rocks who are more spiritual than you and there are plenty of people waiting to take your place. God’s about to throw out the trash, so get right or you’ll get left out by the curb. I’m dunking you in the river, but someone else is coming who is so hot, He makes me look like a halflit match. He is going to immerse you in the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m talking about wildfire! The dead wood is going into the incinerator and the good wood will be shaped by the Master Carpenter. Figure out which one you are - quick".

JESUS GETS DUNKED

Crazy Johnny’s cousin, Jesus, showed up and said, “Dunk me, cuz.” Johnny was mortified and said, “No, I’m not worthy! Dunk me!” Jesus said, “There is a time and a place for everything. This is my time." Crazy Johnny dunked Jesus and when Jesus stood up there was this incredible display of special effects. The sky exploded and this bird flew down and landed on Jesus’ shoulders. Then they heard this blast of audio from out of nowhere say, "Jesus, I love you and I am really proud of you."

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DESERT SLUGFEST
The Holy Spirit told Jesus to go to the desert so the biggest loser of all time, the devil, could go a couple of rounds with him. This was no weekend vacation. Jesus didn’t eat for over a month. You would think this would soften him up a little for

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the devil since He was so hungry, but Jesus was still tougher than hell. You might say that through this whole incident, Jesus was just doing some cross training. The devil went for the obvious first, “Hey man, if you’re so hungry, then turn those rocks into some tacos.“ Jesus counter punched, “There is food that is tastier, spicier and healthier than tacos. It’s all the truth God has spoken. That’s the kind of food I’ve been chowing on the past forty days and nights.” That blow hit the devil in his gut, so he tried a different strategy. They went up on the roof of a skyscraper and the devil said, "Jump off Jesus. Leap before you look, because angels are always watching your back like some kind of supernatural lifeguards. They would never let anything happen to you. It will be like bungee jumping without the bungee cord". Jesus played it cool and replied, "People who are dumb enough to jump off the tops of buildings to test God’s power deserve to go splat. I’m not one of those people." This one caught the devil in his glass jaw and now he was up against the ropes. He took Jesus to a great rock climbing location on top of a mountain. The view was killer. They could see all the hot spots: mansions, dance clubs, wild parties, car dealerships and beaches full of the world’s most beautiful women. The loser said, “J, I can hook you up big time. I can make you Mr. Popularity. You’ll be a full on celebrity with all the toys and people that money can buy. All you have to do is sell out, kiss up to me and let everyone know that I’m the man!” Jesus gave the final knockout punch when he said, “Back off scuzzball! I pity the poor fool who falls for the trash you’re talking. I’ve only got one Dad and one boss. He is the only one who will ever hold my love and allegiance. I would die before stabbing him in the back, especially over someone like you.” The loser had lost again and he took off with his tail between his legs while angels came and congratulated the winner.

JESUS SPEAKS UP

When Jesus found out his cousin, Crazy Johnny, was doing time in the local penitentiary, He went back to Galilee. He left Nazareth and moved to some lake front property in Capernaum. Isaiah, the mouthpiece, said, "Folks out by Galilee are really in the dark. They are shooting themselves in their feet by making decisions so bad that they are ruining their lives. Now someone is going to pull off their blinders and they will finally be able to see. The cavalry is coming to save the day." After Crazy Johnny was put behind

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bars, Jesus picked up the torch and started spreading the same message as his cousin. He said, "Lose the crummy lifestyle you’re leading right now or you’ll miss out on God’s plan and have to pay a price you can’t afford your soul." seemed to have forgotten- God is real! He backed up this good old message with some new action- He did the impossible. Everywhere He went He started using amazing powers to cure people of everything from nose bleeds to heart attacks. Word of mouth got around and soon everyone and their mother came out to take advantage of this deal. Jesus healed people in intensive care, epileptics, cripples and even freaky conditions like demonic possession. Wow! People really came out of the woodwork from all over the country and mobs followed him everywhere.

JESUS HOOKS UP WITH THE BOYS

Jesus was walking on the beach one day and saw some brothers named Simon and Andy who were fishing. Jesus made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, "Quit the family business and come work for me. You’ve been reeling in fish just to put them in somebody’s frying pan. How about being real entrepreneurs and helping me catch the big game, the people who are living around here, before they wind up in the big frying pan." Simon and Andy looked at each other and didn’t have to think twice. They never smelled like fish again. All three continued on the beach stroll until Jesus saw two more blue collar brothers, Jimmy and Johnny, working the manual fish factory with their dad. Jesus made them the same offer. He didn’t have to twist their arms either. Suddenly, their dad was two men short. Jesus became a circuit preacher and traveled with his boys all over Galilee. He spoke at all the neighborhood churches and told all of his Jewish compadres what they

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LONG COOL SPEECH
Jesus saw the huge turnout and decided to get a spot where everyone could see him. He sat down on the side of a mountain and his boys got the front row seats. He shared a great message: God is taking care of people that are bankrupt in spirit by giving them the kingdom of Heaven. God is taking care of those who are grieving by putting his loving arms around them and holding them. God is taking care of those who are gentle and kind by giving them the earth itself. God is taking care of people who crave and desire God’s ways more

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than anything else by filling them with his presence. God is taking care of those who cut people some slack by cutting them some slack as well. God is taking care of those with a heart of gold by letting them see him face to face. God is taking care of people who help others settle their disagreements and keep them from tearing each other to pieces by adopting them as his own children. God is taking care of people who are getting put down, mocked or even beat up for their Godly lifestyle by giving them the kingdom of Heaven. God will take care of you if people get on your case, cuss you out or spread rumors about you because you are a Christian. Party on! Don’t get mad, get glad, because God is proud of you for not punking out and will give you cool stuff as a reward in Heaven one day. Besides, people who were a lot more spiritual than you and were even mouthpieces for God were treated the same way. they get a taste of Heaven. If a meatball isn’t spicy, what are you going to do? Put on extra sauce? That won’t fool anybody. If you aren’t hot for God, you are like a funky meatball. No one is interested in you or what you have to offer. You are a road flare. You can’t hide a lit road flare in your pocket- ouch! People don’t light road flares and put them in the trunk of their car either. They put it out on the road so people know they had better watch out for something up ahead. Your life needs to be like a road flare, right out in the middle lane where everybody can see. When people see the way you live, they’ll know it is because of God and they’ll credit it to his power.

JESUS DIGS THE OLD TESTAMENT

GOD TASTES GOOD, REAL GOOD

You are a spicy meatball. You give this bland world some flavor, God’s flavor. When people taste your life,

Don’t think for a minute that I am here to throw out the Old Testament. No way, I’m here to put that book into action. Everything written in that book is true and it will be obvious to everyone. Anyone who blows the Old Testament off and tells people it doesn’t matter anymore is a loser. Whoever learns from the Old Testament and shows other people what they have learned, is a winner. Don’t even think about acting like these religious leaders who are self- righteous hypocrites. You have to get down off your high horse to make it into Heaven.

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You know that in the Old Testament it says, ’Don’t whack anybody or you’re going to get busted’. You thought that was strict, well check this out: If you get so ticked off at someone that you can’t stand the sight of them, you’ll even get busted for that. You know that if you cuss somebody out you might get your hand slapped by the local authorities. That’s nothing. If you call somebody a jerk you could be booking a permanent vacation on the Fire Island. If you’re writing a check to put in the offering plate and all of a sudden you remember that you had a big fight with one of your buds, go back to your bud and bury the hatchet (figuratively speaking of course). Then go and write your check with a clear conscience. If someone is suing you, try to settle out of court or you might be found guilty of criminal acts and have to do some time. Then you have to try and raise money to pay your way out from the inside and that is really hard to do. guilty. If you have bad habits that are causing you to turn your back on God, then quit these habits cold turkey right now. If you don’t, they’ll spread like cancer until you just don’t care anymore about doing what is right. Then you’ll backslide completely, thus joining the idiots club in hell.

BREAKING UP

The Old Testament says that if a person is going to get divorced, that person needs to go through the proper procedures and fulfill all the legal requirements. There is more to it than just paperwork however. Unless your spouse is sleeping around, you can’t just kick them out. If you get divorced and that person marries someone else, than all three of you are breaking the original marriage commitment and you’ll be the one responsible.

PROMISES, PROMISES

MENTAL SEX

You know that in the Old Testament it says 'No ringy, no thingy’ or 'Don’t do it with anyone you aren’t married to’. What I’m saying is that if you start drooling over some chick and undressing her with your eyes, you’ve already had sex with her in your mind and you’re just as

Additionally, the Old Testament says that if you make God a promise, you had better keep it. That’s pretty serious, so don’t be making big promises to people and tagging God’s name on it to try and impress people with your sincerity. Just do what you say you are going to do. Be straightforward and honest. The Old Testament says that if someone does you wrong, than you can get them back just as bad as

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they got you! I’m telling you to not even get into that cycle. Just let it go. If someone rips you off, give them a gift. This is how you ’kill’ them with kindness. You’ll actually be killing that evil spirit and attitude that is behind the scenes and refusing to get sucked in by it. blow their own horns and practically break their arms trying to pat themselves on the back. What a waste of time. If you are going to give to someone who’s hard up, do it anonymously. This shows you’re not trying to buy favor, manipulate anyone or expect anything back from the person. If you take care of people that way, your Dad will take care of you.

HARDCORE LOVE

Since the Old Testament says to love your friends, you figured it natural on the other hand to hate those who harass you and give you a bad time. What you need to do is love these turkeys and ask God to help them. When you do this, you’re acting like your Dad does, your Heavenly Dad. It’s easy to be nice to people who treat you right. Big deal, anybody can do that. Don’t expect to get any brownie points in Heaven for falling off a log. Even Nazis were friendly and kind to their fellow Nazis. Be hardcore like God and love the unlovable.

PRAY REAL

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BE REAL

Make sure when you’re helping people that you’re not just doing it to impress others with how spiritual you are. That ’Look at me!’ attitude doesn’t impress God at all. Don’t expect any credit for selfish motivations. If you want to help someone, don’t put on a dog and pony show like the religious phonies do. They love to

Don’t be like the religious phonies when you talk to God either. They love to use big words they looked up in the dictionary to sound smart, be the center of attention and feel important. Believe me, that’s all these fatheads are going to get out of the experience. If you want to talk to God, then spend some intimate time alone with him. He’ll not only listen, He’ll answer those prayers. If you’re going to talk to God, forget all the stupid chanting and mindless repetition. Share your heart! He knows what you’re going to say before you say it anyway. Here’s a neat format for talking to God: ’Dad, you’re the greatest. Turn this rotten world around to your ways. Please help me out with this month’s grocery bill. Don’t give me what I deserve for all the bad stuff I’ve said and done to the same degree that I cut slack to the people who said and did bad stuff to me.

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Help me not to fall for the devil’s same old tricks.’ If someone treats you bad and you don’t hold it against them, your Dad won’t hold all the stuff you’ve done against you. If you don’t let it go, He won’t let it go. pleasing God or yourself? Who is your master, your money or your God? ’Greedy Christian’ is an oxymoron and a moron too.

CHILL

UNDERCOVER HUNGER

If you decide to go without eating as a way of getting closer to God, don’t walk around holding your stomach, groaning and saying ’Sorry I can’t eat, I’M BEING REALLY SPIRITUAL AND HUMBLE TODAY! CAN’T YOU TELL?’ That’s what the religious phonies do and all they get out of it is a Big Mac attack. If you are going without food to get closer to God, act normal and keep it to yourself. God sees what you’re doing, and He’ll feed your spirit what it really craves- more of him.

Stop being obsessed with finances and pulling your hair out over your bills. Don’t give yourself an ulcer, trust God instead. Don’t fool yourself, being responsible and worrying are two separate things altogether. God isn’t broke and He knows that the rent is almost due, so relax. Let the world have nervous breakdowns without you. Put your focus in life on living for God everywhere you go and in everything you do. He’ll take care of all the details like car payments, the rent and your college tuition. You have plenty to do today without freaking out about all the terrible things that could happen tomorrow.

GREED SHMEED

Don’t waste your life stockpiling material possessions. That stuff wears out, breaks, goes out of style or somebody rips it off. You really can’t buy happiness, you know. Stockpile goodies in Heaven instead, because they will never wear out, break, go out of style or get ripped off. What do you spend all your time thinking about? That’s who the real you is. What’s dancing in your eyes? Dollar signs? Are you always looking for what you can get yourself next? Is your eye on

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LOOK IN THE MIRROR

Don’t try to analyze and pick people apart to find all their faults and imperfections, or you’ll get the same treatment. Why are you so busy trying to point out tiny imperfections like the crusty stuff in the corner of someone’s eye when you have a jumbo jet stuck in your own eye? How about working on that airliner

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protruding from your eye before using a microscope on someone else? You wouldn’t ask the family dog to baby-sit your newborn. You wouldn’t expect the neighbor’s pig to do a very good job either. Don’t trust your most precious possessions to someone with a long rap sheet, or you’ll just get bit in the rear. and be counter culture. Not many people are tough enough to do what’s right.

LOOK OUT FOR FAKERS

DAD IS THERE

Ask God for help and you will get it period. He’s just waiting on the sidelines expectantly, and is ready to come in and score to win the game. If junior asks you for some Cheerios, would you give him a bowl of gravel from the driveway? If he asks you for some fish sticks, would you go out in the woods and get him some real sticks? Even a crummy parent knows how to get their kid a bowl of cereal and a couple of fish sticks. Your Heavenly Dad can top that easily, so turn to him for whatever you need. Let me give you the Reader’s Digest condensed version of the Old Testament: Treat people with love and respect, the way you would like to be treated. Don’t take the easy way out in life. It’s not that easy and it doesn’t work out that well in the end. It’s easy to do what’s wrong and tap dance your way to hell. It’s difficult to go against the grain of society

Look out for all the wacky cult leaders. They’ll act like sweet little Christians so that they can control you and take all your money. Look at those who joined them. Are they healthy, productive people or whacked out nut cases with no connection with reality? They might speak Christianese and quote Bible verses, but that doesn’t mean they know me at all. Not everybody who believes I exist and uses religious terms to address me will go to Heaven. Religion is no substitute for a relationship with God. A lot of people are going to get the shock of their lives when they die. They’ll say ’God, I was a heavy hitter at church and everyone was impressed with my spirituality. I preached a fiery message, beat up demons all the time and even did some amazing healings.’ I’m going to tell them straight up: ’None of that stuff impresses me at all. You just cared about yourself, not about what I wanted. After ignoring me all these years, now you want to act like you’re my best friend? Give me a break. Get out of my face, you jerk.’

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Anyone who actually pays attention and tries to live the way I’m telling you to will be like someone who built his house on a cement foundation reinforced with steel rebar. No devil will huff and puff and blow your life down if I am your foundation. On the other hand, if you are your own god, it’s like parking your mobile home right in the middle of hurricane alley. You’ll just be a ticking time bomb ready to self-destruct at any moment. Jesus’ message really blew everybody’s minds. They were used to hearing the religious phonies' watered down drivel. This Jesus guy really knew what He was talking about. should." Jesus went to Capernaum and an officer in the Roman army came by. The officer said, "Chief, one of my favorite employees is in critical condition. He can’t move and he’s in a lot of pain." Jesus said, "Come on, I’ll go heal him right now." The officer retorted, "Chief, I’m not worthy for you to come to my place. Besides, you could just heal him long distance from where you stand. When I tell my soldiers to jump, they ask, 'HOW HIGH, SIR!?' My men respond instantly and know better than to mess with the boss. It’s the same way with you and anyone’s sickness. That sickness just doesn’t stand a chance. You the man." Now it was Jesus’ turn to have his mind blown. He said to everybody standing around, "This is the only person I’ve met who really believes there are no limits to My power and abilities! A lot of religious folks who should be believers like this guy just aren’t. When they die, they’ll try to get a spot with their crowd, but will be surprised by getting the boot instead." He told the officer, “You asked for it, you got it.” Sure enough, his employee was healed right when Jesus said that. Jesus went over to Pete’s house only to find Pete’s mother-in-law burning up with a fever. He held her

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DOCTOR J

When Jesus split, everybody stayed hot on his tail. A guy with a really bad skin condition got down on his knees in front of Jesus and said, "Boss, if you wanted to, I know you could heal my diseased skin." Jesus broke a few religious rules by reaching out and touching the guy’s icky skin. He said, "I want to heal you. Clear up!" The guy’s skin cleared up right away and he was probably so excited he wanted to bounce off the walls right then, but Jesus said, "Shhhhh, keep it quiet. Go and get an official check-up and give props to God the way you

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hand and suddenly she felt great. So great, actually, that she got up and made Jesus some tasty snacks. That night, all the local kooks who were being controlled by demons were dragged over. It was a piece of cake for Jesus. He just said, "Shoo!" and these demons let loose of those people and flew out the window like they were shot out of a gun. Of course, all the sick folks got healed too. God’s mouthpiece named Isaiah said, "He kills our ills." middle of a fierce storm. The boat was filling with water and the boys were scared out of their socks. Jesus was wiped out from fatigue and was snoring pretty good by now. They woke up Jesus and said, “Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! Help Jesus! Wake up! We’re all going to die!” Jesus said, “Put your socks back on and take a chill pill. You are still worried about whether I can handle a little squall like this?” He just told the wind and the waves to cut it out. All of a sudden everything was dead still and the disciples were standing there huddled together with their eyes bugged out. The boys were pretty shell shocked and asked themselves, “Who is this guy? How can He do these things?”

THE WANNABES

Jesus felt smothered and decided to ditch the crowds for awhile. Before He could do that, a religious suit came up and said, “I’ll commit to going with you anywhere and everywhere to do great and glorious exploits. Sign me up!” Jesus said, “You don’t even know what you’re signing up for. Even a rat has a hole to live in. I don’t even have that. I’m homeless. This is not going to be a walk in the park, buddy.” Another wannabe follower said, “Let me go to my pop’s funeral first.” Jesus said, “Don’t worry about your dad, his job is done. It’s time for you to do your job now.”

SWINE STAMPEDE

When the cruise was over and they got to the other side, called the Gadarenes area, the welcome wagon was there waiting, which consisted of two demon-controlled psychos known for terrorizing anyone passing through. The demons screamed “What are you going to do to us? Are you going to hurt us before our eternal torture session on the final judgment day?” There was a whole pack of hogs chowing down nearby. The demons begged, "If you’re going to kick us out of these bodies, at least let us possess the pigs." Jesus said, “Get

SEASICK

Finally Jesus and his boys jumped in a boat to cross the lake and get some much needed rest. After awhile, they got caught right in the

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out!” The demons flew like bats out of hell into the pigs, who in a squealing stampede ran into the water and drowned. The pig herders were shaking in their boots and ran back home to tell what happened to their former pigs and the town terrors. The town didn’t know what to think of this. They got scared and asked Jesus to go away. Evidently, they had really gotten used to the town kooks and didn’t want God coming and messing with the lives they were accustomed to. started saying, “Wow! Look what God did for that guy! God is so awesome to give any man that kind of healing power!”

MATT JOINS THE CREW

After Jesus left, He walked by a tax collection booth. The tax collectors were known for overcharging and lining their own pockets with the loot. This particular tax collector’s name was Matt. Jesus said, “Come hang out with me,” so Matt did. They went to grab some grub with the boys at Matt’s house with Matt’s motley crew of extortionist pals. The religious phonies jumped on the boys' backs and started nagging again: “Why is your boss barbecuing with thieves and thugs?” Jesus overheard them and said, “Bald people don’t need haircuts. The people with hair do. Some people have had disgusting stuff stuck in their hair for years like parasites, bugs, mold and disease. Listen, I’ve come to give the world a free haircut, not make them pay through the nose. I don’t want to preach to the choir. I love to help the folks that most people think are scum.” Crazy Johnny’s posse came by to interrogate Jesus a little. They asked, “How come us and the local religious suits are knocking ourselves out trying to get close to God by going without food, and

9

WALKING THE TALK

Knowing when He wasn’t wanted, Jesus jumped back in the boat and went home. A couple of guys came over carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. Jesus saw that they really believed He was the real deal. He told the paraplegic, "Cheer up, right now I remove all the wrong things you have ever done and your slate is clean before God and all creation." The religious phonies heard this and starting choking at the statement, “Who, who, who does Jesus think He is?! God?!” Jesus said, “Don’t have a cow. Get over yourselves already. You think I’m all talk, but so you know there is more to it, check this out. Stand up, take your stretcher and walk home on your own." That’s just what the guy did! Everybody’s jaws just dropped to the floor and they

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your boys stuff their faces?” He replied, “My boys are as close to God right now as they’ll ever be. When I’m gone, things will be different and they’ll take their turns at going without food.” problems and had been bleeding out of her privates for twelve long years. She thought, "He has so much power in him that if I just tag his coat I know I’ll get better." Jesus turned around, looked her right in the eye and said, “Cheer up, you got it, because you believed you would!” She went home healthy and with a new lease on life. Jesus walked into the bigwig’s house only to hear everybody moaning, crying and playing the blues. He took charge as usual, saying, “Everybody get out. This is a temporary condition that will be remedied shortly.” They all laughed at him like He was nuts. After they kicked out the crowd, Jesus just held the girl’s hand. Instantly, her eyes opened and she popped out of bed. As you can imagine, this incident spread like wildfire and had everyone talking. After He left, two blind guys actually tracked him down and started yelling, "Give us a break, we know you’re the miracle man descended from Big Dave!" Jesus went inside and they followed him right in. He said, “You really believe I can do this, huh?” “Oh yeah, absolutely!" they both said. He put his hands on their eyes and said, “You believe I can do the impossible so I’ll give you the impossible.” Quick as a whip, their

I'VE GOT THE POWER

Don’t hook up a car battery to a horse and buggy or you’ll electrocute your horse and ruin your battery. Your power source needs a new vehicle. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So far, doing things the old traditional way hasn’t worked that well. I’m going to do some new things God’s way that are outside of the traditional box and will actually work. It’s time to stop beating a dead horse. Let me breathe new life into that horse so it will win the big race instead of ending up as Elmer’s glue. The Holy Spirit has all the horsepower you’ll ever need.

HEALAPALOOZA

While Jesus was still talking, a local bigwig got down on his knees and literally begged for help, saying, “I’m at the end of my rope, Jesus. My little girl just died and only you have the power to reverse death!” Jesus started to leave with his boys to help the kid. All of a sudden some desperate woman snuck up behind Jesus and touched his coat without him seeing. She had some serious female

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vision was restored to 20/20. Jesus got tough with them: “Zip your lips and don’t tell a soul." They couldn’t hold it in though, and blabbed to everyone who would listen. Once again, Jesus was trying to leave and another lost cause found him. This guy had a demon in him and couldn’t speak a word as a result. Jesus gave the guy a demonectomy and the dude starts chattering away. The spectators ooh’ed and ahhh’ed because they realized that they were watching history in the making. The religious phonies who wouldn’t recognize a gift horse if it sat on them were completely irrational, thinking that Jesus must be a Satanist to be able to beat up demons. Jesus made the rounds speaking in different towns at Jewish community centers and whatnot. He kept telling people that God loved them and wanted to help. He practiced what He preached by curing every case of illness that came to him. He could never turn anyone down because He truly cared. These droves of people were like stray dogs that had been kicked too many times and slunk around looking for scraps without any master to take care of them. many people dying to give themselves to God with wild abandon, but so few field reps to go out and show them how. Ask God to send a large workforce to hook these folks up.”

10

ON THE JOB TRAINING

Jesus called his 12 boys together and officially licensed them to beat up demons and cure any illness. There was Simon (aka Pete), his bro Andy, Jimmy, son of Zeb, his bro Johnny, Phil, Bart, Tom, Matt, Jimmy, son of Alph, Thad, Simon and Judas, who ended up stabbing Jesus in the back. Jesus detailed out a certain mission for the boys: "I want you to target our people, the Jews, right now. Nobody else. Tell them 'God’s close, closer than you think.’ Then walk this talk by making sick people better, bringing corpses back to life, clearing up revolting skin conditions and serving knuckle sandwiches to demons. Don’t take any extra cash or even an overnight bag on this trip. The people you’re helping will provide room and board. Upon arrival, find the best egg you can and be their house guest until your departure date. If the family is cool, than chill with them and you’ll all have a good time. If they’re not being cool, then take your good time somewhere else. If people don’t want you around and

FIELD REPS WANTED

He told the boys, “There are so

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reject the message I asked you to deliver, kiss them off and scram. No joke, they’re going to pay for that kind of attitude. I’m sending you out into a dog-eat-dog world, so don’t be naive, but don’t get jaded or calloused either." "Watch your back, because you will be harassed and abused by the authorities and religious phonies. You’re gonna get a chance to talk about me to all kinds of suits, big wigs and grand high mucketymucks. When you get nailed by the establishment, don’t sweat it. God’s Holy Spirit will put the right words in your mouth at just the right time." "Guys will set up their own brothers to get the death penalty, just because their bros became Christians. Dads will sell out their own sons and kids will have their parents executed, because they have chosen to live for me. Everybody will despise you too, because you represent me. Whoever is hardcore and refuses to sell out will be mine forever. If you’re in an area where people are so resistant that they are wailing on you, hit the road and see if they’ll listen in the next town. Believe me, you won’t run out of towns before I come back." "No employee is considered to be ranked higher than their boss. They have the privilege and opportunity to learn from their boss’s clever know-how and mad skills. But, if your boss is resented and called bad names, the guy training under him will get no better treatment. In fact, you’ll probably be treated worse, because you’re an easier target. Don’t be intimidated by them. It’s time to explain the secret and mysterious ways of God right out in the open where everyone can hear. You have a purpose for living now, so don’t be afraid of dying. Sure, they might try to kill you, but this mission is worth the risk. God’s in control even when things get hairy and you have to trust him to know what He’s doing with you." "God considers you to be the most precious treasure He has, and is very aware of what you are going through. Don’t be afraid, because He is watching out for you always." "If you stand up for me here, I’ll be your sponsor to get you into Heaven. If you sell out, then forget about Heaven. It’s not an option." "Do you think I came down here so people can feel rosy and happy? I came down to shake everybody to the core, and to let them know that it’s time to choose sides. This is no game." "Guys will reject their dads. Girls will hate their moms. Married girls will treat their mother-in-laws like dirt." "You might even have to choose

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sides over your own family. Make up your mind now what you’re going to do, because this won’t be easy at all. If you live for me, you’re gonna take some hits. If you’re not willing to take some hits, I won’t take you. If you live your life trying to make people happy at any cost, you will lose. If you give up trying to be accepted and understood by everyone, you will win. Make me proud." "When people accept you and respect your stand for God, they’ll find me too. If someone treats a man or woman of God right, I’ll treat them right. If someone shares my love even through small acts like giving a little kid a cup of Kool-aid, I’ll pay them back big time. I always do." bats, straightening out cripple’s legs, changing rotting flesh into brand new skin, unplugging deaf ears, bringing dead people back to life and I’m telling the poor not to give up hope because God really does love them. I may look pretty ordinary on the outside, but looks can be deceiving. If you hang in there with me, you’ll find what you are looking for.” As Johnny’s boys were leaving, Jesus started bragging on his cousin to the crowd: “When you went to check out Crazy Johnny, did you expect to see some kind of flake? Or did you think he was a rich eccentric? Nah, the rich folks are enjoying their exclusive luxuries, not hanging out in the desert with sand in their teeth. Did you think that you were going to see a mouthpiece for God? He’s all that and more. He was described in the Old Testament where it said, 'I’ll send an advance-man ahead of you to get everybody ready for your arrival.'" "I’m going to be honest with you, Crazy Johnny is a great man of God and there is no one around like him, but he’s just the tip of the iceberg. The things you people are going to do will turn this world right side up. It’s going to take an aggressive, 'never say die' attitude. People are standing up for God and refusing to back down like Crazy Johnny. He is a major mouthpiece for God just like Elijah was. Pay close attention

11

COUSIN JOHNNY'S QUESTION
After Jesus was done telling his boys all this important stuff, He went to give some more passionate, life-changing speeches in the towns of Galilee. While he was doing time in the pen, Crazy Johnny heard the word on the street about what his cousin was doing. Johnny sent his boys to ask Jesus: “Are you the One God sent to get us out of this mess or not?" Jesus said, “The proof is in the pudding. Tell Johnny I’m doing some wild miracles here. I’m healing people who are blind as

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to what I’m saying now." "People nowadays want you to conform to their lifestyle or they’ll denounce you. It’s like teens saying, 'Come on, let’s go to a party, get loaded and do some dirty dancing' and you wouldn’t go for it. Then they might say, 'Let’s protest and make a big stink, because they won’t legalize pot.’ If you don’t agree then you’re labeled narrow and close minded. " "Crazy Johnny didn’t eat much or drink alcohol and people said, 'That guy is too conservative. He must have a demon in him that makes him loony.’ I came eating all the time and drinking wine with my dinner and people say, 'That guy’s too liberal. He is a hog, an alcoholic and likes hanging out with the bad crowd.’ The world wants to label Christians as extremists, but the truth will come out in the end because God’s way works and the world’s way doesn’t." Jesus started talking to God: “Dad, you’re the greatest boss there is. You kept all these truths a secret from the intellectuals and showed it to little kids instead, because you liked it that way.” Then He said to the people, “My Dad put me in charge of all these cool secrets. No one knows me like He does, and no one knows him I like I do and the folks I share with about him. If you feel beat down and stressed out, let me help by giving you a way to relax and stop letting life drive you crazy. Learn from my example so you won’t get an ulcer." I’m laid back, nice to everybody and I don’t look down on anyone. If you live like I’m telling you to, you won’t be worried all the time and depressed.”

12
GOOD LESSON OVER A FREE LUNCH
One day Jesus was walking through some crops with his boys and the boys started chewing on some of the grain. The religious phonies saw them and said, “Holy cow! Your boys are breaking some of the rules we made up!" (God’s rules said not to chop down all the crops on a Sunday. Chewing seeds is hardly chopping down all the crops.) Jesus said, “Don’t you know what Big Dave did when he and his boys were hungry? They went to church and scarfed down the special bread that only religious officials were allowed to eat. Haven’t you ever read the part in the Bible about how religious officials in church on Sunday taint that special day, but God doesn’t hold it against them. Someone more important than a religious building is here. I wish you’d get my drift when I say 'I want you to cut people slack and show them love more than I want

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you keeping hundreds of nitpicky religious rules.’ If you could understand this you wouldn’t be nagging people night and day over your silly rules. I’m chief of the Sundays, not you." worker I hand picked. I love him so much that just thinking about him makes me happy. I’m going to fill him up with my Spirit so that He can fulfill him mission and get my message out to the world. He won’t try to shove it down anyone’s throat or scream at people on the street. He’ll look weak and even feel weak, but He won’t be broken or shut down, because He has a mission to accomplish and He will set things right. He won’t give up until the job is done. People all over the world will turn to him as the answer."

