Years ago I didn’t think about much of anything except surfing, fast cars and women.
One day as I was speeding down a twisty two lane mountain road, it turned sharply to the right, and I couldn’t stay in my lane because I was going too fast. I drifted over the centerline going sideways into the opposite lane. Perpendicular to the road I tried to steer while looking out my left side window, whereupon I saw a large truck in that lane, close, and heading straight at me. I thought I was going to die right then and there. But the next thing I knew I was back in my lane, going straight, and there was no truck. Needless to say I was very much relieved. And I was amazed because I had no idea how that could have happened.
Nevertheless, I soon forgot about it and continued being who I was. Sometime later I was on another two lane twisty mountain road, riding a motorcycle, at night, foolishly going far faster than my headlight could show. Then I saw the road turn sharply to the left, but my speed wouldn’t allow me to follow it. I ran off the right side of the road, up an embankment and impaled into a large bush. After a few minutes I was able to extract myself and motorcycle from the bush, and I then saw that on the other side of it was a 500 foot drop off. The bush was the only thing that kept me from going over that cliff. I was stunned and humbled. Though I did not consider the bush to be a miracle, I figured I’d better slow down before it’s too late.
Two years later I was talking with some guy who tried to get me to believe in Jesus. I listened politely but I wasn’t interested. Then he said, “have you ever been in a situation where you thought you should have died, but didn’t?” I pondered the above for a moment, and then dropped it.
A year later another guy tried to get me to believe in Jesus, but, since by this time I had already heard such things from several others, I was getting tired of it. So I said to him, “The only reason you are telling me about Jesus is because we live in America. If we lived in China you’d be telling me about Confucius or Buddha or Lao Tzu. So, you are just preaching culture,” and then I walked away. As I did I got to thinking, well, maybe there is some kind of God out there, I don’t know. I walked some more, and thought, well, if there is a God, what would be a proper response to that? The only thing that occurred to me was to give He/She/It/Them my all. But I sure didn't know what to do with this Jesus guy. Then (as usual) I soon stopped thinking about it. It wasn’t long after that that my “successful” life slowly started to fall apart. The short version is that eventually I got to a place where I knew I needed help, more than what humans could provide. So in the privacy of my home I asked God, whatever He/She/It/Them is, for that help. Something very powerful happened right then and there, but I didn’t really know what to make of it until a few days later. Then, in the middle of the night I woke up with another one of my excruciating headaches. I’d had them off and on for years, and over time they had somewhat blurred the vision in my right eye. So, because the pain was more intense when laying down, I sat up in bed, dreading the next 40 minutes of my life (that’s how long the headaches usually lasted). Then, as a figure of speech, without expecting any response I said, “God, why do I have to have these headaches?” Immediately about 10 feet in front of me I saw purple letters about a foot tall form the name JESUS. I thought, oh great, now I am hallucinating too. As I sat there, disgusted with my life, the letters began to vibrate, then started moving and arching to my left, reduced in size to about ¼ inch tall, entered my left ear, went inside my skull, expanded and reverberated back and forth there for three of four seconds with the strangest sensation I have ever felt, then popped out my right ear and instantly vanished. So did my headache. I thought – wow, what just happened to me?! Is this a dream? Is it real? I thought, well, I know one thing for sure, I am not in pain anymore, and I can see clearly. Then, for the first time in my life God spoke to me, saying in that famed still small voice, “Get this through your head, Jesus makes it all happen.” That profoundly got my attention. Soon afterwards I asked Him to be my savior and Lord, and He responded in an overwhelmingly powerful way with His Holy Spirit. Some critics say all of that happened only within my imagination. Well, that was in 1972, and I have never had another headache since then, and to this day the vision in both my eyes is 20/20.
I soon enrolled in a community college. One day a couple of guys with large banners were on campus telling people they were going to hell if they didn't receive Jesus. The crowd around them mocked them. Then they asked if any in the crowd were Christians, and to raise their hands if so. I didn't want to be mocked along with them, so I didn't raise my hand. Right then I felt the Holy Spirit leave me, and the darkness of my former life returned into my soul. The contrast was enormous, as was the dread that came with it. I feared I had lost God forever, and I was going to hell. I tried to manage my panic. At the end of the day as I despondently walked out to my car in the then empty parking lot God said to me, "Don't you ever do that again." With tears in my eyes I said "Ok." Instantly His Spirit and peace came back into my soul. I was soooo grateful.
Later I took a Philosophy of Religion class, in which the professor argued against miracles. One day I raised my hand, and when called upon I related the above headache/vision healing to the professor and the rest of the class. She replied that my story was not true because David Hume had “proved that miracles do not happen”. So I asked her if she thought it would be better if I got my headaches back. To the astonishment of everyone, she said, “Yes”, whereupon she (and philosophy) lost all credibility in that class.
