My parents were good parents.  My dad had been wounded by his very religious parents, and as a result he found a church which allowed him to be the 'good man' he wanted to be.  My mother's father was a member of a fraternal lodge, and she was raised in a church which allowed her to be the 'good woman' she wanted to be.

So I was raised to be good, to be helpful to others.  Then I joined the Boy Scouts.  I learned that to be a good citizen I need to be 'trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.'  And 'to obey the laws of the pack'.

These principles were the foundation stones for the first 26 years of my life.  They worked to a degree.  I didn't murder anyone.  I didn't rob banks. But I did not know God, and I was not living for God and His plans and purposes for me.  I was living for myself.  I was able to get through high school and college, and to get a job as a manufacturing engineer.  I made decent money, was married and had a son.  But I was not living a fulfilling life.  I worked for a copier manufacturer, helping to make copiers run properly.

My dad was a lawyer, and he had become a lawyer in order to help people.  I eventually decided that making copier machines run properly was not my life's calling, so I took the Law School Aptitude Test, was accepted in a law school with my dad's help, and moved our family back to Ohio from Chicagoland to go to law school to become a helpful lawyer.

About that time Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States, and it depressed me because here was a lawyer in a position to do as much good as any lawyer in the world, and he was as messed up as the rest of us!  I was disillusioned.

Then I met a bunch of Christians who were involved in an organization called Campus Crusade for Christ.  They started to tell me that I should live for God rather than for myself.  I thought that was pretty unrealistic.  How could I successfully live for God if  I could not successfully live for myself?

One Crusader, who was a management student, told me that what I really needed was new management for my life.  He said, "If  there was someone who would micromanage your life, who cared for you and knew everything, would you allow him to manage your life?"  I thought about this, and realized that I would be a fool to turn down such an arrangement.  The management Crusader said, "His name is Jesus."

So I spent about two weeks trying to figure out how to surrender my life to Jesus while still maintaining enough control to avoid being foolish.  I eventually realized that I could not have both Jesus as Lord and me as lord.

The Crusaders had brought me to this point in my life, but they didn't seem to have to ability to bring me to the 'leap of faith' that I needed to make.  So they foisted me off on one of their 'Charismaniac' friends named Lynn.

About half way through law school I discovered that I was an unsuccessful husband and father, and I was further disillusioned.  We looked to the church for help, but did not find it there.

I vividly remember arriving at the library one day, opening a law book at 8:00 a.m. and realizing that I was on the same page at 4:00 p.m.!!  Life had come to a stand-still for me.

So I called Lynn and asked her what I should do.  She had a verse of Scripture for me.  It was Psa_46:10 

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

I didn't know what 'being still' meant, so I looked that verse up in a variety of translations.  One translation said it meant, "Stop resisting, and know that I am God."

I had no idea that I was resisting God, but that idea took a deep root in my heart.  So I asked Lynn how to stop resisting.  She said, "Get down on your knees.  You need to surrender  to The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!"  I was duly impressed with the gravity of this situation.

The moment my knees touched the floor 26 years worth of accumulated tears were released.  I cried like a baby.  Lynn was praying something that I could not hear, but it apparently was the right prayer, because when the tears ran out I got up off of my knees, walked outdoors, and found that the sky had never been bluer, and the grass had never been greener, and that I had received what I needed to have a changed life - the love of God!

The next day I ran into Lynn and the library, and she had another verse of Scripture for me.  It was a verse from the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthian Christians:

1Co 6:19-20  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

That day I took a study break, and meditated on those verses.  I thought, 'temple of the Holy Spirit' - that sounds good.  'Bought with a price' - hey, wait a minute!  I know what that is - that's slavery!!  Lord, what's the deal?  Yesterday You set me free from my sins, and today I am a slave?"

God spoke to my heart, and said, "I have an all volunteer army.  You had to be free to be a volunteer."   I thought, 'That makes sense.'  So I meditated further on those verses.  I realized that the essence of slavery is that there is only one right answer to whatever the Master tells you to do - 'Yes.'

Immediately the worst-case scenario came to my mind.  I had a vision of me preaching on the four corners of Timbuktu, North Africa, to a group of locals who understood just enough to get really angry at me.  I saw myself in the vision dying with a spear in my back on the hot sands of Timbuktu, North Africa, having accomplished nothing with my life.

The Lord interrupted my thoughts and said, "Not your life.  My life.  You belong to me.  I bought you with a price."

I told the Lord, "That is not very appealing!  What could be worse than that.  He replied, "There is something much worse.  You could continue to tell me "No".  He then showed me all of the times He had called me, and every response of 'Yes, later' or 'No way' or "Yes, if...' is really 'No'.

So I said, "Lord, You have me stuck between a rock and a hard place.  This is not appealing at all, but I am going to say 'Yes." to you because it's the right answer and I have never tried it before.  But I have heard that You are kind and merciful, so please remember to be kind and merciful to me."

I dozed off (this was a study break, after all) repeating the Name of Jesus with every breath, and awoke saying 'Olah' at the rate of my pulse.  That seemed odd, and I didn't understand what had happened.

When I went home that day I told my wife about the 'Olah' experience.  She said that maybe that was 'speaking in tongues'.  We had heard about speaking in tongues being a prayer language, and I replied, "That is a pretty short prayer language.'"  She responded, "Why don't you call Lynn and ask her what that means?"