JESUS GIVES SOMEONE A HAND
Jesus left there and went over to a Jewish church. There was a man there who had a deformed hand that was all curled up. The phonies wanted to nail Jesus to the wall and said, "Isn’t it against religious rules to cure people who are sick on Sunday?" He said, “If your pet gets hit by a car on a Sunday, aren’t you going to take it to the vet? Wake up! People are more important than pets! Of course God puts his stamp of approval on curing the sick on Sunday. Duh!” Jesus told the guy with the messed up hand, “Reach out. Open your hand up.” He did and his bad hand became just as normal as his good hand. The phonies were ticked off and they left to go figure out a way to have Jesus murdered. Jesus knew what they were doing so He hit the road. Mobs of people trailed him and He cured them all with his supernatural power and warned them to keep it a secret. The mouthpiece Isaiah talked about him when he said, "This is the

IMMORTAL COMBAT

Another guy being terrorized by a demon inside of him was brought to Jesus. The demon had stolen his sight and his voice. Jesus took care of him right away and suddenly the guy could see and talk. Folks were stunned at this miracle and said, "Could this be Big Dave’s boy? The One who will save us all?" The religious phonies heard people say that and tried to smear Jesus’ name again. They said that the devil made him do it, that he is in cahoots with Satan and that’s how he can beat up demons all the time. Jesus read their minds and responded, “If members on a team make plays for their opponent, the team will fall apart and lose the game. If an army shoots their own soldiers, chaos will reign and they

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will lose the war quickly. If Satan keeps giving himself black eyes, how will he stay in business? You’re trying to beat up demons like me, so are you saying that you are in cahoots with the devil too? If I’m knocking out demons through God’s Spirit and power, obviously God is in control and He’s here to help.” “Look at it this way: Could somebody break into a weightlifter’s house and just stroll out with all his favorite stuff? Not unless they incapacitate the owner first and duct tape his hands behind his back and his feet together will they be able to loot the joint.” fruit that’s full of worms. You can judge a tree’s health by the quality of fruit on it. You bunch of jerks, even you can tell how messed up you are by all the trash you talk. Whatever’s in your heart will spill right out of your mouth, because you’re full of it. If you’re really a good person you’ll speak life encouragement, positive stuff, my Word, compassion, and healing. If you’re really a bad person you’ll speak death - cussing up a storm, insulting people, arguing all the time and gossiping. When you die, you will have to answer to God for every stupid thing that you chose to say. The stuff you say will be the proof that you are a Christian and should get into Heaven or proof that you’re not a Christian and chose to go to hell.”

“If you aren’t on my side then you
are working against me. You’re my friend or my foe. If you’re not part of my solution, you’re only adding to the problem. You can be cut some slack and given a clean slate for all the bad stuff you’ve ever done, but if you fight the Holy Spirit, you’ll never find forgiveness. If you rag on me, arrangements can be made to give you another chance, but if you openly resist the voice of God in your heart (the Holy Spirit), you’re just running away from the only hope and help available to you.”

THRILL SEEKERS

Some religious phonies came to Jesus and said, “Hey, we want to watch you do one of those cool miracles.” Jesus said, “Only a thrill-seeking, pleasure-driven, self-centered group of people want to see a miracle instead of having a relationship with me. The only thing they will get to see is the miracle that the mouthpiece named Jonah foreshadowed. He camped out in the belly of a gigantic monster fish for three days, but I’m going to top that by spending three days taking care of business in hell. The people

FRUIT STUCK IN YOUR TEETH
Jesus used these examples. "A healthy tree will be packed with sweet, plump and delicious fruit. A tree that’s sick and dying will have a few shriveled up pieces of nasty

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of Ninevah listened to Jonah’s hardcore message to stop their sick and perverted ways. They did stop and when this generation dies, the Ninevites will judge them guilty for not responding to the same message given by Jonah’s boss. Even the Queen of Shebah will judge this generation guilty. She made a big trip to learn from wise King Solomon, but someone wiser is here now.” family?" He pointed at his boys and said, "There they are right there. Whoever decides to follow me and live their life for God is my real family.”

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YOU ARE DIRT

TELL ME WHO'S IN THE HOUSE?
“When a demon gets kicked out of someone’s body, it flies around looking for someplace to chill, but it can’t find a good spot. The demon gets frustrated and says, 'I’m going home to my old body.' It gets back to find the body clean, healthy and spiritually empty - a prime location that’s ready to move in. It moves back in with seven roommates demons that are even more evil than itself. They crowd in there and the person ends up worse than when they were just possessed by one demon. That’s what’s going down with this evil-loving generation.”

MI FAMILIA

While Jesus was still chatting, his mom, Mary, and his bros were hanging around outside waiting to get a word with him. Someone said, “Your family’s outside and I think they want to talk.” Jesus said, “Who really is my

A little later that same day, Jesus went to sit by the lake and enjoy the view. Being such a celebrity, the crowds caught up with him once again, and He jumped into a boat to speak to everyone on shore using the water to reflect the sound of his voice like a natural p.a. system. Then He told them a story that contained a spiritual meaning. He did this all the time. He said, “Once upon a time, there was a farmer who went out to plant. He wasn’t picky about where he planted. He threw seeds all over the place. Some fell on the sidewalk and pigeons ate it up. Some seeds fell on the gravel driveway where there wasn’t much dirt and the seeds sprouted up quick. The roots couldn’t go very deep, however, and the plants turned brown and died. Some seeds fell into patches of weeds that killed the developing plants. Finally, some seed fell on rich, fertile soil and grew a lot of good stuff. We’re talking thirty, sixty and even a hundred percent back on the investment. Listen up people, this is important.” The boys were puzzled and asked, “What’s up with all the seeds, birds

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and weeds? Why not just give it to them straight?” Jesus said, “These incredible truths I’m sharing are for your ears only. Those who are on their way to God will get closer through these stories. Those who are on their way away from God will only get farther. It’s their choice. When I tell these stories, some will see the point, but they won’t get it. They’ll hear the truth, but they won’t get it. This is because they really don’t want the truth. Isaiah, the mouthpiece, said it clearly, 'You’ll hear, but you won’t understand. You’ll see, but not get the significance of it.' These folks' hearts are hard and nonreceptive. They simply won’t listen. They close their eyes to my truth on purpose. They don’t want my ways, otherwise they would see and hear clearly and I would heal them.’” “Thank God that you get it, because you want to get it. Believe me, lots of really spiritual people wished they could see and hear all the stuff you get to experience.” “Let me lay out the meaning behind the story I told. The seed on the sidewalk represents people who hear about God and are confused, so Satan attacks them and convinces them it’s really nothing and they blow it off. The seed on the gravel represents people who actually like what they hear, but aren’t willing to really make a commitment to take a stand and live for God no matter what. People mock them and give them a hard time, so they figure it’s not worth the hassle and give up. The seed in the weeds represents someone who hears about God, but is tempted to live for themself instead, because they worry about not having enough and wanting to buy lots of stuff they don’t need. They don’t end up doing anything for God, because they are too busy and self-consumed. The seed that fell on good dirt is the person who hears about God, gets the idea and lives their life sold out and on fire for him. He or she ends up getting up to thirty, sixty or a hundred people to be as passionate about God as they are.”

SABOTAGE

Jesus told another story. “God’s ways are like a farmer who planted some good seeds in the dirt. While he was snoozing, some competitor snuck in and planted weeds with his wheat and snuck back out. The wheat sprouted, but then so did the weeds. The employees of the farmer told the boss, 'Hey, didn’t you plant good seed? Where did all these weeds come from?’ 'My competitor must have done this,’ he said. The employees asked, 'Should we try to go and pull up all the weeds, or what?’ He said, 'Nah, you’ll probably pull

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up half the wheat if you try that. Let’s just grow them the best we can. When it’s time to harvest the crops, we’ll separate it out. Then we’ll burn up all the weeds and store the good stuff in the grain silo.’ Jesus took off and went in the house. His boys followed him in and asked, “Wassup with the weed story?” He answered, “The story about weeds means this: The farmer in the story is me. The field is the whole world. The good seeds are everyone who chooses to follow my ways and live for God. The competition in the story is the devil and the weeds are those who follow the devil’s ways and live for themselves. The harvest is judgment day and the angels (God’s employees) do the harvesting." “Just like the weeds in the story were burned up at harvest time, that’s what will happen on judgment day. I will send out my angels to take everyone who has decided to live self-serving, greedy, prideful and immoral lives and throw them into the ultimate incinerator: hell. In hell they will scream and wail in pain forever. The ones who served and pleased God, however, will be hanging out in Heaven reflecting the magnificence of God himself. Listen up, this is important.”

LITTLE IS BIG

He shared another story. He said, “God’s ways are like an itsy bitsy teeny tiny seed that a farmer planted out in the field. Even though it’s almost microscopic in size, it ends up growing into this great big plant and then turns into a tree. It’s so sturdy and full that all the birds come and use it for shelter and protection from storms. That little seed made a big difference. “ He told another story. “God’s ways are like a cook who was making a nice loaf of bread. She put together some flour and just a little bit of yeast and kneaded it all through the dough. It only takes a little yeast to make the whole loaf rise up.” Jesus told them all this stuff in stories with secret meanings. He didn’t say squat to them without using one of these cool stories. A mouthpiece for God predicted this: ‘If my mouth opens, I guarantee you I’ll be telling some good stories. I’m gonna talk about secret stuff no one has ever known since the world began.’

BURIED TREASURE

“God’s ways are like buried treasure. A guy was digging on private property and found some buried treasure. He slyly buried it again to hide it for later. He ecstatically sold everything he owned, and bought the property with the treasure in it.”

WEEDOLOGY 28

THE STREET BIBLE WAY UNDER BLUEBOOK
“God’s ways are like a car dealer looking for a nice set of wheels. He found an incredible sports car for sale in mint condition, and listed for sale at a fraction of what it was worth. He went and sold everything he owned and bought this too-goodto-be-true (but it was true) deal.” God. The locals were like, “Who does this guy think He is, some sort of big shot? How does He know all these things? He’s just the son of Joe, the carpenter. We know his whole family, and we’re not impressed with his big talk.” They were really insecure and got their noses up in the air. Jesus told them straight out, “No respect. Only at home does a mouthpiece for God get dissed like this.” He didn’t do many supernatural feats there, because most of them didn’t believe.

NETWORK 7

“God’s ways are like a big net that was tossed into a lake and pulled in a real variety of fish. When the net was nice and full, the fishermen dragged it up onto the beach. Then they separated the tasty trout from the bony barracuda. They kept the good stuff and threw the gross fish away. At judgment day the angels will separate those who live for God from those who don’t care about God’s ways at all. The rebellious crowd gets tossed into the cooker, where they will cry out in blood curdling anguish forever.” “Do you get it?" Jesus asked. “Yeah", they admitted. Jesus said, “Everyone who knows the Word and teaches it is like a collector of amazing and intriguing items, both old and new. He or she loves to share them and explain their function and history to their guest’s delight.”

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THE AXE

King Herod heard the word on the street about Jesus’ messages and miracles. He told him employees, "It’s Crazy Johnny come back to life! That’s why he has all these amazing powers." Herod had thrown Crazy Johnny in the clink, because he was publicly criticizing him and his wife Herodias. Herod tied the knot with his own brother’s wife, and Crazy Johnny told everyone that this was perverted and against the laws of God and nature. Herod wanted to whack Johnny, but he chickened out because of Johnny’s popularity. People considered C.J. to be a mouthpiece for God. Herod had a birthday party, and his stepdaughter/niece provided the entertainment by doing some wild

NO RESPECT

After Jesus told these stories, He split. He went to his hometown and started sharing more gripping truths and fascinating facts about

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dancing that he really got into. As a reward for her display he swore to give her anything she wanted. Mommy dearest (Herodias) had her daughter’s ear so she said, "I want the severed head of Crazy Johnny." That caught King H off guard and made him regret having such a big mouth, but he didn’t want to look like a welsher in front of all the party guests, and he had Johnny’s head chopped off. They actually put it on a platter and presented it to the girl, who then gave it to her mom. Crazy Johnny’s boys came to claim his body and they gave him a proper burial. Then they went and told Johnny’s cousin Jesus the whole sad story. Jesus had a better idea. “That’s very thoughtful, but not necessary. You boys feed them dinner instead.” “We only have a couple of sack lunches here, Jesus,” they replied. “Give me the grub," He said. He told everyone there to kick back on the grass. After saying grace, Jesus then proceeded to cut up slices of bread and fish for the boys to pass out. It was an all-you-can-eat affair and everyone stuffed their faces, because after all, a free dinner is rare. There were a lot of leftovers. The boys collected twelve baskets full of fish sandwiches. Here is the clincher: there were about five thousand men there, not including women and children! Jesus was world record holder for catering the world’s largest picnic.

FROM CARPENTER TO CATERER

After Jesus got the bad news, He went off in a boat to get some much needed personal time. Once again people got word He was nearby and walked to meet him from miles around. As soon as Jesus stepped off the boat, there was a bunch of folks already there waiting for him. His heart went out to them, and He healed all who were suffering from sickness. It started getting late and Jesus’ boys advised, “We’re out in the middle of nowhere and it will be dark soon. Let’s break up now so everybody can start walking back to town to buy dinner. “

STROLLING, STROLLING, STROLLING

Jesus told his boys to jump in the boat and make a quick getaway while He said the goodbyes. After the last stragglers departed, He finally got away by himself and spent some time talking to God on a secluded mountainside. He was still up there well after dark and at the same time his boys were pretty far out on the lake getting bounced around in the boat by a windstorm, and the waves were pounding the poop deck. When it was really late, Jesus

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catches up with them, but get this, He was walking on top of the water like it was nothing! The boys saw him out on the lake and freaked out majorly. They started screaming like little girls, “Oh no, it’s a ghost, it’s a ghost!” Right away, Jesus told them, “It’s okay, it’s okay. Settle down guys, it’s just me.” Pete said, “Chief, if it’s really you, then tell me to take a stroll out there with you." Evidently, Pete thought water walking looked pretty cool and wanted to get in on the action. “Come on,” Jesus replied. Sure enough Pete jumped out of the boat and started walking over on the water. The storm was pretty bad and Pete started to chicken out which caused him to sink like a rock. He yelled, "Save me, Chief! I’m going to drown!" Jesus was a quick lifeguard and pulled Pete out of the drink fast. “Pete, don’t you trust me yet? Why would you doubt me?” Jesus said. Jesus and Pete climbed back in the boat. The storm disappeared and everything was hunky-dory. The guys started telling Jesus how much they loved and appreciated him. They were really overwhelmed in the moment. They said, "Wow, we really get it. You are actually God in the flesh." They finally made it across the lake and docked at Gennesaret. The people recognized Jesus and got the news of his arrival out to all the surrounding suburbs. Everybody brought their sick family members and friends to get cured. They pleaded with Jesus to let the sickly just touch the edge of his coat. Of course He let them and every single one recovered instantly.

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DIRTY HANDS OR DIRTY HEART?

Some religious phonies came all the way from Jerusalem to ask Jesus an important question: “Why don’t your boys wash their hands before supper like we do?” Jesus said, “You’ve got to be kidding. You provide loopholes for people to get out of caring for their parents who sacrificed and slaved to bring them up right. You have created religious rules that make a mockery of God’s command that says, 'Show the utmost respect and allegiance to your mom and dad.’ Instead, you allow your congregation to pay lip service to their parents by spouting religious rhetoric about giving their care to God instead. That’s ridiculous and ungodly. Isaiah, the mouthpiece for God, had it straight when he said,

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'These people are all talk, but don’t mean a word they say about loving me. They put on a big show with no substance behind it. All they know are a bunch of religious rules. They don’t know my heart at all.’” Then Jesus started talking to the crowd: “Get this through your heads. It’s not what you chow down that makes you repellent to God, it’s what you throw up." The boys said, “Hey Jesus, don’t you know the religious big wigs felt that you were stepping on their toes?” Jesus said, “If the shoe fits they have to wear it. These guys are just weeds that God will rip out of the ground. Forget them, they’re blind to the truth. Don’t worry about what they think. They’re leading people to hell.” Pete asked, “What’s that stuff about chowing down and throwing up mean?” “Are you still that dense?” Jesus asked. “When you chow down, the food goes through your stomach and you poop it out the other end. That’s elementary. Eating certain foods does not make you unholy or unacceptable to God. It’s the trash you spout out of your mouth that can make you unacceptable to God. The reason people say crummy things is because that’s what they have inside of them. There are all kinds of sick thoughts inside people: thoughts about whacking people, doing it with someone else’s spouse or doing it with anyone you’re not married to, thoughts of ripping people off or lying about others and smearing someone’s name. Now God is really repelled by that stuff, not over something as trivial as washing your hands before dinner."

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF

Jesus left and went to an area called Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite lady from there came to Jesus pleading, “Help me please! You’re the descendant of Big Dave and we’ve heard of you. Have mercy on me! My daughter is being tortured by a demon that’s living inside of her." Jesus had his lip zipped. His boys told him, “Jesus, tell her to hit the road. She’s getting on our nerves with all her begging and pleading.” He said, “I’m only here to get the message out to my people, the Jews.” The woman got down on her hands and knees and was really persistent, “Chief, you must help me!” He retorted, “I can’t take away the kiddie’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and give it to their pets.” “You’re right Chief, but even the kids slip their food to Rover under the dinner table.”

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Jesus said, “Girl, now that’s what I call not giving up and not taking 'no' for an answer. You’re crazy enough to believe God will help anyone and everyone, so He will help you right now. Your daughter is set free from this demonic attack.” After that, her daughter was fine and dandy. Jesus asked, “How much bread ya' got?” “We only have seven loaves of bread and a few little fish,” they replied. Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “Everybody sit down so we can pass out some food!” He took the bread and fish, thanked God for it, and divided it up into small portions. The boys started passing it out to everyone, who scarfed it down like bread and fish were going out of style. They ate until it was coming out of their ears. Even after that they had seven baskets full of leftovers. Turns out this was no little fish fry, there were four thousand guys and tons more women and children. Jesus said farewell to everyone and hopped back in the boat to hit Magadan.

FISH FRY

Jesus decided to make like a tree and leave. He went down to the shore by the Sea of Galilee. Then he went hiking up a mountain there and kicked back for awhile. Here came the masses with every cripple, every blind person, those who couldn’t talk and every kind of sickness you can imagine. They just laid them all on the ground at Jesus’ feet as if to say, 'We need you bad.' He cured them all because He was that kind of guy. This really took people’s breath away when they saw these intense miracles, and they gave the credit to the God of the Jews. Jesus gets him boys in a huddle and says, “I really feel for these people. They have been so hungry for my words and my teaching for the past three days that they have neglected their body’s hunger. They need to eat now. If they don’t they might pass out trying to walk home.” The boys said, “Where in the world are we going to get enough groceries to feed this many people?”

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CLIMATE CONTROL

The religious flakes, I mean leaders, came to Jesus to ask him to show them some kind of incredible vision or supernatural occurrence to prove that He was spiritual like they were. Oh boy. He had an answer for them all right: “You can tell when a storm is coming by looking at the sky or watching satellite images on the weather report. You understand that. What you don’t understand is that there is a spiritual climate as

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well, and the climate on earth right now really stinks. People who are self-seeking and don’t really care about God want to see some amazing supernatural demonstration just so that they can get chills up their spine. The only thing they’ll get from God is the same message that Jonah shared: 'Repent or die.’” After that pointed word, Jesus booked. problems.

SECRET IDENTITY

Jesus was touring through Caesarea Philippi and asked the boys, “Who do people think I am?” They said, “Some think you’re Crazy Johnny, some say Elijah, Jeremiah or one of God’s other mouthpieces.” “What about you guys?” Jesus asked. Pete blurted out, “You’re the Ultimate Hero, the One who’s going to save us all! You’re God’s kid, the real deal!" Jesus responded, “Bingo, Pete. You don’t know how fortunate you are to really understand that. Only God could have allowed you to get a hold of that truth. Pete, I’m gonna call you The Rock because you might be a loose cannon now, but watch out buddy. You are going to be so solid and so strong a leader, that you will build up my army and hell won’t stand a chance against you. I’m going to give you my authority that has power up in Heaven and certainly down here on earth, so that you can get the job done." Then He told the boys to keep the secret to themselves, about him being the Ultimate Hero.

A FUN GUY TALKS FUNGI

They took a cruise across the lake again and the boys forgot lunch. Jesus said “Look out for the fungi used to make bread rise that the religious phonies use.” The boys huddled up and brain stormed on what in the world Jesus was talking about. They decided: “He must be ticked off because we forgot lunch.” Jesus knew what they were saying and said, “You guys have lunch on the brain. Don’t you get it? Remember the gigantic picnics we catered together? Please don’t tell me you think I’m worried about what we’re going to eat for lunch. Listen again and think for a change. Look out for the fungi used to make bread rise that the religious phonies use." They got it then, that Jesus was not talking about bread ingredients, but about all the lies and rules that the religious phonies were so anal about. These little lies had been causing a lot of big

THE MASTER PLAN

After that, Jesus started to lay out the master plan for his boys and

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explain the real reason He came to earth. He told them a story that sounded like a horror movie. He was going to Jerusalem where all the phonies resented and hated him. They were going to brutally torture and then murder him. Three days later He was going to come back to life. This was too much for Pete: “NOOOOOO, you can’t do that! You’re talking crazy and I won’t allow you to do this!” Jesus got in his face. He said, “Back off, Satan! Yeah, I said it. You’re trying to get in the way of the very will of God like my worst enemy, and that is totally unacceptable. You want to do things the logical way, but that won’t cut it. You’re going to shut up and do things God’s way. Period. End of story.” After Pete recovered from his tongue lashing, Jesus told the boys, “If you want to live for me then forget about your old way of doing things. You want to be on my team? Give up your way and give up your life to me. If you try to play it safe, you’ll lose. Whoever gives up everything for me will win. What good is it if you are smart, classy, rich and successful, if you end up going to hell eventually? Is there anything worth more to you than your own soul? I’m going to come back in a massive demonstration of power surrounded by God’s warriors in a blaze of glory and I will give everyone a reward for how they have lived. Some of you are going to see this kind of power before you die. Mark my words.”

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POW-WOW OF POWER

Six days later Jesus took Pete, Jim and Johnny and they hiked up a big mountain together. While they were up there, Jesus lit up like a roman candle. His face was shining like a billion watt bulb and his clothes were glowing bright too. Right after that, who should show up but Moses and Elijah, guys who had been big-time mouthpieces for God way back in the day. They chatted with Jesus. This was so wild and surreal that the boys didn’t know what to do. Pete, never the bashful one, said, “Wow, now this is cool! You want me to stake out some tents for you, Moses and Elijah, so we can all camp out together?” While Pete was still babbling, a huge glowing cloud dropped on top of all of them. They heard a voice in the cloud say, “This here is my kid. I love him and I think He’s the best. Pay attention to what He says, you guys!” This got the boys' attention. They fell on their faces like they were pins knocked down by a bowling ball. They almost peed in their pants, they were so scared. Jesus

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walked over and said, “Come on guys, get up. It’s okay.” They looked around and everything was back to normal, and Elijah and Moses were gone. They were hiking back down the mountain when Jesus cautioned them, “Don’t tell anyone what happened today, until I have been raised back to life.” The boys said, “People who taught the Old Testament told us Elijah was going to come first before the Ultimate Hero.” Jesus said, “That’s true Elijah does come to set everything straight. But Elijah has already done that and nobody saw him for who he was, so they had their way with him. Just like that, I’m going to be misunderstood and mistreated too.” Then the boys got it that what Jesus was saying was that Crazy Johnny was Elijah II. up with you guys not believing that I can do absolutely anything? We go through this over and over. Bring your kid here.” Jesus kicked the demon who was involved out of this kid in no time flat. The boy was healed from then on. When no one else could hear, the boys asked, “Why couldn’t we kick that demon out?” Jesus said, ‘Your belief in God’s power is pathetic. If your trust in me was as big as a little ball bearing, you could command mountains to move around and they would. You could do absolutely anything. Get a hold of this, will you?” They went to Galilee and Jesus said, “I’m going to get stabbed in the back. I’m going to get whacked and after three days I’ll come back to life.” The disciples were really depressed upon hearing this news.

DEMON KILLAH

SHOW ME THE MONEY

After they came down, there was a crowd as usual, and this guy fell down at Jesus’ feet. “Chief, cut my son some slack. He’s an epileptic and has terrible seizures. He’s always falling into the fireplace and burning, or into the water and drowning. I asked your boys for help, but they were no help at all,” he said. “How much longer do I have to put

Jesus and the boys show up in Capernaum and the local extortionists (the tax collectors) asked Pete, “Doesn’t your boss pay his dues?” “Sure He does,” Pete said. Pete came in the house and Jesus said right away, “Who do bigwigs squeeze money out of? Their kids or the riff raff?” “The riff raff,” Pete answered. “The kids get a free ride then, don’t

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they?” Jesus said. “My Dad is much bigger than their dad, but we don’t want to stir up trouble, so go fishing. The first fish you catch will have some cash in its mouth. Give that to the local wise guys to pay up for you and me.” completely. If you don’t, then it will spread like cancer and corrupt you completely. Do surgery on your spirit and cut out the very root of the disease that is killing you. If you don’t master it, it will master you and ride you all the way to hell.” “Don’t think for a second that you are better, or more important than these little kids. They have their own special angels who report to my Dad regularly.” “Let me ask you a question: If someone owns a hundred cars and some car thief steals one, isn’t the owner going to put out an APB on his hot car and use his LoJack to track it down immediately? If he gets that car back, he’ll be so relieved and grateful it was recovered that suddenly, it becomes his favorite car over all the others. He’ll care more about the one car he got back over the ninety nine that were never stolen sitting in his garages. Just like that, your Heavenly Dad sees little kids as special and doesn’t want to lose any of them.”

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COOL POINTS
The boys came to Jesus and asked, “Who is going to be the top cat, toast of the town when they get to Heaven?” Jesus called a little kid over for a minute and said, “I’m not gonna lie to you, unless you learn how to be like this kid here, you’re not even getting into Heaven, Mr. Hot Stuff. Whoever doesn’t bother with trying to be cool, and instead puts other people first like this kid is going to end up the coolest cat in Heaven.” “If you’re nice to a kid like this, you’re being nice to me. If you take some little kid who is in love with me and lead them down the wrong path, you’re toast, buddy. It would be better for you to wear cement shoes and sleep with the fishes, than to do that.” “Geez, this world is so messed up, because of all the sick and twisted things people do! This stuff will happen no matter what, but the person who chooses to promote this filth will pay! If you can’t control your bad habits then remove that area from your life

CONFLICT RESOLUTION 101
“If you have a Christian friend and they do you wrong, your job is to quietly go and confront them. If they admit what they did and say they’re sorry, then you have your friend back. If they’re stubborn and defensive, go back with one or two other Christian buddies to talk

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about it officially, with some witnesses to keep the story straight. If the person is so hardheaded that they can’t make things right after that, than have a pastor or elder from church sit down together with the two of you. If they won’t respect and listen to your church leaders, give it up. This person isn’t acting like a Christian, so you need to let them go as being a friend.” “As you walk in obedience and use the authority I gave you on earth, I’m backing you up with all the power of Heaven.” “If just two of you come to God unified as partners and ask for anything, He’ll make it happen. When two or three people team up for God, I’m standing right there with them too.” Peter asked Jesus, “How many times do I have to let it go when a Christian does me wrong and not hold it against them? Wouldn’t seven times be a pretty generous limit?” Jesus responded, “Think seventyseven times buddy.” to them. One particular man was brought to the prez who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay it back so the prez commanded that the man, along with his wife and children, be sold into slavery to pay back the money. The employee got down on his hands and knees and begged for mercy, 'Give me more time and I promise I’ll pay you back boss!’ The prez felt sorry for the man so he didn’t fire him, but ripped up the bill that was owed and set him free from further obligation.” “The employee left and came upon one of his fellow employees who owed him a few dollars. He attacked the guy and started to throttle him while yelling, 'Pay me back now, you lousy deadbeat!’” “The guy who owed the money got down on his hands and knees and begged for mercy, 'Give me more time and I promise I’ll pay you back!’ The first employee wouldn’t budge and had the man thrown into jail until he paid every penny.” “Some other employees captured the whole disgusting affair on one of their video cameras, and were enraged and saddened by this incredible injustice. They brought the evidence on tape to the president.” “Of course the president called the employee to the carpet, saying, 'You

NO FINGER POINTING

God’s system is made clear in this story that Jesus told: “There once was a president of a major corporation who decided it was high time that his employees pay back all the loans he had made

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dirty, no good rotten bum. You beat all, you know that? You begged me for mercy and I ripped up your bill. Don’t you think you should have shown the same consideration to your fellow employee, you ungrateful jerk?’ The president was so mad that he had the employee tossed into the clink to be tortured until the millions of dollars were paid back.” Jesus said, “This is how my Heavenly Dad will deal with every one of you, unless you cut people some slack when they do something mean and insensitive to you. It is your obligation to release them from guilt in your heart, from whatever they did wrong to you.” There is a really good reason for a guy to move out of mom and dad’s house one day. The reason is he usually wants to get hitched and be really close with a special girl forever.’ When they get married they are sort of welded together and become one. This is the way God set things up. Why would we think that we’re smarter than God and try to mess up his great plan?” They countered, “Moses worked for God. How come he said it was okay to get a divorce and kick your wife out, as long as you fill out all the appropriate paperwork?” “Moses let you get away with ditching your wives, because you were so selfish and determined to do the wrong thing no matter what he said.” “This was never God’s original plan. Anybody who tries to weasel out of their marriage, unless their spouse is jumping in the sack with someone else, and then remarries, is committing a sexual crime against God and their spouse.” After hearing this, Jesus’ boys were like, “If it’s that heavy, maybe it’s better to stay single.” Jesus said, “Yeah, but not everybody can live without sex. Only a select few who are born without any urges, those who are surgically castrated against their will, or those who choose not to get married so that

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MAWWAGE
When Jesus was done jabbing the jaw, He got out of Galilee and headed for Judea on the other side of the Jordan River. He was like the pied piper with everyone following him again and He cured everybody’s health problems. The religious phonies showed up again like clockwork to try and push Jesus’ buttons. They asked him, “Is it okay with God if a guy ditches his wife and serves her with divorce papers, because she’s a bad cook, he wants a new honey or any other reason?” “Check out the Old Testament. It says back when God was making stuff He 'made a guy and a girl.