Not long afterwards a Christian friend of mine died while scuba diving. As I sat mourning, I looked at a stack of various philosophy and other academic books in a corner of my room. It was clear they had no power to do anything, except maybe to get me to think differently. That struck me as fancy versions of denial. In another corner I saw the Bible. Just seeing it had the power to gave me the big picture, comfort, and peace. (Mt. 5:4)
A week later I was sitting in my living room by myself when Jesus started to bless me with more peace and joy than usual. I thought, wow, this is amazing. (1st Cor. 2:9) That blessing kept increasing to really amazing, then to intense, then to profound, then to I was starting to get a little worried because it was getting so powerful that I started to wonder if I could handle it, then to if it gets much stronger I think I might explode, then to I think I am going to explode. So I asked Him to turn it down. He did. A week later I read in the Bible for the first time "In the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy." (Ps. 16:11) I thought - wow, is that verse ever true!
Nevertheless, some months later I was becoming concerned that I wasn't hearing God talk to me like the Bible says He does. (John 10:27) Some people don't want that to happen, they've been taught to think that "hearting voices" is crazy. Well, Jesus is the opposite of crazy. What's crazy is not listening to Him. So I prayed about it, but nothing happened. So I prayed and prayed some more, and still nothing. Then one day He said to me, "Why should I talk to you if you won't do what I say?" I realized then that He had been talking to me - saying that He wanted me to do various things, but that I had been ignoring Him.
Not long afterwards I left my southern California home on a motorcycle trip to the Canadian Rockies. On the third day while passing by a public campground to my right I felt like God wanted me to camp there for the night. But I didn’t want to because I had already planned to camp 30 miles more to the north, so I rode on. But as the miles flew by a question nagged within me, how can I be or think I am following Jesus when I won’t do what He says? Being selfish, I tried to think of a way I could do what I want and still be a Christian. But I couldn’t think of one. The simple truth was I could either be real, or be a phony. With that I turned around and drove back to the campground. When I got there I saw that it was very large, about 500 campsites, and all but about 10 were vacant. I pulled into the one I felt I was supposed to be at and got off my bike, thinking, now what? Just then I noticed a Bible tract laying in the ash filled fire ring, unharmed. It was entitled, “Smile, God wants to help you.”
A week later I was in the Canadian Rockies, and as was my custom in the late afternoon I pulled off the road onto a dirt trail that headed into the woods. I followed it for about two miles, found a clearing, parked my bike and began to set up my tent in that beautiful wilderness. Then I noticed very dark clouds approaching from the west, looking like it might snow. But since I was already cold from my ride, I didn’t want that to happen. So I simply asked, “Lord Jesus, please don’t let it snow on me.” Immediately those dark clouds split in two, half of them going about 400 meters north of me and the other half going about 400 meters south, and as they continued eastward they joined up again about a mile east of me – all the while the sky remained blue above me. I watched this happen for about ten minutes until there were no more clouds anywhere. I thought of Moses and the Red Sea, thinking – you mean it’s all true?!
Later, I sensed that God wanted me to go to Baja California Mexico and camp there in the wilderness for three months. So I loaded up my car with water, canned food and other provisions and headed down there. Back in that day the paved road stopped about 10 miles south west of La Paz, so I drove on on a dirt road until I got to the Pacific shoreline. I then turned right and headed up north along the coast. Eventually that dirt road turned into two tire tracks, and later, those tracks gradually disappeared. But I kept on driving. Eventually the increasing brush made continuing on impossible. So I stopped, got out of my car and hiked up a large sand dune to the west of me. When I got to the top of that I saw the most beautiful view I had ever seen in my life. I could see for 40 miles in all directions – mountains to the east, valleys and shrubbery between them and me, and a vast ocean stretching out to the West. The only man-made thing in sight was my car. Everything else there had been made by God, and it was absolutely pristine and spectacular. I felt humbled and honored that a city boy from Los Angeles was allowed to see such incredible beauty. I thought of the last verse in Genesis chapter 1, where at the end of the sixth day God looked at everything that he had made and saw "that it was very good." Seeing the truth of that verse with my own eyes touched me deeply, and even more so at night when I saw billions of stars and the Milky Way. All of that goodness made me believe the Bible even more. So there I was, 1000 miles from home, with no people to talk with, no radio, no tapes, no CDs, no DVDs, no TV, no games, no telephone, i.e. no distractions – just me and God and his creation for three months. The more time I spent there, the more the presence of God became increasingly palpable. It was so weighty and pervasive that if someone had walked up out of nowhere and asked me if I thought God exists, I would have said that God is more real than we are. As the end of those three months neared I became increasingly saddened by the thought of having to leave all of that, like never again being able to see someone that you love. On my last night in Mexico before I was to cross the US border I pulled off the road to camp. As I sat on the bumper of my car a picture appeared in my mind, as if I was looking at the border from about 100 miles straight up in space. South of the border was relatively dark, with lights showing from some cities. North of the border there were many lights, with many people, nearly all of whom were huddled into boxes, i.e. buildings. Then for the first and only time in my life a poem popped into my head:
Nights on the desert,
alone with you,
soft and quiet times we shared,
just we two,
but now, back to the city, I ride I ride,
back to the city,
where we all hide.
