Moved with Compassion

Matthew 9:36 – But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Matthew 14:14 – And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Mark 1:41 – And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

Luke 19:41 – And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.

John 11:35 – Jesus wept.

The heart of Jesus must have deeply impressed those who were His eye-witnesses, so much so that all four Gospels record instances of Him being “moved” with compassion and even weeping. He, being God in the flesh, was truly a Man of sorrows, a humble servant of all, a compassionate friend of mankind, and while we read of such numerous instances when He was thus moved with Godly sorrow, we read of no reported instances where He laughed. As He Himself said, “Blessed are those who mourn”. He bore the pain, infirmities, sicknesses, and sins of mankind and carried our burdens upon His own back. What a blessed Savior!

Many times we should be lamenting instead of laughing, fasting instead of feasting, mourning our own sins rather than scorning the faults of others, suffering to carry the Gospel to the lost rather than having a merry time in selfish, fleshly entertainment. Have we no sense of this compassion that was in our Lord which drove Him to go to the cross to bleed? Have we no sense of the gravity of man’s sin and sorrow? Have we no sense of Godly sorrow, no sense of brokenness, no sense of poverty of spirit, no sense of grieving over the sins around us? Where is the heart of Jesus among us today?

We read that Jesus was “moved with compassion”. Those three words, “moved with compassion” come from just one single Greek word: splagchnizomai. Thayer’s defines it: “to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion”. In other words, this was not just an intellectual acknowledgement of the sorrow and sad state of mankind, and it was not just a mental idea of someone’s pain that leads to the common phrase, “I know what you must be going through”. This was a deep, inward stirring of emotion that actually moved the Lord to action. It was a deep emotional feeling of understanding, identification, and pity that sprung from His heart of love for mankind and led Him to do something about it. His being “moved with compassion” was not just a result of His omniscience in knowing what people were going through, but it was a result of His heart of love in desiring to bring salvation, healing, restoration, freedom, and blessing to people’s lives.

This is the compassion that caused Him in His humanity to weep over Jerusalem when foreseeing its’ coming doom at the judgment of God, longing to show mercy even to the worst of sinners. This reveals to us the heart of Christ. He is meek and lowly in heart and invites sinners to come to Him and learn from Him. He comes down to the level of sinners with longsuffering, teaching with patience and grace, relating to them on their level. He heals the sicknesses and infirmities of sinners and liberates them from Satanic bondage. He blesses the poor and lowly and offers salvation to those who feel they least deserve it. He forgives the sins of repentant prostitutes and murderers and restores those who have a broken heart. He dwells with those of a contrite spirit, making His house with the most humble and lowly. This is the heart of Christ, and we better never forget it!

Is the same mind that was in Jesus in us today? Do we have the heart of God? Do we demonstrate to the lost world the mercy, compassion and love of God? Do we find ourselves moved with compassion, not just with a drop of moisture in our eye but with a deep stirring of our hearts that causes us to take action and stand up to be the instruments of God’s healing, restoration,  and salvation to those around us? It is a tragedy if we attempt to finish the work that Jesus came to do by carrying the Gospel to the ends of the earth if we lack the same compassion He had which moved Him to do it. Let us not be moved by money, by pride, by recognition from men, but let us be moved by the love of God in our hearts.

September Ministry Update

 

We have been constantly laboring in this mission field for the last month. Too much has been happening to possibly write about it all, but I will share some highlights and testimonies. May God be glorified!
 
FELLOWSHIP WITH BRETHREN
 
There is a pastor from a small church in this area that we have come to be good friends with over the past month. This brother is really humble and truly seems to really love the Lord and desires to see people saved. His name is Otoniel. Here is a picture of brother John (left) me (middle) and Otoniel (right):
Brother Otoniel oversees a small church in this area. Even though he is a part of a large Pentecostal denomination, there is a world of difference between the churches here and the churches in the US of the same denomination. The corruption and apostasy of much of American Christianity hasn’t heavily saturated this area and defiled that which calls itself the church here, so there is still purity and simple devotion to Christ and love of the truth in a much greater measure (on average). We have been extremely blessed meeting fellow brethren in the Lord here who are so simple, some of which can’t even read, yet really love Jesus and glorify Him with their lives. We’ve been really encouraged and strengthened by their fellowship and hearing their amazing testimonies. (We may be uploading a video or two of some testimonies from some brethren here in the near future.) It’s encouraging to see that the Lord has reserved a remnant for Himself out of every place!
 
HOME VISITS
 
We’ve been able to visit various people in their homes and to preach the Gospel to them and go through the Scriptures proclaiming Christ. We have seen some people come under some wonderful conviction by the Spirit of God while visiting them and sharing with them the truth of the Cross and pray the Lord would make our labors fruitful.
There is a great need here for this type of ministry –visiting people in their homes and teaching them the Bible. It’s very time-consuming but seems to be perhaps the most effective way of establishing a solid Gospel witness to them and to build relationships with them and gain their trust. The state of many of the people in these villages is similar to the state in which the Evangelist Philip found the Ethiopian Eunuch, who wanted to know the Scriptures but couldn’t understand them and needed someone to teach him (see Acts. 8:30-31). So we have been doing this and are continually visiting people to teach them the Word of God.
 