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they can serve God wholeheartedly without the responsibilities of taking care of a spouse and children. Not everybody can handle that, but that’s okay. It’s not mandatory or anything.” be treated.” Mr. Confident says, “Piece of cake, I’ve already done all that stuff. Is there anything else?” Jesus said, “If you really want to go all the way, sell everything you own, donate it to some charity for poor folks and you will be paid back way more once you die and go to Heaven. Until you die, you can come work for me.” The guy was really disappointed, because he was rich and owned a lot of cool stuff that most people only wished they could have. Jesus told his boys, “I’m not gonna lie to you, it is tough for someone who’s loaded with cash to live for God. It’s easier to stuff a Greyhound bus down your shower drain then it is for a millionaire to become a Christian and eventually make it to Heaven.” The boys were surprised at hearing this, because they figured that at least the successful people must have their acts together. They asked,“If the socially elite who have it made in the shade can’t live for God and get into Heaven, who can?” Jesus looked up and said, “By yourself, you don’t have a chance, but with God on your side anything is possible.” Pete gasped, “We gave up everything we had to work for You.

LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE

Parents brought their little kids to Jesus, so He could place his hand on them and ask God to look out for them. Jesus’ boys told these families to take a hike and stop bugging them. Jesus heard them and said, “Leave those kids alone! Don’t try to keep them away, escort them right in. Little kids like these are closer to God than most anybody.." After He finished up with all the kids, He left.

THE RICH POOR GUY

This guy came up to Jesus and asked, “What kind of good deed can I do to secure a spot in Heaven?” Jesus answered, “You don’t need to do something good, you need to know the Ultimate Good. If you want to go to Heaven, do what the Old Testament says.” “Which part?,” the guy asks. Jesus answers, “You know, don’t snuff out anyone, don’t do it with anybody but your wife, don’t rip anybody off, don’t lie about anyone, be cool to your mom and dad and treat people like you would want to

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What do we get? What will happen to us?” Jesus explained, “Don’t worry, I’m going to take special care of you. All the sacrifices you have made will pay off, because when I sit on my majestic throne, you guys will each have a throne too. From these thrones you will judge our people, the Jews. Every single person who has given up their home, their business or has been separated from their family and loved ones for me will get back more than they could ever imagine. I will make their wildest dreams come true, and pour out stupendous wealth upon them. Heaven will be like winning the lottery without having to pay taxes. Even more important, it is my delight to give you the greatest gift I can; an invitation to live with me forever. A lot of people who are king of the hill now will be on the bottom later and a lot of people who are on the bottom now will end up on top.” About lunch time he hired some kids to work the drive through window. A little later, he hired more to handle the soda fountain and shake machine. Really late in the afternoon some kids were sitting out on the curb and the boss asked them, 'Why are you out here loitering?' They said, 'We can’t find any openings for teens around here.’ He said, ’I’ll hire you. Go inside and I’ll have you clean the kiddee’s play land.’” “At the end of the day, the boss told the assistant manager, 'Go get all the new trainees together so we can pass out their paychecks. Let’s pay the ones who punched in their timecard last, and work our way back to the morning crew.’” “The kids who were hired last came in and each happily got a check for fifty bucks. When the morning crew came in, they thought they would get paid more, but they got fifty bucks too. Right away they started complaining, 'This isn’t fair. Those loiterers only worked one hour and got paid the same as us, and we’ve been working over hot fryers all day.’” “The boss said, ’Buddy, I’m not cheating you. Didn’t you agree to the pay I offered you this morning? Take your check and go cash it. I’d like to pay these new kids fifty bucks too. Aren’t I the boss here? Maybe this is a case of sour grapes and you’re jealous, because I was so

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DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEES
“God’s ways are like an owner of a fast food restaurant. He was short on help, so he got up early and interviewed some teenagers for the job. He hired some on the spot and promised that if they flipped burgers all day he’d pay them fifty bucks. Later that morning he hired some more people to make fries.

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generous with them and gave them more than they deserved.’” “The latecomers get to be first in line and the ones in front have to go to the back.” reserved for someone that He will choose.” The other ten of Jesus’ boys heard what Jim, Johnny and their mom asked for and got really steamed. Jesus calmed them down, “You know how those in power like to boss people around and show off. You won’t treat each other like that. If you want to be somebody then learn how to lower yourself and promote the other guy first. If someone wants to advance, they must humble them self to be a nobody and just help, just like I have not come to be a big shot but to just help, even to the point of sacrificing my own life which will pay the price to set many people free."

GAME PLAN

While Jesus was hoofing it to Jerusalem, He huddled up with the boys and said, “Once we hit town, I’m gonna be sold out by the religious phonies. They are going to put me on death row, get the authorities to diss me publicly, beat me bloody and nail my hands and feet to some wooden beams where I will die a slow, excruciating death. Here’s the good part: After three days, I’m coming back to life. Yeeha!”

POLE POSITION

FOUR EYES

The mom of Jim and Johnny (Zeb’s sons) came to Jesus to ask a favor. She said, “I want you to give my boys special positions in Heaven and let them sit right next to you in the seat of power.” Jesus replied, “Hold on a minute, this is big stuff you’re talking about. Can you two guys walk through the kind of hardship that I am about to endure?” “Yes, we can,” they said. Jesus explained, “It’s true, you will suffer like me, but I can’t give you these positions of power. My Heavenly Dad has those spots

Jesus and his boys were departing from Jericho and a mob trailed behind him. Two blind guys were sitting in the dirt on the side of the road and started yelling at the top of their lungs, “Chief, Big Dave’s Son! Please cut us some slack!” The mob told them to shut up, but these guys were tenacious: “Preacher! Miracle Man, help us!” Jesus stopped in his tracks and asked, “What do yous guys want?” “We just want to see again,” they replied. Jesus’ heart broke upon seeing

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their predicament, so He touched their eyes. They were cured the instant He touched them, and they got up to go with him. by laying out their coats on the ground ahead of him. Some people spread out branches and leaves on the ground, too. It was like a parade for the winner of a big game or to celebrate a hero’s homecoming. There was a real electricity in the air. All the people walking ahead and behind him were shouting happily and cheering: “Hooray for Big Dave’s Son, He’s going to save us!” “This guy is awesome, because He’s here for God!” “He’s da bomb! Yeah!” When Jesus made it into Jerusalem, everybody was worked up, and He was the talk of the town. They were saying, “Who is this dude?” People in the crowd said, “It’s Jesus, the mouthpiece for God from Nazareth in Galilee.” Jesus didn’t waste any time once He got to Jerusalem. He went straight over to The Jewish Church (the temple) and roughly kicked out all the people exploiting the house of God and using it to make a quick buck. He was a real bruiser and knocked over all the tables of those who were changing money and selling birds used for sacrifices at cutthroat prices (no pun intended). He said, “The Old Testament says, 'My church should be known as a place where people are connecting

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HERO'S WELCOME
They gang was traveling to Jerusalem and made a pit stop at Bethpage on Olive Mountain. The J-man decided to send a couple of the boys on an errand. He told them, “Get on up to the next hood where you will find a mama donkey tied up next to her colt. I want you to untie them and bring them back. If anyone wants to know wassup, just tell them that the Chief needs to borrow them to take a ride. The guys will be cool and trust you to borrow the donkeys.” This happened to validate what Zechariah, the mouthpiece for God, said: ‘Tell the girl from God’s town, Hey, your Chief is coming He’s playing it real cool though He’s riding in on a simple donkey, actually a young colt.’ Of course, the boys did what Jesus told them to and everything worked out. They brought back the funky transportation and since there was no saddle, they put their coats on the donkey’s back for Jesus to sit on. A lot of people showed up and rolled out the red carpet for Jesus

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with me’, but you’re trying to turn it into some kind of sleazy "get rich quick" scheme. You’re giving God’s church a bad reputation.” Jesus answered, “Let’s make a deal. I’ll ask you a question. If you answer, then you can have what’s behind door number three and I’ll tell you who gave me permission to preach here. Was all the dunking Crazy Johnny did his idea, or God’s idea?” The religious big shots huddled up to brainstorm for a good answer. They said, “If we say the dunking was God’s idea, He’ll ask why we blew off Crazy Johnny’s message. But, if we say the dunking was just Crazy Johnny’s nutty idea, the people might beat us up, because they all think he was a mouthpiece for God.” The best answer they could come up with was, “We’re drawing a blank here, Jesus.” Jesus said, “I guess you get what’s behind door number two. Tell them what they’ve won Johnny; nada, zippo, nothing.” Does this story remind you of someone? Hmm? “Come and listen to a story about a grape farmer with two youngins. He told the first kid, 'Junior, I need you to go put in a day’s work on the farm today.’” “Junior smarted off to his Dad, ’Uh, uh, no way I’m sweating out in the field. Forget it.’ Later on, he felt bad for mouthing off and acting bad so he did go and work.”

TREE KILLAH

Jesus was up at the crack of dawn one day and He was walking into town this time. He got a bad case of the munchies, and saw a possible snack opportunity in a fig tree on the side of the road. When He got up close He found that the fig tree had no figs on it. He yelled at the tree and said, “You’ll never make fig newtons again!” The second He said that, the tree died right in front of the boys’ eyes. The branches all dropped down and the leaves just curled up and fell off. They saw this happen and couldn’t believe their eyes. They said, “How did that tree die so fast? That was freaky!” Jesus answered, “Look, if you guys will have confidence in God, you can do more than kill a tree by yelling at it. You can tell a mountain to jump in the ocean and it will happen. If you will just trust me, you will get whatever you ask God for.” Jesus went over to The Jewish Church again and started to tell people the real deal about God. The religious phonies who were in charge came and asked, “Who put you in charge, Mister Know-It-All? Did you get permission from someone to teach people here?”

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“The father went and asked his other son to go work on the farm too. The second son said, 'Sure, no problem Pop. I’m on it.' But he didn’t do squat.” “Now, which one actually followed through on doing what their dad wanted?” “Numero uno,” they replied. Jesus said, “This is a fact: embezzlers, thieves and hookers will get into heaven before you will. Crazy Johnny was trying to get it through your thick skulls, but nooo, you wouldn’t listen. Well, all the hookers, low-lifes and no-goods did listen to him. Even when they changed their ways, you still had to be stubborn and resist turning to God.” another with a tractor. The boss sent over more rent collectors on staff and they got more of the same. Since none of this worked, he decided to send his own son. 'Surely, these guys are smart enough not to touch my own kid. They will realize I mean business and pay me back,' he reasoned.” “The thugs were not smart, however, and went from bad to worse. Continuing their tactics of fear, intimidation and brutality, they rubbed their hands together and said, 'If we whack the boss’ son, then we can rip off what belongs to him too.’ They dragged the son off of the property and murdered him in cold blood.” Jesus asked, “When the boss comes to settle the score, what do you think will happen?” The religious phonies replied, “He will wipe out those deadbeat hooligans and rent his property to someone who will pay him at harvest time what he is due.” Jesus said, “Don’t you remember the part in the Old Testament where it says: 'When the contractors were considering construction materials, they totally rejected a certain rock because they considered it to be of inferior quality, but this reject became the most important showpiece in the entire building.

HOSTILE TAKEOVER

“Try this other little tale on for size: There once was a grape farmer who planted all of his crops. He built a nice farm, developed the property, put in a high tech security system and bought all the latest equipment to do the job right. He rented out the farm to some sharecroppers and did some traveling. When harvest time came, he sent a couple of employees on his staff over to collect the rent.” “These sharecropper thugs jumped his employees, beat one up, murdered another and ran over

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God has done this now and everyone can see how cool it is.’” “God is taking away his great plans and ways from you and giving it to people who give a rip. I’m talking about people who will really live for him. Those who are having a hard time believing this and committing to God will suffer the consequences, but those who actually oppose his Son will be totally obliterated.” The religious phonies finally caught on that they were the stooges in these clever little stories. They tried really hard to think of a way to get Jesus thrown in the clink, but were nervous that the plan might backfire and all of Jesus’ supporters might end up tar and feathering them instead, because they thought He was more legit than they were. out a lot of money for this spread so we can have a great party together. Come enjoy.’” “The guests blew off the invitation again, and instead decided to play some video games or catch up on some homework. The other guests actually beat up the employees the mayor sent out, and even murdered them. The mayor was furious. He sent in the National Guard and the S.W.A.T. team to take out these villains and even had their houses demolished.” “The mayor told his employees, 'Now we’re ready to party, but judging by their response, those folks I invited turned out to be real losers. Go out on the streets and grab everybody you can find to come and enjoy this celebration.’ The employees did just that. They asked everybody, respected citizens and despised riff-raff, and this banquet hall got packed out from wall-to-wall.” “The mayor walked into the banquet hall to mingle and noticed a guest who was wearing nothing but a little Speedo swimsuit. He said, 'Hey buddy, how did you get in here like that? This is a family celebration for my son, not a strip bar!’ The guy acted like 'the cat got his tongue.’” “The mayor told security, 'Throw the cuffs on this perv and toss him outside where there will be hell to

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THE PARTY IS ON

Jesus didn’t let up with the pointed stories. He said, “God’s way of doing things is like a mayor who was planning a huge wedding party for his son and new bride. He sent out some chauffeured limos to pick up all the guests who were invited, but they would not come.” “Then he sent out some other employees to explain the situation to the guests. He said, 'Inform the guests that I have an incredible banquet prepared by some of the finest chefs in the world. I’ve laid

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pay.’” Jesus said, “The moral of this story is that God wants everybody to come to Heaven, but not many are willing to do what is necessary to get there. They persistently do their own thing instead.” belongs to God.” They were shocked that Jesus had their number, and had just the right words at just the right moment, and they took off.

THEY'RE SO SAD YOU SEE

A “TAXING” SITUATION

The religious phonies known as Pharisees schemed up some ways to catch Jesus saying the wrong thing, and get him into hot water. They sent out their minions and some other critics of Jesus ministry. They said, “Teach, you’re an honest guy. You’ve always been a straight shooter and right on the money when it comes to explaining God’s ways. We know that that you don’t try to kiss up to people and don’t water down anything to please people. Give us your read on this situation: Should we pay our taxes or what?” Jesus was no dope. He knew what they were up to. He said, “You twofaced tricksters, why are you trying to get me busted? I’ll answer your loaded question. Show me some of the money that you would normally pay taxes with. They gave him a bill with a picture of Caesar, the Roman ruler on it. He asked, Whose picture is this on here?” “That’s Caesar,” they answered. He said, “If it’s Caesar’s than give it to Caesar. Just give God whatever

Later that same day the Sadducees (more religious phonies that don’t believe anyone will be raised from the dead) came to ask Jesus some more tricky questions. “Teach, Moses said in the Old Testament that if a guy dies and doesn’t have any kids, his brother has to marry his widow and have kids for him to carry on the family name. Let’s say there were seven brothers. The first one got hitched, died and had no kids. The brother married this lady and then he died. Each brother did the same thing and they all ended up six feet underground. Finally, the widow dies, too. When they are all raised from the dead, who will be her husband out of all those brothers?” “You have some goofed up ideas, because you don’t know the Bible or God’s life changing power personally. When God’s people are raised from the dead, nobody is going to be married anymore. That phase is past. They’re going to have roles more like the angels in Heaven; everyone will be servants of God. But now that you bring up people being raised from the dead,

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haven’t you read what the Bible says, 'I’m Abe’s God, Isaac’s God and Jake’s God’? He’s not God of a bunch of dead corpses, He’s God of people who are living, right? What that means is that Abe, Isaac and Jake who died years ago are alive right now with God. I guess that proves that they have been raised from the dead, huh?” These words cut through the air like a knife and the crowds were amazed at how Jesus didn’t pull any punches. He just laid it out there for everybody to see, without any apologies. sending to save his people? Whose kid is He?” “Big Dave’s kid,” they answered. “Why does Big Dave say in the Bible that his 'son’ is the Chief? The Bible says, ‘The Chief said to my Chief: “Sit here next to me in the seat of power until I finish whipping your opponents for you. ’” “Why would Dave call him Chief if it’s his son?” This baffled the so called experts so much, that they gave up their shenanigans and trying to trick him with their philosophical rhetoric after that. They realized He had a handle on the Bible that they couldn’t even touch, much less outsmart.

TAG TEAM

After hearing Jesus shut up the Sadducees, the Pharisees decided to tag team with them and jump into the ring to give it a go. One of them who was considered to be a real Bible expert asked, “What is the most important thing God told us to do in the Bible?” Jesus answered: “’Love God with everything that is in you, your heart, mind and soul.’ That’s the most important thing. The next most important thing is similar: 'Love people by treating them as good as you would treat yourself.’ All the things God has ever said are based upon these two instructions He gave us.” Jesus turned the tables and asked them a couple questions, “What’s your opinion on the One God is

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DO WHAT THEY SAY, NOT WHAT THEY DO

Jesus turned to the crowd and his boys and said, “These Bible teachers and Pharisees have been given authority by God, just like He gave authority to Moses. You have to listen to what they tell you, and obey everything that they teach from the Bible. However, you shouldn’t imitate these teachers, because they are two-faced hypocrites and don’t obey the Bible themselves. They weigh people down with every kind of rule

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and requirement, but aren’t willing to help people actually follow those rules.” “These guys are big time show-offs, trying to impress everyone with how important they are. They make a public show of tying boxes on their head containing Bible verses, displaying exclusive religious clothing, sitting in the most prestigious seat at society dinners, having a seat in church that shows their rank, and they love people to use their title so that everyone knows that they are a step above the rest.” “You don’t need any fancy title to show off with. There is only one Boss and you are all part of one family. Don’t call any religious leader Dad, because you only have one true spiritual Dad in Heaven. Don’t have people call you ’Teacher’, because there is really only one spiritual Teacher and that’s the One who will save the world. The most important person out of all of you will be the one who is considered a low ranked helper. Whoever shows off will be cut down a notch or two and have to eat crow, but whoever downplays their importance and quietly serves God will be pointed out to others, complimented on their character and promoted to higher places of responsibility.” because you are in big trouble! You push out people who want to come to God, and you won’t even come to God yourself.” “Watch out you fake religious turkeys, because you will pay! You travel all over creation to get someone to become one of your followers, and then you lead them right to becoming twice as sick and twisted as you are.” “Watch out you blind bats who try to tell people how to live for God when you have no clue yourself! You tell people, 'If you swear by The Jewish Church then you don’t have to keep your promise, but if you swear by the gold of The Jewish Church you have to keep the promise you made.’ You stupid idiots! What’s more important, the gold or God’s House that gives the gold divine importance? You also tell people, 'If you swear by the table that sacrifices are made on at The Jewish Church, you don’t have to keep your promise, but if you swear by the offering you put on the table, then you have to keep your promise.’ You guys need glasses, because you can’t see the truth right there in front of you! What’s more important, the offering you put on the table or this divine instrument that makes the offering acceptable to God? You can’t swear by certain specific pieces of God’s House and think you don’t have to keep your promise, because of some ridiculous loophole that you made up. If you

TAKING MEDICINE WITH NO SPOONFUL OF SUGAR
“Watch out you religious phonies,

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swear by Heaven, that means you’re connecting your promise to the very judgment seat of God and God himself. This is serious business.” “Look out you two-faced religious frauds! You give ten percent of your income in the offering plate to fulfill your religious requirement, but blow off the more important issues like being just, not treating people unfairly, showing mercy and being faithful. You should have really made these things priority in your life, without forgetting to bring your offering as well. You’re terrible leaders that aren’t helping anyone! You get grossed out over finding a hair in your food and then have a plate of cow dung for dessert.” “Look out you crummy teachers who say one thing and do another! You make sure to follow your strict religious rules on how to wash dishes, but inside you are greedy and selfish. You dopes! If you want to clean up, why don’t you start with your heart? Instead of trying to look spiritual, why not try being spiritual?” “Look out you big fakers who put on a religious show! You’re just like some big marble crypt. It looks impressive on the outside, but inside it’s full of dead bodies, rotting flesh and maggots. Yuck! Just like that you’re pretty on the outside and appear like you have it really together spiritually, but in reality you’re a bunch of actors wearing masks to cover up your true disgusting selves.” “Look out you two-bit religious pretenders, you liars! You build all kinds of religious monuments and memorials to great mouthpieces for God from the past. Then you’re like, 'If we had lived back in the day we never would have participated in rubbing out these martyrs.’ You’re digging your own grave by saying this stuff and admitting it was your relatives who murdered the mouthpieces. Get ready to pull your foot out of your mouth, because you’re about to follow in their footsteps.” “You sidewinders are lower than a snake’s belly! How in the world do you think that you’re going to get out of doing hard time in hell, because you’re just fooling your selves. I’m going to send out some mouthpieces for God, smart men of God, and instructors. Guess what you’re going to do? Just what you said you wouldn’t do. You’ll murder some, torture some to death, whip some in church publicly and chase them from town to town trying to hunt them down. You’re going to pay the price for every murder of a representative of God that has taken place from the beginning of history until now. I’m not kidding, your generation is going to take the rap.” “My people in Jerusalem, you killed

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the mouthpieces for God and murdered the ones God sent to you. Do you know how many times I have wanted to bring you under my wing and help you, but you didn’t want to have anything to do with me. You can have your church and religion, but without me it’s going to be dead, boring and empty. No joke, you won’t get to be with me again until you say, 'I’m going to back up the leadership that God has chosen. They get my stamp of approval.’” swallow that junk too. Doomsdayers will sensationalize wars and try to spook you about possible wars in the future, but don’t let it phase you. Sure, there is going to be wars, but it’s not the end yet. World powers will oppose each other and countries will go to war. There will be people starving because of lack of food and earthquakes devastating different areas. This is like when a pregnant woman starts having labor pains. It lets you know something is about to happen in the very near future and you better get ready because this is serious.” “You boys are gonna be wanted by the police and be harassed by the authorities. You’re going to be executed like criminals and everyone will hate you because you live for me. This will be a time when a lot of Christians will backslide. They will despise their former Christian friends so much that they will sell them out. There are going to be a lot of spiritual phonies making predictions and they’ll fool tons of people. Because of how bad it’s going to get in society, most people (even Christians) will stop caring for one another, because they will be too into themselves. When the going gets tough, the wimps will give up. The hardcore believers won’t compromise or back down. They’ll go all the way for God, despite the backlash, and will win. The truth about God is going to be shown to the whole

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HEADS UP

Jesus skeedaddled from The Jewish Church after He finished blasting the religious phonies, and his boys stopped him on his way out to chit chat about how cool the buildings were there. “See this stuff? It’s all going to end up as rubble and I don’t mean Barney Rubble,” Jesus said. Jesus was kicking back on Olive Mountain and his boys came to ask some secret questions. They asked, “Pssst, when is The Jewish Church scheduled for demolition and how can we tell when you will be coming back to settle the score?” Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone pull the wool over your eyes. There are going to be a lot of counterfeit heroes who will claim that they will save the world, because are they are the only ones with the answers. They’ll get a lot of people to

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world, and after that, it’s really the end.” “The mouthpiece for God named Danny said there was going to be a super villain bringing the worst sort of evil who will have the nerve to go into The Jewish Church, God’s House and take over. When this happens I have some advice for you: Run away! Run away! Head for the hills and don’t stop to take any of your prized possessions with you. There won’t be any time. Oh man, is it going to be terrible for women who are on the run when they are pregnant or have a newborn baby! Ask God to please not choose a time in the winter when it’s cold, or on a Sunday when you will have to go on the lam. This is going to be a time of excruciating misery like the world has never known. God won’t let this go on for very long or mankind would be wiped out completely. He’ll cut this time short on behalf of his special chosen followers. If this stuff is going on and someone says, 'Look at this far out guy! God sent him to save all of us!’, don’t fall for that line. Counterfeits will come out of the woodwork and do amazing miracles to fool even the special chosen Christians, if they can. I’m giving you a heads up on all this.” “If some chucklehead says, ’God’s guy is out in the sticks. Let’s go!’ or 'I know where the real answer man is at the new place down the street,’ don’t even think about it. It’s a con. When I come back it’s going to be such an incredible demonstration of power, you’ll think that you’re getting hit by lightning. No one will be scratching their head going, I wonder if He’s the one? Unfortunately, these counterfeits will attract many followers like a rotting corpse attracts flies.” “After all these hard knocks, 'the sun is going to dim, and the moon’s glow will go out like an old light bulb; the stars are going to become shooting stars, and everything in space will be shaken up like a snow bubble.’” “That’s when I’m going to make my grand entrance via the sky and the world will be emotionally devastated. They’ll see me bursting through the clouds in an explosion of power and magnificence. I’m going to send my angels to blow their bugles and gather the special chosen believers from all over the universe. Yeeha!” “Let me give you an illustration to help you understand: When the stores at the mall start stocking the newest swimwear, shorts and tank tops, it’s a pretty good indicator that summer is on its way. Just like that, when you start to see the world events I described happen, guess what? It’s D-day. I’ve got a deadline for this stuff and I’m going to make sure it happens before a number of people living in a certain time period croak. Everything is

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going to go up in smoke, but my words last forever. They take a licking and keep on ticking.” “What is the exact year, day, hour and second this will all happen? Wouldn’t you like to know, but none of the angels know and even I don’t know. Only our Heavenly Dad has got the details of his master plan. When I come back it’s going to all go down like with Noah. Before the flood, people were partying and living high on the hog right up until Noah got on his cruise ship. The flood came so fast that they didn’t have a clue as to what was going on until they got washed away. That’s exactly how it will be when I come back. Two bikers will be riding their Harleys and one will disappear off his bike while the other one will be left cruising along by himself. Two ladies will be playing a song and jamming together on piano and guitar. One will get beamed up while the other is left behind playing a solo.” “Who is going to be the trustworthy employee that the boss can promote to manager? He’s got to have someone he can depend on to take care of the other employees and make sure they get what they need. It’s going to be a great day for the manager when the boss returns and finds him hard at work. He’ll give him a promotion and a fat raise. But what if the manager slacks off and thinks, 'Hey, while the cat is away, the mice will play,’ and he abuses the employees under him and gets drunk every day. The boss will show up unannounced and say, 'Surprise!’. He will cut this crummy manager down to size and ream him up one side and down the other. He’ll demote him to give him a position with the other two-faced losers where there will be a heavy misery and deep regret over his stupid choices.”

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TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

THE ONCE IN A LIFETIME FLASHLIGHT PARTY

“Now that you know this, watch out, because you don’t know when I’m coming back to take care of business. Hey, if a homeowner knew what time burglars were going to come and rip him off, he’d stay up and keep guard to protect his home. You better be ready at the drop of a hat, because I’ll come right when you least expect it.”

“When this stuff is happening, God’s plan will play out like this: Imagine there were ten girls that were really excited, because on this special night they were getting to meet a famous celebrity. Five of the girls were airheads and five were smart cookies. The only conditions of getting to go out with this well known personality, was that they had to bring flashlights. The airheads brought flashlights, but no

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batteries. The smart cookies brought flashlights and remembered to bring extra batteries. The celebrity guest was taking forever to arrive, because his plane was delayed and all the girls started fading out and falling asleep.” “At 12 o’clock midnight the phone rang and somebody yelled, 'He’s on his way here! Get up everybody!’” “The girls all got up and grabbed their flashlights. The airheads asked the smart cookies, 'Our flashlights are dead, can we borrow some of your batteries?’ “ “’Girlfriends, you must be crazy,’ they said, 'if we give you our extra batteries we could be stuck with flashlights that don’t work. Run down to 7-11 and get your own batteries.’” “But while they were at 7-11, the man of the hour arrived. All the smart cookies who were ready took off with him in a limo to a big exclusive party that was by invitation only. You had to know the guest of honor to get in.” “The airheads showed up late and they kept pushing the doorbell, trying to get someone to let them in. They begged and pleaded, ’Please, let us in!’” “The man whom the party was being thrown for looked through the peephole and said, 'Who are you? I don’t know you. Go away, this is a private affair.’ So keep an eye out for me, because you never know when I’ll come a'knocking.”

HEAVENLY WORK ETHICS

“Here’s another good illustration: Picture if you will, a produce dealer who got all his young employees together to hand out some responsibilities, because he was going out of town. One young guy he trusted with fifty ripe lemons, to a young lady he gave twenty lemons and to another young guy he gave one lemon according to each one’s experience, training and how they had proven themselves in the past. Then the boss left town. The guy with fifty lemons went and made some killer lemon meringue pies. He sold them all and made enough cash to buy one hundred more lemons. The chick with twenty lemons made some really delicious lemonade and set up a lemonade stand. She sold so many cups of lemonade that she made enough dough to buy forty more lemons. The guy with one lemon didn’t bother to do anything. He just stuck his lemon in the fridge.” “The boss was gone for quite a while. When he got back, he brought in all the employees to settle up. The guy with the original fifty lemons brought back a hundred. He said, 'Boss, I doubled your produce.’”

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“The boss high-fived the employee and said, 'Way to go ace! Since you proved yourself with this project, I’m going to give you a raise and a promotion. Let’s party!’” “The employee who was given twenty lemons came in to report next. She said, 'Boss, I doubled your produce too.’” “The boss said, 'You passed the test with flying colors. I know now that you can handle even more, so I’m promoting you too. Cel-e-bra-tion time, come on!’” “Then the deadbeat who had received one lemon came by. He said, 'Boss, I knew that you were a hard man that has high standards and doesn’t want to hear excuses. I was afraid I might blow it and disappoint you so I hid the lemon in my fridge.’” “The boss was ticked. He said, 'You lazy good for nothing bum! You didn’t bother to lift a finger and even try to do a good job. At the very least you could have planted the lemon seeds so that over the long run we would grow some more lemons. But nooo, that was too much to expect of you.’” “He told his accountant, 'Take this lemon and give it to the guy with a hundred lemons. Whoever does a good job is someone I know that I can count on, so I’ll give him even more. Those who do a bad job will lose even the little bit they have, because I’m taking it back. Have security throw this slacker out on his tail where he will really 'face the music’.”

THE TRUTH COMES OUT

“When I come back demonstrating my power and I bring my angels with me I’m going to take over control from my seat of power. The whole world will be brought before me, and I will separate the acceptable from the unacceptable, just like when you sort through the fruit in the produce aisle to find the good stuff. The good stuff I’ll put on my right, the stinky stuff will go on my left.” “Speaking from my authority as king of the universe, I’ll tell the folks on the right, 'You paid your dues and now it’s time to get your reward that I have been planning on giving you before the earth was even created. You did a great job living for me. When I was starving, you bought me lunch. I was parched and you gave me some iced tea. You didn’t know me from Adam, but you treated me like your best friend. I needed some decent clothes and you got me a new wardrobe. I was puking my guts out and you nursed me back to health. I was locked up in the pen and you came on visiting day to see me.”