Yes, I was sad. But God told me not to worry because He is in cities too.
Next winter I was in Hawaii for the first time surfing large waves in Makaha. Stupidly, I was on a mainland board too small for Makaha waves. So the only way I could catch them was to catch them late, when they were very steep. On about my third wave I got pitched off my board, fell onto the face of the wave, and instead of going underwater I got sucked up the face of the wave and thrown over the falls. The force of that drove me straight down to an underwater place that was so deep there wasn’t any light. All there was was violent turbulence. So, since there was no way to know which way was up, it made no sense to think I could swim my way out of it. Likely, I would swim in the wrong direction – sideways or down, wasting what little air I had left. So I thought; you’ve been in circumstances like this before, just be calm and eventually you’ll float to the surface. Well, after a while I realized that wasn’t going to work. I knew I had maybe five more seconds of air left and then I was going to drown. So (since I couldn’t talk because I was underwater) I said in my mind, “Lord Jesus, if you get me out of here I promise I will never come back here again.” Well, have you ever seen a video of a Polaris missile launched from an underwater submarine? That’s like what happened to me. Immediately I shot straight up out of those churning depths so fast that when I got to the surface my upper body came out of the water! (Psalms 50:15) Gasping for air I was still scared because I thought I’d be bashed right away by another set wave, etc. But that didn’t happen. What happened instead was that raging sea had turned calm. (Mt. 8:25-28) Stunned, amazed, and relieved I relaxed a bit, saw my board about 30 feet away, swam over to it, got on it, and caught my breath. After a while I thought, “Hey, it’s not so bad out here. Maybe I’ll just stay here and keep surfing.” Immediately He said to me, “What did you just promise me?” I turned around, paddled straight to shore, and I have never been back there since. (Deuteronomy 23:21)
Another time I was surfing large waves at a ‘secret spot’ all by myself. I got caught inside during a large and protracted set. Given the circumstances I could see that I was going to get pounded, and I was afraid. So I asked Jesus what to do. He told me to paddle towards a specific spot where a large cresting wave was heading straight at me. I did so, and just before that wave and I met it backed off and I was able to safely paddle over it and the rest of the set. I was safe.
While on a surfing trip to Mexico I was camped on a beach with three of my friends. In the middle of the night I was awaked by what sounded like someone messing with our surfboards. So I got up to check it out. Two Mexicans were taking our boards off of our car. I figured my friends would get up and help, but they didn’t. So by myself I tried to keep our boards. But one of the Mexicans got in my face and threatened to punch me out. I asked Jesus what to do. He said, “Turn the other cheek.” (Mt. 5:39) Just then that Mexican (1) hit me on the cheek. I turned it, and the Mexican’s own friend (2) grabbed (1) by his shoulder, spun him around and hit him in the face. (1) fell to the ground, whereupon (2) kicked him several times, then picked him up, dragged him over to the trunk of our car and banged (1’s) head on the trunk several times. (2) then dragged (1) into the darkness. My friends then came over to ‘help’. A few minutes later we heard a car start up, saw it turn on its headlights, and drive away (without taking our boards). That is the last we ever saw of those Mexicans. Some critics say that’s just what drunk guys do. Well, it didn’t appear to me that the Mexicans were drunk. And even if they were, who knows what would have happened had I not done what Jesus said?
One day I pulled over to the side of the road because my car was overheating. I opened the hood, bent over and (foolishly) opened the radiator cap. Steam and hot water gushed onto my face. To my surprise it didn't harm me at all. It wasn't even uncomfortable. But a moment later my elbow touched the radiator and got burned. It hurt, left a mark, and took weeks to heal.
Some years back I was in Washington DC preaching in the cold January snow. When it was time to head back to LA I went to the airport and once inside the terminal I took off my heavy coat to check it in with my bags. I felt the Lord say, "Keep your coat with you." I reasoned, I won't need it, it will be warm on the plane. So I put the coat in one of my checked bags. Well, it was cold on the plane, and by the time I landed in LA I knew I was coming down with the flu or something. So a began to pray that God would heal me, but before I could get a word out He said, "Don't even ask." It took me six weeks and two rounds of antibiotics to get over that.