We have also been talking with a women who wants to convert to Christianity and to her “husband” (they’re not really married) who is seeking the truth and counting the cost of following Christ. He is in a state of conviction and seems to have a real hunger to know more about Jesus. Neither one of them can read, so we are giving them CD’s of the Bible read on audio to listen to. We are praying that the Lord will grant even them, “repentance unto life”. Their responsiveness thus far has been the fruit of our Jesus Film ministry (read below).
 
WITNESSING TO THE MAFIA
 
The town that we are staying in is a stronghold for the Mexican mafia and drug cartel. Many of them are from this area. In fact, many of them are actually cousins of Lina. So a few weeks ago, as we were walking down the street, a gang of about 20 of them were gathered at a house, and saw us as we walked by. We were able to talk with them, and they recognized that they were family with Lina. They proceeded to call me names and racial slurs and to use profanity towards me, being a white boy and all, but we went over into the yard and talked with them. As they asked me if I drink beer, I told them that the Word of God says that no drunkard will inherit the Kingdom of God, and that God may have overlooked their ignorance in the past, but now commands them and all men everywhere to repent, because He’s appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through the Man who He has ordained, Christ Jesus! When I said this, they stopped their course jesting and immediately became dead silent and listened. We have visited one of these guys in his house since and had lunch with him, and plan on going back soon to share my testimony with him and to preach the Gospel. Oh, how glorious it would be for the Lord to save that man and make him a token of His grace!
 
PREACHING AT THE FIESTA
 
Every year, they have a Fiesta (large party like a festival) in our town. Nearly the whole town goes to it. Even many of those from this area who are in the US come back here for this time to visit their families and go to the fiestas. One day, I was praying that the Lord would open doors to preach the Gospel, and later that day, we got the idea of setting up a booth at the Fiesta to hand out tracts, Gospels of John and Bibles, and to preach to people from it. The Lord opened up the doors to do this immediately, and in fact, some of the mafia heard that we wanted a booth there to give out Bibles, and they said, “You just go and pick your spot, and we’ll take care of the rest”. So we were able to get a great spot to set up our booth right by the entrance where people come in and out from, and that for free! The Lord has even the hearts of the mafia in His hands and can turn them whatsoever way He wishes!
 
The Fiesta lasted for 9 days, and we were there almost every night. We were able to preach the Gospel to a number of people who came by our booth.
We had a large picture hanging in the back of the Second Coming of Christ in glory and of people screaming in terror at the sight of it –a pretty convicting picture for somebody that’s not right with God! Some people would walk by our booth, look at the picture, and freeze in fear with their eyes wide open! There was actually a fear that ran through the town we heard, and a rumor –people were saying: “It’s the last days! In the history of our town nobody has ever been at our FIESTAS to preach the Gospel!” We have been praying that the fear of God would grip the hearts of the people of this town and the power of the Holy Ghost would convict and convert them.
 
We were also able to preach to some of the vendors (workers) at the Fiesta, who travel from out of state from fiesta to fiesta to sell their goods. A few of them we had really good witnesses with, and they were very receptive and hungry for more. One man we preached to seemed to get really convicted, and when we finished speaking and asked if he had any questions, asked, “What’s the easiest way for me to get saved?” I showed him Romans 10:9-10 and explained what it means, and told him to get alone with God and confess his sins, repent, and call out to Jesus to save him, to put his faith in Christ and confess Christ as His Savior and to serve Him forever. A few nights later we talked to him again, and he has since been reading a Bible that someone else had, and we were able to give him his own Bible. He was very grateful and seemed very eager to read it and serve the Lord!
 
We were also able to preach to some of the band members from a music group that came to perform, and a couple of them were very receptive to the Gospel. One of them was tremendous –we all felt in our spirits, that this man is going to be a brother! Or so it seems. He just has the hand of the Lord all over him. We were able to give him and another member Bibles and they gratefully received them.
In all we handed out about 30 Bibles at the fiestas, all to people who sincerely wanted them and asked us for one and told us they would read them. Glory be to God!
 
PREACHING IN THE CHURCHES
 
There are a number of churches that we have come to discover in this area. I have been able to preach in them and teach the saints (and false converts) on some much needed truths and foundations and seek to strengthen the brethren.
 
I have been preaching in the church that brother Otoniel oversees on a regular basis now and it’s been a blessing. The Lord has been pleased to really pour out a blessing there and to give us a taste of His presence. We have seen the altar flooded with praying and crying souls, and are being broken and strengthened ourselves. My heart longs to see the Lord send a revival to his little church in this area. We thank the Lord for the blessed gift of His Spirit, for we can do nothing without Him.
Thanks be to God, I have also been able to share some messages with a few of different house church fellowships, to a youth group on a couple occasions, and even teach a class on Missions at a small Bible institute in the city (the class lasted for about 6 hours!). It turns out that the session I taught was the final session at the end of the year for the school, so it fit perfectly with taking what they learned and applying it. I was also able to answer questions they had about the “prosperity gospel”, “altar call salvation”, and more.
 