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“Then the ones who lived for God will ask, 'Chief, when did we do all this stuff? We don’t remember you being hungry, thirsty, being a stranger, out of clothes, sick as a dog or locked up in the clink.’” “I’ll say, 'Whenever you did all these wonderful things for people you encountered in life, you were doing it for me. Great job!’” “Then the other shoe will fall and I’ll deal with those on the left, 'Get out of my sight and take your place in hell , the place I created for the devil and his demons, where you will burn for eternity.’” “They’ll be baffled: 'Chief, whwhwhat are you talking about? We never saw you starving, parched, being a stranger, out of clothes, puking your guts out or locked up in the clink.’” “I’ll give it to them straight, 'You didn’t help the people you encountered in life and you just blew them off. Well, you blew me off too.’” “After this session, they’ll be sent to suffer death forever and the true believers will enjoy life forever.” Jewish holiday) coming up in a couple of days and soon I’m going to be picked up off the street and executed on a cross.” The religious leaders got together and put a hit out on Jesus. The plan was to have him falsely arrested, and framed for a crime deserving the death penalty. They were very careful and said, “Let’s not whack him during the holiday or people may get so upset that they riot in the streets.”

“Jesus was hanging out in a town called Bethany at Simon’s house, a guy known for previously having a revolting and highly contagious skin condition. While Jesus was kicking back, some lady walked in with some outrageously expensive perfume, and poured all of it on his head. This was an extremely extravagant show of honor and affection.” The boys got all huffy, “This is just too much. She blew a fortune on a temporary gift just for you, when she could have sold the perfume and helped quite a lot of people who are down and out.” Jesus responded, “Why are you giving her such a hard time? What she has done is a wonderfully gracious act of love and I am deeply touched. You’re always going to have people who are flat broke and struggling, but you won’t always have me hanging out with

EXTRAVAGANT LOVE

26
CONSPIRACY
When Jesus finished with this mouthful, He told the boys, “We’ve got Passover (a very important

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you. When she drenched me in this high dollar perfume, she was getting me ready for my own funeral. What she has done is so significant that from now on, whenever people are telling my story, the part she has played will be mentioned too.” They were really upset and each one said, “You don’t mean me, do you Chief?” Jesus said, “The guy who just grabbed a hunk of bread out of the bowl at the same time I did is the traitor. It was written long ago that I would be in this spot, but boy is it going to be terrible for the one who sells me out. He’d be better off if he had never been born.” Judas asked Jesus, “Chief, You’re not talking about me are you?” Jesus answered, “I sure am.” They were still eating when Jesus picked up a loaf of bread, told God thanks for it and tore it into pieces. He passed the pieces around the table and said, “Eat a piece of this bread, it represents my skin.” After that, He picked up a glass of wine, said a prayer of thanks for it and passed it around the table too. He said, “I want everybody to drink this. It represents my blood, which will be spilled to set a lot of people free from all the bad stuff they are doing. Listen, I’m not going to drink one more drop of wine until we get together again in Heaven.” They spent some time after dinner singing some love songs to God, and then headed out for Olive Mountain.

THE PLOT THICKENS

One of the twelve boys, Judas Iscariot, snuck off to the religious leaders to sell out Jesus. He asked, 'How much will you pay me if I hand over my boss?' They gave him twenty-one dollars and sixty cents. After the payoff, Judas kept his eyes peeled for the perfect moment to have Jesus nabbed.

HOLIDAY DINNER

It was the first day of the Feast of Flat Bread when the boys asked Jesus, “Where do you want to have the upcoming Passover holiday dinner?” Jesus replied, “Go into town, find a certain guy and tell him this, 'The Teach says: It’s almost showtime and I’m coming over to have holiday supper with my boys at your crib.’” The boys did what He told them to and got everything ready. That night, Jesus was kicking back with the boys and right in the middle of supper He dropped this bomb, "One of you guys is going to stab me in the back."

J.C. MAKES THE CALL
Jesus said, “Tonight you’re all going

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to abandon me, because the Bible says: 'I will knock the General down, and the troops will take off and go AWOL.'" “After I have come back to life, I’ll take off to Galilee ahead of you.” Pete said, “Even if everyone else deserts you and lets you down, I’ll be there for you.” Jesus said, “The truth hurts, but you’re going to fail three times when you have the opportunity to stand by me, stick up for me and support me like a best friend. You’re going to completely blow me off three times, and then you’ll hear a rooster crow.” Pete denied it, “No way, that’s impossible. I’ll die before letting you down.” The other boys all promised the exact same thing. Jesus took the boys to go pray in a nice little garden spot known as Gethsemane. He said, “Guys, just kick back here. I’m going to spend some one-on-one time talking to God.” He did take three of them with him: Pete, and Zeb’s kids, Jimmy and John. It was obvious to them that He felt really upset and bent out of shape. He said, “Guys, these feelings of depression are so intense that I feel like they’re crushing me to death. I really need you guys to be here for me right now.” He walked away a little distance and fell flat on his face. He prayed, “Dad, if there is any other way to do this and you can get me out of this spot, please help. But I don’t want to do things my way, I want your way Dad, whatever that may be.” He walked back to the boys and they were snoozing. He asked Pete, “Can’t you stay up with me for at least an hour? Wake up! Stay alert and ask God to help you not to do the wrong thing. Your heart is in the right place, but your brain may have other ideas.” He walked away again and continued to pray, “Dad, if there is no other way than for me to suffer, than I’ll just do what you have me to do.” He went back again and they were out like a light, because they were really exhausted. He let them sleep and went back to talking to God. He came back one more time and said, “Are you still knocked out? Time's up. The henchmen are here to get me. Get up, it’s time to go! Our supposed 'friend’ is here to sell me out!”

JESUS GETS JUMPED

He was still saying this when Judas showed up. He had a gang of thugs the religious phonies had organized with him that were armed to the teeth with swords and clubs. Judas

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had a signal for them so that they would know which one to grab. He said, “The one I kiss is the target, so grab him.” Judas walked right up to Jesus, bold as can be, and said, “Hi Chief, great to see you!” Jesus looked at Judas and simply said, “Do what you have to do, buddy.” The thugs jumped forward, grabbed Jesus and held him. All of a sudden somebody with Jesus’ posse came out of nowhere with a machete and chopped one of the thug’s ears right off! Jesus said, “Put that weapon away, everybody who lives violently, will die violently. Don’t you know that if I wanted to, I could just ask my Dad and He would send thousands of warrior angels to wipe these guys out. If I did that, then how would what the Bible predicted come true, because it says that things have to happen this way?” Jesus turned to the gang and asked, “Do you think that I’m some sort of terrorist that you have to sneak up on me with all your weapons? I’m in town all the time speaking publicly in The Jewish Church, and nobody tried to grab me there. But I expected you to do things this way so that everything the mouthpieces for God predicted would come true.” His boys chickened out and ran for their lives.

KANGAROO COURT

The gang took Jesus to Caiaphas, the religious big cheese. All his cronies were waiting there with him to help railroad Jesus. Pete tailed the gang from a comfortable distance and the trail led right to the big cheese’s front yard. Pete hung out with some of the security team out front to see what was going to happen. All the religious leaders were trying really hard to frame Jesus, so they could give him the death penalty. A bunch of liars came and told their fairy tales, but nobody could make their accusations stick. They finally got two stories that agreed. Two different guys said, “We overheard Jesus saying, 'I can demolish The Jewish Church, and reconstruct it in only three days.’” The big cheese head minister, asked Jesus, “What do you have to say for yourself? Aren’t you going to put up a defense?” Jesus didn’t say a word. Then the big cheese said, “By the powers invested in me, I command you to answer the question: Are you the One who will save the world? Are you God’s Son?” Jesus responded, “You said it, and you’re right on the money. One day you’ll see me sitting right next to my Dad, and you’ll also see me make a grand entrance to earth by bursting through the clouds and appearing in the sky.”

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The big cheese got so mad he nearly blew a blood vessel and said, “He is comparing himself to God! How dare He? Who does He think He is? We don’t need any more witnesses do we? What do you guys think?” “He deserves to die,” they replied. These same men then spit in Jesus’ face and brutally punched him over and over. Some of them slapped him upside the head and mockingly said, “Come on all-knowing-one, who hit you that time?” him!” Instantly a rooster crowed and Pete remembered what Jesus had told him: ‘You’re going to completely blow me off three times, and then you’ll hear a rooster crow.’ Pete walked out of that place and bawled his eyes out over what he had done.

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PETE BLOWS IT

SUICIDE AND THE BLOODY CEMETERY

Pete didn’t know what was going on inside. He was sitting in the yard when a girl said, “You used to hang out with Jesus.” Pete replied, “You’re crazy. I don’t know where you got that nutty idea.” He walked over to stand by the gate and another chick was over there. She told the people standing around, “This guy was part of Jesus’ crew.” Pete said, “Get off it! I don’t know the guy!” A little while after that, the people in the yard came up and said, “We can tell you’re one of his friends, because you guys have the same accent.” Pete started cussing and said, “Look people, read my lips, I don’t know

In the wee hours of the morning, all the religious leaders made the final decision to give Jesus the death penalty. They threw the cuffs on him and dragged him over to the local authorities. In this case, that meant the Roman ruler in charge of their town, named Pilate. He was the governor. When Judas saw what happened to Jesus as a result of his betrayal, he freaked out. He gave back the twenty-one dollars and sixty cents that he had taken as a payoff from the religious leaders. He confessed, “I messed up bad, because I framed someone who was totally innocent of any crime.” “Who cares?” they said. “That’s your problem, not ours.” Judas threw the money down on the floor of the church and took off. He

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was so miserable, that he committed suicide by hanging himself. The evil religious leaders picked up the money and said, “We can’t put this money in the offering plate, because it was a payoff for the purpose of murder." They used the money to buy a cemetery for out-oftowners and strangers. They still call this plot of land The Bloody Cemetery. Exactly what Jeremiah, the mouthpiece for God, said had come to pass: ‘They took the chump change, the amount put on Jesus’ head by his own people and they used it to buy a graveyard.’ governor to pardon an inmate that the public chose. Currently, they had a well known criminal named Barabbus. When a good-sized crowd of the citizens gathered in the court, Pilate asked them, “Who do you want me to pardon, Barabbus or Jesus who is called the Ultimate Hero?” Pilate was no dope. He knew the religious phonies were trying to get Jesus into hot water, because they were jealous of him. While court was still in session, Judge Pilate was slipped a note from his wife. It said, “Don’t lay a finger on that guy. I had a horrible nightmare that had to do with him.” The religious goons kept stirring up the mob to ask for Barabbus’ release and Jesus’ execution. “Which of these two inmates should I pardon?” Judge Pilate asked. “Let Barabbus go,” they answered. “What sentence should I give to Jesus who is called the Ultimate Hero?,” Pilate asked. Everybody yelled, “Torture him to death on the cross!” “What crime has He committed to deserve the death penalty?,” Judge Pilate asked. “Just kill him!” they yelled even louder. Judge Pilate couldn’t seem to reason with the crowd, or get an answer that made any sense. He

JUSTICE IS BLIND

Jesus had to go to trial where the judge presiding over the court was the governor, Pilate. Judge Pilate asked, “Are you the head honcho of the Jews?” “Yes, I am,” Jesus responded. The religious fiends made all kinds of accusations and brought their trumped up charges against Jesus, but He refused to respond to any of them. Judge Pilate questioned him, “Don’t you hear what they are saying? Aren’t you going to respond to these charges?” Jesus clammed up and said nothing, which really shocked the judge. It was a custom in the justice system in Jerusalem for the

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was getting concerned with the blood thirsty tone of the mob, and decided to give in to what they wanted. He didn’t want to be held responsible, however, so he washed his hands in front of everybody and said, “Look, I’m not going to be held responsible for his death. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. It’s your decision, not mine!” The crowd said, “We’ll take responsibility for his death! We and our children are the executioners!” Judge Pilate let Barabbus go after that. Jesus, he had publicly whipped and gave the go ahead for his execution. On the way to the execution, they saw a guy from Cyrene, named Simon, and they made him carry the wooden beams that they were going to hang Jesus on. They got to the execution site known as Golgotha, which means 'The Skull Spot.’ They offered Jesus a glass of wine that was spiked with some drugs which would work as a painkiller to keep him alive longer. This was just so that the torture could be drawn out even longer. After they nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to the wooden beams and erected the cross, they gambled to see who would get to keep his clothes as a bonus. They sat down on the ground and watched him slowly die in excruciating pain. Over his head on the cross they posted the charge He had been executed for. It read: JESUS, THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF ALL THE JEWS. There were two criminals who were nailed up on crosses on either side of him. People walked up to Jesus as He was hanging from the cross and cut him down to his face. They said, “Oh look at you Mr. High and Mighty who can demolish The Jewish Church and reconstruct it in three days! Ha! If you think you’re such hot stuff because you’re the 'Son of God’, then just come down off that cross and prove it to us!” The religious phonies came by to pay a visit too, to say 'I told you so,' and rub Jesus’ face in it. They made

DARKNESS DESCENDS

DEATH GAMES

Jesus was taken out and surrounded by an entire company of Roman soldiers. The cruel soldiers decided to have a little fun with him. They stripped him naked and put a fancy red robe on him. Then they made a crown out of long thorns and shoved it on his head. They put a stick in his hand and mockingly knelt down on the ground saying, “Hail to the Chief of the Jews!” They spit on him in disgust and took the stick out of his hand which they used to club him in the head savagely and repeatedly. After they were done with this sick sadistic game, they took off the fancy clothes, and put his old clothes back on. Then they dragged Jesus off to murder him.

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jokes about him to the people standing around, “He’s a real hero to lots of people, but He can’t even help himself now! He’s the head honcho, the big wheel! If He gets off that cross right now, we’ll believe him. I thought He was supposed to be God’s Son. Well if that’s true, I guess his Dad will do something if He gives a rip about him, but I don’t see anybody helping him right now.” The two robbers hanging on either side of Jesus laid it on thick too, and gave him a vicious tonguelashing. congregation from the presence of God was ripped in two. There was an earthquake and cracks formed in the rocks. Some of the graves opened, and people who were dead came back to life. They were seen by some of the people in town. The soldiers who were guarding the cross saw all this and were scared out of their socks and said, “He really was the Son of God!” There was a lot of women standing at a distance and watching Jesus. They had come from Galilee to take care of his corpse. Mary Magdalene was there with Mary, Jim’s and Joses’ mom and Jim and Johnny’s mom.

THE LIGHT GOES OUT

At twelve o’ clock noon until three o’clock the sky got dark, like it was nighttime. At three o’ clock Jesus yelled as loud as He could, “God, God, how could you turn your back on me?!” Some of the onlookers heard him and said, “I think He’s talking to Elijah, the famous mouthpiece for God.” One of them ran to get a sponge, which he filled with wine and put on a stick to offer Jesus a drink. The other folks said, “Cut it out. Let’s see if Elijah shows up to get him out this predicament.” Jesus yelled one more time and then He left his body. At that exact moment, the giant fabric partition in The Jewish Church that separated the

A GOOD JOE
A guy named Joe, who loved and believed in Jesus’ teaching came in the early evening. He was from a town called Arimathea and was very well off financially. He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ corpse. Pilate gave Joe the go ahead to take charge of the body. Joe wrapped up Jesus’ body in a large piece of fabric and placed it in his personal tomb that had been chiseled out of a rock like a cave. He had a large boulder placed in the entrance of the tomb to plug it up, and left. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat outside the tomb and mourned. The following day the religious leaders made a trip to see Pilate. The told him, “Governor, Jesus told

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people that after He died, He would come back to life after three days. We want you to place an armed security team to watch his tomb until the three days are up. We’re afraid his boys might sneak the body out in the dead of night, and make a false claim that Jesus must have come back to life. This final lie would have even more power than his original lie.” Pilate issued orders, “Take some of my men, and have the tomb locked up tight with ample security." They went and sealed off the tomb area, posted that it was off limits, and had round the clock security guarding it. not dead anymore. Look inside and see for yourselves. After that I want you to go tell his boys, 'Jesus has come back to life, and has already taken off to Galilee where you will reunite later.’ That’s all I have to say about that.”

STRATEGIC DISINFORMATION

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HE'S BAAAAAAAAACK
Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and Mary went to visit Jesus’ tomb. When they arrived, there was a big earthquake that was high on the Richter scale. An angel flew down out of the sky, rolled the boulder out of the doorway to the tomb, and sat on top of it. This angel was glowing with incredibly bright light, and even his clothes were extremely white. The security team saw this and were terrified of the angel. They were shaking all over and then passed out. The angel told the women, “Don’t be scared of me. I know that you came here for Jesus who was executed the other day. He flew the coop. He’s left his tomb behind, because He’s

The women left to tell the boys, and the guards ran into town to report to the religious suits what had happened. These schemers came up with yet another plan. They bribed the security team to lie and tell everyone that the boys were grave robbers, and made off with the body while they were snoozing. They even said that they would put in a good word to the governor, so they didn’t get in trouble for sleeping on the job. The security team took the bribe and told the lies, which are still going around today.

AUTHORIZED FOR THE MISSION

All eleven boys went to rendezvous with Jesus at a mountain in Galilee that He told them about previously. When they saw Jesus, they poured out their hearts to him, told him how much they loved him and complimented him on how wonderful He was. Some of the boys, however, were skeptical and thought this was too good to be true. He had some important information and instructions to pass on. He said, “I’m in charge of everything in the

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universe and I have a special job for you. Here’s the marching orders: I am authorizing you to go all over the world, to every country that exists and train people how to live for God. I want you to dunk them under water, so they can publicly show they’ve chosen my ways. Dunk them in my Dad’s name, my name and the Holy Spirit’s too. Teach them to do everything I have ordered you to do. I will always be with you, right by your side until this mission is completed.”

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MOVERS AND SHAKERS

1
WE HAVE LIFT OFF!
Hi Theo, In my last letter, I told you about all the wild things Jesus did and taught everybody before He beamed up to Heaven. Of course, He didn’t split until after He relayed marching orders to his crew from the Holy Spirit. After Jesus was ambushed, beaten down and murdered, He kept dropping by to see His boys unexpectedly to verify that He was alive and kicking. They were amazed each time that He could take a licking and keep on ticking. For over a month He would pop in from the spirit world and give them a hot new lesson on God’s master plan and the perfect system for life. During one of these pow-wows while they were chowing down, Jesus gave the boys strict orders: “Remember the special delivery I’ve told you so much about? It’s almost D-day so just chill until it comes and don’t leave town without it. Crazy Johnny dunked people in H20, but in a couple of days you will get immersed in the ultimate power and pure presence of the Holy Spirit.” While they were hanging out, the boys asked Jesus, “Chief, is this when you are going to stage a coup

and take back our country, the nation of Israel, by force?” He retorted, “That’s none of your bee’s wax, so mind your own business. Your business is this: Once you get supercharged by the Holy Spirit, your mission is to tell people in town, throughout the country, and all over the world about who I really am.” Right after He said this He blasted off like a rocket into the sky until all the guys could see were clouds. The boys were standing there gawking into the sky with their eyes bugged out when two dudes decked out in white getups were all of a sudden standing right next to them. The two guys said, “Why are you still standing here staring into space? Just like Jesus launched off to his headquarters in Heaven, He’ll come back again and his re-entry will look the same. You’ll know when the eagle has landed.”

The boys walked three-quarters of a mile back to town from Olive Mountain. They went straight to a second story room that they were sharing. Pete, Johnny, Jim, Andy, Phil, Tom, Bart, Matt, Alph’s son Jim, Simon the Fanatic and Jim’s son Jude were all there together. They were doing a twenty-four hour prayer session with some ladies, Jesus’ mom and his brothers, too. All in all, there were about a hundred and twenty hardcore Christians there. Pete stood up to

MATT MAKES THE CUT

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bring a pressing issue to the floor: “Listen up everybody. What was written in God’s book a long time ago had to come true when the Holy Spirit used King Dave as a mouthpiece to foretell what Judas was going to do. He was one of our very own, but he stabbed Jesus in the back when he sold him out.” With the blood money Judas got for betraying Jesus, he bought a little piece of real estate. Ironically, that’s where he met his own bizarre death when he suffered a terrible fall in which his abdomen was ripped open thus spilling his guts out all over the ground. This was big news around town and everyone started calling the property Bloody Acres. Pete went on to quote the book of Songs: ‘His spot on the roster will be empty with no one to take up the slack so draft a new recruit to take his place.’ It seems clear to me that we need to choose a proven veteran that has stood with us through thick and thin that we can really trust to fill the vacant position. We need someone who has been around from the beginning, when Crazy Johnny started dunking to when Jesus got beamed up. The person has to be rock solid to handle the mission we have to undertake of delivering the incredible story about Jesus coming back from the dead. The gang came up with two eligible recruits: Joe, who people called Barry and another guy named Matt. They turned to God to decide who He wanted to fill the slot: “Chief, you can see into the very core of our souls. Tell us who you want to replace Judas on the home team.” Then they played scissor-paperrock and Matt won, so he was added to the roster with the other eleven.

2

H-BOMB ON D-DAY

It was the end of the seventh week and fiftieth day of the year that marked the day of the annual Harvest Festival and all the folks who still loved Jesus came together to celebrate. During the party everyone heard what sounded like a massive tornado or hurricane right there in the house. They glanced around and amazingly it looked like everyone’s head was on fire, except no one was getting burned. Absolutely everyone in the crowd was infused with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and miraculously began to speak fluently in foreign languages that they had never learned. Because of the holiday, the town was packed with out-of-towners from all over the world. It was like a practicing Jew convention had come to town because every hotel in town was booked solid. Because of the huge ruckus at the house, everyone within earshot came running to see what was going down. A big crowd

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of rubberneckers built up outside and didn’t know what to make of what they were hearing. They couldn’t figure out how these uneducated townies could possibly be bilingual. Totally shocked at the spectacle they asked: “Aren’t all these guys local yokels? How is it possible that we’re all hearing them in our differing native tongues? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Cappadocians, Pontusians, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Libyans from the Cyrene area, Romans (both original and converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs- all of us are hearing the same message about all the amazing stuff that God is doing in our own language!” They were really blown away and kind of freaked out too. The number one question everyone was ranting was, “What the heck is going on here?!” Some of the onlookers, who were skeptics, were rolling their eyes and commenting accusingly: “Looks like a bunch of wasted junkies high on crack to me!” This amazing occurrence was foretold by God’s mouthpiece Joel.” Joel said, and I quote, 'God says: During the final countdown I will infuse men and women, Jews or not, from every country and every ethnic group with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Your kids will boldly speak out inspired messages that come straight from God. Young fellas will supernaturally receive vivid mental images revealing things that they could never know on their own. Older guys are going to have powerful dreams that God will use to give them deep spiritual insight. I’m not limiting this economically either, even the less educated working class men and women, the nobodies of the world, will be infused with this same power and presence. The message they will have the same weight and authority from God. You’ll know the time is close to his coming when you see events no one imagined possible. You’ll see wild stuff in the sky and crazy aberrations on earth. The sun will go out like a dead light bulb and the moon will look blood red. No matter who they are, if anyone turns to God for help, He will rescue them from impending doom and they will miraculously survive devastation.’ Pete continued: “Every Israeli here should try to get a hold of these truths: Jesus, formerly from the Nazareth area, was totally validated

PETE WAXES PROLIFIC

Pete stood up and began to explain what was happening as loud as he could so everyone could hear: “Ladies and gentlemen! Jews from abroad and next door, if you will give me your attention I think I can clarify what’s going on and answer all of your questions. These folks haven’t been shooting up or smoking rocks. It’s only nine a.m.!

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by God and proved to be legitimate by performing impossible acts that could only explained as being supernatural and empowered by forces beyond the world we know and live in. I don’t have to go into specifics, you all have send or heard about the recent events I am mentioning. God handed Jesus over to you, well knowing what the outcome would be. He was aware that certain sick and evil members of the occupying forces would publicly execute him and you as his fellow Jewish community would fully endorse this horrifying act of injustice. However, God brought Jesus back to life after He literally went through hell. Being who He was, it was absolutely impossible for hell to hold him captive. Big Dave spoke of Jesus long ago when he said, 'I saw the Chief standing face to face with me forever. Because I know He’s there for me and has got my back, nothing can phase me. That’s why I have a smile plastered on my face and a contagious laugh. There’s even hope for this skin and bones of mine because you won’t leave me to rot in hell. You won’t let your key man get munched on by worms either. You’ve given me clear directions on how to navigate the minefield of life. Every time I’ll be with You in the future I know I’ll be ecstatic.'" “Fellas, I can tell you without a doubt that Big Dave croaked and was planted six feet deep. You can still find his tombstone over at the graveyard today. Dave was a mouthpiece for God and he knew God would make one of his great grandsons President. Knowing what was going to happen, Dave was predicting that the Hero of the Universe would die and come back to life. That’s why he said all that stuff about not rotting in hell or getting munched on by worms. This Hero of the Universe is Jesus and we all saw him come back from the dead with our own eyes. Having the prominent position of being the right hand man of Big G, Jesus got a firm guarantee concerning the Holy Ghost and sent him down here to us. That’s who is behind all this crazy stuff you’re seeing and hearing.” “Big Dave didn’t launch into the sky like Jesus did, but he did say, 'The Chief said to my Chief: Take your place as my right hand man, until I’m done turning your enemies into your own personal doormat. ’” “So let’s make this crystal clear to all Israelis: God has made Jesus, the guy you unjustly and brutally murdered the Chief and Hero of the Universe." When everyone heard that they felt terrible. They begged Pete and the boys: ‘What do we have to do to make this right?’ Pete explained, “Turn away from all the crummy things you’ve done and choose to never go there again. Get dunked in water to show you want to follow Jesus from now on and He will wipe your slate clean from all

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the lousy decisions you have ever made and your record will be expunged. Then you will experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. This isn’t just for you, it’s for your children and everyone around the world who God is speaking to.” He went on speaking a long time after that too, trying to alert them and he begged them saying, “Please don’t go down with the ship. This wicked world will be destroyed. Escape their system and their penalty while you can!” Everybody who bought his story got dunked. About three thousand signed up to be followers of Jesus. day over at The Jewish Worship Center. It was the coolest and most spontaneous movement of goodwill ever. These Jesus freaks just couldn’t get enough of each other. Everyone thought it was just the best and dug being together all the time: eating, singing songs to God and enjoying one another’s company. This fascinated outsiders considerably and people joined their ranks daily, committing their lives to Jesus along with them.

3

PETE AND DA CRIP

After this, all the new recruits got serious about their new found way of life. They ate up any lessons and insight they could get from Jesus’ boys, they hung out with other Christians as often as they could especially for dinner parties, and they started talking to God all the time to draw as close as possible to him. This flipped out the local community and they flipped out even more when Jesus’ boys constantly did amazing supernatural acts right in front of their eyes. All these folks living for God linked arms and shared everything they owned with their new found family . They would even pawn their family heirlooms just to help a friend out. They literally tried to hook up with each other every

ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY

One day Pete and Johnny headed over to The Jewish Worship Center for a specially scheduled chat with God session at three p.m. A handicapped guy was being lugged over to one of the entrances to the Worship Center called Gorgeous Gate so he could get a good spot to panhandle. He saw Pete and Johnny and hit them up for some pocket change. Pete and Johnny both stopped in their tracks. Pete said, “Look me in the eye.” The man got excited thinking he was going to get a hefty handout. Pete said, “I am totally strapped for cash, but I’ll give you everything I do have. By the authority of Jesus the Ultimate Hero, start walking.” He gave him a hand up off the ground and sure enough the guy’s legs start working right away. This ex-cripple was jumping around hooping and hollering making quite

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a ruckus. He followed the boys right into The Worship Center and everyone saw him cutting loose and making a scene. They could hardly believe their eyes at the transformation because everyone knew him as the local crippled beggar who was a fixture at The Worship Center. cripple is walking again because of the power of God’s authority and through confidence in his abilities. Guys, I know that you and the Jewish leaders didn’t know what you were doing or realize the huge error you were making.” “However, God used even this for good to make predictions that his mouthpieces made come true. They had said that the Ultimate Hero would really go through the ringer. Now that everything is out in the open, you should come clean, admit all your character flaws and moral failures and start living for God, instead of yourself. Then He can expunge your record and you will find true satisfaction because your life will finally have meaning and substance. Get yourself ready for the next time Jesus is coming back. He’ll hang in Heaven until God is ready to make every wrong right. God’s mouthpieces have been talking this up from the very beginning. Even Mo said, '’Big G will have a special mouthpiece speak for him who is one of you. You’d better pay close attention to every word He says. Whoever doesn’t listen to him will be totally annihilated.’ Every mouthpiece from back in the day of Sammy until now predicted all of this. You are specially privileged to be a part of this because God made a binding verbal contract with your ancestors. He told Abe, ’'’m going to use your great grandkids to do awesome stuff that will impact the whole

PETE TALKS, CROWD GAWKS
This panhandler was still hanging on Pete and Johnny when people came running from every direction to see this guy standing on his own two legs at a place known as Sol’s Spot. Pete saw everyone’s fascination and began to address the crowd: “Fellow Israelis, why are you so shocked? You’re looking at us as if you think we have magical powers or are some sort of super spiritual holy men. That’s not it at all. The same God our ancestors Abe, Ike and Jake lived for is putting the spotlight on his Son, the real deal holy man, Jesus. Even though Governor Pilate wanted to let Jesus go, you all supported the death penalty at his sentencing. Pilate was looking for support from the local Jewish community to justify releasing Jesus, but instead you all gave him the thumbs down. You unjustly condemned the most perfect, good, honorable, upstanding and pure man ever to walk on the earth and gave a pardon to a convicted murderer instead. You butchered the giver of real life, but God brought him back to life. We saw it ourselves. This

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world.’ God gave you first dibs on taking advantage of his lifechanging power that allows you to escape your sick selfish way of life.” Israeli officials! If you are busting our chops for helping a handicapped beggar and want to know how in the world we got him walking again, I’ve got some news hot off the press for you. The man you savagely slaughtered named Jesus, who is the Ultimate Hero, has been brought back to life. It was by his authority that this man was miraculously restored to perfect health. We want you and everyone in Israel to get this straight.” “Jesus is like the basketball player passed over in the NBA draft who ended up being the greatest championship player of all time. He’s like a horse sent to the glue factory that ended up winning the Kentucky Derby. He’s like a kid turned down by every medical school who ends up discovering the cure for cancer. He’s a total Cinderella story.” “There’s no way to get into Heaven and live forever without Jesus. There is no one else with the authority or ability to cleanse you of all the muck in your life and make you acceptable to God except Jesus.” When the Jewish leaders heard how gutsy these guys were and saw the nerves of steel they had under fire, they were taken aback. They saw some uneducated, untrained, everyday Joe Schmo nobodies speak with incredible confidence and determination and realized these guys had spent a lot of time rubbing

4
SACRED COW TIPPING
The Jewish religious leaders and their head of security were in the crowd and heard everything Pete and John were teaching the people. These bigwigs were really ticked off at Jesus’ boys telling everyone that He had come back to life. It made them look like punks for leading the attack. They nabbed Pete and Johnny, snapped on the cuffs and threw them in jail overnight to cool them off. This didn’t seem to dissuade the crowd at all, because five thousand of them believed every word Pete and Johnny said and chose Jesus as their Hero. All the religious big shots got together the next day in Jerusalem to deal with this problem. Annas the top minister came with some of his relatives. Caiphas, John, and Alex all showed up too. They brought Pete and Johnny into the interrogation room and put them under the hot lights to grill them for information. “Who gave you the right to come and meddle about in our jurisdiction and how in the world did you pull off that stunt?” Instantly Pete got a power boost from the presence of the Holy Spirit and knew just what to say: “Leaders from the Jewish community and

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elbows with Jesus. The Jewish big wigs had no defense against what Pete and Johnny said, because after all, the proof is in the pudding and the ex-crippled guy was standing right there in front of everybody. They took a recess to huddle up, put their heads together and brainstorm. “How in the world are we going to keep a lid on something like this? Everyone is town is talking about this incredible event. There’s no way to bury the story now. Let’s try to intimidate these young upstarts into clamming up before this new movement gets out of control.” They brought the boys back in to lean on them some more and they gave strict orders never to talk about this Jesus stuff again or else. Pete and Johnny were like, “As if! Think about what you’re asking us. How can we follow your orders and ignore God’s? After all the amazing things we have seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, we just can’t shut up about it. It’s too good!” The Jewish leaders threatened them some more, but then let them go without laying a hand on them. They were afraid that if they worked Pete and Johnny over the locals would riot, because after the healing, the public was openly giving God credit for the incident. When people have seen a guy drag his body across the ground for forty years and then see him walk it gives the fellas involved in the miracle cure immense credibility.