One day I was late for work, and I was trying to make up for lost time by driving fast, which was stupid, because it was raining and my car had bald tires. I hit a water puddle on the freeway and spun out of control. I tried to drive my way out of it, but it wasn’t working. I could see that in about two seconds I was either going to get maimed or killed. I was terrified. So I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Lord Jesus save me!” Just as loud He came back at me and said, “Let go of the wheel.” I said. “That sounds real spiritual, but right now my life is at stake.” He said, “That’s right, do you trust me with your life?” That profound question suddenly made it seem like everything was moving in slow motion, like I had time to ponder the question. And as my car ‘slowly’ gyrated I realized that no, despite all He had already done for me I didn’t trust Him with my life. I ‘trusted’ Him only for little things, like, “help me find my car keys”, so that if it didn’t work I could rationalize my way out of it and still have “faith.” Well, this wasn’t that. It was pretty much life or death. I could see that I couldn’t trust myself, and there was no one else there to trust. So, I asked, “Is this really you?” And in that still small voice He said, “You know who it is.” So, ‘dying to find out’ I let go of the wheel, and instantly my out of control car whooshed razor straight and safe in my lane. I was overjoyed, not just to no longer be in danger, but to see for myself that I really can trust Jesus with my life. When I got to work I told all that to some of my coworkers, who looked at me like I was crazy. One of them said everyone knows that when you let go of the wheel cars straighten out on their own. Well, I didn’t know that, and I would not have let go unless He said to. Believing Him and obeying Him saved my life. (Ps. 50:15, Matt. 16:25, John 10:27)
A Christian single mom lived down the street from me. Jesus told me (1st Cor. 12:4, 28) she was fornicating with some guy and that He wanted her to stop. He said to tell her that and that if she didn’t stop He would take her boy’s life. That seemed extreme and presumptuous to me. I didn’t want to say it. But He insisted. So I told her. She was offended and rejected what I said. A week later her boy became very sick and was rushed to the hospital. She repented and her boy recovered.
Some time ago there were very depressing circumstances in my personal life. So at the end of each day at work I would go home, get on my knees and seek God. He met me there every time during those weeks with wonderful comfort. When my circumstances later improved I almost wished they hadn't, because his comfort was so complete. (Matt. 5:4)
A woman friend of mine (Pat) I had witnessed to off an on for a couple of years asked me lots of questions, and, thankfully, I was able to answer them all. But she still wouldn't receive Jesus. I began to think she never would, and I told her so. As we walked along we found a bench on that crowded Santa Monica sidewalk and sat down in silence. Soon an old woman who neither of us had ever seen before came up to us and turned to Pat and told her many things about Pat that no one could have known (1st Cor. 4) except Pat. Then the woman left. Pat was stunned. She soon received Jesus.
I met a couple while on a break at a Christian convention. When we turned to head back into the auditorium the husband and I shook hands, but the wife did not, explaining that she hadn’t been able to move her arm in years. I felt like I should pray for her, so I put my hand on her right shoulder, prayed, and then walked back into the auditorium. On the next break she came up to me gawking. She asked, “When you were praying for my arm was your hand cold?” No, I said. She replied that her arm got cold as I prayed for her. Then she moved it and shook my hand. I was as surprised as she was. I saw her an hour later, across the room, radiant, waving at me with her arm above her head. (1st Cor. 12:9)
Having personally seen all of the above I became so convinced in the reality of God that I could not understand why more people didn't believe in Him. So I decided to enroll in a secular university to learn why. During the next several years while I was a student there I heard and saw hundreds of arguments and evidences against the existence of God, and only a few lame ones in favor of His existence. After a while, the preponderance of that began to have an effect on me. I thought, well, if such universities are the recognized and respected dispensers of knowledge, then who am I, a lowly student, to say that their dismissals of God are wrong? I began to question the validity of my faith. I.e., if science and philosophy basically proved God did not exist, then what should I make of my 'spiritual' experiences? As powerful and convincing as those experiences were, was I (as my professors suggested/argued) simply deceived by those experiences? Was that possible? Whoa. A huge existential crisis. During that same time I also noticed there were many attractive and intelligent women in my classes. Well, slowly, one thing led to another and my interest gradually began shifting away from God and towards the women. Eventually I got to the point where I didn't think much about God at all. After I graduated I secured a well-paying professional job, and more women. But after a while, it seemed that the more I did that the more miserable I became. A downward spiral ensued and I got even worse than I was before I got saved (Matt. 12:43-45). I started drinking to numb the pain. And I saw once again that hedonism is not a sustainable or worthwhile life style, but, given what I learned at the university, I did not know what else to believe in. I wondered if there was anything worth believing in. I became very depressed. In the midst of that God spoke to me for the first time in years, saying, "Why don't you ask me for some help?" I responded, "I can't, because you don't exist." That's how far I had fallen. But then I thought, well, if God doesn't exist then who am I talking to? It made me wonder if I had been deceived - not by my former 'spiritual' experiences, but by my professors who taught me to trust them instead of my own eyes, ears, and mind. But why trust them when their beliefs are based upon the most irrational idea there's ever been - that the universe and everything in it came from (some form of) nothing, and/or it doesn't matter (see Science and Logic section)?! I decided to reject their destructive presumptions, and to take at face value the above Question posed to me. Doing that meant God exists - and all the more so given all the other things He had already shone and done for me. I thought, wow! Then I remembered, God, that is so like Him - in one sentence He blew away years of one sided "education." But then I thought, well, so what, I don't want to go back to wasting my life sitting around waiting for the 'rapture'. He responded, "I never asked you to do that in the first place ". I thought, humm, that's right – it was my pastor who taught me to think like that. Better to trust God more than a pastor, or any one else. Humm. So I said, "Okay, then what do you want me to do?" He said, "Just seek the truth ". I thought, yeah, I can live with that, and instantly my depression lessened considerably. Next week my girlfriend was over, and we were about to sin again. Well, right then and there God so strongly told me to tell her about Him that I couldn't ignore it, I had to stop and tell her. I thought she would reject me and everything, but to my surprise she listened intently, and afterwards said, "I always wondered why I exist." We were both stunned. My desire for sin left me. The following day she received Jesus.