It’s been on my heart to emphasize some much-needed foundational truths, and share such messages dealing with the true meaning of the Cross, true and false conversion, the new birth, of what true salvation looks like, how genuine conversion takes place, striving to enter the narrow way, taking up the Cross, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and so on. The brethren are very receptive to the messages and appear to be very edified by them. Much of our ministry here has been to the brethren, as much as it has been to the lost. It’s unexpected, but the Lord has been pleased to use us to help edify His saints in the ministry of teaching. There is a great need here for solid, foundational, doctrinal teaching –for tearing down faulty foundations and laying down true ones. Oh, may God grant that His church in these last days may return to the Apostolic pattern, power and glory!
 
Since some people have satellite TV here (as is the case everywhere around the world no matter where you go it seems), some of that false “gospel” of greed has corrupted some churches in this area. I have been able to preach against this greedy prosperity heresy to some of the brethren here. Brother Otoniel even requested that I teach at a meeting on a Sunday about why the prosperity “gospel” is wrong, and so I was able to do that joyfully and earnestly contend for the faith. He, along with another brother in that fellowship that also preaches sometimes, have heard prosperity taught before, but neither one of the agreed with it as it didn’t sit right with their spirit. They were still uncertain though, so it met a great need for them to be able to go through the Scriptures on the subject and to expound of what the Lord taught concerning stewardship and money so that they may have a definite stance by the word of God.
 
There is a larger church in the city that has embraced this prosperity “gospel” and is teaching it. I had an appointment to preach there to the congregation last Sunday, but after praying, I had no peace about going, so cancelled the engagement. We are going to sit down with that pastor and talk to him personally about his error before we associate ourselves any further with him or preach there.
 
THE JESUS FILM MINISTRY
 
We were able to show the Jesus Film on two weekend nights in a row in the village we are staying in. This village has a population of about 500 people. And to our grand surprise, over 250 people showed up during the two nights! That’s half the people in our village! All the chairs were filled up both nights! On one night, a number of people even had to stand. These people were all able to watch this 2-hour video presentation of the Gospel of Luke. As soon as the Film was over, on both nights we stood up at the front and preached a short Gospel message to them, pleading with them to repent and be converted, to flee the wrath to come and to believe in Christ and be saved. We have already seen some fruit come from this event. Praise God!
 
We were not able to obtain any pictures of this event, since people in this village were making up lies about us, saying that we were going to film the whole event and take it to the US and sell it to get rich off of them. There are many outright lies of the Devil like this that float around in this town, out to oppose the Gospel. Men and women of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth, foaming up their own shame in slandering the work of God –may the Lord forgive them for their words against Him, and if He be willing, change their hearts and bless them with salvation. We didn’t take any pictures so as not to foster to this lie. So from now on, we’re going to be even more careful about what we take pictures of. If there is no tangible reproach or reason for people to blaspheme, they will make up reasons of their own, so we have to be extra-carefully beyond reproach.
 
We already have plans, if the Lord be willing, to show this Jesus Film in many of the surrounding villages as well, working with some surrounding churches and local pastors to reach their communities. This weekend we are staying for a few days with a pastor from a far town and preaching at some meetings in his church, and setting up the Film to reach his community.
 
MIRACULOUS HEALINGS
 
1. One day, we attended a Pastor’s meeting where a number of the local pastors gather together to talk about current issues. It was here that we were able to meet a lot of them and to set up appointments to preach in their congregations. After the meeting, as we were talking with some of them, a women ran into the room in distress! She had tears in her eyes, and had a baby in her arms of about 2-3 years in age. About 30 minutes prior to this, the baby had taken a hold of a bottle of kitchen cleaner and drank it while the mother was in the shower. She got out of the shower to discover that he drank it. She decided to put him in the car and drive him to the meeting, hoping we would still be there to pray for him. When she brought him in, he was unconscious. We all prayed for him, and Lina and I laid hands on him in the name of Jesus. We both had a supernatural faith rise up within us, and we believed he would be healed. But, after we prayed, nothing happened. He was still unconscious. Everyone tried to wake him up. They kept saying his name loudly, shaking him (gently enough not to hurt him, but strong enough to wake any baby up), rocked him up and down, etc. trying to wake him up. Nothing worked. A pastor took his finger, lifted the baby’s eyelid to look at his eyes, and after doing so said, “you need to take him to the hospital immediately”. They were even holding his eyelids open and loudly saying his name trying to wake him, but not a response.
 