When Pete and Johnny were let go they went back and filled in their peeps on everything that went down. After the report, the folks responded by talking to God together. They said, “Chief, You are second to none. You crafted the sky, shaped the land and created the oceans and all the plant and wildlife in them. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, your worker and our spiritual Dad, Big Dave said, 'What is the point to the countries who are in such violent opposition and their people who constantly scheme? The presidents, commanders and dictators of the world join forces to oppose the One God has chosen and empowered the Ultimate Hero.’" “A clear example of this is when Governor Herod and Judge Pilate recently teamed up with the Jewish community there and the people of many other nationalities to railroad Jesus, your perfect representative that you handpicked and empowered. Little did they know that in carrying out their evil plot that they were accomplishing exactly what you had planned all along. Chief, you saw how they tried to shut us down. Please give us the ability to get the word out confidently, without fear and share

BOOM!

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your message strongly with no hint of hesitation. Back us up by doing miracles through us and healing the sick. We’ll do it all to promote and reveal the true character of Jesus.” No sooner had they finished talking to God then there was a literal earthquake right there in the house. Everyone was instantly infused with supernatural power by the Holy Spirit and they told everyone God’s truth like there was no tomorrow. families who were hurting for cash.

5

TWO DOWN

SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE

As a result of these wild experiences and the new power they got from God, all of the new Christians became one big happy family. They stopped being selfish and gladly shared their stuff with each other. With incredible strength and conviction, Jesus’ crew kept telling everyone the tale of how He had died and come back to life. No one had to go without because they all took care of each other. Now and then some of the Christians would sell some real estate or an investment property, than give all the cash they made to Jesus’ boys to distribute to those who were down and out or unemployed. A nice Jewish guy named Joe, who the boys called Barney the Optimist, sold an empty lot and donated the proceeds to the boys to help out the

A married couple named Antwon and Saphire saw how impressive people looked when they gave these charitable donations, so they figured to get in on the action. What they were missing was the right motivation. They sold a piece of property they owned and secretly pocketed some of the profit they made. Then they gave what was left to the Christian leadership as if it were the total amount. When Antwon gave it to Pete he didn’t receive the public pat on the back that he expected. Pete looked him in the eye and said, “Antwon, why are you serving the devil and telling a boldfaced lie to the Holy Spirit? He knows you kept some of the cash from the sale of your property. Nobody twisted your arm and forced you to give any money at all. You could have kept all the money with no problem. You don’t know who you’re messing with. You’re not disrespecting me by lying through your teeth, you’re dissing God to his face! You’ve made a mockery of his love for the poor!” As soon, as the words came out of Pete’s mouth, Antwon keeled over without anyone laying a hand on him. He was dead as a doornail. Everyone who heard what happened was terrified by the turn

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of events. Some of the young Christians took on the gruesome job of putting the corpse in a body bag and burying the remains. Saphire walks in three hours later having no clue that her hubby just croaked. Pete gave her a chance to come clean: “Is this donation the exact amount you made on the sale of your property?” “Of course,” she responded. Pete yelled, “How dare you spit in God’s face with your phony act of generosity that was just more selfish pride? There’s a fresh grave waiting for you along with your partner in crime.” Saphire collapsed and was stiff as a board. The same young Christians hauled out her carcass and planted it next to her husband, Antwon. After this, not only the Christians, but even the non-Christians were afraid of what might happen to them because of all their own personal crimes against God. Everyone realized that this was serious business and not to be taken lightly. at Sol’s Spot, a popular meeting place. All the townies really looked up to them, but were afraid to join such a radical and controversial group. Despite their fears, people gave their lives to God at an astounding rate and joined the band of believers. Because the community was turning to God with such intensity, everyone started bringing out their family members and friends from their sick beds to get healed. They would lay these lost causes out on the sidewalk so that when Pete walked by his shadow would hit them. It was such a crazy plan that it actually worked! People even bussed in from out of town bringing folks with every kind of debilitating disease you can imagine and even some loonytoons who were demon possessed. Every single one of them got their miracle and their impossible dreams of healing and freedom came true.

RELIGION VS. GOD

Jesus’ crew was actively moving in the supernatural every day. People’s lives were being radically changed when they witnessed these incredible feats God was doing through these men of God. All the Christians would meet and hang out

MADE IN THE SHADE

This pushed the Jewish religious leaders over the edge. They were so green with envy that they had Jesus’ boys picked up off the street and thrown behind bars. They didn’t have to stew long because that same night God sent an agent from the spirit world to bust them out of jail. The angel said, 'Beat it over to the courtyard of The Jewish Worship Center and get back to work. These folks still need to hear the truth about going beyond dry religious practices to experiencing

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genuine relationship with a living God.' At the crack of dawn the boys headed over to the courtyard at The Jewish Worship Center and explained to the people there who Jesus really was and how they could know him in a deep and meaningful way. That same morning the Jewish religious leaders assembled a council of all the top Israeli officials. They sent their security officers to bring Jesus’ boys from their jail cell, but of course they had already flown the coop. The security team reported back to the council and said, “The jail was locked up tighter than a drum and every guard was at his post. The problem is the cells are empty and our prisoners are nowhere to be found." The head of security and the religious leaders were baffled at the escape and wondered what was going to happen next. Somebody ran up and exclaimed, “Hey, I found your fugitives. They’re over at The Jewish Worship Center giving free workshops on how to know Jesus. The head of security took his team and collected the boys to bring them before the council. He didn’t use any rough stuff, because the crowd was enjoying the workshops and he didn’t want a riot on his hands.” The boys were hauled back in for interrogations by the religious leaders. They said, “We already forbade you to go around talking up this 'salvation through Jesus' thing . Instead of stopping you stirred up people even more. You’re just trying to turn people against us by blaming Jesus’ execution on us.” Pet and the boys replied: “We can’t please everyone all the time and if forced to make a decision, we’re going to please God and do what He told us to do. It’s time to realize that you did murder Jesus and you are guilty of homicide, but God brought him back to life. Not only that, but God made Jesus his right hand man and the key person to help the people of Israel. As the Ultimate Hero He will give them the power to escape all the traps of their own moral failures and remove the penalties for their crimes against God. We know what we’re talking about because we have been eyewitnesses to these events. More importantly, the Holy Spirit verifies all this is true and will gladly enter the hearts of those ready and willing to live for God.” This little speech pushed all of the religious leaders' buttons. They got really hot under the collar and saw red. Their rage was so out of control that they wanted to waste these men of God. One of the big shots who people looked up to was named Gamaliel. He was known as an Old Testament scholar and professor who knew his stuff.

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He stood up to throw in his two cents and kicked Jesus’ boys out of the room while he made his case. He said, “Fellow Israelis, let’s cool our jets here before we do something rash. Remember that religious nut Theudas we were all worried about because he recruited over four hundred members into his movement? He got whacked and his crew scattered like ants. Then there was that guy Judas from Galilee. He was stirring up people during the Roman census to revolt against Caesar. He got wiped out too and his organization disbanded. My advice is to not get into the middle of this. Let’s kick these boys loose and let this situation sort itself out. If these guys are just more rabble rousers then they won’t last long anyway. However, if these boys are really working for God I don’t think we have any hope of shutting them down. Not only that, but we don’t want to get on God’s bad side if they’re legit.” Of course everyone thought this made too much sense so they followed his advice. That didn’t stop them from giving Jesus’ boys a good beatdown just for good measure before they set them free. Crazy as it sounds, Jesus’ boys left this traumatic episode laughing and really happy that they had a chance to represent Jesus and had stood their ground. In fact they went right back to telling people about Jesus outside the Jewish Worship Center and even door-to-door.

6
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Back in the day when new followers of Jesus were coming out of the woodwork, there were some folks who had some serious issues with the Christian feeding program that had been started to take care of widows. One ethnic group, the Greek Jews, were feeling ostracized and mistreated by the Hebraic Jews. They felt that they were being treated like second class citizens because the Greek Jewish widows weren’t getting their daily fair share from the Christian food pantry. The racial tension had to be dealt with: Jesus’ twelve boys called a meeting of all the new Christians to make a proposal. They said, “We’re stretched pretty thin in our ministry duties right now. If we get any deeper into managing the food pantry we’ll run out of the time and energy we need to teach people about God. Why don’t you put your heads together and come up with the names of seven guys who are on fire for God and sharp as tacks, too. They can take over running this vital ministry to the poor so it can be done right. That will also free us up to do our jobs right, because we want to pour our lives into talking to and listening to God and then showing people what the Bible says, explaining how to live it every day.” The crowd was pleased as punch over this brilliant idea. They picked

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out Steve, a guy with strong confidence in God and totally on fire for God as well. They also picked Phil, Proco, Nick, Tim, Parm and Nick from Antioch who wasn’t an O.J. (original Jew), but had converted. The Christian community brought these seven men to Jesus’ boys. The boys all put their hands on the seven and prayed for God to bless them in their new job and use them powerfully in their mission to serve the poor. got some cohorts of theirs to say, “We heard Steve talking trash about Mo and God. He’s a big phony!” This was designed to trigger off the other Jewish leaders and it worked. They nabbed Steve and dragged him off to put him on trial in the Jewish court. They brought out a bunch of liars who put on a dog and pony show and said, “Steve is always putting down The Jewish Worship Center and dissing the Old Testament. He said Jesus from Nazareth will literally demolish our facility and wipe out all the rules Mo told us to follow.” The Jewish judges were all intensely focused on Steve’s face because in the middle of all this accusation and trouble, his face looked amazingly angelic-glowing, strong and noble.

CROSSHAIRS ON STEVE

At this time, Steve, one of the leaders of the feeding program was moving in the power of God. This table waiter was being used by God to perform supernatural acts that were incredible. The guy was a real mover and shaker. Like every minister, Steve had his critics too. There were some members of a local Jewish training center ironically called Set Free Fellowship. They were actually Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia and Asia that weren’t free at all. Basically they confronted Steve and tried to disprove his message. Steve knew his stuff and the Holy Spirit infused his words with so much strength that these bound up guys were stuck on the losing end of the debate. These same guys took the low road and started spreading rumors to tear down Steve’s ministry. They

7

LONG EXPLANATION OF THE BIG PICTURE

The top dog religious leaders asked: “Steve what do you have to say for yourself?” Steve replied: "Everybody listen up here! The stupendous all-powerful God dropped in on Old Abe when he was residing in Mesopotamia, before he relocated to Haran. God told him to, 'Hit the road Jack, I’ve got a new assignment for you in new territory.’ Old Abe picked up and left the land of the Chaldeans

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and put down roots in Haran. After his pop kicked the bucket, God moved Abe once again to our region here, but didn’t give him even one square foot of real estate to call his own. However, God assured him that he and his future grandkids, great grandkids, great great grandkids and so on would dominate the area and own most of the real estate. This was quite a promise seeing that Abe didn’t have any children at all at the time. God said, "Your family members will live in a foreign country where they will be used and abused as slaves for four hundred years. I’m going to put a world of hurt on this country for all these human rights violations against your people. They will be liberated from this oppressive regime and come here where they will have religious freedom again and pour out expressions of love and devotion to me." Then God gave Old Abe the shocking, yet meaningful sign of faith where men chop off the tip of their penises. Abe did end up having a son, named him Ike and chopped off the end of the infant’s penis when he was eight days old. When Ike grew up he had a son named Jake who had twelve more sons that became fathers and leaders of the nation of Israel. The eleven brothers were green with envy over their youngest brother, Joey. They hated him so much that they sold their baby brother to some Egyptians. God was looking out for Joey, however, and got him out of this jam. God gave Joey deep insight, which put him on the good side of the king of Egypt. Joey was promoted from slave to head honcho over the entire country of Egypt and was director of operations at the palace as well." “Suddenly the nations of Egypt and Canaan were out of food and the people were starving to death. Jake heard there was plenty of grub to be had in Egypt so he sent his sons to get some. The second time they came to town little Joey exposed his true identity as their brother and the king found out about his kinfolk. Then Joey had his pop move out to live with him along with seventyfive of his other relatives. Jake and his sons lived out the rest of their days in Egypt. When they expired, their corpses were carted back to Shechem where they were buried in a plot that Old Abe bought from Hamor’s sons.” “The clock was ticking on God’s master plan to make good on his promise to Old Abe. During this time the Egyptians were having a population explosion. A new king came into power who never heard of little Joe. He was a brutal dictator who forced the Jews to abandon their infant sons and leave them to die. This was when Mo was born and he was no run-of-the-mill kid. He was hidden at home by his folks for the first three months of his life. When they couldn’t hide him any longer, he was miraculously rescued by the Egyptian princess

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who adopted him. Mo had the best schooling money could buy and became a gifted speaker who was no pushover.” “When Mo turned forty, he decided to explore his roots a little and things got out of hand when he took sides with a Jew and ended up whacking an Egyptian. Mo thought his fellow Jews would be ecstatic to find out he was God’s gift to them, but they didn’t want anything to do with him. He tried to settle a fight between two Jews by saying, "Guys, we’re all Jews here. Can’t we all just get along?" But the troublemaker of the two said, "Who died and made you king, buster? You going to whack me like you did that Egyptian?" Mo knew the word was out and skipped town immediately. He holed up in Midian where he married and reared two boys. Four decades later Mo was in the desert close to Sinai Mountain and had a close encounter of the strange kind with a spirit being in the form of a flaming shrubbery. This really freaked him out so he crept a little closer to investigate. He heard God start talking and this freaked him out even more. God said, 'I am the same God your famous ancestors Old Abe, Ike and Jake worshipped.’ Mo was so scared that he was shaking like a leaf while squinting his eyes shut.” “Then God said, 'Take off your flipflops, because now you are standing on sacred soil. I have seen my people getting exploited by this oppressive regime in Egypt. I’ve heard them singing the blues and have come to save the day. You’re just the man I’m going to use to do it so head for Egypt.’” “The same guy who had been dissed by his people when they said, 'Who died and made you king ?’, was sent by God to save them and become their leader after he saw God’s supernatural agent in the flaming shrubbery. He was instrumental in their escape from Egypt and went on to perform supernatural feats in Egypt, the Red Sea and for the next forty years out in the desert.” “Mo told the Jews, 'God will send you another mouthpiece like me who is one of you, an original Jew.’ Mo was no chump. He knew what he was talking about. He was with the mob in the desert, the spirit being on Sinai Mountain and our ancestors. God gave him key info back then that is still vitally important to us today.” “Our ancestors wouldn’t listen. They were really pigheaded. They blew off Mo because deep inside they were now more like Egyptians than true Jews. They said to Aaron, 'It looks like Mo may have ditched us. We’re sick of his old God. We want you to make us some new fangled gods to worship.’ That was when they made the statue of a holy cow. They made animal sacrifices to their bovine deity and partied

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hearty all night. God got fed up and let them go their own goofed-up way. They ended up turning all their empty religious rituals toward planets and stars. This goes right along with what God’s mouthpiece Amos said, 'Did you Israelis show me honor and respect by giving gifts to me or offering animal sacrifices during your forty year trek through the desert? No way, you decided to create altars of worship for your false god Molech and your star god Rephan which are just statues you made to replace me. I’m kicking you out, way out past Babylon.'" “Our ancestors traveled with the mobile worship center. God gave Mo a specific design to have this big tent made. Under Josh’s leadership our people would take it with them whenever they invaded and took over some new country. It was around a long time until Big Dave asked to build a permanent structure. It turned out his son Sol ended up building the new facility.” “Still, you can’t fit God in a box, no matter how nice it is. God’s mouthpiece Isaiah said it too when he spoke: 'God says: My headquarters are in the most amazing dimension in the universe that you can’t even comprehend. For me, planet earth is like a little stool I prop my feet up on. What kind of puny shack do you think you can build for me? Do you really think you can contain the magnitude of my presence in some little building when I created the whole universe?’” Steve continued: “You stubborn blockheads, why won’t you wise up? Your heart is cold as ice and you’ve got wax in your ears. Why should you follow in your family’s footsteps and blow off God? You’re purposefully pushing away the Holy Spirit. Didn’t your ancestors harass every one of God’s mouthpieces? They even murdered the ones who foretold the arrival of the Hero of the Universe. You were specially chosen to receive God’s system for living, but ignored it completely to the point of stabbing this Hero in the back and committing homicide!” “When he said this they all went berserk with rage and yelled at Steve. Steve didn’t care because at that moment he was so full of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Suddenly, he looked up and saw the indescribable beauty of God, and there was Jesus himself looking back at him while standing at God’s right hand. Steve said, God is letting me look through a dimensional portal into Heaven right now and it’s awesome! I can see Jesus right now and He’s standing at God’s right hand.”

STEVE GOES HOME

When the crowd heard this they turned into an angry mob. They put

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their hands over their ears, screamed at the top of their lungs and bum rushed Steve. They dragged him through the streets until they got outside the city limits. There they all picked up rocks and began bludgeoning him to death. The spectators checked their coats with a young guy named Saul for safekeeping during the incident. While he was being attacked, Steve asked God, “Jesus, please bring me home.” He fell to his knees and prayed, "Chief, don’t condemn them for this crime." Immediately he passed away. Saul watched and approved of Steve’s murder. the local yokels heard Phil’s message and saw him perform supernatural feats, they were all ears. With blood curdling screams, demons were evicted from people’s bodies and a lot of paraplegics and handicapped folks were miraculously cured. When the public saw cripples walking on their own two feet they were ecstatically happy. The city had never been so giddy and delighted.

8

SCATTERD FEW
Steve’s death triggered off more attacks against followers of Jesus all over Jerusalem. Except for the top Christian leaders, all the Christians skipped town and headed to points all over Judea and Samaria. Steve’s good friends held a funeral service to honor and remember their fallen brother. At the same time, Saul stepped up the assault against the new Jesus movement. He actually went door to door arresting every Christian he could find and tossing them into jail. The Christians who had taken flight were spreading the word about new life through Jesus everywhere they landed. Phil was doing some street preaching in a city in Samaria. After

In Samaria there was a well known master of black magic named Simon who mesmerized people with his occultic powers. He was a real self promoter and had all the Samaritans so impressed that they were eating out of the palm of his hand. His fans were so devoted that they said, “This is the ultimate magic man, super Simon is a god!” They were thoroughly Simonized , because of the many stunning and spectacular feats he had performed. After folks heard Phil speak about God’s wonderful plan for their lives and how much Jesus loved them, both men and women were dunked in water to show that they were serious about choosing this new found faith. Even Simon was blown away by what he heard and was dunked along with everyone else. The former superstar became one of Phil’s biggest fans and was overwhelmed by the spiritual power he displayed and the supernatural acts taking place right

POWERMONEYMAGICMAN

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in front of his very eyes. When the top dog Christian leaders heard Samaria was on fire for Jesus, they sent Pete and Johnny over. When they rolled into town they prayed for these new followers of Jesus to be dunked in the power of the Holy Spirit. As of yet they hadn’t experienced this. All they knew about was getting dunked for Jesus. Pete and Johnny simply put their hands on people and boom! Their entire beings were filled up and saturated with the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was an amazing experience. Simple Simon saw this phenomenon and wanted in on the action. He was hungry for power and offered them cold hard cash to get it. He said, “Hook me up with what you’ve got so I can pump people full of the Holy Spirit too.” Pete fired back, “Take your damned dirty money somewhere else! You and your bank roll can just rot in hell together for thinking you could buy off God! God won’t allow you to move in the supernatural because your heart isn’t pure and your motives are all wrong. You don’t care about pleasing God or helping other people. You just want to be the big Magic Man again. You’d better get down on your knees and beg God to forgive you. Maybe He will have mercy on you for your sick and twisted thinking. You’re still dead inside and full of the same old garbage." Simon was floored and begged Pete, “Please ask God not to condemn me to hell. Mercy!” Pete and Johnny hit all the small Samaritan towns they could on their way back to Jerusalem, telling everyone about Jesus and how He changes lives.

God sent one of his messengers from the spirit world to give Phil an assignment. He said, “Head south to the old country dirt road that connects Jerusalem and Gaza.” Phil headed out and on his way he saw an important foreign government official cruising by in a chariot being driven by his personal chauffer. It was the treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia, a man that worked so closely with the queen that he was castrated to insure her physical safety from any sexual attack. This top bookkeeper was a converted Jew returning from a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem where he had been expressing love and devotion to God in the Hebrew tradition. He was very devoted in his faith and in fact was doing a study on the book of Isaiah while bumping down the road. The Holy Spirit spoke to Phil and said, “Book it over to that chariot.” Phil ran over and overheard this guy reading aloud from the book of God’s mouthpiece, Isaiah. Phil asked, “Does that book make sense to you? Are you getting the gist of it?” The African

MINISTRYMOBILE

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responded, “It’s all Greek to me. How can I make head or tails of this without someone to tutor me and give me some insight?” He welcomed Phil the hitchhiker into his ride to hang out for a while. This brother was reading the part where it says, ‘He was treated like a farm animal, he was herded like common livestock and carted off to the town butcher. He was quiet as a little lamb is when it’s having its wool shaved off. He didn’t make a peep or put up a fight at all. He was treated like dirt and didn’t get a fair shake. He doesn’t have any kids or grandkids, because he was cut down in his prime.’” The Ethiopian asked Phil, “What’s up with this? Is God’s mouthpiece talking about himself or somebody else?” Phil answered by teaching a little Bible study and explained how Jesus fit into the whole picture. While they were still cruising along, they were passing a pond and the Ethiopian asked, “Is there any reason why I can’t be dunked in that water right now to show that I’m signing up to live for Jesus too?” Phil couldn’t see why not so the African official had his chauffer pull over. They both waded into the pond and Phil dunked the new Christian under water. As soon as the guy popped up out of the water, God miraculously transported Phil somewhere else. He vanished right into thin air! The treasurer looked around, but couldn’t find hide nor hair of Phil. He was so excited and happy to find Jesus that he went on his merry way clicking his heels over what God had done inside of him. Phil materialized over in Azotus and carried on his missions trip. He kept on the move and told folks about Jesus everywhere he landed until he got to Caesarea.

9

SWITCHING SIDES

During this same time Saul, also known as Paul, was viciously threatening to whack anyone who followed Jesus. He got permission from the top Jewish minister to hunt down Christians in the city of Damascus, arrest them and bring them back as criminals to be punished in Jerusalem. He even had legal papers drawn up giving him jurisdiction there and open warrants to lock up anyone he deemed a religious threat. Saul set off on his witch-hunt to Damascus, but just as he was about to enter the city limits a blindingly bright light blazed down from the sky and he was caught like a deer in the headlights. He collapsed in terror and heard a voice say, “Saul, wassup with you? Why are you making me your enemy and fighting against me so ruthlessly? What have I done to you to deserve this kind of treatment?” Saul timidly asked, “Who, who are

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you sir?” “It’s me, Jesus. I’m the one whose name you’re trying to wipe off the face of the earth. Get up off the ground and go into Damascus. I’ll give you further instructions once you get there", He responded. Saul’s crew was standing there wide eyed and tongue tied because they heard everything Jesus said, but didn’t see where his voice was coming from. Saul got up out of the dirt and unclenched his eyelids to find that he was blind as a bat. Some of his posse had to hold his hand and guide him into Damascus like a child. He sat in his room for three days, living in total darkness and was so upset that he wouldn’t take a bite or drink of anything. There was a city boy in Damascus named Ananias. He was a bonafide believer in Jesus who practiced what he preached. God made a house call on Ananias and gave him the temporary ability to see spiritual things with physical eyes. In the midst of this magical moment God said, “Hey Ananias!” “Yes sir!” he answered. God instructed, “Book it over to Judas’ house on Straight Street, knock on the door and ask if you can meet with a man who goes by Saul who is visiting here from Tarsus. He’s literally talking to me right at this moment. I gave him some supernatural insight like I’m giving you now and he’s already seen a guy named Ananias, you, come over to the house lay hands on him and miraculously cure his eyesight.” Ananias responded hesitantly, “Sir, I’ve heard the word on the street about Saul and it’s not pretty. He’s been brutal and violent with other Christians over in Jerusalem. The only reason he came here is to incarcerate guys like me. He even got a legal stamp of approval from the top dog Jewish leaders to do so.” God responded, “Get your butt in gear and get over there. I’ve decided to use Saul to tell all the non-Jews and their leaders as well as Israelis about new life through Jesus. He’ll also have to pay a dear price to carry out this mission. He’s really going to go through the ringer while he’s serving me.” Ananias headed right over to Judas’ crib. He put his hands on Saul and said, “Bro, the same Jesus you encountered on the road on the way here told me to come over so your eyes can be opened and so that you can be infused with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.” Instantly, these weird scaly things fell off of Saul’s eyeballs and his vision was suddenly 20/20 again. He immediately got dunked in water to make a formal act of turning from his sorry old ways and committing to serving Jesus. They had a nice dinner afterwards and he really started feeling great.

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Saul hung out in Damascus for a couple of days with the Christians he had previously planned on locking up. He immediately dived into full time ministry and went around to the Jewish worship centers promoting Jesus as the one and only Son of God. People couldn’t believe their ears when they heard Saul speak. They asked, “Isn’t this the same dude who was giving hell to Christians in Jerusalem? Didn’t he just come into town to round more of them up and drag them back in handcuffs to the top Jewish religious leaders?" Saul kept getting more confident and more influential and bowled the Jews over by giving irrefutable proof that Jesus was the real deal, the Ultimate Hero. Time went on and the Jews figured that if they couldn’t beat him they’d kill him. However, Saul got word about the conspiracy through the grapevine that there was a hit squad waiting to ambush him if he tried to leave town. Saul’s new supporters helped him to sneak out of town. He slipped away in the dead of night by being let down in a basket through a hole in the city walls. After his daring escape, he attempted to hook up with Christians in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, his reputation preceded him and they thought he was just trying to fool them in order to bait them into a trap. Barney got

DAMASCUS DAYS

Saul an appointment with Jesus’ boys, the top Christian leaders and explained Saul’s miraculous conversion. He detailed out an account of Saul’s encounter with Jesus and the subsequent ministry he had launched into as a result. They gave Saul a place to stay with them and he fearlessly told people about Jesus all over Jerusalem. He even witnessed to the Grecian Jews and debated the authenticity of Jesus role as God’s man of the hour. They didn’t appreciate Saul’s point of view, however, and attempted to take him out. His Christian friends found out about this and got him down to Caesarea and bought him a ticket to Tarsus. Pleasantly, after this, Christians all over Judea, Galilee and Samaria were left alone for awhile. The groups of followers of Jesus became more established and felt the Holy Spirit in their daily lives. This led to even more people committing their lives to Jesus and living for him with all their hearts. Pete was touring about the country and decided to pay a visit to the Christians in Lydda. While he was in Lydda he met a man named Aeneas who had been a paraplegic for the last eight years. Pete spoke clearly and boldly, “Aeneas, Jesus is healing you right now! Jump up now and walk and don’t forget your bedroll.” Aeneas was instantly healed and everyone in Lydda and Sharon saw what had happened to him. They all

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gave themselves completely to Jesus after seeing what He could do for a guy like Aeneas. As you can imagine, the whole town went nuts over this miracle and lots of people became dedicated Christians. Pete decided to stay in town for a while and bunked with a local named Simon who manufactured leather goods.

SHE'S NO DORCAS

In the town of Joppa there was a cool Christian lady name Tabitha (Unfortunately, when you translate her name it embarrassingly becomes Dorcas). She was known for being the nicest person in town. She was always willing to lend a helping hand, especially to poor folks. Now poor Tabitha got really sick and died. Her corpse was prepared by morticians for burial. Now Lydda was just one town over from Joppa, so when Tabitha’s Christian friends heard that Pete was nearby they sent a couple guys over to get him. They pleaded with him, “Please come quick, we’ve got a real emergency on our hands!” Pete went right away to help and when he got there they took him to the body. All the poor widow women stood around Pete bawling, because they loved her so much. They showed him all the beautiful dresses Tabitha had sewn for them when she was alive. Pete asked for a moment alone with Tabitha. After the women left he got down on his knees and talked to God a little. He looked at the lifeless body and said, “Tabitha, wake up.” Tabitha blinked a few times, saw Pete and sat up in bed! He helped her to stand and called for all her friends to come back in the room.

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COMMANDER CORNY
In the town of Caesarea there was a Roman military man named Corny. He was an officer in a division of the armed forces called the Italian Stallions. He and his kin were sold out to God and they put him first in their lives. He was the kind of guy that was quick to help out anyone in need and spent lots of time talking with God. One afternoon, about three p.m. God gave him supernatural insight and he saw the image of an agent of God from the spirit world. The being said, “Corny!” Corny’s eyes were bugged out and he clamored, “Yes Sir, what do you need, Sir?” The being responded, “God has really been touched and pleased by your heart of giving to poor folks and always making time to talk to him. Send a couple of your employees over to Joppa to get a guy named Simon, AKA Pete. Pete’s staying with another Simon who is a leather manufacturer living over on the shore.” The visitor from another world split

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and Corny got together two of his own employees and a soldier that was his personal assistant. He told them the wild story about the angel and sent them off to Joppa. when Corny’s men showed up at his front gate looking for him. While Pete was still in the middle of pondering the meaning of the smorgasbord from the sky, the Holy Spirit said, “Yo Simon, there’s three fellas here to see you. Go down and say hello and go with them because this is all part of my plan.” Pete headed downstairs and said to the three men, “I’m your man, now explain what’s going on.” The three guys explained, “A Roman officer named Corny sent us. All the Jews who know him say he really loves God and lives for him every day. Amazingly enough, a spiritual agent from God beamed down and told him that you should come over to his crib and spend some time sharing with him.” Pete had the guys come inside and spend the night. Pete set off with Corny’s crew the next day to visit Corny and some of Pete’s Christian buddies from Joppa came too. It was a long walk so they didn’t make it to Caesarea until the next day.