While continuing in my professional job I spent the next 20 years in and out of various secular and other universities studying all the arguments I could find for and against the existence of God. Then one night God woke me up out of a sound sleep and told me He wanted me to make a large sign that read, “IT’S EASY TO BE AN ATHEIST WHEN YOU DON’T THINK ABOUT WHERE EVERYTHING CAME FROM”. He told me to put it on top of a six foot pole, and go to college campuses and stand there and wait for people to come up to me. I did not want to do it, and I told Him, “People will ask me questions and say things that I cannot answer, they will mock me, I will look stupid, and so will you. Bad idea. I am not going to do it.” He did not reply, and after about ten minutes I thought, “Well, He has never let me down before, maybe I should give it a try and see what happens”. The next day I ordered the sign from a local shop. But then I thought, “Hey, how is this going to work, since I have bad feet and can’t stand up for more than 20 minutes at a time?” So I asked Jesus to heal me. But nothing happened. I waited two days and asked again. Nothing happened. Three days later the sign company called to say my sign was ready. So I went and got it and brought it home and laid it on my bed and opened my Bible to where Jesus says:
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according
to His will, He hears us. And if we know He hears us in whatever we ask, we know
that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." John 5:14-15
With my fingers on that passage I said to Jesus, “I know that you want me to do this sign, so I am asking you to heal my feet.” Instantly something like electricity came in from behind me and entered the calves in my legs at about a 45 degree angle, shot down the bones in my legs, and when it got to my feet I heard and felt both of them pop. My feet felt good. So the next day I packed up my sign and went to a campus. But I still did not want to be there. I could see and feel people watching me and I felt like a fool. Nevertheless, I set up my sign, and after a little while a guy came up to me and said, “I’ve got five minutes.” We talked for thirty. Others came up also and it was good. I was surprised to find that I loved doing what I thought I would hate, and after eight hours of it my feet were still strong and have been ever since.
Sometimes people ask me questions or make statements that I have no response to. But most of those times God gives me an answer right on the spot, with me hearing it for the first time as I am saying it. Once at UC San Diego a guy asked me a question that I not only had no answer to – I didn’t even know what he was talking about. And as I was about to say a silent prayer some guy came up from behind me on my left side, stood in front of me, faced the questioner and answered his question. I happily wondered how he could have done that since he wasn’t even there when the question was asked. Ten minutes later the same thing happened again with a different questioner and a different responder. By then I thought, wow, as long as I am studying to do my best, God will take care of the rest. Weeks later while I was in conversation about that with a woman at Cal State San Bernardino she replied, “God has your back.”
Again at UCSD, I was in dialogue with a physics major who argued that I should drop the entropy part of my message (see science and logic section, end notes x - xii) because it was flawed. I agreed he had a point, but a few days latere I realized he had overlooked something. So I reworked that part of my argument and have used it successfully ever since then, hoping to see him again. Eight years later I did see him, 400 miles away at San Jose State University; and instantly we were back on that conversation. I told him of the rework, and reluctantly he agreed that it was correct. He then spoke of personal things in his life, and left. Half an hour later he came back and told me that everything he believed was false, and asked if could I help him. I pointed him to Jesus.
After I hoisted my sign at Comic-Con in San Diego a group of men moved in front of it stood there with their own signs mocking mine. I politely asked them to move to the side so that they could display their signs without blocking mine. They refused and angrily got in my face. Just then from the background several homeless men I had hardly noticed before stepped up and confronted the 'blockers', saying (while pointing at me) "This man believes his sign and you don't believe yours. You are just harassing him - that is wrong. Move on." They did so.
While up north for a few days, one morning after surfing Streamer Lane in Santa Cruz my wife and I went to UC Santa Cruz to share our message of Jesus. By mid afternoon we were hungry, tired, and had a 400 mile drive ahead of us. So we left UCSC, drove to Salinas, bought a couple of submarine sandwiches, and munched as we headed south on a rural part of highway 101. Twenty minutes later my wife got sleepy, so she went to the back of our van to take a nap. Trouble was, I soon got sleepy too. I fought it, but I nevertheless fell asleep - six times while driving down that highway. I know it, because that is how many times I woke up. Very stupid indeed. We were thankful to make it home later that night in one piece. The next day I was parked in the lot at San Onofre State Beach when a guy drove up and parked next to me. His face was so hideously scarred I turned away because I could not bear to look at it. He got out of his car, walked over to me and stared at me. I didn’t know what to do. Then he said, “You are probably wondering about my face. I fell asleep while driving, crashed into a tree and went through the windshield.” I didn’t say anything at first, but then told him about the above. Then he said, “This is a message to you, when you get sleepy, pull over.” I said, “Yea.” Then he moved forward and got in my face, his eyes six inches from mine, and in an insistent tone said to me, “This is a message to you, when you get sleepy, pull over.” He then got in his car and drove away. I was speechless. A couple minutes later I started walking my dog down the beach when a verse about meeting angels without knowing it occurred to me (Heb. 13:2).