Then, Lina grabbed the child in her arms and whispered very softly, “wake up in the name of Jesus” and when she did, the baby jolted, like when somebody gets scared and jumps. When he jumped, his eyes opened for a split second, but then he immediately slumped back over and fell unconscious again. He was back out. Then, in a faith not my own, in the name of Jesus Christ, I laid hands on him and rebuked the poison and its effects and commanded it to be gone and for him to be healed, and Lina spoke “life” into the baby. Immediately, his eyes opened wide and he woke up perfectly well. He looked around at our faces, and got scared seeing strangers, and began crying! He was made whole by the power of the risen Christ! He didn’t fall back unconscious again, he didn’t throw up, and he even drank milk afterwards (he was still on milk as his food). We talked to the mother days later and she confirmed that the only harm done to the baby was that the outside of his skin was burnt a little under his chin where the liquid dripped when he drank it! Is not the same Christ who worked wonders on earth 2,000 the same Christ who reigns in the Heavens and through His people now? Is not His power the same? Does He not still have compassion for the suffering and dying?
 
2. On another occasion, I had preached at a house fellowship. After the meeting, there was a teenage girl who needed healing, but she was so shy that she went to her mother and asked her mother to ask us to pray for her. A couple of days prior, this girl had something rupture in her ear, and blood started coming out from it. She was in constant pain, had a constant headache ever since. Then, to make matters worse, a day later, a bug flew into her ear and they never got it out! So brother Otoniel and I anointed her with oil, and laying hands on her in the name of Jesus, prayed for healing. I felt a wave of what felt like heat pass between my hand and her head as we did. As soon as we finished praying, she was healed instantly. Her face was gripped with astonishment, she looked utterly amazed, and tears formed in her eyes. Lina asked her, “what is it?” and the girl said, “All the pain is completely gone!” Glory to the Lamb! It’s not our own power or holiness, but Jesus, and faith in His name, that made that girl whole! He’s still in the business of healing the afflicted to the glory of His name!
 
Oh, how we need the power of God! We need the real Holy Ghost in our midst to see God manifest His glory and demonstrate His compassion! My heart longs for a greater measure, a greater baptism of the Spirit, a greater endowment of power to preach and confirm the Word, a greater faith to make substance of things not seen! We fall so short of true childlike faith and we need a holy desperation to be closer to God and to see Him work in a real way in people’s lives that they may believe the Gospel, to believe in and trust the Living Christ and not a dead religion that has a form of godliness but no power! I’m not talking about following signs, I’m talking about following Christ and having signs follow us as a result, having the Holy Ghost make manifest the Word by faith for the glory of the Name! Where is the LORD God of Elijah? 
  
SOME OBSTACLES AND TRIALS
 
There is a tangible warfare going on in the spiritual between us and these demonic strongholds of Catholicism, idolatry, pride, gossip, and greed that control this area. We are seeking to press through in prayer for a move of God, for the demolishing of these strongholds, for the salvation of souls, for the empowerment of the Body of Christ and for the desperately needed outpouring of the baptism of the Spirit. But there are some extremely stubborn spirits here that don’t want to be driven out, so we need heavenly re-enforcement by the power of God. Please pray against these strongholds here and for the release of the Spirit in this place.
 
Verbal persecution is also a constant obstacle here –not for us, for we count it a blessing, but for those who are seeking God, attending our meetings, and considering coming to Christ. Whenever a sinner in the town appears to be on the verge of conversion, all the others of the town begin to mock them and insult them and to tempt them. This is happening constantly, and it causes many people to be afraid to talk to us because they fear the shame and humiliation that all the town will give them for it. Because of this, we are having a hard time trying to reach some people. But, at the same time, this could be a blessing in disguise, since it means that there is a cost to pay when following Christ, and the people will count this cost before doing it. So in a way, it sort of filters out the chaff from the wheat, which is good. But the bad part is that some of what is filtered out won’t even listen to us on account of it and it hinders them from listening to the Gospel. So it goes both ways.
 
We are also battling with personal struggles of our own. All three of us have fallen sick since being here. One day, in the early afternoon, I fell extremely ill, weak, and unable to hardly move, with a sick stomach, a high fever, and pain all over. It was so bad for a moment I had thoughts of passing on to glory and had a wonderful time of fellowship with Christ as I meditated on the glorious thought of seeing His face for the first time! We still don’t know what caused this illness, and it only lasted for a couple days until I was able to function like normal and eat again. All three of us have also become sick with an infection, cold, sore throat and cough. Brother John has had an extremely trying time with asthma on top of this cold, and we’ve been praying for his healing. Lina has also been sick and keeps losing her voice, making it difficult to translate as we preach. Yet in all this, we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loved us and gave Himself for us!
 
There are also multitudes of bugs here, bugs of all sorts and kinds. There are wasps that fly in and out of our house every day, building nests. We kill them constantly but they keep coming. There are also a lot of bees that come in. There are also poisonous wasps, and poisonous bees that ooze venom from their stingers. There are tons of mosquitos, and we are getting bit constantly despite our best efforts to avoid them. We have probably had at least a hundred bites between the three of us (this is no exaggeration). There’s also these little critters they call “sancudos”, they’re a little bigger than a gnat, look almost identical, but when they land on you they bite and make you bleed. There’s even these strange insects that fly around at night, they look like beetles, and the people here call them, “female donkeys”. When they touch you or land on you, they release a chemical that burns you. I’ve been the victim of one so far, and it burned my neck and made a water blister from the burn. We’ve seen a tarantula here too, and a couple snakes. And pretty much every adult who has lived here all their lives testifies to having between 3-8 scorpion stings during their lives. So we pray and believe that the Lord would keep us safe and from getting ill from any of these bugs, especially the mosquitos and poisonous creatures. Praise God, we have authority to trample down snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19)!
We are so grateful for our brethren back in the States that are covering us in prayer and helping us with our physical needs as we continue to do this work in the name of our Sovereign Lord. We march onward, and may all the saints do the same, for the sake of the Name…
In CHRIST -Josef Urban