BEASTLY DREAMS

The next day, around noontime, the three men were getting close to Joppa. Simultaneously, Pete went up on the roof to spend some quality time talking with God. Since it was lunchtime, someone was downstairs making lunch. While Pete was up on the roof with his stomach grumbling, he had a wild experience. He went into a kind of spiritual dream state and saw the sky open up. Down came a big tarp with ropes connected to each corner. In the tarp was a variety of wildlife, mammals, reptiles and birds. Pete heard a voice say, “Pete, these critters are for your lunch. Kill em’ and grill em’.” “Chief, surely you jest!” Pete exclaimed. “This livestock is clearly prohibited for consumption in the Old Testament. I’ve never broken those rules and I don’t want to start now.” He heard the voice again, “Who made the rules? If I say you’re allowed to eat it, then it’s edible.” This whole routine played out two more times and then the tarp disappeared back into the sky. Pete was scratching his head trying to figure out what this all meant

CORNY'S CRIB

Corny was eagerly waiting for them back at home and invited over all his extended family and good friends to be a part of what God was doing. When Pete walked through the door, Cornelius greeted him and then threw himself on the floor to

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demonstrate his great respect for the man of God. Pete wasn’t into that and made him get up. Pete said, “Get up. I’m just everyday people like you, a regular Joe. I’m no high and mighty holy man.” They chatted a little together and then went inside where Pete found a whole lot of people there waiting for him. He addressed the party, “You all know it’s against our religious rules for a Jew like me to socialize with non-Jews or hang out at their house, but God showed me I shouldn’t treat anyone like they aren’t good enough to be around or are somehow inferior to me. That’s why when I was invited over here I didn’t hesitate to come. Why did you ask me over here anyway?” Corny said, “Four days ago I was just talking with God around three p.m. I looked up and all of a sudden there was some guy glowing in front of me. He said, “Corny, God hears you talking to him and He sees you helping out the poor folks around town too. Send a couple of guys to Joppa to invite over a man named Simon who goes by Pete. He’s staying on the shore with another Simon who’s in leather manufacturing. I sent the fellas to get you as quick as I could and we are so excited that you are here. We know God is in the house and we want to hear whatever God has sent you to share with us.” Pete said, “Now I understand more than ever that God doesn’t play favorites. He puts a stamp of approval on people from all ethnic backgrounds and affirms citizens from all countries who put God first and put his truths into practice in their everyday lives. You’ve heard the news about how God told us Jews loud and clear that we can finally find what we’ve been looking for in the top Jew himself, who God made number one - Jesus, the Ultimate Hero. You’ve heard all the stories from around Judea starting with the hubbub in Galilee which began after Crazy Johnny had been dunking people.” “That’s when Jesus was hit with the juice of the Holy Spirit and that’s when the power really started flowing. You could see it through all the outrageous acts Jesus performed. He did some great stuff and cured folks who the devil was beating up on because now God was in town.” “We saw with our own eyes all the cool things Jesus did throughout the Jewish world and especially Jerusalem. That’s where they executed him by nailing him to a wooden post, but after three days God brought Jesus back to life and let people see him come back from the dead. Not everyone got to see him, just a select few of us who had the privilege of eating dinner with our formerly expired friend. He gave us orders to get the word out and communicate to folks that God gave Jesus the job of determining whether people are cutting the

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mustard in this life and the afterlife. Every mouthpiece for God concluded that Jesus will excuse all our past wrongdoings and expunge our records if we trust him to do so.” Pete didn’t finish getting these words out of his mouth when the power and presence of the Holy Spirit filled up everyone who was listening to him. Pete’s Jewish friends were blown away by the fact that God would pour out the Holy Spirit on non-Jews. They knew it was real because they were listening to them pray in a new spiritual language as they poured out their love and passion for God. Pete said, “Does anyone here know why we shouldn’t dunk these folks in water to show their commitment to Jesus? It’s obvious that they have the same Holy Spirit that we do now.” All the new Christians got dunked for Jesus. Afterwards they invited Pete to stay as their guest for a couple of days. rules. They had been raised to believe that it was strictly taboo to fraternize with other men who hadn’t had this religious surgery performed on them. They said, “You’ve been rubbing elbows with the wrong crowd. You know that guys who haven’t had their penises trimmed are off limits for socializing.” Pete talked through the whole episode step by step: “I was down in Joppa talking to God when I went into a kind of spiritual dream state. I visualized a tarp coming out of the sky full of animals. There were mammals, reptiles, birds and all kinds of critters. Then I heard this voice say, 'Kill em’ and grill em.' My response was, 'No way Sir. I’ve never broken my strict religious diet and I don’t want to start now.'” “Then I heard the voice again and it said, 'Don’t turn up your nose and call it nasty if I say it’s tasty.’ This whole routine happened three times and the tarp disappeared back up into the sky.” “Meanwhile three guys were downstairs asking for me because they had been sent to get me from Caesarea. The Holy Spirit let me know I shouldn’t think twice about going with them. These six Christian friends of mine came with me to the guy’s house who was looking for me. The guy shared his wild story of how a spiritual agent of God

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RACIAL CONTROVERSY

Jesus’ key men and other Christians around Judea heard through the grapevine that non-Jews were becoming Christians too. When Pete came back to Jerusalem, he had a pack of critics to deal with. The male Christians there had all had the ends of their penises chopped off according to Jewish religious

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dropped by his pad with instructions. He said, 'Send somebody down to Joppa to bring back Simon, AKA Pete. He’ll share some incredibly profound stuff with you that will lead to you and all your crew finding God and being rescued from evil.’ I did start to share with them and while I was still talking, they were infused with the Holy Spirit just like we were the first time during the big Harvest Festival. Seeing all this happen gave me a flashback of when Jesus told us, 'Crazy Johnny dunks folks in H2O, but you’re gonna get immersed in the Holy Spirit.’ I figured that if God was going to give these non-Jews the Holy Spirit the same way He gave it to us, who was I to argue with the Boss?” After hearing Pete’s lengthy explanation, the Christians didn’t have a beef with him anymore. They acknowledged how cool God was by saying, “Even the outsider (nonJews) have been welcomed in by God and are able to turn from their nasty old habits to a new meaningful spiritual life, full of God’s presence.” Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch where they specifically targeted their fellow Jews when they shared about their amazing experience with Jesus. A small percentage of the Christians, however, who were from Cyprus and Cyrene, headed to Antioch and reached out to Greeks, too. When they told those Greeks how Jesus had changed their lives, their enthusiasm was contagious and God put power behind their words. The result was that lots of Greeks responded by gladly giving their hearts and lives to God. Word of all this traveled back to the Christians still holding down the fort in Jerusalem. They sent their man Barney to scope everything out in Antioch. When Barney rolled into town and met all the new on-fire Greek Christians, he was really jazzed and encouraged them to keep going strong. Barney was a really cool guy who knew how to trust God and was intimately familiar with the power of the Holy Spirit. While he was in town he was responsible for leading lots of people in establishing personal relationships with Jesus. Everything was going so well that Barney wanted Saul to be a part of it, so he went searching for him in Tarsus. Once he found him they returned to Antioch where they hung out with all the new Christians, sharing their wisdom on how to live for God. There were so many people

REVIVAL TOWN

When Stephen got whacked, Christians scattered like ants into surrounding towns and cities because they were running for their lives from religious persecution and were considered fugitives. They escaped to towns as far out as

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there hungry for God that they stayed for a whole year feeding these new baby Christians. In fact, Antioch is the place that followers of Jesus actually began to be called by the name Christian for the very first time. During this time of spiritual revival in Antioch, some Christians who operated in prophetic ministry (delivering messages from God) traveled three hundred miles from Jerusalem to get in on the action. One of these mouthpieces for God, named Agabus, shared something the Holy Spirit gave him. He said that there was going to be a massive food shortage throughout the Roman Empire (This actually came true during the time that Emporer Claudius was in power). When the Christians in Antioch heard this prediction, they figured God was telling them for a reason. They responded by donating funds to assist needy Christians in Judea. Each one gave as much as their budget would allow. They entrusted Paul and Barney with cash to be delivered to the Judean Christian leaders for distribution. religious movement by picking up innocent Christians off the street and throwing them in jail. If he harassed them enough, he figured it would discourage potential growth. He went as far as to have Johnny’s brother Jim executed by sword. This caused his ratings in the popularity polls to soar with his Jewish constituents. It was so successful that he decided to go after Pete as well during the Jewish holiday, the Flat Bread Feast. Herod had him locked up in a maximum security cell guarded by sixteen prison guards. His plan was to railroad Pete after the Jewish holiday and use the trial as a public relations vehicle for self promotion. While Pete was stewing in the clink, all his Christian friends were desperately asking God to help him get out of this jam.

The night before he was scheduled to appear in this kangaroo court, Pete was snoozing in jail. He was chained between two armed guards, while two more armed guards stood night watch at the security checkpoint located at the entrance. Out of nowhere an agent of God from the spirit realm shows up and along with him a brilliant light illuminates Pete’s entire cell. This special agent gives Pete, who is totally crashed out at this time, a

THE GREAT ESCAPE

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MANHUNT
It was during these events that King Herod tried to derail this new

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slap on his side and yells, “Wake up!” Right when he says that, Pete’s handcuffs fall right off his wrists. Next, the spirit being tells Pete, “Hurry up and get dressed.” After Pete pulled on his clothes, his rescuer tells him, “Put your coat on and stick with me like white on rice.” Pete followed him out of his jail cell, but didn’t know that all this crazy stuff was really happening. The whole thing seemed to be a wild dream. They walked right past the guards at the security checkpoint who didn’t even flinch as they made their escape, and proceeded to the big, iron gate which led back to the city. Without them even touching the gate, it swung open for them and out they go. They got a block away when Pete looks around to discover his jail breaking buddy has disappeared. After Pete pinched himself he knew for sure that this wasn’t a dream. He said to himself, "God really did send his otherworldly stealth agent to spring me from being held hostage by Herod and the Jewish opposition."After considering his next step of action, he headed over to his friend Johnny Mark’s mom’s house. A lot of his Christian friends were there talking to God together. Pete knocked on the gate and a chick name Rhoda came to answer it. When she heard his voice she instantly recognized it as Pete’s and excitedly opened the gate to see him. She was so flustered that she slammed the door in his face, left him outside and ran in the house where she told the gang ecstatically that Pete was at the gate. They responded negatively, shaking their heads and saying, “Girlfriend, you’re nuts!” Rhoda was as tenacious as a pitbull and insisted that Pete was outside. Seeing how convinced she was, they got spooked and said, “Pete’s dead and his ghost has come to haunt us!" Still waiting outside, Pete started banging on the gate door. They all went to answer the door together this time and were stupefied to see Pete standing there as alive and well as ever. Pete held up his hands and said, “Simmer down, simmer down.” He went on to tell them how God broke him out of jail. He said, "Go fill in Jimmy and all the other Christians on how this went down. Then Pete went on the lam, being after all, an escaped fugitive." The next morning, the soldiers who served as prison guards were freaking out because Pete was nowhere to be found and they were going to be in hot water for letting him escape. When King Herod sent for prisoner Pete and the guards came up empty handed, he was pretty ticked. He had them all court martialed and executed for

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dereliction of duty. After all this mess he moved out of Judea over to Caesarea and lived there. During this time, Herod had some real bones to pick with the towns of Tyre and Sidon and was not happy with them at all. They sent their top delegates to see him to try to smooth things over. They did this by schmoozing Blastus who was the king’s right hand man. They needed peaceful relations with Judea because they depended on economic trade with them. everywhere like gangbusters. Barney and Saul finished their assignment in Jerusalem and came back and brought Johnny Mark with them.

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TAG TEAM

HEROD, GOD OF WORMS

They scheduled a public ceremony with King Herod. He dressed up in his finest royal robes and made a speech while seated upon his throne. The people from Tyre and Sidon were really brown nosing the king and yelled out, “It’s not just a man speaking today, Herod is superhuman. He must be a god!” Herod was an egomaniac, so he was just eating this stuff up. God sent an angelic hatchet man to strike him dead right on the spot because he had the gall to accept all this public flattery as if he really was God and didn’t acknowledge who the one and true God was. His body was immediately filled up with worms eating him alive from the inside out and he died a horrific death. On the up side, the message about life in Jesus was just spreading

The church at Antioch was staffed by some real top notch people. There were mouthpieces for God and folks who taught everyone how to live for Jesus. There was Barney, Simeon AKA Niger, Lucius the Cyrenian, Manean (formerly of Herod’s crew), and Paul. These radical Christians were spending lots of time with God, drawing close to him and even denying themselves food in order to feast on his presence. During this time they heard the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to them very clearly saying, "I am appointing Barney and Saul to fulfill a special assignment and am giving them authority and position that I want you to honor and show support for." When they were done with their time of going without meals and talking to God, they put their hands on Saul and Barney, asked God to help them and saw them off on their new mission. This dynamic duo was totally relying on the Holy Spirit for directions and He led them to Selucia where they caught a ferry to Cyprus. When they got to Salamis, they hit all the Jewish worship

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centers where they told everyone who would listen about Jesus and his amazing teachings concerning a revolutionary life serving God. Johnny had come along for the ride to serve as their assistant and right hand man. You’re the devil’s pawn in your two bit sham and fighting a doomed battle against God himself when you try to counterfeit the Holy Spirit while you pull the wool over people’s eyes and draw them away from God’s ways. Well He’s fed up with your shenanigans and is going to give you a spanking right now in front of everyone. Since you love darkness so much, now you’ll be trapped in it for awhile.” Boom! Bar-Jesus was struck blind and started stumbling around the room begging someone to help him. Evidently, seeing someone not seeing is believing because the governor didn’t need any more proof that this Jesus movement was legit.

BAR-JESUS LOSES FOCUS

They tooled all over the island on their Jesus promo tour until they came to Paphos. In Paphos they met a Jewish guy who had abandoned the true God to practice witchcraft. He also tried to make out that he was a mouthpiece for God when in reality, like most magic men, he was a fraud. The phony spiritist’s name was Bar-Jesus and he was on staff under the governor of the island, his boss named Sergius Paulus. The governor was no dope, in fact he was pretty sharp and he invited Barney and Saul to come over and share what God had to say, since they seemed to be mouthpieces for God. Bar-Jesus, also known as Elymas (which means Master of Black Magic) dissed them to their face and did his best to tear down their spiritual message and dissuade the governor from buying into this Jesus thing. Obviously, he didn’t want anyone horning in on his action as he was considered the top spiritual authority in town. Paul got inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit to confront this guy and said, “Listen to me you dirty, rotten, no good con artist.

SAUL LAYS DOWN THE LAWL
Paul and his posse bought tickets to ride on a sailboat from Paphos over to Perga in Pamphylia, but Johnny split off from the team and headed back to Jerusalem. When they left from Perga they headed over to Antioch in Pisidia. When they got there it was on a Saturday so they went to attend services over at the local Jewish worship center. Portions of the Old Testament were read and afterwards the leaders there asked Paul and his group, “Would our guests today be interested in sharing a few words of spiritual insight or wisdom? If so, speak up.” Paul didn’t need anyone to twist his arm to share about Jesus. He rose,

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waved his hand across the room and said, “Fellow Israelis and you who care about what God thinks of you, check this out: The God of the Israelis handpicked our ancestors. He brought them success while they were living in Egypt and through a show of force later enabled them to break free of it. He put up with their mess for forty whole years out in the desert and empowered them to invade and conquer the seven nations in Canaan. He handed all the land over to the Jews to have for good on a silver platter. This chain of events took about four hundred and fifty years.” “Then God appointed judges to give order to our disorderly people until He sent his mouthpiece Sammy. Our people wanted a king like the other countries so he appointed Kish’s boy Saul from Ben’s tribe and he lasted a good forty years. After dumping Saul, he appointed King Dave. God said,'When I examine Jesse’s boy Dave, I find that he cares about what I care about and He’ll do exactly what I want him to.’” “From Dave’s family tree, God kept his word and gave our people Jesus, the Hero who would save the world. Before Jesus made the scene, his cousin Crazy Johnny told all the Israelis to turn from their sick and twisted ways and get dunked in the river to show that they were turning to God. Crazy Johnny was wrapping up his business when he said, 'You think I’m the Ultimate Hero? Not on your life, but He’s on his way and I am so far down the scale compared to him that I’m not good enough to untie the dude’s shoes.’” “Bros, Abes’ kids and you non-Jews that love God, we’re the ones that are getting this top priority, infinitely important information concerning the rescuing of our souls and the way to truly know God himself. Guess what? The citizens of Jerusalem and the religious suits missed the beat on recognizing Jesus as the guy who would save the world, but when they chose to find him guilty of crimes He didn’t commit, they made those predictions God’s mouthpieces made come true which are read every Saturday. Even though there was no evidence that He committed any crime that deserved the death penalty, his own people unjustly requested his execution. When they were done having him tortured to death like the Old Testament predicted they would, his body was taken off the execution post and deposited in a traditional cave crypt.” “Here’s the kicker: God brought Jesus back to life! His crew that has been with him ever since He left Galilee to come to Jerusalem actually hung out with him for days after He came back to life and they’re telling everyone their firsthand account of the story. Now we’re here to tell you the awesome

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news that all God’s promises to our ancestors are legit and have come to pass for us today and He did it by bringing Jesus back from the dead. In Psalm 2:7 it says 'You’re my kid. Today I couldn’t be prouder to be your pop.’” “God predicted that He would bring Jesus back to life and that his corpse wouldn’t rot in the Old Testament where it says: 'I’m handing over the mega jackpot to you that I guaranteed to Big Dave.” “In other scripture it says, 'You won’t let your Special One get eaten by worms. When Big Dave fulfilled God’s assignment for him on planet earth he kicked the bucket and was planted six feet deep in the graveyard next to his ancestors where he’s pushing up daisies. Obviously his corpse decomposed and met some maggots, but the dude that God brought back from the dead didn’t go this route.” “I told you all that so you can see the big picture about Jesus. I’m telling you about him because He can take away every crummy thing you have ever done wrong and wash your soul clean as a whistle. With Jesus’ help you can be found innocent of all the stuff you would be found guilty of under the list of strict rules Moses gave us. Watch out or you might miss the boat like God’s mouthpieces predicted: 'Take a long hard look you skeptics and cynics. Speculate, hypothesize, philosophize, and die in your endless analyzing because I will pull something out of my hat that will blow your minds. It will be so amazing that you won’t accept it even if someone tells you about it who experienced it firsthand.’” After Paul and Barney left the local Jewish Worship Center, folks were all stirred up by their teaching and asked them to come speak again the next week. When the meeting let out, a lot of the Jews and converted Jews followed them around like they were pied pipers. Paul and Barney challenged their eager listeners to keep walking and trusting in the amazing, yet undeserved favor of God, as opposed to relying on the Old Testament rules that they had tried unsuccessfully to keep. The next Saturday, most of the city packed out the worship center to hear more about Jesus. When the Jews saw the huge mobs of people jamming into their place of worship the green-eyed monster reared it’s ugly head. They were so jealous of Paul and Barney’s success in their ministry that they reacted in venomous opposition and vocally dissed them and the message they brought concerning Jesus. Paul and Barney counterpunched and came back just as strong as they addressed the slanderous trash talkers, “We were compelled to bring God’s message to God’s

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chosen people first. Since you are blowing your chance by fighting against God’s ways and consciously deciding that you’re not worth saving, we’re going to kiss you off and focus on saving everyone who’s not Jewish. God gave us these orders anyway when He said, 'I’m turning you into a blazing rescue beacon to all the non-Jews so that you can be effective in bringing the life transforming power of God to every race and ethnic group on the planet.’” Upon hearing this, all the nonJewish folks high-fived each other and did a jig. Those who truly had a real relationship with God felt a confirmation in their heart of the truth being spoken and gave themselves fully to Jesus as a result. This hot message spread like wildfire all over the area. The Jews tried to put a damper on this blaze by attacking Paul and Barney’s reputation. Basically they went to the most respected and influential Jewish women and men in the city and practiced some good old fashioned character assassination. By turning those leaders in the community against them, the Jews were able to have Paul and Barney deported from the region. In response, the two Jesus pushers formally kissed off these pigheaded people and gave up any more responsibility for their spiritual well being. Those who did let Jesus into their lives however, were filled with a new sense of purpose and meaning. They were happier than they had ever been in their lives because now they had God living on the inside of them and it felt darn good.

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SLIPPING THROUGH THE NOOSE

Paul and Barney rolled into Iconium and as usual headed straight over to the local Jewish worship center. Their silver tongues and genuine manner convinced many Jewish and non- Jewish people that Jesus was legit. In response the Jews who rejected Christ spoke with forked tongues to the non-Jews and planted rumor weeds concerning the fellas. This just stirred up Paul and Barney even more and they stayed in town for a good while. They gave that city both barrels of the gospel which God validated by enabling them to perform amazing supernatural feats and acts. The community was split in two over the reality of new life through Jesus. The anti-Christ movement linked arms with the Jews and the pro-Christ crowd backed Paul and Barney. Their Jewish and nonJewish enemies conspired secretly with their leaders to jump the boys, beat them up and ceremonially execute them. Luckily, the boys discovered the evil plot and escaped. They went to the

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Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe as well as the suburbs and rural areas where they kept informing the public of God’s great love for them that was demonstrated through Jesus. real deal, the God who designed the sky, the land and the oceans and all the wildlife that lives in them. Throughout history, God has allowed whole countries full of people to pursue all kinds of spiritual lies and nonsense. He didn’t totally turn his back on them because He mercifully brought regular rain for the crops, determined seasons of weather for man to thrive, supplied great food to eat and even now is pouring his amazing joy into your lives.” The crowd was so backward that even after all this explanation they still just wanted to sacrifice some animals to them. Not long after this, some of their Jewish opposition from Antioch and Iconium followed them to Lystra and turned the fickle crowd totally against them. They violently pelted and crushed Paul with rocks and dragged his carcass outside town after they were sure he was good and dead. The folks who loved Jesus sadly went to see Paul’s body. Surprisingly Paul stood up and marched back into the city! The next day, however, he and Barney headed for Derbe.

A TOWN FULL OF BULL ONEY
While in Lystra they met a man born with a birth defect in his feet. He couldn’t walk at all and had to drag himself around on the ground. He sat captivated by Paul’s words when he was speaking to the crowd. Paul looked him right in the eye and knew instantly that this man really believed Jesus could heal his feet. Paul yelled, “Stand up!” The guy flew to this feet and walked right there in front of everyone. The crowd went wild over this and started yelling, “The gods are here disguised as humans!” in Lycaonian. They called Barney, Zeus, and they called Paul, Hermes, since he did most of the talking. Turns out there was a temple of Zeus right outside of town and the priest came over with some bulls to offer ritual sacrifices to them at the gates of the city. When Paul and Barney got word of this they were at their wit’s end. They ran into the mass of people yelling, “Stop! What do you think you’re doing? We’re not gods. We’re just regular guys like you. We’ve come to share the truth with you so you can get rid of this useless, phony baloney, fairytale religion you’re involved in. We’ve met the

STICKING IT OUT

They told huge numbers of people about Jesus there and tons of people gave their lives to him. After this they actually returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch where they

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had been so violently opposed. Their presence really boosted the morale of the Christians living there. They made it clear that enduring tough times is just one of the prices we have to pay if we want to get into God’s Kingdom. Paul and Barney established solid leaders to help guide and direct the Christians in these cities. They talked a lot with God and even went without food to completely rely on him to use these new leaders. After hitting Pisidia, they made their way to Pamphylia and when they finished spreading the word in Perga they took off to Attalia. They jumped on a boat in Attalia to get back to Antioch. Antioch is where they had been commissioned for all these missionary journeys in the first place. Basically they fulfilled their mandated mission and had now come full circle. When they got back into town all the Christians showed up to hear what had happened since they sent these guys out. They told all the thrills and chills of their adventures with God while traveling. They explained how incredibly God had used them even to the extent of reaching the hopeless group known to everyone as the non-Jews. Paul and Barney set up camp for a good long while in Antioch with all their Christian friends.

A VERY TOUCHY SUBJECT

Some guys from Judea showed up in Antioch and brought some nutty ideas with them which they began to promote to the local Christians. They pushed their belief that said, “Chop off the end of your penis according to Jewish law or you’re no real Christian, you’re a reject.” Paul and Barney really took issue with that line and went toe to toe with these guys, engaging in some pretty hot discussions and verbal jousting. The local Christians decided to send a delegation to Jerusalem consisting of Paul, Barney and some other Christians to meet with respected Christian leaders there and attempt to resolve this penis-chopping issue once and for all. This band of brothers headed for Jerusalem stopping for brief layovers on the way in Pheonicia and Samaria. While in town they told Christian friends there how even non- Jews were now giving their lives to Jesus whole heartedly. This unexpected news really stoked their pals. Finally they arrived in Jerusalem where the Christians rolled out the welcome wagon. They filled in the leaders there on all the new stuff God had been doing on their wild mission trips abroad. Some of the Christians who were also Jewish religious leaders and experts in Old Testament law threw in their two cents, “Non-Jews have to receive genital surgery and have

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the tips of their penises chopped off like Mo taught us in Jewish law.” The Christian leaders huddled up to put their heads together and come up with an answer to this hot issue. After they talked it to death, Pete decided he’d better weigh in. He said, “Guys, you all know the story of how God had me personally share about Jesus with non-Jews and they gave their lives to God. God looks past the outer masks to see what’s really in our hearts and He gave these guys his stamp of approval by filling them with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit just like He did for us Jewish Christians. God didn’t treat them any different than us and accepted them just as they were, warts and all. He washed away everything they had ever done wrong because they trusted him implicitly. Why the heck do you want to tie them up in the old religious rules that tripped us up constantly and our ancestors before us? Does that make a lick of sense? We didn’t come to know God through painful surgery on our groins. We lucked out when Jesus gave us what we didn’t deserve and the non-Jews are in the same boat. It’s a miracle that any of us get to get in on God’s plan.” The whole place went dead silent and you could have heard a pin drop while Barney and Paul broke down all the supernatural acts and occurrences that God demonstrated through them to the non-Jews. After hearing all they had to say, Jim chipped in, “Listen up! Pete told us back when God got his attention concerning his affection for nonJewish folks and how He really wanted them to be his people too. God’s mouthpieces voice this when they said, 'Afterwards I’m coming back to renovate Big Dave’s dilapidated mobile worship center. I’ll take the old shell and bring it back to life so that those who are still interested in me can pursue my presence and all the non-Jews who claim allegiance to me can get in too.' That’s what God says and He has been working out this stuff for a long, long time.” “My opinion is that we shouldn’t set up a bunch of hurdles to jump over and hoops to jump through for nonJews who want to become Christians. Maybe instead we could write a general letter to these new Christians and suggest they practice some of our traditions that could truly help them in their spiritual walk instead of holding them back. Let’s point out how it would be prudent to avoid groceries that were used in any false religious fashion like worshipping statues. It seems smart to warn them not to have sex with anyone except their spouse and not to eat meat from livestock that was strangled to death. Oh yeah, let’s suggest they avoid bloody meat too. Mo’s rules for good clean living that God gave him have been taught forever and

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are still read at local Jewish worship center every week. It was good direction in the past and I’m sure it will continue to be helpful today.” The leaders along with all the other Christians put together a crew to travel up to Antioch with Paul and Barney. They handpicked Judas (known as Barsabbas) and Silas because they had a good rep for being solid leaders. They sent a letter with the gang which read as follows: ‘From: Your friends, the Christian leaders and overseers To: All the non-Jewish Christians in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia Hi! We heard through the grapevine that some of our group, unbeknownst to us, came down to stir up trouble with you guys and give you a hard time. We talked about it and decided to send a crew down to you with our good buddies Paul and Barney. These fellas are the real deal and have risked life and limb to work for Jesus. We’re also sending Judas and Silas to give you our official position straight from the horses’ mouth. We feel led by the Holy Spirit not to weigh you down with a ton of Jewish religious rules, but we do suggest the following: Don’t chow down on grub used for worshipping statues; decline dining on meat from livestock that were strangled to death; and no hanky panky with anyone other than your spouse. It’s good common sense to refrain from this stuff. Later.’ The crew left for Antioch. When they got into town they assembled all the Christians to deliver the message. After the locals read the good news they were overjoyed. (You’d be happy too to avoid painful surgery on your private parts.) Judas and Silas, who happened to be mouthpieces for God, spoke a lot of powerful stuff over these Christians that built them up and fueled their fire. After they had stayed in Antioch for a good visit, they said their goodbyes and were given everyone’s blessing to return home to their friends and families. Paul and Barney, however, decided to stick around for a while in Antioch. They and others spent their time telling folks about Jesus and training them how to live for him.

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO
After some time had passed, Paul said to Barney, “Let’s go on a trip back to all those towns and cities we traveled to and see how all the people are doing that we led to Jesus. “ Barney wanted to take Johnny AKA Mark with them, but Paul didn’t want him on the team. He didn’t trust Johnny and considered him unreliable because the last time they took him on a trip he went AWOL and was MIA when they needed him. Basically they got in a fight over the issue and the dynamic duo dissolved their partnership. Barney did take Johnny

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with him and jumped on a boat headed for Cyprus. Paul took Silas as his new partner. The Christians in Antioch bid them a fond farewell and trusted God to take care of them on their next adventure. Paul and Silas headed off to Syria and Cilicia where they gave a real boost to the local Christians. non-Jewish Christians. This really charged up all the Christian population and the movement continued to explode. Paul and his posse kept up the road tour through the areas of Phrygia and Galatia, but felt restrained by the Holy Spirit from stepping foot in Asia. They came to a border crossing into Mysia and futilely attempted to go into Bithynia but Jesus pulled back on their reins and wouldn’t let them go in. The crew skipped Mysia and booked it to Troas. Late that night, Paul had a supernatural experience where he saw the image of a man from the town of Macedonia begging and pleading. The man said, “Please, please come to our town and help us! We’re desperate!” Right after Paul had this spiritual insight, we packed our bags immediately and went to Macedonia. It seemed pretty clear that God was getting our attention for a reason, to tell the citizens of Macedonia about Jesus. We caught a ride on a ship at Troas to Samothrace and the following day we traveled to Neapolis. We continued on to a Roman community, Phillipi and the main city, Macedonia where we stayed for a couple of days.