Many years ago my wife and I were given a beautiful golden retriever. She was our faithful and beloved companion. Throughout her long life she had many ailments, but God and the doctors healed them all. But after 16 years it was her time to go. She was as graceful in death as she was in life. Losing her was hard. My wife called one of her Christian friends, they prayed, and in twenty minutes our deep sorrow was replaced with peace and thankfulness for having had the gift of "Jenny".
At the end of a day of debating at Purdue University I returned to the parking structure where my car was parked, but I couldn't enter the structure because the automated entry station there would not accept either of my valid credit cards. As I stood there wondering what to do, a woman walked up and offered her credit card. I was surprised. I thanked her, and tried to reimburse her with cash. She declined my offer, swiped her card, the door opened, and she smiled and walked away.
Once when I was northbound in the fast lane on the 110 freeway through downtown Los Angeles heading for an early morning class I heard a 'pop' in my rear engine VW car. My engine then lost all power and I looked in the rear view mirror and saw flames pouring out the back. So I turned on my right signal indicator and all the other cars were gracious enough to let me coast off to the right side of the road. When I stopped I got out, opened the rear engine lid and even more flames ensued. In less than a minute not one, not two, but three separate drivers pulled over with three separate fire extinguishers. One of the men said "I don't know why I stopped, I am already late for work." In about 20 seconds they put the fire out, jumped back in their cars and sped off. The repair bill for my car was about 40 dollars.
Another time in another car I exited the 5 freeway at my usual home off ramp and stopped at the signal. But when the light changed I noticed that the transmission was suddenly stuck in fourth gear. So, because the engine didn't have enough power to overcome that and drive forward I couldnpunchclear the intersection. And I couldn't push it forward because I couldn't push and hold in the clutch at the same time. Just then three men on three separate motorcycles drove up from different directions, quickly parked their bikes and pushed me clear of the intersection and into a parking lot while I held in the clutch. They left seconds later.
At a beach I frequent a man who was physically larger and stronger than I am became very angry at me. His increasing yelling, verbal abuse, and confrontational body language indicated to me that he wanted to punch me. But, I just stood there and tried to talk with him peacefully, which made him even more angry. At one point he reared his right arm back as if to strike me, but his arm would not go forward. Stunned, he just stood there with his arm cocked, perplexed, wide eyed, apparently wondering what was happening to him. Another man then walked up and calmly but firmly suggested to the large man that he leave. (Heb. 13:2?) A moment later the large man quietly turned and walked away.
Once, at Chico State University two very large black men were shouting me down and threatening physical hostility. I and others attempted to calm them down, but to no avail. Then a large black woman then calmly walked up, put her arm around one of the men, and they and the other man walked about 30 yards away and stopped to talk. I couldn't hear what was being said, but after about five minutes the two men left in a peaceful daze.
Twice while on mostly empty trains (one in New York City, the other in Boston) on my way to preach at universities, seemingly deranged men sat down right beside me and got hostile. Both times other people intervened to resolve the situation. The one to Boston was instantaneous: in less than two seconds a man got in the aggressor's face and threatened to punch him out, while simultaneously a Nun calmed the aggressor. The actions of both resolved the situation in about one minute.
On New Years Eve a few years ago I was in Las Vegas standing on the sidewalk in front of the Bellagio with some God signs. A large man (apparently drunk) came up to me and wanted to fight. I wasn't interested. But he persisted, suggesting several different venues from right there, to across the street, to out in the desert. So I said that if he really wanted to hit someone why not hit himself? To my surprise he did just that - really hard, on the chin. It stunned him, but he did it again. Dazed, he then just stood there, and after a moment he was somewhat sobered, and wanted to talk about God. And so we did.
Once, while I was on a plane trip to St. Louis the aircraft encountered turbulence. It was mild at first, then gradually became moderate. Some passengers seemed to enjoy the bumps, and/or nervously laughed. Then came a really big one - which silenced everybody. I saw terror in the eyes of others, and they probably saw it in mine. I shouted out OOHH JESUS! Instantly the turbulence completely stopped, and the rest of our flight was smooth as glass. After we landed I heard the pilot tell his ground crew about the turbulence. He said it was the worst he'd ever seen in his 22 years of flying, and was worried that the wings might snap.