Baptism Video of My Friend -True and False Conversion

I have just had an amazing video sent to me. It is a video of the baptism of a friend and dear brother in Christ, Warren. The Lord granted me the privilege of meeting this brother when we arrived in California. He is a member of a church we have been attending. His testimony is amazing! He has been a professing Christian and has gone to church all his life. He would attend the “fellowship groups” (where they would get together, pray over their food, eat, and then talk about the world, the world, the world) and hang out with other “Christian” friends. He thought he was saved, but rarely read the Bible, prayed, or shared the message of Christ with unbelievers. He would pursue money and the things of this world. BUT, when another brother gave him a copy of the CD’s, “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” and “True and False Conversion”, he heard the Law convince him of his own utter sinfulness before God and his need for a Savior, and came to the shocking realization that he was a false convert all along that was never saved. He soon repented from his sins for the first time and put his wholehearted faith in Christ alone to save him. He testifies that when he did this, he was born again and radically changed. Immediately he had a love for God’s word, for fellowship with other believers, and desired to seek and save the lost and tell others about God’s gift of salvation. He now regularly goes out on the streets and preaches to the lost and testifies of God’s saving power to redeem fallen man from sin and bondage and make them new creatures in Christ, forgiven, transformed, given new life. It has been a great blessing to me to know him and to fellowship with him and to hear of all the wonderful things God is doing in his life. Here is a message from brother Warren:

 

“Praise God for all the great things that HE has done. All honor and glory and praise belong to HIM. I just wanted to encourage others with the sending of this video. My prayer is that as you watch this video you would be encouraged to go into all of the world and seek and save the lost (Mark 16-15) not to see a result but know that results are happening by your obedience. We are here not for what we can get out of life but to glorify God and to tell others about there great need to escape the righteous judgment of a Holy and good God. That is why He sent His son to save us from His wrath. He loved us enough that He wanted to save us from His justice but many people think that God love will be enough when they die and face Him on judgment day.They have heard John 3:16 and thank that God loves them and so they keep on living in sin and they really have not understood the whole verse. ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, (stop) that is where most people stop listening and think only that God loves them. But listen to the rest of the verse says [that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. That last part tells us that there will be those that will PERISH i.e. get sent to HELL because of there not having put there faith in Christ work on the cross and repenting (turning from sin).Not accepting Christ for a better life so He can heel there drug problem, marriage problem, work/money problems give them a better life. Simply we broke God’s law and He paid our fine for those who would BELIEVE (faith). Preach the true Gospel.” [end quote]

 

Here is the video:

 

Maybe you are like that. You have been going to church for a long time. You call yourself a Christian. You even meet together with other professing believers. You give money to good causes. You live a decent and moral life. But you’ve never understood deep within your heart that you have sinned against God, violated His holy Law, and provoked His justice to slay you and send you to Hell. You’ve confessed that you’re a sinner, but never deeply felt the pain and grief of your sin against God and understood that you’re lost without the righteousness of Christ. You’ve never truly REPENTED and your heart is still in love with the things of this world. Your still holding on to some sin in your life and you haven’t given it up, you haven’t forsaken all the affections of this world to place all your affections solely on Him first and foremost. You haven’t been born again, radically converted, made into a totally new creature in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit. You really don’t have a love for the Word of God and you rarely really study it. You don’t pray much, maybe just at night before you go to bed and before meals, but you never seek God’s face and His will for everything you do in life.

 

Dear soul, if I am describing you then know that it’s time. Lay it all down on the altar. Confess your secret sins before God and beg His forgiveness. Repent, deeply renounce your sin, and put your trust in Christ alone to save you, forsaking all to follow Him no matter what He requires of you. Surrender to His Lordship and submit your life to obey Him. He promises to save to the uttermost all that come to God through Him. When He died on the Cross, He bore the punishment for all our sin and died as a substitute in our place. He fulfilled the righteous requirements of God’s justice by taking the wrath of the Almighty that we deserve upon Himself. Now, He freely offers us His righteousness, so that we can be placed back into a right-standing and fellowship with God. If you need to be reconciled to the Creator that your sin has caused you to be at enmity with, then do it now: repent and believe the Gospel, and follow Him! Here are the messages that the Holy Spirit used to cause brother Warren to realize that he was lost, and to repent and believe and be born again. If you’ve never listened to them, I would highly recommend you do, and make sure you are in the faith. You can download them here for free:

 

Hell’s Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort

 

True and False Conversion by Ray Comfort

 

 