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Paul toured around some more and made his way to Derbe and then on to Lystra. There he hooked up with a dude name Tim whose mom was a Christian Jew and his pop was Greek. The Christians at Lystra and Iconium vouched for Tim and said he was solid. Paul wanted Tim to join him in his traveling ministry. Tim really must have been solid because he let Paul chop off the end of his penis to make the trip more successful. They both knew that the Jews they were trying to reach for Jesus would be much more accepting of their message if the half-Greek Tim went through this traditional Jewish ritual surgery. This would tear down a lot of their natural bias and animosity against Greeks when they met him instead of automatically just rejecting him and his message. As this new duo bounced from town to town, they spread the word about the new landmark decisions made by leaders in Jerusalem concerning

TIM'S GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION

ROLLIN' ON THE RIVER

On the traditional Jewish day of worship, we walked outside town to the river to spend time talking with God. There were some Jewish

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women already there so we sat down on the ground and hung out with them so we could tell them about Jesus. One of the river chick’s names was Lydia. She was a practicing Jew who had a purple fabric business, a niche industry in Thyatira. God really got a hold of this girl and she was digging their stories about Jesus. She and her whole family gave their lives to Jesus and got dunked in the river to show they meant business. She invited the ministry team to crash at her crib. “If you think I’m a legit sold out Christian, come stay at my pad and I’ll put you all up.” She twisted our arms and we gladly gave in. “One day we were strolling down to our spot by the river where we liked to talk with God. On the way we had a freaky encounter with a slave girl who was demon possessed. The demon inside of her gave her amazing psychic powers. She actually made a lot of money for her masters by running a profitable psychic business. This girl who was in satanic bondage began stalking Paul and the rest of us everywhere we went. While following us she would scream out, 'This God Squad is on a mission to rescue your souls!' Like a broken record she droned on and on saying the same thing for days while staying right on their heels. Paul got so annoyed and fed up with this routine that he took on the demon who was in control of her. He said, 'By the authority vested in me by Chief Jesus I’m telling you to hit the road and scram pronto!' The demon vacated her body instantly.”

FRAMED

The slave masters realized their cash cow psychic business was going to have to close its doors and were not happy. They grabbed Paul and Silas and physically dragged them over to the local market to take their revenge. These evil pimps of a sort shoved Paul and Silas in front of the town officials and judges. They fabricated some trumped up charges: ‘These dirty Jews are here to turn this city against itself and cause chaos. They’re stirring up trouble by pushing some religious practices that are illegal under Roman law.” The mob quickly turned against Paul and Silas so the city officials had the cops book them. After they were taken into custody the cops stripped them down and beat them publicly with rubber hoses until they were black and blue. Covered with welts, they were tossed into the slammer and the warden was given orders to keep them secure under lock and key. As a result the warden had them placed in a maximum security cell with their ankles chained to the wall. Around twelve o’clock midnight Paul and Silas were still awake in their cell talking with God and

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singing songs to him together. The other inmates in their cell block were listening to all this too. Jesus. By now, even though it was the wee hours of the morning, the whole clan wanted to get dunked in water to show their new commitment to Christ. After they were done they had a big meal to celebrate. The warden was beside himself with joy because he, his wife and kids now had a great new life in God. After the sun had risen, the city officials sent over some cops with a signed order to let Paul and Silas go free. It read, “Release the two prisoners immediately.” The warden relayed the message, “Paul, the city officials say you and Silas have been released on your own recognizance and are free to go. Congratulations.” Paul got in the cop’s faces and said, “Our rights as Roman citizens have been violated. We suffered police brutality and were publicly beaten without a trial. Don’t think we are going to go quietly after all that. They’ve got another thing coming. If they want us out of jail, let them come and personally escort us out themselves.” The cops relayed Paul’s comments back to the city officials who went red in the face once they realized they had crossed the line and could get into hot water. The officials did go to the prison to attempt to smooth things over and try to get Paul and Silas to leave town without making a big stink. After Paul and

SAVED BY THE CELL

During the prison worship service, an earthquake hit the facility hard and heavy. It must have been high on the Richter scale because the whole building was shaken up like a snow globe. During this upheaval all the cell doors flew wide open and the shackles even fell off all the inmates' ankles. The warden was shaken awake by the turmoil and his eyes went wide at what he saw. Every cell door in his prison was hanging wide open. Figuring his career and his life were now forfeit, he prepared to commit harikari. He figured all his chickens had flown the coop and he would be given the axe anyway, so why not get it over with. Paul saw him and yelled, “Hey don’t slit your wrists! It’s okay, we’re all still here!” The warden had some guards bring in lights. He ran into Paul and Silas’ cell where he fell down at their feet shaking like a leaf. He led them out of the maximum security area and begged, “Please tell me how to rescue my soul!” They responded, “Put your trust in Jesus and He’ll give you and your whole family new life.” They went straight over to his house and taught the warden’s family all about

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Silas checked out of jail, they went to Lydia’s house where they met with the Christians in town to give them a pat on the back and tell them to keep up the good work. After the meeting they hit the road again. house and stormed in to nab Paul and Silas to serve up some vigilante justice. When they didn’t find them, they grabbed Jason and some other Christian guys instead and dragged them over to the city officials. They ranted, 'These no-gooders who have been trekking all over the world causing chaos are here to ruin our town next and Jason here is harboring these criminals. They are political enemies of Caesar and oppose the Roman government. They support the rule of another king that they call Jesus.' Once that statement got out the crowd and the city officials blew up in a storm of arguing, debating and accusing. Finally, they followed procedure and let Jason and the other Christians post bail so they could go home. That night Paul and Silas’ Christian friends sent them on a trip to Berea to get them out of town since there was so much heat. What did they do immediately upon arriving? They headed right over to the Jewish Worship Center again. The Bereans were much more refined and classy than the Thessalonians. They actually listened intently to what Paul had to say and studied Old Testament scripture to confirm the facts about what he taught. Because of this, many Jews gave their lives to Jesus as well as many Greek men and women. When the Jewish agitators in Thessalonica heard what Paul was

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BACKLASH
Paul and Silas traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia until they came to Thessalonica where there was a local Jewish worship center. Paul went over there as he was in the habit of doing to share with folks about Jesus. He went three weeks in a row on the days of worship, explaining from Old Testament scripture how the Ultimate Hero had to be tortured to death and then come back to life. Paul said, “This guy Jesus I’ve been telling you about really is the Ultimate Hero.” Many Jews saw the light and became Christians, as well as a bunch of Greeks who loved God and many women of prestige also. These dramatic conversions made the Jews green with envy because they selfishly thought that Paul and Silas were horning in on their action. Their egos were so threatened that they recruited local thugs and scallywags from around town, stirred them into a frenzy, and let them loose to riot. In a rage they bashed down the door to Jason’s

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up to in Berea they came over to spread lies and turn the crowd against him. The Christians again slipped him out of town for his own safety and sent him over to the coast. Silas and Timothy stuck around for awhile longer in Berea. Paul’s escorts from Berea took him to Athens. He sent them back with a message for Silas and Timothy to rendezvous with him A.S.A.P. in Athens. on what Paul explained about how Jesus died for us and came back from the dead. They invited Paul to come to a popular public forum called Mar’s Hill. They said, “Sounds like some interesting new ideas you’re talking about. We’re curious to learn about your religion so why not give a presentation so we can all hear more?” (The citizens of Athens were famous for pondering and speculating about the latest philosophical theory ad nauseam). Paul got up to speak at Mar’s Hill and said, “Hellooo Athenians! I can see that you really dig spiritual stuff a lot. I’ve been tooling around town checking out your religious gear and equipment that is so extensive you even had a table for ritual sacrifice labeled: ’To A God We Don’t Know.’ Since you have been giving respect and offerings to this stranger I thought it would be a good idea for me to introduce you to him.” “The God who conceived, designed and finally created Earth and everything on Earth rules over absolutely everything in existence and has ultimate authority and power. He is the Big Cheese. He can’t be contained by any religious facility or worship center. He’s just too big for that. We wee little humans can do nothing to help him in any way because we have nothing that He needs. This great God gave us everything that we

While Paul was flying solo in Athens and kicking around town, he was really bummed to see that idol mania was in full swing there and everyone seemed to be into worshipping statues of bogus gods. Of course he found his way to the Jewish worship center in town and took every opportunity to share Jesus with the Jews and Greeks who loved God there. Not only that, but he would hit the town market regularly to spread the good word to whoever was milling around or doing business. A gang of intellectuals from some different schools of thought started debating philosophy with Paul and challenging the whole Jesus thing. They were part of some deep thinking clubs know as Epicureans and Stoics. Some of them rolled their eyes and asked, “What kind of nonsense is this guy trying to sell us on?” Others speculated, “He’s pushing some new gods from some other country.” That was their take

DEEP THOUGHTS

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have to begin with including our very lives.” “By inventing and producing one man, He was brilliantly able to use this guy to populate the whole Earth. He personally shaped history and chose where all people would live. His strategy was to create an environment where the common man could discover his creator and pursue a relationship with him. He wants us to want him and He’s right there by us, available and accessible. He’s the reason we exist. He is our everything. It’s just like some of your famous poets wrote, 'We’re God’s kids.’” “Since we’re his kids, we shouldn’t make the infinite, amazing, life giving, all powerful One out to be a crummy little statue. Man has no human capabilities of creating someone like that out of gold, silver or stone. It’s impossible. God has cut us a lot of slack in the past concerning this stuff, but our grace period has expired and now He expects us to make things right. We have to acknowledge that we were stupid, we blew it and now choose to cut it out. He has chosen a date on the calendar when time is up completely for us to get our acts together. When D-Day comes He will determine who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong using the guy He puts in charge. He confirmed that this guy is the one for the job by supernaturally bringing him back from the dead.” After hearing this line about coming back from the grave some of the audience rolled their eyes and chuckled pompously. But some of the crowd liked what they heard and said, “Great speech, thanks for coming. Let’s set up a part two to your presentation." After the meeting, Paul skeedaddled. A few of the audience became Christians, namely Dionysias, a card holding member of the Mars’s Hill forum, a lady named Damaris and a handful of others.

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PAHTNAHS

Afterwards, Paul got out of Athens and headed over to Corinth. He made some new friends in Corinth named Aquila and Priscilla. Aquila was originally a Pontusian, but most recently had lived with his wife in Italy. They were now refugees who were forced to relocate since Claudius kicked all the Jews out of Rome. Paul hooked up with them because he was in the same field as they were: mobile home fabrication, temporary housing construction and camping supplies production. Basically they all knew how to make tents, so they went into business together. Of course every Saturday you could still find Paul down at the local Jewish worship center making his case for Jesus to all the Jews and Greeks.

BACK TO THE GRIND

When Silas and Timothy finally

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came from Macedonia, Paul launched back into full-time ministry and spent all his time telling all the Jews about new life through the Jewish Jesus. Unfortunately, the Jews fought tooth and nail against anything Paul had to say and got really nasty about it. This was the last straw for Paul concerning the Jews. He was so fed up with their horse hooey that he took a shower to wash off all the stuff he had been wading through to help them. He said, “You’ve made your bed, now you’re going to have to lie in it. I’m washing my hands of you. My sole target demographic from now on is non-Jews and that’s it!” Paul split from the Jewish worship center and walked next door where a guy named Titius Justus lived who really loved God. The president of the Jewish Worship Center named Crispus brought all his kinfolk and they all became Christians. Actually a whole bunch of Corinthians gave their hearts to Jesus and got dunked to prove it too. because this city is full of folks on my side.” Paul ended up sticking around for a whole year and a half and preached up quite a storm during that time. A dude named Gallio was a top Roman government official over Achaia. Paul’s Jewish enemies brought him to court to be judged by Gallio. They accused him saying, “This rabble rouser is convincing people to worship God in new ways that are clearly illegal.” Paul was about to offer a rebuttal to defend himself when Gallio responded, “If you had a legitimate grievance I would pay attention, but you haven’t got a leg to stand on. Your differences are religious in nature and have nothing to do with Roman law so I won’t waste my time getting involved. Work it out yourselves. Next!” He had them kicked out of court which made them all look like fools and boy were they mad. They took out their rage on their ringleader named Sosthenes who was in charge of a Jewish worship center. They gave him a good beatdown right there in front of everybody in the court, but Judge Gallio couldn’t care less. Paul hung out in Corinth a good while longer before he left all his Christian friends there and headed to Syria via boat. His tentmaking partners, Aquila and Priscila came with him. Before he got on the boat, Paul shaved his head bald, a Jewish

MESSAGE FROM HEADQUARTERS

One wild night Paul supernaturally received a vivid mental image of Jesus who said, “Don’t chicken out and clam up. Keep on telling everyone what they need to hear about me. I’m on your side and backing you up all the way. They won’t hurt a hair on your head

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tradition when making a spiritual commitment to god. They got to Ephesus where Paul parted ways with Aquila and Priscila. Again, he went to the town’s Jewish worship center to tell about Jesus. The Jews asked him to stay for awhile, but he wouldn’t. On his way out the door he said, “If God wants me to return then I’ll be back.” He sailed from Ephesus to Caesarea, dropped by to see the local Christians, then traveled to Antioch. After visiting Antioch, Paul bounced around the region of Galatia and Phrygia encouraging all the Christian community. Apollos wanted to travel to Achaia and his Christian friends thought that was a great idea. They wrote to Christians there to roll out the welcome wagon for him. When he arrived he was a real shot in the arm to the folks who followed Jesus. He took off the gloves and pulled no punches with the Jews when defending and proving Jesus was the Ultimate Hero from the Old Testament.

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SLAM DUNKED
While Apollos was hard at work ministering in Corinth, Paul traveled inland to Ephesus where Apollos had just left. Paul met some Christians and asked, “Have you gotten a dose of the Holy Ghost?” They replied, “What’s a Holy Ghost?” Paul inquired, “What were you dunked in?” They responded, “We were dunked in water - Crazy Johnny style.” Paul said, “Crazy Johnny dunked people to show they were ready and willing to give up their nasty old ways. He also told the dunkees to take the next step to trust and depend on the next one God was sending into the game. He was the star player who would win the game whose jersey read Jesus.” These folks didn’t need their arms twisted. They were ready and

FRESH BLOOD

During this time, a Jewish guy name Apollos, originally from Alexandria, blew into Ephesus. He was highly educated and extremely intelligent when it came to the Old Testament. He had been taught about Jesus and passionately shared about his relationship with him to anyone who would listen. He did a good job at it too, but he had so far only been teaching that folks should get dunked in water like Crazy Johnny because that’s all he knew. He confidently told people how it was in the local Jewish worship centers. Aquila and Priscila heard him speak and invited him over for dinner. They educated him in what else God was doing and helped fill in the gaps of the big picture.

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willing, so Paul dunked them in water an immersed them in Jesus this time. Paul laid his hands on them and they were filled with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Instantly they began to speak out loud in a mysterious spiritual language and God spoke deep truths and amazing messages through them. There were about a dozen guys involved in that power encounter. Paul went down to the local Jewish worship center and spoke regularly there for three months not holding back at all. He was a gifted orator and debater when it came to explaining God’s system of life. Some of his audience was extremely pigheaded. They spit his message back out and talked all kinds of trash about Jesus. Paul turned up his heels and left. He took the new Christians who did believe with him and taught them regularly over at Tyrannus’ Lecture Hall. He did this for two years and as a result, every Jew and Greek in Asia got to hear the truth about Jesus. God used Paul to perform some amazing supernatural feats. He would touch different pieces of cloth and fabric like hankies and stuff and people would lay them on sick people. The disease and sickness was always healed and demons would instantly let loose of people. Some would-be Jewish exorcists decided to horn in on Paul’s action by trying this new trick of using Jesus’ moniker. They would recite and chant, “By the authority of Jesus, Paul’s pal, you’d better evacuate right now, demon!” There was a Jewish minister name Sceva who had seven boys and they were experimenting with this new method of exorcism. One day when they had just tried this new magic phrase of theirs, it really backfired. The demon responded, “Jesus and Paul have got the goods, but who are you bums to be bossing me around?” The demon possessed man, fueled by evil supernatural strength, attacked all seven of them at once like a kung fu movie. He kicked, punched, stomped, bit, head butted, chopped, choked and slapped them until they ran for their lives, bruised, bleeding and buck naked. These brothers looked like they had gotten run over by a truck. News of this showdown got around Ephesus until all the Jews and Greeks were talking about it. People realized that the name Jesus wasn’t a magic phrase, but that He was of the highest spiritual authority. They respected that kind of power. Now, many of the folks becoming new Christians came clean and fessed up to all the nasty habits and evil antics they were involved in. Their eyes were so open to the reality of God

PLAYING WITH FIRE

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that they wanted to drag all of their skeletons out of the closet and hide nothing. A lot of these baby Christians used to meddle in black magic. They brought out their expensive old magic books full of spells and incantations and torched them in front of everyone to make a clean break. The value of these books was estimated to be a fortune. Occurrences like this caused the Jesus movement to thrive and spread like wildfire. After all of this went down, Paul made up his mind to return to Jerusalem and take the route through Macedonia and Achaia. He said, “After I go to Jerusalem, Rome is next on the itinerary." He sent a couple of his ministry interns, Tim and Erastus, to Macedonia while he kicked around Asia a while longer. gods out to be nothing more than fraud. Not only am I afraid that we might all go bankrupt, but also that people might start to believe that our goddess and her temple are just a bunch of hooey. Our whole religion in Asia and around the world is at stake here.” When they heard this impassioned speech, the men went nuts and the whole mob started chanting, “Diana is our goddess, Ephesians know she’s hottest!” It wasn’t long before this religious fervor swept the city and a riot broke out. Mob rule ensued and two of Paul’s other ministry interns, Gaius and Aristarchus, were nabbed on the street and dragged into a public auditorium. Paul wanted to march into this place and take the bull by the horns, but the other Christians held him back. Even some city officials, who were Paul’s pals, sent word for him to stay out of that frying pan. Mayhem ran rampant. People were heatedly screaming this and that. Most of the crowd had no clue what was even going on. The Jews pushed Alex up there to be their spokesman and some of the mob yelled out what they wanted him to say. He tried to calm the place down so that he could speak his peace and tell the story from the Jewish point of view. When the audience figured out he was Jewish and not pro-idol they were really stirred into a frenzy. For two hours they chanted,

DIANAMANIA

It was during this time that a big stink started to brew concerning the thriving, contagious Jesus love explosion. There was a silver metal worker named Demi who made a good living sculpting silver statues of the goddess Diana for people to use to worship her at home. He gathered all his colleagues from the union and some other workers' organizations to talk turkey. He said, “Guys, you know we’re making a killing selling these idols, but the industry’s in trouble. This Paul guy is stealing our customers and making our mass production of

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“Diana is our goddess, Ephesians know she’shottest!” Finally, the city clerk calmed the mob down and said, “Fellow citizens of Ephesus, doesn’t everyone know that this is the religious capitol of the world for the goddess Diana? It’s common knowledge that her number one worship center is located here and that this is where her statue first appeared when it beamed down from the spirit world. That’s the fact Jack, so you need to calm down before you do something we might all regret. You illegally dragged in these guys off the street who haven’t committed any hate crimes against our religion. They haven’t burglarized our worship center or publicly cursed or slandered goddess Diana. If Demi and the union have an issue with someone they should take it before a judge in open court and do things by the book. That’s why we have a legal system - to keep order. Because of all the chaos today, the Roman government might take us all to task. If they do we have nothing to stand on and we’ll all be in hot water." When he got all that out he sent everyone home. them, shook hands and said farewell because he was off again, this time to Macedonia. He blanketed that area, taking every opportunity for a speaking engagement. He inspired lots of people to keep on serving Jesus as best as they could until he finally got to Greece where he set up shop for about three months. Since there was another Jewish conspiracy to assassinate him when he was about to jump on a boat for Syria, he chose to travel back through Macedonia again. This time he had a big ministry team with him consisting of Sopater (Pyrrhus the Berean’s son), Aristarchus, Secundus the Thessalonican, Gaius the Derben, Tim, Tychicus and Trophimus who was Asian. Paul’s crew traveled ahead and waited for us in Troas. After the Jewish holiday, the Flat Bread Feast, we hopped on a ship and sailed five days to Troas where we rendezvoused with the crew. We stayed in Troas for a whole week.

BREAK NECK PREACHIN'

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HEAVY SCHEDULE
After the riot died out and the crowd dispersed, Paul gathered the troops (his Christian friends). He spoke some uplifting words over

We all got together on Sunday to have a big meal together. Paul was splitting the next day so he preached extra hard. He didn’t know when he would see them again and didn’t want to lose the opportunity to share as much as he could. Like most preachers he got longwinded and went on until twelve o’clock midnight. It was very dark at this hour and the third floor conference room had lamps lit up

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everywhere. There was a young guy named Entychus who was in the meeting sitting in one of the windows. Paul went on expounding and proliferating for so many hours that Eutichysus’ eyelids got heavier and heavier. He was so exhausted that finally he passed out and fell right out the window and broke his neck. When they got to him he was dead as a doornail. Paul ran downstairs as fast as he could and wrapped his arms around the lifeless corpse. “Don’t freak out," Paul said. “This dude is alive again!” Bringing someone back from the dead always livens up a revival meeting so they headed back upstairs for a buffet and round two. Reenergized, Paul belted out the gospel until the sun rose and then took off. Feeling refreshed and elated, the folks took their miracle boy Eutychus back home. We jumped on a boat and went ahead of Paul to Assos where we planned to meet him later. He made these plans because he wanted to walk there himself. When we hooked up in Assos he joined us on the boat and we continued to Mitylene. The next day we sailed over by Kios, the day after that we sailed to Samos and finally arrived the third day in Miletas. Paul passed up Ephesus on the way back so that he could skip Asia entirely. He was in a rush to get to Jerusalem by the annual Jewish Harvest Festival, which was also the anniversary of when the Holy Spirit nuked all the disciples with his presence. While still in Miletas, Paul asked the Christian leaders in Ephesus to come and meet with him. When they got to town, Paul opened up his heart to share with them, “Guys you know me and my ministry well from all the time I spent together with you in Asia. I worked hard for God and mostly felt like an inadequate nobody while I was doing it. On top of those challenges, I never knew when the Jews were going to try to whack me out again. It was a tough time, but I didn’t let any of that hold me back when it came to teaching you God’s ways. We had a lot of great home groups and Bible studies back then and the services were jammin’. Basically my life has been about telling everyone that I could, whether they were Jewish or Greek, that it’s time to come clean with God, fess up to the dumb, destructive things we’ve done and give him complete control of our lives.” “The Holy Spirit’s telling me I’ve got to get down to Jerusalem and I have no idea what the ramifications will be. All I know is that every city I roll into the Holy Spirit flashes warning signs to me that read ‘Prison time ahead!’ and ‘Lookout for heartache!’ But you know what? I don’t care whether I live or die. All I care about is ending well and completing the mission Jesus gave me of telling the world He loves

DANGER AHEAD!

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them and will accept them despite everything. Then I’m cool to check out and kick the bucket.” “The bomb I have to drop is that I know I’m never going to see you again, not in this life anyway. No one can say I’m guilty of not trying hard enough to promote everything God has to offer. Keep checking your hearts and your conduct, as well as keeping an eye on those folks the Holy Spirit gave you to care for. Like good sheepherders, protect the flock of people that Jesus purchased with his life. I know that when I’m out of the picture a bunch of con artists and power hungry charlatans will come out of the woodwork to raid the sheep pen. Even some of your Christian friends will take advantage of the situation and create new phony religions that make them out to be the stars of the show. Those backstabbers will start their own cults and crown themselves top dogs. Look out for these traitors and don’t forget that for three years straight I constantly warned you 24/7 with all my heart.” “I’m leaving you in God’s hands which are full of love, though we don’t deserve it. Let his hands shape you and mold you and you’ll get counted as one of the family. I never wanted any of your cash or designer clothes. You guys know that I’ve always worked to support myself and my ministry team. I showed you by my example that we need to put in an honest day’s work to help those who can’t. Don’t forget that Jesus taught us: It’s way cooler to give than to get.” After Paul said all that, he got down on his knees and talked to God with them. They all hugged, kissed, and cried together. The thing that really broke their hearts was his comment that he would never see them again. Sadly, they walked him to the sailboat he was leaving on to bid him bon voyage.

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JERUSALEM HERE WE COME!
After wiping away the tears from the sad goodbye, we then sailed for Kos. The next day we sailed to Rhodes and continued on to Patara. We jumped on a boat headed for Phoenicia. While sailing we spotted Cyprus and passed south of the city, then continued on to Syria. We pulled into Tyre where the cargo was to be unloaded. We met some Christians there so we stuck around for a week. Through insight from the Holy Spirit they tried to talk Paul out of his trip to Jerusalem. When the week was over we left anyway. All our Christian friends came to see us off and brought their wives and kids too. We all got down on our knees at the beach and talked with God together. We hugged each other goodbye and got back on our boat. Our next stop was Ptolemais where we hooked up with more Christian

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friends and hung out there all the day. We traveled the next day to Caesarea and stayed with our old buddy Phil at his pad. Phil was one of the original seven guys that were put in charge of the feeding program back in Jerusalem. Since then he had gone on to be a terrific public speaker and powerful man of God. He was also father of four gifted daughters, all still single, who spoke forth many timely messages from God. After we were in town for a couple of days, this guy named Agabus came down to see us from Judea. He was a mouthpiece for God. He took Paul’s belt and hogtied himself. He said, “The Holy Spirit wants you to know, the owner of this here belt will be hogtied by the Jews in Jerusalem and turned over lock and key to the ungodly.” This graphic display really worried us and we begged Paul to drop the trip to Jerusalem. Paul replied, “Why all the tears? Cut it out or you’ll have me crying next. Not only am I ready to be hogtied in Jerusalem, but I’m also fully prepared to die for Jesus if that’s what it takes.” When we saw there was no way to change his mind we just said, 'God’s in charge.' We packed our bags and headed for Jerusalem. Some of our Christian pals from Caesarea escorted us. When we got there they took us over to bunk at a house owned by a guy named Mnason. He was originally from Cyprus and had been a Christian for years.

CHEERMAN OF THE BOARD

When we got into Jerusalem all our Christian friends were really glad to see us and it was a happy reunion. The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see Jim and all the top Christian leaders. Paul said his hellos and then downloaded all the great stuff God had been doing on his mission trips, highlighting all the non- Jews who were giving their lives to Jesus left and right. After hearing all the good news, the leaders reacted by pouring out passionate love to God for all He had done. Then they got down to business with Paul. They said, “Thousands of our Jewish people have become radical followers of Jesus and they’re also radical students and followers of the law. They value God’s instruction from the Old Testament and follow it to the 't'. Rumors have been spreading among them and gossips are claiming that you are teaching Jews who live among non-Jews to blow off what Mo taught in the Old Testament. They’ve heard that you are advising against our long held traditions and customs including the chopping off the tip of young Jewish boy’s penises, part of our sacred Jewish practices. What the heck are we going to do? Word will spread that you are in town and

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folks will get riled up over these unsubstantiated rumors. Here’s what we want you to do: Four of our Christian friends are about to participate in a traditional Jewish ceremony which is an act of spiritual devotion. Why not join them in this ceremony of spiritual cleansing and pay the barber fees for the ritual head shaving out of your own pocket? This will prove that all that gossip was just a lot of hot air and that you yourself value and practice our Jewish traditions given to us in the Old Testament. As far as non-Jewish Christians are concerned, we sent instructions for them not to eat food that has been used for worshipping statues, not to eat bloody, rare meat, meat from livestock that was choked to death and not to have sex of any kind with anyone but their spouse.” Paul took their advice and went the very next day with the four guys to join them in the spiritual cleansing ceremony. He dropped by the Jewish Worship Center to officially register the dates when their ceremony would end which would be the date when he would give a cash gift to God for each of the guys and himself. worst kind. They started whipping the crowds into a frenzy with inflammatory statements against Paul. They screamed, “Israelis! It’s public enemy number one! He hates our ways. This anti-Semite is trying to turn the whole world against us, our religion and our Worship Center too. Not only that, but he has shown contempt and disrespect by bringing heathen paganistic Greeks into our sacred Worship Center to desecrate it. He knows that it’s strictly taboo, but he’s rubbing our faces in it.” (This was all rubbish and lies based on a false assumption.) They had seen Paul hanging out with his pal Trophi, who was an Ephesian, downtown and made the huge leap in logic to assume he brought him onto the campus of the Jewish Worship Center). The whole city erupted into a raging mob and people dropped everything and left their homes and jobs to join in the riot. The violent crowd grabbed Paul and dragged him off the grounds of the Worship Center and locked and bolted the doors shut behind him. Then when the frenzied crowd was ripping him limb from limb, word of the incident got to the commander of the occupying Roman forces. He rallied the troops and double-timed it down to the riot zone. The attackers stopped beating Paul to death when they saw the big guns coming.