So I called Lynn.  She said, "Two thoughts come to my mind.  First, 'Don't despise small beginnings'.  Be faithful with what you are given, and you will be given more.  Second, besides the gift of speaking in tongues, another spiritual gift is the interpretation of tongues.  So, ask for the interpretation of 'Olah'."

That evening I prayed and said, "Lord Jesus, what does 'Olah' mean?"  I remember hoping that it would be written in the sky or something else unmistakable, but just got the impression that it was an 'expression of praise'.

I continued to 'Olah' for a while, but then gave it up as a figment of my imagination.

A year later I had read in the New Testament of the Bible, and then began to read the Old Testament.  I soon got bogged down in Leviticus, and began to look up terms in a Bible Dictionary.  When I looked up 'Burnt Offering' I found this:  "Burnt Offering - Hebrew 'Olah'.  There are two connotations to a Burnt Offering.  First, it is a complete sacrifice to God, nothing withheld, nothing left over.  Second, when it is burnt is it completely consumed and leaves only a puff of smoke which is a 'fragrant aroma' to God."

So, there was 'Yes.", and it was indeed an expression of praise which pleases God.


Few people, including Christians, have received a call to unconditional surrender to God and His plans and purposes for each of our lives in spite of the fact that this is an essential part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The devil has clearly stolen this vital truth from the church, and we are too blind to discover  it for ourselves.  I see responsibility for this grievous error almost universally with church leadership, as well as with so-called 'laity' for relying too much on church leadership to teach them everything they need to know.  As a result few people have experienced the brokenness and contrition which are the only sacrifice we can make to God.  I came across this passage the first time I read the Old Testament:

Psa 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

This failure to call people to unconditional surrender to God has resulted in a lukewarmness which permeates the church.

I believe that when God confronts His people with this call to unconditional surrender, the result will be that many will fall away from Him, but after that 'falling away' the 'church' will become the 'outcalled' body of Christ which we are supposed to be, ready and willing and even wanting to allowing Him to do everything necessary and proper to carry out His plans and purposes for all of His creation!!

We will then be able to read and obey the following passages of Scripture which describes the basic requirements of living for God and abiding in Jesus:

Luke 14:25  And great crowds went with Him. And He turned and said to them,
Luke 14:26  If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
Luke 14:27  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, he cannot be My disciple.
Luke 14:28  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have enough to finish it;
Luke 14:29  lest perhaps, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing begin to mock him,
Luke 14:30  saying, This man began to build and
 not able to finish.

Luke 14:31  Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not first sit down and consult whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
Luke 14:32  Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
Luke 14:33  So then, everyone of you who does not forsake all his possessions, he cannot be My disciple.

John 8:31  Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed.
John 8:32  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:33  They answered Him, We are Abraham's seed and were never in bondage to anyone. How do you say, You will be made free?
John 8:34  Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin.
John 8:35  And the slave does not abide in the house forever, but the Son abides forever.
John 8:36  Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

Luke 6:46  And why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?
Luke 6:47  Whoever comes to Me and hears My Words, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like.
Luke 6:48  He is like a man who built a house and dug deep and laid the foundation on a rock; and a flood occurring, the stream burst against that house and could not shake it; for it was founded on a rock.
Luke 6:49  But he who hears and does not perform, is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, on which the stream burst, and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.

Many people think that they are disciples of Jesus Christ when in fact they are only disciples of some person or denomination or movement.  This is because the church is quick to quote some verses while ignoring other verses which pertain to the same truth.  For example, the church is quick to proclaim that every believer is "crucified with Christ" based on the apostle Paul's statement in Galatians 2:20

Gal 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.

while ignoring another statement of Paul's in  1 Corinthians 15:31:

1Co 15:31  I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

This, I understand to mean that he denied himself and took up his cross daily in obedience to the requirements which Jesus laid down concerning his disciples, quoted in Luke 9:23:

Luk_9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Only those who diligently and intentionally satisfy the requirements of Jesus listed above are real disciples of Jesus and will be able to avoid the tribulations which are coming on the world, and to stand in His presence!!!

I suggest that you ask Jesus to show you if you will pass His test!!!  After all, He Is the Righteous Judge!!

Do not be deceived or deceive yourself!  If you are not dying daily by denying yourself and taking up your cross daily, you are NOT a disciple of Jesus Christ!  But do not take my word for it, examine yourself to see if the fruits of righteousness, peace and joy are abundant in your life, and if you are doing the will of God.  And what is the will of God, you may ask?

1Th 5:16  Rejoice evermore.
1Th 5:17  Pray without ceasing.
1Th 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Paul also made the following statement:

Gal_6:14  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [or by which] the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Are you glorying in the cross of our Lord Jesus so that the world is crucified to you and you to the world?  Here is another weapon we have to overcome the world, and few, I fear, actually use it!  The result is the terribly worldliness found in most Christian's hearts and minds.

Paul was not very diplomatic with the 'foolish Galatians' when addressing these issues, and I suspect that was by the leading of the Holy Spirit, Whom I suspect is tired of being quenched and grieved by us.

I have often wondered what it would be like if the Holy Spirit were un-quenched and un-grieved!  Let's un-quench Him and un-grieve Him and see what happens!!