Nevertheless… and perhaps because of all the above and much more, I slowly began to take Jesus for granted. Like I could do whatever I wanted and if I got into trouble He would bail me out. So I eased into something I knew He did not want me to do. He told me to stop, but I ignored Him. He told me I was stumbling other people (Mark 9:42). I felt guilty about that, but suppressed it, and continued doing it. After a while He said that if I did not stop He would stop me Himself. But I didn’t believe Him. Instead I believed He would overlook my actions, and if need be rescue me no matter what I did. Well, I was wrong. Slowly I became medically afflicted. So I prayed to Jesus to heal me. He didn’t. Instead, I got worse. Eventually, I got near the point of death; with no healing, with no word or guidance from Him – no nothing. I figured He had abandoned me. (Heb. 10:26-31?) So in despair and in crisis, I went to the hospital, and subsequently suffered a permanent physical loss. A month later most of me survived. But not spiritually. I prayed and prayed and tried to understand. One night about five weeks later He told me, “Your life is not yours.” I realized then that everything is a gift from God, even the pain, for if it were not for Him we would not experience anything. How upside down I had become, expecting Him to do my will instead of me doing His. That gave me some peace, and I was able to sleep well that night. But when I woke in the morning I thought, yea, well… theology does not fill the hole in my soul. So I kept seeking and pleading. (Mt. 7:7-8) Several months later He told me, not in words, but in a kind of direct infusion of knowledge that I can only verbally describe as “I couldn’t heal you, because I have been answering so many of your prayers for so long that you started taking credit for it yourself. And had I healed you, you would have been unusable to me. Instead I wanted to give you a bigger healing – humility.” With that I broke down and wept. Weeks later He gently said to me, “Remember when I told you that if you wouldn’t stop yourself that I would stop you? Well, that is what I did.” (Gal.6:7-8) Suddenly, it all made sense. God is not only faithful to save and to bless, He is also faithful to discipline. (Heb. 12:5-29) So, all that time I thought He had abandoned me He was actually being faithful to His word and to what He had told me earlier. (Rom. 3:3-4) I sooo respected Him for that. I gladly repented, I could feel His forgiveness and His peace back in my soul. (1st John 1:1-10, John 14:27) A touch and/or word from Him makes all the difference. And with that I am happy to be back on campuses, with even more to say and debate. (Luke 12:41-48)
In the fall of 2013 I was in the New England area for a two month tour of the region’s top 20 schools – Harvard, Yale, MIT, Princeton, etc. In the middle of my trip, the Weather Channel was forecasting rain for the next 7 days. So I called my wife, informed her of that, and I asked her if she thought I should come home early (since I can't do my stuff in the rain). She said to wait because she’d like to pray about it first. The next morning the Weather Channel guy seemed a bit bewildered as his radar map showed and he described how the heavy rains moving up from Virginia were splitting in two when they got to New York state, with half going west to Pennsylvania, and the other half going east over the Atlantic! (More “Red Sea”) I smiled and decided to stay with my New England schedule and I had no rain problems.
Weeks later on my way back to California after a day at UNM Albuquerque I encountered snow flurries west of there. They and the winds got worse the farther I went, becoming heavy blowing snow. It was getting dark so I could hardly see anything and I didn’t have anywhere to pull over on that narrow crowned road loaded with big rigs. It made me very nervous. So I called my wife on my cell phone and asked her to pray for me. She did, and over the next 20 or 30 seconds (while she was still praying on the phone) I saw blue sky ahead on the horizon, and in less than a minute the snow storm stopped completely!
In the fall of 2014 I was again on an East Coast campus tour with my sign (New Jersey and New York) where the Weather Channel was predicting three to four inches of heavy rain over the next three days. So I called my wife, told her about it, she prayed, and all that rain fell at night - I never had a drop fall on me when I was out during the day.
On February 7, 2016 I planned to go to the Medical Marijuana convention in San Bernadino, Ca. I planned to hoist a large sign which read, IF YOU KNEW JESUS YOU WOULDN'T GO TO POT. But, I didn't see how holding up that sign was going to be possible given the predicted strong Santa Ana winds - 20 mph gusting to 45. So the night before that I prayed God would turn down the wind, and when I got there in the morning it was dead calm. All the flags hung straight down for as long as I was there.
Once after working nearly all night trying to get 500 handouts ready for a large event the next day I fell asleep without setting my alarm clock. I awoke the next morning to a sharp pain, which disappeared the moment I got up - just in time for the event.
Not long ago a friend told me about a church in northern California which practiced spiritual gifts (1st Corinthians 12). She said I ought to visit that church on my next west coast tour of college campuses to "add to my anointing." Well, I was a little unsure about that, but when I was later in that area I did visit that church. The worship service was more jubilant than perhaps any I have ever seen. Part of me was skeptical that it was hype, that people were just being ginned up. After the songs were over, before everyone sat down, all of us were asked to greet those standing next to us. An older woman in front of me turned around, extended her hand, then put it on my arm and said, "You are having relational issues, and God is going fix them." I was quite surprised. Then the man in the pulpit started speaking and she stopped. After the service was over I asked her more about what she told me earlier. She told me things that no one there could possibly know - a complete stranger, 600 miles from my home. The gift of knowledge, prophecy? (1st Corinthians 12:4-11) The next day in another service at that church three more people did the same, but with even more detail - not only with relational issues, but ministerial too. I was stunned, and wept. But I also remembered the scriptures, "Examine everything carefully, and hold fast to that which is good/true." (1st Thessalonians 5:21) Well, the morning after I returned home from that west coast trip my brother, who has refused to talk with me for years, called me. He asked if he could fly down and meet and talk with me. Shocked, I said yes. Two days later he did just that. The rest is personal. Also, several things have happened since then that are a fulfillment of the ministerial word of knowledge/prophecies. 1st Corinthians 12? It is indeed true.