A Brief Account of My Testimony

By Josef Urban

In early 2004, the Lord reached down from Heaven and plucked my soul from the fire. At that time, I was living a life of sin, wickedness and rebellion, running the streets, fighting, lying, cheating, stealing, using drugs, etc. I was truly the worst of sinners. I knew of God intellectually, and desired to serve Him, but was such a slave to sin that I saw no possible way to ever be free. I knew of God’s calling and hand upon my life from a young age. I tried many times to repent and get right, and even prayed all the time for the Lord to change me, but every time I tried to reform my wicked ways I always failed and relapsed back into slavery to sin even worse. One time, when seeking God, I had such a mighty revelation of Christ that I got dramatically delivered from some of the demons that were holding me in bondage, and for a few days experienced a freedom and victory, but soon went back to my sin. The devils came back seven times worse.

Pretty soon, I hardened myself against God so much that I became a professed atheist. I would curse Him openly. I knew God was real, but I hated Him, and didn’t want to serve Him. I was extremely angry, hateful, and worst of all, all-out rebellious. Because of this rebellion, the Lord began to smite me. I began to experience many mental and physical afflictions that were unnatural for a youth of my age. The hate within me would rise up and control me at times, and I would lash out in fits of rage, being tormented by terrible depression and despair. Because of my wickedness, I would also get into fights. One time I was beat up so badly I came close to losing my life. When I got up from being knocked out, my face was utterly dripping with blood. I continued to rebel. The Lord then began to smite me with the most painful thing on earth: kidney stones. I ended up being hospitalized a number of times. Nothing could ease the pain except morphine injections. One kidney stone almost took my life, because it was blocking my urinary tract and causing my blood to be poisoned. However, just before the doctors were to call for emergency surgery, I passed it. I also experienced many infirmities dealing with my stomach and digestive system. I knew all of this was the judgment of God for my rebellion, and these are but a few of the things I went through during this time. I was conscious that this was a result of the hand of God upon my life, for “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God”.

After a period of this affliction, I renounced my atheism. Now, I professed to believe in God. I knew He was calling me, and I wanted to serve Him. But I was a slave. A total slave to sin. I couldn’t get free no matter how hard I tried. But the Lord was drawing me still. The Spirit of God was moving upon my heart. Though I was now involved in heavier drugs than ever. One night, I had a turning point that I’ll never forget. I took so many drugs that I thought I was going to die from overdose. I spent the night smoking cigarettes and marijuana, getting drunk, snorting cocaine and using a synthetic hallucinogen that I can’t even recall the name of. I began to see skulls, hallucinating. My heart began to race so incredibly fast and I was struck with a dreadful fear that I was about to die. In my distress, I called upon the Lord and He answered me. I asked Him to let me live through the night. I told Him that if He lets me live, I will try to clean myself up and serve Him.

Praise God, He answered this helpless sinner’s prayer! So I began to go to church. I started attending an extremely large one. It was seeker-sensitive, with the dramas, movies, slick speeches, etc. I would feel so good when I left. However, I knew I was lost, a slave to sin. Pretty soon, I started to get convicted because I wasn’t getting convicted at this place. It had a form of godliness without the power, and my desperate soul needed the power and a miraculous breakthrough or I was going to die in my sin and I knew it. Many times I had tried to read the Bible, but I didn’t understand it, and this place wasn’t helping me to one bit. So I began to go to a different church. This one was much smaller. Here, enough Scripture was preached for the Spirit of God to use. I began to come under heavy conviction. The weight of sin weighed heavier and heavier upon my shoulders as I sat through the services. An altar call was always given at the end of each service, and I would just boil in conviction. I wanted to serve the Lord, but was afraid that if I dedicated myself to serve Him, I wouldn’t be able to live righteously, and would be a hypocrite. I thought I was too terrible a sinner for God to make a saint out of. I was trying to clean myself up before I came to Christ, because I thought God would never accept such a wicked sinner as myself. I thought I needed to make myself righteous before I came to Christ so I could be a good Christian. Then, one day, the Pastor prophesied. Without knowing me, he said, “You’re trying to clean yourself up before you come to Christ, but that’ll never work. You need to come, just as you are, and He will clean you up”. It pierced my heart like a sword!

I still resisted, under heavy conviction and drawing by the Spirit of God. I went home, and for a whole week I wrestled around with the idea of forsaking ALL to follow Christ. I knew what that meant. And the Spirit made it so plain to me, that if I surrender all, forsake all, and follow Him, that He would set me free and make me a new creation. A whole week passed, and it was the day for the next service at this church. Then the Lord spoke to me, though it wasn’t with an audible voice, but it was so real and personal and powerful, and He said, “You get right with me NOW or I will cut you off”. I knew this was it, that I either came to Christ TODAY or else sinned away my day of grace. Tomorrow was too late. So I went to the church early, and found the pastor before the service. I ran up to him, and looking him straight in the eyes, said, “I’m ready. I want to surrender my life to Christ”. I told the Lord that if He would clean me up and set me free, then I would give my life for His service, and right there, laid down my rebellion and surrendered. The pastor prayed with me, and I believed with all my heart in the Lord Jesus, and confessed Him with my mouth.