RELIGIOUS UPROAR

After the seven days were nearly up for the purification ritual, some Asian Jewish folks saw Paul hanging around the Jewish Worship Center. They were trouble makers of the

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The commanding officer immediately arrested Paul and threw the cuffs on him. He began interrogating Paul right there on the scene to determine what the suspect’s name was and what crime had been committed. The crowd was yelling out all kinds of accusations and demanding that he be charged for various crimes. In the middle of all this chaos the officer couldn’t make heads nor tails of what happened so he had the prisoner taken back to headquarters. The soldiers were escorting Paul to the steps when they had to literally pick him up and carry him because this sweaty, angry crowd had such a bloodlust that they were still trying to kill him despite the presence of troops. The mob tailed the soldiers as they carried Paul to headquarters screaming, “Take him away!” The soldiers were just about to take Paul inside headquarters when Paul asked the commanding officer, “May I have a word with you?” He responded, “I didn’t know you could speak Greek. Aren’t you that Egyptian terrorist who led a rebellion and ended up organizing four thousand killers and assassins out in a desert training camp?” Paul replied, “No way, I’m a Jew and a citizen of the great city Tarsus in Cilicia. I’m no country bumpkin. Would you please let me address this crowd?” The officer gave his okay so Paul stood up on the steps and waved his hands for everyone to listen up. When they got quiet he spoke to them in their own language Aramaic, and said:

22

GOING PUBLIC

“My fellow Jews, listen for a moment to my side of the story.” The crowd clammed up and listened when they heard him speaking in their native tongue. Paul said, “I’m a Jewish Jew born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but I was raised and grew up here in Jerusalem like most of you. Under the well known and respected professor Gamaliel I majored in Jewish studies and Old Testament theology. I studied hard and was a big a fan of the Old Testament as you are today. I was such a fanatic that in my religious zeal and love for all things traditionally Jewish I hated anyone who got into this Jesus thing. I did my best to harass Christians and used my political power to throw not only men, but women in prison too. Getting them tossed into a dark hole and throwing away the key gave me deep satisfaction. I wouldn’t stop at intimidation; I even had these people murdered as your own religious leaders can vouch for because they know me. Your religious leaders signed the arrest warrants and deputized me to track these people like a bounty

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hunter. When I caught up to them I would bring my prisoners back here to Jerusalem to pay for their so called crimes.” “It was during one of these witch hunts on my way to Damascus that I was engulfed in a piercing powerful light that burst out of the sky. It blazed brighter than the sun and was so strong I was thrown to the ground. I heard a very loud voice speaking to me that said, ‘Hey Saul! Why are you fighting a war against me?’” “’Whozat?’ I gasped.” “’It’s me Jesus, the dude whose name you’re trying to wipe off the face of the earth’, He said. My squad of thugs saw the mega high watt light. It was pretty hard to miss, but they couldn’t make out what this voice was saying to me.” “’What do I do now?’ I pleaded.” “’Get up out of the dirt and keep heading for Damascus. Once you get to town I’ll spell out the big picture for you and give you marching orders.’ My squad had to hold my hand and walk me humbly like a little kid all the rest of the way to Damascus. This was because the supernatural mega watt light had overloaded my eyeballs and I was blind as a bat, making me completely dependent on help from others.” “A practicing Jew named Anania who was well respected in the Jewish community came to visit me. He walked to me and said, 'Saul, take your optical cure right now!’ Instantly the lights came back on and there I was looking right at Ananias with 20/20 vision.”

“Ananias went on to tell me: 'Our
ancestors' God has handpicked you to know his master plan, to actually get a good look at Jesus with your own eyes and to hear his voice in your ears. You’re gonna tell everyone about all this wild stuff that happened to you. Don’t look at me like that. Get up and let’s go dunk you in water and wash off every remnant of your old nasty life so you can move on forward into God’s plan with a clean slate.” “I went back to Jerusalem and was having private, intimate talk with God at the Jewish worship center when suddenly I was thrown into a kind of spiritual dream state. Jesus was there and he was really worked up. He wasn’t messing around when He said, 'There’s no time to waste! Hit the road with your feet running because the folks here will not show any tolerance towards your new found faith and won’t put up with any talk about me!'” “I said, 'Chief, these people know my rep. They’re aware of my past manhunting for Christians, how I hopped from one Jewish Worship

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Center to another locking up Jesus lovers and giving them beatdowns. I was even there helping in the murder of your hero Steve and was acting as coat checker for the killers.'" just some bum. He’s a legal Roman citizen with the same rights that we have.” The officer went to interrogate Paul right away and asked, “Are you really a Roman like us?” “Absolutely,” Paul replied. The officer said, “I had to jump through a lot of hoops, pay a lot of cash and stand in a lot of lines before I got to become a legal citizen.” “Not me, I’m a native born Roman citizen,” Paul declared. All the military men who were about to interrogate Paul by torturing him jumped back when they heard this because they realized they had already broken several serious laws by locking him up without going through proper procedures. The following day the officer decided to get to the bottom of all this. He let Paul go from custody and called a meeting of the Jewish religious leaders to find out what they had stuck in their craw. He had Paul make a formal statement to the leaders at this point.

PUSHING THE HOT BUTTON
“The Chief responded, 'Skeedaddle pronto. I’m sending you on a road trip and you’re target is the nonJews.’”

The crowd was mellow and listening intently right up until that statement. That set them off big time and they went berserk. They yelled, “Kill him! He’s a menace to society and deserves to die!” While the crowd was going nuts, taking off their coats and throwing handfuls of dirt into the air to express their righteous indignation, the commanding officer had Paul taken into protective custody inside headquarters before this powder keg blew sky high. The commander ordered his troops to horsewhip Paul until he came up with a confession. They were tying his arms and legs apart to whip him when Paul asked, “Aren’t you violating my rights as a tax paying Roman citizen by torturing me? I haven’t had a fair trial or anything.” The soldier who heard this went to his officer immediately and said, “What are you doing? This guy isn’t

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FEUDS A FLARIN'

Paul boldly looked straight into the eyes of the religious leaders and said, “My fellow ministers, I can say confidently and with no reservations that I have fulfilled

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God’s call on my life up until this point.” The top dog religious official, Ananias, was peeved at the audacity of this rabble rouser assuming he could have knowledge of God’s will independent of his authority. He barked orders at his underlings to punch Paul in the mouth. Paul spat back, “God’s gonna bust open your lip you stinking hypocrite! You’re so spiritually blind and irresponsible that you will blatantly break God’s instructions by instigating police brutality against me all while in the process of accusing me of criminal acts against God. What’s wrong with this picture?” The minions standing around Paul said, “How dare you dis the top dog minister, his high holiness?” Paul countered, “Oops, I never would have said that if I had known he was the big cheese. Even the Bible says not to talk trash about and put down authority figures.” Paul knew that this kangaroo court was divided philosophically and doctrinally and decided to use that to his advantage. He said, “I’m a long standing, card carrying member of the religious order of separatists called the Pharisees and so was my pop. I’m being grilled over the coals here because like some of you, I believe that after I die there is an afterlife in which my spirit will continue to live forever with God.” Paul knew this would open a big can of worms and he was right. Instantly the crowd was divided between the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the meeting degenerated into a theological face off. In one corner was the Sadducees who didn’t believe in life after death or supernatural beings in another dimension fighting for God or against God. The Pharisees on the other hand, held to these beliefs like pitbulls. Paul really suckered them in because now they were at each others' throats and some were on his side. They were fighting for him and said, “This guy’s alright, he’s no threat. Maybe a spiritual being spoke to him.” The argument turned into a brawl and the commanding officer was afraid that Paul would get snapped in two during this tug o’ war. He sent his troops in again to physically rescue him and bring him back to safety inside headquarters. The next night in lockup, Jesus came to pay an unscheduled visit to Paul. He said, “Buck up camper! The adventure’s not over. You gave me to them straight in Jerusalem and you’ll do the same thing in Rome.”

The next morning some of the Jews plotted and schemed to put a hit on Paul. They swore together not to eat or drink anything until they whacked out Paul. More than forty

DEATH WISH

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thugs were in this death squad. They met with the top Jewish religious leaders to gain their assistance in the assassination. They said, “We’ve sworn not to eat or drink anything until we take out Paul. We want you to help us lure him out in the open where we can get at him. Get the Jewish council to make a formal request to the commander for another hearing. Tell him that there are still some questions that need to be cleared up in the case. While he’s being transported, we’ll ambush him and cut his throat.” Paul’s nephew got wind of the hit squad plotting to whack out his uncle. He ran over to the Roman troop’s headquarters where his Uncle Paul was being held and gave him the lowdown. Paul called over one of his guards and said, “Take this kid to the commander right away. He has vital intelligence to report.” The guard took his nephew straight over. The soldier reported to his commanding officer, “Sir, our prisoner Paul requested that I bring this young man over to provide important intelligence.” The officer took the boy by the hand out of earshot and asked, “What have you got to say, son?” Paul’s nephew explained, “The Jews have been plotting a conspiracy to assassinate my Uncle. They are going to ask you to bring him to give more testimony at another hearing before the Jewish council. This is supposedly to get more clarification on the facts. However, this is just a ruse to get him out in the open where they can strike. Don’t fall for this because they have organized a hit squad of forty men. These radical extremists have sworn off food and water until they carry out the hit. Right now they are waiting for you to play into their hands and send Uncle Paul over to fall into their trap.” The officer let the boy go with a warning, "Keep a tight lid on this and don’t leak a word of what you’ve spoken with me to anyone.” Immediately, the commander called for two of his soldiers and issued orders, “Gather the troops for a top secret mission. We’ll need plenty of muscle for this special op so get me two hundred foot soldiers, seventy cavalry and two hundred spearmen to transport our prisoner safely to Caesarea at twenty-one hundred hours. Double time it! And get me a horse for Paul too so we can get him to Governor Felix in one piece.” He wrote a letter to the Governor which read, “From Commander Claude Lysias to Governor Felix. Dear Sir, The prisoner I am transporting to

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you was captured during an incident in which the Jews were attacking and attempting to kill him. I charged in with some troops to save his life because I found out he was a Roman citizen and it was my duty to protect him. As part of my investigation into what precluded this attack I took Paul to meet with the Jewish council. While I was searching for the grievance they had with him and the motive behind the attack, I discovered that the reason for their anger had to do with religious issues. As far as I could ascertain, there was no crime committed that called for the death penalty or a prison sentence. An informant gave me word of a plot to assassinate this man so I immediately had him transported under a heavily armed escort into your custody. I have informed the Jews who wish to press charges against Paul that they must appear in your court to pursue any further legal action.” On orders from the commander, the soldiers snuck Paul out of town by cover of night and delivered him to Antipatris. The next day the soldiers returned to headquarters except for the cavalry which completed the mission of transporting Paul the remaining twenty-six mile to Caesarea. Upon arriving they signed him over into Felix’s custody and delivered the communique from their commander. After the governor studied the letter he inquired as to what province Paul was from. When he discovered Paul was from Cilicia he said, “I will wait until the plaintiffs arrive before I hear this case.” The governor had him held without bail in the stockade at Herod’s palace.

24

Paul sat in lockup for five more days. Finally his opponents showed up led by Ananias, the top of the pecking order in the Jewish Worship Center. He, along with some other top religious officials and their hired gun lawyer Tertullus came to convince the governor to throw the book at Paul. When Paul was ushered into the courtroom, the prosecuting attorney, Tertullus made his case. He began by licking Felix’s political boots, “Our region has been running smoothly with little civil unrest due to your outstanding leadership. We are truly fortunate to sit under your wise rule because your guidance has made such a positive impact on our nation. We cannot thank you enough for the phenomenal job you are doing and our gratitude knows no end due to the excellence you show in every area of the work you do here. But I don’t want to take up too much time of such an important man as you so I’ll try to be brief.” “Frankly, we know the defendant to be a real hellraiser out to stir up chaos and anarchy amongst Jews everywhere. He’s the brains behind

LEGAL BATTLES

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this renegade Nazarene cult. This fiend even attempted to waltz into the Jewish Worship Center and defile our sacred ground, but we nabbed him before he could get away with it. After you give him the third degree and get all the facts, we’re sure that you’ll find him guilty as charged.” The Jews all chimed in to agree with the accusations being made. Paul got a chance to tell his side of the story to the governor: “Gov, I know you’ve been around awhile and have plenty of experience judging Jews so I’m glad to make my case because I’m confident that you’ll give me a fair shake. Now everyone knows that twelve days ago I traveled to Jerusalem to connect spiritually with God and show him love and honor. The plaintiffs didn’t see me fighting with anyone at the Jewish Worship Center, instigating a riot at the religious training school or anywhere else in town because I didn’t do any of that stuff. None of these trumped up charges will hold up. Now I do confess to having some different religious beliefs and practices, but that’s no crime. I serve and give honor to the same God our Jewish ancestors always have, but I’m coming at it from a different angle as a member of The Way, a group which these guys call a cult. I believe that the Old Testament is irrefutably true and I hold fast to every word spoken by God’s mouthpieces. Like these guys, I’m trusting that there really is an afterlife and that everyone’s spirit will exist for eternity whether they were good or evil. That’s why I try to watch my step and mind my p’s and q’s . I try to do right by everyone, that includes God and people too.” “After being out of town for a couple of years, I traveled back to Jerusalem to bring donations I’ve been collecting for the poor and disenfranchised. I was also giving money to the Jewish Worship Center as an act of devotion to God. I was right in the middle of doing this when they jumped me. I didn’t have a gang with me and I wasn’t getting rowdy or bothering the other folks who were there doing business with God. There are some Asian Jews who should testify in front of you and tell me to my face if they have a problem with me. My accusers here should publicly state what law I broke when they stood me up in front of the Jewish council. The only sketchy thing I did was yell out during the inquisition, 'I’m being grilled over the coals because I believe in the afterlife.’” Felix had a good working knowledge of The Way and he decided to wait a bit before continuing the trial. “I’ll sort this all out when Commander Lysias gets into town." He kept Paul in custody, but gave him some special privileges like letting his friends

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come to visit and bring care packages. A couple of days later Felix sat down to chat with Paul and brought his Jewish wife Drusilla with him. He brought Paul in and listened intently to everything Paul had to say about his new life through Jesus. Paul loved to get really deep and he shared about getting right with God, controlling selfish desires and how after we die God holds us accountable for the way we live. This made Felix super nervous because he wasn’t ready to deal with those issues. He said, “Okay, the discussion group is over! Get out. When I feel like chatting again I’ll let you know." Even though Paul made him nervous, he was also hoping Paul would slip him some money under the table to buy his way out of jail. That’s why he did have chats with him regularly. After two years, Felix was replaced as governor by Porcius Festus. Since Felix wanted to be in good with the Jews he catered to their special interests by letting Paul rot in jail and never proceeded with the trial. They pressed the new governor to give them a break and bring Paul back up to Jerusalem to be tried there. This was the same old scheme of course to get Paul out in the open where they could get a shot at killing him. Festus’ reply was, “I’m on my way back to Caesarea where Paul is anyway. If you want to press charges then meet me there and we’ll see if he’s guilty.” Governor Festus spent eight or ten days hobnobbing with his new constituents before heading back to Caesarea. Once he arrived he brought Paul in the very next day. After Paul was ushered in, the Jews from Jerusalem accused him of all kinds of serious crimes, but they couldn’t show proof to validate any of it. Paul finally got his chance to speak; “I plead not guilty of any crimes against Jewish law, the Jewish Worship Center or Caesar.” The governor, Festus, wanting to gain political favor with the Jewish leaders asked Paul, “Since you’re innocent, how do you feel about going to trial in my court back in Jerusalem?” Paul replied, “As a Roman citizen I deserve to be tried here and now in this court. You know that I am innocent of any hate crime against the Jews. If I committed any act deserving the death penalty than I would plead guilty and throw myself upon the mercy of the court

25
JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS
After only three days in his new town, Festus left Caesarea and traveled up to Jerusalem. While he was there the Jewish religious leaders and officials met with him to re-file their charges against Paul.

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and accept my sentence. However, I know I’m getting a bad rap here and all these trumped up charges are just open-faced lies so I’m not going to let you just throw me to the wolves. I’m going to appeal to the Roman Supreme Court. I demand a trial before Caesar!" Festus discussed the legalities of the matter with his cabinet and then made his decision. He stated, "This court recognizes the right of Paul to appeal to the Roman Supreme Court of our Emperor Caesar and approves his request. That’s what you wanted, that’s what you get." A couple of days later King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to welcome the new governor. They planned on an extended visit so Festus brought up the recent events in court with Paul to discuss. Festus said, “My predecessor Felix left behind some unfinished business in the form of an untried man sitting in our jail. I was in Jerusalem when I was approached by all the Jewish religious authorities who had plenty of dirt to spread on this guy and wanted me to declare him guilty.” “My response was that the Roman legal system has procedures and that I wasn’t going to just punish someone until they had the opportunity to stand up in front of those accusing them and tell their side of the story. These Jews traveled back here with me and I didn’t waste any time with the proceedings. We brought Paul in the next day and heard him in court. When the Jewish leaders made their case they didn’t accuse him of any of the crimes I thought they would. They went on about religious rules being broken and some dead guy named Jesus who Paul said was in fact alive. I couldn’t make heads nor tails of the matter so I asked if he would consent to a change of venue and moving the trial back to Jerusalem. When Paul appealed to the Emperor’s Supreme Court I remanded him into local custody until he could be transported there.” This case interested Agrippa and he said, “I’d like to hear the accused’s story with my own ears." Festus replied, “Then you can pick his brain tomorrow.” King Agrippa and Bernice made a grand entrance the next day to the government hearing with a lot of hoopla. All the city officials and high ranking military leaders were there to honor the big shot in town. Festus ordered for Paul to be brought in to speak and began the proceedings by addressing the audience: “King Agrippa and esteemed guests, take a good look at the accused. The entire Jewish community in Jerusalem and in Caesarea is in an uproar over this man and wants me to give him the axe. Upon investigation I couldn’t find any crime he may have committed that deserved the death

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penalty. However, since the prisoner appealed to the highest court I followed procedure and rules that he must go to trial in the capital city, Rome. My problem is that I don’t have anything substantial to write in my report to the Emperor concerning this muddled case. That is why I asked you all to participate in the hearing. Our special guest King Agrippa will lend us his expertise and together we shall determine some hard facts to communicate to the next court. It seems unprofessional and irresponsible to transport the prisoner without even giving clarity on what crimes the man is being charged with.” Jerusalem. They can tell you as well as I can how intensely religious I was. As a Pharisee I was part of a strict group that faithfully followed an extremely rigid set of rules. The reason I’m being prosecuted is that I am eagerly and expectantly looking forward to what God pledged to our ancestors in the Old Testament. It’s the same thing all the Jews are looking forward to as they faithfully follow God and live for him 24/7. The Jews are on my back for believing in the same Biblical promises that they trust in too. Then why would any of you guys think that it’s crazy to believe that God brings dead people back to life?” “Like you, I thought it was my religious duty to do whatever it took to crush this new Jesus movement. In fact, obliterating Christianity was my main focus in Jerusalem. I was fully authorized by the top Jewish ministers to arrest any Christian I could get a hold of and toss them in jail. If I was ever appointed to sit on a jury, I always voted for the death penalty for these Jews for Jesus. I went lots of times to Jewish training centers to make Christians pay for their supposed crimes against God and I didn’t mind using violence either. I even tried to physically force these innocent people to say something criminal so that we could throw the book at them. I had a sick fascination with harassing them and would even travel long distances to

26

King Agrippa addressed Paul, “If you have anything to say for yourself then go right ahead.” Paul launched into an oratory, “Thank you King Agrippa. It’s my pleasure to make my case before such an authority on the particulars of Jewish law and tradition as I defend myself before my accusers in the Jewish community. I have a lot to explain so please bear with me.” “The Jewish people are very familiar with my personal history and background all the way back to when I was a kid living in my hometown on up to when I lived in

PAUL BREAKS IT DOWN

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other countries to terrorize these folks.” “On one of my witch hunts I was headed to Damascus with the usual blessing and authority from the top Jewish minister. It was about twelve o’ clock when I was walking down the road and a portal opened up from the spirit realm pouring out this incredible supernatural light. My posse and I were engulfed in this mega bright light. We all keeled over in the dirt and I heard this voice talk to me in Aramaic. It said, 'Saul why do you keep harassing me? It’s frustrating for you when you play tug o’ war with me.’ I asked, 'Who are you Sir?'” “'It’s me, Jesus. I’m the one whose name you’re trying to wipe off the face of the earth. Get up off the ground. I’ve come to see you because I’ve got a job for you. From now on, you’re working for me and you’re going to tell everyone you can about what you’re experiencing today and what I’ll continue to show you. I’m going to save your rear when your people and the non-Jews attempt to whack you out. I’m sending you out as my representative to help people to know the real me, to help them reject evil and choose good, to escape the devil and finally find God. Then these people can have their slate wiped clean of all the sick choices, wrong decisions and their rebellious actions. That’s when they get to join the clean crew , people who were scrubbed squeaky clean and made accept- able by trusting me to make it happen.'” “After experiencing this supernatural visitation, I got to work. I traveled to Jerusalem, all over Judea telling Jews and nonJews alike to turn away from all the nasty junk in their lives and let God take over. If they were sincere I told them to prove they were sorry by changing the way they lived. To make a short story long, that is why the Jews grabbed me at the Jewish Worship Center and tried to take me out of the equation. Fortunately, God’s been on my side and been getting me out of all kinds of scrapes so that I can tell everyone, big shots and nobodies all about Jesus. I’m not saying anything Gods mouthpieces and Mo didn’t’ say. We all agree that God’s Ultimate Hero who will save the world will first experience pain and misery, then die and come back from the grave to give spiritual enlightenment to Jews and non-Jews.” When Paul said that, Governor Festus blurted out, “Paul, you’ve gone totally cukoo! You’ve filled your head with so much knowledge that you’ve crossed the line from genius to insanity." Paul retorted, “With all due respect, governor, everything I have testified about on the stand today is factual. Although my story is amazing, it isn’t inconceivable, and makes perfect sense because it’s true. King Agrippa is hip to what I’m talking

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about so I don’t have to beat around the bush. I’m sure he’s heard plenty on the subject because none of this is a secret and it has been known to the public. Let me ask you a question King Agrippa. ‘Do you put stock in what God’s mouthpieces said in the Old Testament?' Come on, I know you think it’s legit.” Agrippa said, “Paul, do you think you’re going to turn me into a Christian that fast?” Paul replied, “Fast or slow, I’ll ask God for you and everyone else here today to become lovers of Jesus like me, except for these handcuffs of course.” King Agrippa, Governor Festus, Bernice and everyone else were done listening so they got up and left. In talking about the meeting afterwards they remarked, Paul hasn’t committed any crime deserving the death penalty or prison time. King Agrippa told Festus, “This guy could have gone scott free if he hadn’t appealed to the Emperor’s Supreme Court.” Regiment named Julius. We got onto a ship from Adramyttium that was about to sail along the coast of Asia, stopping at various ports. A Macedonian from Thessalonica named Aristarchus traveled with us. We didn’t sail for but a day when we arrived at the town of Sidon. The soldier Julius was really cool and let Paul hang out with his buddies in town who would help get stuff he needed for the trip. We set sail again and ended up with the wind blowing against us and had to use the town of Cypress as a shield from the wind. We sailed out in the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia to arrive at Myra a city of Lycia. In Myra, Julius found us an Alexandrian boat headed for Italy and got us all a spot on board. We crawled along like we were on a slow boat to China, but we finally made it to land near Cuidus. When the wind still wasn’t agreeable we sailed by Crete which was across from Salmone using it as a shield. We inched along the coast until we made it to Fair Havens which was close to Lase. A lot of time had been wasted in this snail paced voyage and the sea was getting rough this time of year, after the latest seasonal Jewish ritual of going without food. Paul shared his two cents with the traveling party, "Guys, this trip is doomed. If we keep pushing ahead, not only will our ship end up in Davy Jones’ Locker, but us along with it." The

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THE PERFECT STORM

When the Roman officials decided they were going to send us to Italy, they put Paul and some other prisoners into the custody of a Roman soldier from the Imperial

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soldier didn’t take Paul’s advice, but instead listened to the nautical experts on board being the pilot and the captain of the ship. The harbor they were anchored in was no good for waiting out the winter weather, so they took a vote and the majority wanted to push on to safe harbor in Pheonix in Crete so they could hole up for the winter. This harbor was a good spot because it faced southwest and northwest. The crew thought luck was on their side when a nice south blowing wind kicked up, so they opened up the sails and headed along the coast of Crete. No sooner were they cutting along at a good clip when a violent storm hit them hard and a gale force wind called a nor’easter came shooting down from the island. We couldn’t sail against that kind of wind and there was no way to control the boat so we just let the storm take the boat in the direction it was blowing. We came alongside a little island name Cauda which we used to shield us as we pulled in the lifeboat, but it was so rough we barely got the thing tied down. After we secured it, the sailors passed ropes under the hull to keep it from falling apart. They were afraid of running aground on sandbars at Syrtis so they let down the sails and continued to let the storm push the boat along. The storm was hammering our ship so hard that the next day the sailors started chucking the ship’s payload overboard to gain more buoyancy. The third day they even chucked the ship’s ropes, pulleys and rigging which showed even more desperation. Many more days passed being bounced around in the fury of the storm which was so pitch black that at that point the crew gave themselves up for dead.

It had been a long time since anyone on the ship had eaten a bite. Paul gave them all a pep talk: “Guys, I hate to say I told you so, but you should have listened to me when I said to hang tight back at Crete. If you had heeded my warning you wouldn’t have lost all the merchandise and equipment on board. I’ve got some good news now so buck up campers. The ship is toast, but we’re all going to come out of this disaster intact and none of us will be sleeping with the fishes. The God I work for full time sent a supernatural agent from the spirit world to deliver a message. He said, 'Don’t worry about drowning Paul. You have to make it to the Emperor’s Supreme Court so God is going to spare you and all of your traveling companions from going down with the ship.’ Now lift your droopy heads up and put on a happy face because I’m totally confident that my God will come through with flying colors. Despite that, we are going to shipwreck on some island.” On the fourteenth night of being

OH, WHAT A RELIEF IT IS

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pounded by the storm and pushed along by the wind on the Adriatic Sea, the crew felt we were getting close to dry land around midnight. They measured the depth of the water and it came to a hundred and twenty feet deep. Not long after they measured again and this time it was only ninety feet deep. They were terrified of the possibility of plowing into the rocks in the dead of night, smashing the hull and going down like the Titanic. They lowered four anchors from the rear of the ship and waited desperately for the light of day. Then the sailors got sneaky and pretended to lower some more anchors on the front of the ship, but in fact were trying to steal the lifeboat and leave everyone else stranded. Paul was wise to what they were doing and told the military men on board, “If those guys skip out on us, we’ve all bought the farm.” The Roman soldiers now were paying attention to what Paul was saying, so much so that they actually cut the ropes to the lifeboat and set it adrift so that now no one could use it to escape including them! It was almost daybreak when Paul encouraged them to have breakfast. He said, “For two weeks you have been on edge, biting your fingernails, pulling out your hair, and have been so totally frazzled that you haven’t touched a bite of food. I suggest that everybody refuel their bodies because you’ll need the strength to make it through this adventure. The good news is that every one of you will make it out of here alive.” Then he picked up a loaf of bread, thanked God for it, ripped off a piece and chowed down. This really broke the mounting tension on the boat and everyone had a bite to eat and felt much relieved. That was a lot of relief because there were two hundred and seventy six of us on this horror cruise.

ABANDON SHIP!

The sun finally rose and they could see land, but had no idea where they were. They could see a sandy beach on a bay and decided to run the ship right up onto the sand if possible. They cut the anchor ropes, heaving the anchor behind, and untied the ropes holding the rudders. The sails were raised and they headed for the beach. The ship hit a sandbar and wouldn’t budge. The rear of the ship was being torn apart by the pounding waves. The Roman soldiers wanted to execute the prisoners on board to prevent them from taking advantage of the chaos and going on the lamb during the dash for survival. The commanding officer, however liked Paul and wouldn’t let them go through with it. He kept a level head and had everyone who knew how to swim head for shore first and everyone else use broken up pieces of the ship as floatation devices to paddle in. It was good

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thinking and everyone made it safe to shore as a result. castaways to stay over and for three days he showed us a great time as we relaxed and recuperated. Publius’ dad was extremely sick in bed with fever and diarrhea. Paul made a house call and while he was there he talked to God, asking him for help. He put his hand on the old guy and cured him instantly. It didn’t take long before the whole island had heard about this and every sicko around showed up. Every one of them was supernaturally healed instantly. This bought us even more good will and they treated us like royalty. When we finally sailed out of there they loaded us up with all the food and supplies we could need. After three months of island life we caught a lift on a ship that had been waiting out the winter at Malta. The ship was Alexandrian and had a carving of the twin Roman gods Castor and Pollux. We anchored at Syracuse and hung out for three days, then continued on to Rhegium. We caught a good south wind the next day and the day after that we made it to Puteoli. We met some Christian friends while we were there who let us crash at their pad for a week. Finally, we did make it to the capitol city of Rome. The Christian community in Rome heard we were coming and walked all the way to the Forum of Appias and the Three Taverns to welcome us. Paul was really touched at the warm welcome and felt uplifted. When we

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When we were safe and sound on dry land we discovered that we were on the island of Malta. The natives were especially nice and played the role of gracious hosts. They built us a big fire to warm our gang because it was still miserable weather. It was so rainy and cold that only ducks could appreciate it. Paul was pitching in with building the fire and as he tossed some brush on the bonfire, a snake jumped out. The snake bit into his hand and held on tight, pumping the deadly venom into his bloodstream. This freaked out the natives big time and they remarked to each other, “That guy must be a killer because even though he escaped drowning, fate won’t let him survive. He’s getting what he deserves.” Amazingly, Paul just shook the snake off his hand and into the fire and was fine and dandy. The natives who were very familiar with this species of snake were all watching with wide eyes expecting Paul to swell up like a balloon or keel over dead. They watched and waited a long time and when they saw that he was the picture of health they decided he must be a superhuman being, a god in man’s clothing. There was a big spread close by owned by the governor of the island named Publius. He invited all the

ISLAND REFUGE

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got to the city, Paul wasn’t thrown in prison, but allowed to live under house arrest with a Roman guard at the door.

THE FINAL WORD

After three days, Paul invited the Jewish leaders over to his place to talk. He said, “Guys, even though I have never done anything to put down or oppose our fellow Jews or our traditions I was arrested without cause in Jerusalem and turned over to the Roman occupying forces. After interrogating me they found me innocent of any crime deserving the death penalty. The Jews there made a big stink and wanted my head on a platter so the only way I saw out of that fix was to appeal to the Emperor’s Supreme Court, but this wasn’t to attack or bring charges against my fellow Jews. That’s why I asked to meet with you. I want to be up front in letting you know I’m locked up because I have great expectations concerning God’s foretold rescue of Israel.” The leaders responded, “We haven’t gotten any correspondence from our colleagues in Judea about you and no one who has traveled from there recently that we know has had any dirt on you. We are interested in hearing about what you believe because everyone is talking it up about this weird cult and they don’t have much good to say about it either.”

PAUL 'SPLAINS

They made a date to get together again and even more people came to his crib the next time. Paul was a real talker and went on all day explaining God’s master plan. He went to great lengths to show them from the Old Testament how Jesus was the fulfillment of the ancient predictions. Some of his audience believed what he was saying was true, but some of them just wouldn’t budge. They were debating amongst themselves and arguing, but everyone started to split after Paul’s last word on the subject; The Holy Spirit wasn’t kidding when he told our ancestors through God’s mouthpiece Isaiah: "Go tell these people, 'You’ll hear but you won’t listen. You’ll see but it’ll all be fuzzy.'" ‘These people are just hardheaded; they’re deaf and blind of their own choice. If they would stop being pigheaded, I could make everything crystal clear so they could finally get it. Then they could change their ways and I could fix their lives." “That’s why I want you to know that God is going to rescue someone who will listen, the non-Jews!" Paul leased the house he was in for two years and had lots of guests during that time. He was straightforward and confident as he told people about God’s master plan

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for life and always shared the amazing story about the leader of all leaders- Jesus, the Ultimate Hero.

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