In the summer of 2015, while preparing for another east coast tour, I came down with an unsightly and somewhat debilitating skin problem. Looking at it disgusted me. A dermatologist diagnosed it as a rare, permanent, and incurable skin disease. I was very disappointed to hear that. So in prayer I asked God about it and wondered how I could be of any use to Him in that condition. I asked Him to heal me, but nothing seemed to happen. So I redoubled my prayers and urgency. A month later my disease was gone, and has never returned. (Ephesians 6:10-19, 2nd Peter 5:6-10)
I was At UC Irvine and was heckled by a white gay man and his friends who kept on shouting and expounding the virtues of homosexuality and would not let me reply. It seemed like he/they felt entitled to do that (though they weren’t as bad as I’d had at UC Berkeley; “How Not to Defend Atheism”, YouTube). After about an hour of that, two African-American women walked up out of nowhere and aggressively preached the Bible to the homosexual man. To my surprise, he and his friends stopped yelling and listened to the women. (Because they were higher up on the politically correct ladder? I don’t know.) After half an hour of that the women left, and I was then able to have a productive and mutually enjoyable conversation with the homosexual man and his friends about problems comporting homosexuality with the logic of evolution.
Earlier when I was at Boston University a woman came up to me two minutes after I had set up my sign in front of the Science building. She identified herself as a physics professor there and told me that I didn’t know what I was talking about. I said, “Fine, where do you think everything came from?” She replied that she didn’t know, and that no one will ever know, and it is a meaningless question. I replied, “How can one of the most important questions of all time be meaningless, unless what you mean by that is your methodology cannot handle the question.” She paused, then told me I should go to Harvard because they were having a symposium on that. I replied that I had recently been there, and they didn’t have an answer either. She asked me for one of my handouts, said she had to go, and would return in two hours. She never did. Instead a group of professors from a Massachusetts atheist society came with a twisted version of my handout that they had printed up and did everything they could to deflect The Question off the table. Hundreds of students saw and realized what they were doing. During that time I challenged the professors to provide any kind of a rational explanation for the existence of the universe. They never did. They simply deflected to verbally attacking me instead, and then made threats of physical violence. When I called them on that in front of everyone they left.
Recently I set up my sign, "ITS EASY TO BE AN ATHEIST IF YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT WHERE EVERYTHING CAME FROM" at San Diego State University. About 20 minutes later a man arrived with another sign, which claimed me and my sign were hostile to atheists. I tried to engage him in conversation about that, and asked what he thought was the best atheist explanation for the existence of the cosmos. He responded only with loud repetitions of his sign. Numerous other people walked by and "high fived" him. I also tried to engage them on cosmos issues but they just smirked and kept on walking. After about 20 more minutes I asked the man if he was sure he was right about me being hateful, given that he was the one who was yelling, and would not dialogue. No response. Then I asked him if he was working for the devil. Instantly, he stopped yelling, and smiled a very unfriendly smile. His lip began to quiver. Thirty seconds later he silently walked away. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
Now, I don’t expect that a skeptic is going to believe any of the above, even if I cited many more examples. Some people just a priori hate God. And some people stay that way, no matter what. (See science and logic section) Nevertheless, I hope what I have recalled here interests some other people enough to consider taking Jesus at his word and see the results for themselves. (Mt. 7:13-14, 11:25-30) E.g., while I was at Penn State a Physics professor there mocked my PROOF OF GOD handout as we talked about/debated it in front of a group of his students. When it became clear to everyone that he did not understand the main argument he changed the topic and tried to shame me for ‘selling my religion’ on a secular campus. I said, “Sell? For years I have been travelling the country at my own expense, and do not accept money even when it is offered to me. Instead, I preach for free because I’ve seen what I talk about.” I then asked the professor, “How much money do you make preaching atheism here?” Someone in the background shouted out “200K”. So I asked the professor, “How long would you preach here if you weren’t getting paid?” He did not respond. At that point scores of his students reached in to get copies of my handout, and I had difficulty passing them out fast enough. The professor saw that and said, “I can see that I am helping you, and I don’t want to do that.” He then turned and walked away.
Now please, don’t do what he did. His students were far more open minded, hanging around for hours as we talked and debated everything on this web site, just like I have seen happen on every campus I have ever been to. I hope you’ll do the same.