Many people think Christ was crucified on a Friday. However, I believe He was crucified on a Wednesday, leaving Him dead for 3 full days and 3 full nights. So the “Good Friday” should actually be “Good Wednesday”. It was on this Wednesday that I surrendered my life to God, in the year 2004.

However, since I just quit everything cold turkey, I began to go through some incredible withdrawls from my drugs. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday passed. Now it was Sunday morning. I was about to backslide again. I couldn’t handle it. It was now “Easter” morning, the day of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As I was so weak and on the verge of defeat, I went back to the church, earnestly hungering and thirsting for true righteousness. The whole sermon was about the resurrection of Christ. It was here and then that the Lord revealed Himself to me powerfully. I had a heart-revelation of the risen, victorious Son of God, and I saw Him for the first time through the eyes of faith. I truly saw that He is the Almighty God, the sinless One, who personally put down all sin and death under His feet and rose from the grave in victory to be my Mediator at God’s right hand! He became mine personally! It was as if He had died and rose for me personally! I had instant assurance that my sins were forgiven! And the chains that held me in bondage were snapped! The burden of sin that wieghed me down was lifted! The peace and love of God began to flood my heart like a mighty cleansing stream! I was cleansed inwardly and rivers of glory and liquid love washed away my sin by the blood of Jesus. “He who the Son sets free is free indeed!” I began to weep profusely. For over an hour, I wept and wept in tears of joy, my soul being flooded with the righteousness, peace, love and joy of God! I knew in my heart of hearts, and in my deepest spirit, that this was it, and I was SET FREE; truly, finally, once for all, never to be the same! I had a powerful revelation of the mighty risen Christ, and distinctly remember that I kept weeping because I knew that I didn’t choose Him but that He had chosen me. I was overwhelmed with the thought that He had chosen me, and the indescibable love He bestowed upon me by His free grace. And I knew ever so profoundly that as a result of Him choosing me, nothing could now pluck me out of His hand. I felt years of sin and rebellion being utterly washed away by the infinite grace of God. This time my life of sin was gone, never to come back. I truly became a new creation. I had no idea the Bible said all these things, but I knew them there and then, by revelation, within my heart.

Praise God! I immediately got rid of all evidence of sin and went idol smashing! I laid out all my secular CD’s on the ground and smashed them to pieces with a rod! I threw away all my paraphanalia, movies, and everything that was wicked and cleaned house! Immediately, my heart was so changed that I couldn’t even stand the sound of rap music any more, which I used to listen to. Now, I went and bought a worship CD and absolutely loved the hymns and songs on it, glorifying my risen Lord with spiritual songs! I began to talk differently, without cussing, and much more politely. My pride was shattered and I saw myself as the lowest worm on earth, but a redeemed worm! I began to dress differently and much more properly. I used to always wear a hat or bandana on my head, but now, I didn’t like to. I liked to comb my hair now instead! I could no longer fit in with or run with my old friends. Whenever I seen them afterwards, I would testify of what the Lord did, and pretty soon, they disappeared from my life peacefully, which was a miracle in itself. Everything changed!

The Bible became my favorite book. Praying and studying and worshipping God became my favorite things to do. I was so hungry for God that I would read and read and pray and pray, constantly reading the Scriptures and praying over their meaning. I would go in my room, lock the door, and prostrate myself before the Lord for hours, worshipping Him and praising Jesus! Before, I couldn’t understand the Bible, but now, it became so illuminated to my understanding that I was spiritually nourished by its truth and I hungered for more like a newborn babe. This book became my best friend on earth, and I read it so much that my family would criticize me for it, call me a bookworm, and tell me to put it down and go do something physical with my hands. But of course I would reply by telling them what I was learning, and testify about the power of God and preach repentance for the remission of sins in the name of Jesus.

Soon after my conversion, I sought out to be baptized, and was baptized in water (by submersion) to publicly affirm my faith in Christ, and to openly renounce my old life of sin, and that I have personally been buried to the old life and risen again to a new life in Christ. I was also at this time seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I had learned about it by reading the book of Acts in my Bible, and wanted it for empowerment to serve God and to bring me into a closer walk with Him. I earnestly sought this baptism of the Spirit for weeks. I was so hungry for more of God. I surrendered to Christ on the Wednesday He was crucified, was truly born again and raised to a new life on Resurrection Sunday, and the Day of Pentecost was coming up in two weeks at this time when I was seeking the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I proclaimed a two week partial-food fast, and prayed constantly for this blessing. Then, when the Day of Pentecost was fully come according to the calender, it was a Sunday. I was desperate now. In the evening, I began to pray so hard that I began to sweat. When calling on the Lord and praising Him, suddenly the striving ceased, and my hands began to feel as if electricity was surging through them. Then, flowing from my belly came the release of the Spirit, and I began to speak with unknown tongues, praising God.

Now, I was brought into a new level of communion with God and received a boldness in Christ that I never knew before. For an entire year after this, the Lord had me in a season of studying and praying, of learning and growing in grace. The Lord became my Teacher at a whole new level. For that whole year I did no ministry, other than serving as an usher and helper at my local church. The whole year was filled with learning the Scriptures, and being taught by the Spirit to rightly divide the word of truth.

After this year, the desire began to burn within me to go out and preach to the lost. I was conscious that the Lord was calling me to preach His word. God answered my prayers to use me for His service, and I soon began to take Gospel tracts and literature and go to the center of the city in my hometown to the crowded bus stops, parks, and open areas to tell people about Jesus and declare the message of salvation through His name. I started by handing out tracts and talking with people individually. Before long, I was standing up in the public squares and preaching in the open air on the streets, shouting abroad to all that the same Jesus who saved me can save them! I have since been preaching the Gospel on the streets and wherever there’s lost souls who need the Lord.

It was around the time that I began to preach the Gospel that the Lord started to open my eyes to see the hypocrisy of many modern Christians and to see the error of much that goes on in the system of modern American Christianity. The Lord made it clear to me that I was to sit under Him and that He would be my teacher, and I was not to sit up under any man as my teacher. As I continued to learn the ways of the Lord, and study the Scriptures, the Lord eventually led me out of the local church I was attending because it was in serious error, beginning to teach prosperity doctrines and compromising the message of the cross and failing to preach true repentance and holy living. After leaving this place, I began to seek fellowship at other churches, only to find them all filled with so much error, whether it’s hypocrisy, Phariseeism, legalism, perverting grace as a license to sin, not testing the spirits, etc. My soul was so grieved. But praise God! He led me into fellowship with other likeminded believers, and He continues to draw His own sheep together to this day, by the unity of the Spirit.

I have preached the Word of God since the day the Lord first sent me, mainly on the streets, though occasionally in fellowships and chapels, and have seen the hand of God do many marvelous works. It is a wonderful thing to see sinners buckle to their knees under the conviction of the Holy Ghost and to cry out to the Lord in repentance, even as I did years before. I have seen the Lord deliver crack addicts, alcoholics, drug addicts, and more, sometimes even instantaneously with no withdrawls, by the power of the Gospel. I have seen demon spirits come screeching, howling, and roaring out their hosts by the power of the name of Jesus (yes, demons are real, I have seen them). I have seen people miraculously healed from cancer, partial cripples made whole, and more, by the power of God when prayer was made on their behalf. In fact, all of the infirmities that I was constantly afflicted by myself before my conversion (kidney stones, digestive problems which was believed to be Chron’s disease, etc.) have been healed and I have not had a single problem with those things since.

The prophet Isaiah wrote about Jesus, saying:

“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He (Jesus) grew up before him (God the Father) like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa. 53:1-12, NIV)

Dear reader, I want to ask you now: what’s your testimony? Have you been saved from sin’s power? Do you have a living and personal relationship with God as your Heavenly Father? Have you seen that your sins have seperated you from God, and that God is holy? The Bible declares that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). It further declares that all those who sin shall DIE (Eze. 18:20). This death that all sinners must die is not physical death, it is spiritual death, in “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). God is so righteous, and full of justice, that He will punish all who practice sin on the Day of Judgment. The Bible declares that on that day, God will be full of fury and blazing wrath, taking vengeance against all iniquity. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). Don’t think He’s going to overlook your sin, because He won’t. He will punish it to the uttermost, except you repent.

You have broken God’s Law. Nothing can change that. You deserve death and Hell. BUT, there’s good news. Jesus Christ was the Word, as God, and existed from the beginning, before anything was ever created (Joh. 1:1). He was born in the womb of Mary, who was a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit. He lived a sinless life. He never broke God’s Law, and as God’s only begotten Son, He never sinned, not even once. After doing many miracles and preaching His Gospel, He was crucified on the Cross. Though we have sinned, and we deserve God’s wrath, Jesus Christ took that wrath upon Himself in our place. The Bible says that without the shedding of innocent blood in a way ordained by God, there can be no forgiveness of sin. Jesus Christ shed His blood for His people, to cleanse them from their sins. We broke God’s Law, and Jesus paid the fine with His blood. Then after being dead for 3 days, and 3 nights, He rose again bodily from the dead. He appeared to His Apostles, to others, and to over 500 chosen witnesses. These went forth, preaching the Gospel in His name.

Now, dear soul, you know what the Lord can do. You know He died to set you free from your sin and bondage. I tell you by the command of God, REPENT and BELIEVE the Gospel. Turn from your life of sin, and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith, trusting Him to redeem you, save you, cleanse you, and make you a new creation by His Spirit. The same Spirit that rose Him from the dead is the same Spirit that can raise you up from the deadness of sin to the newness of life! But you must surrender. Come to Him! Don’t wait! I’m a living testimony to His power! If He can save me He can save anyone, including you!

Jesus said, “You must be born again” (Joh. 3:7). He said that if you are not born again, you will never see the Kingdom of God, which means you’ll never go to Heaven either. I can testify that I’ve been born again by the power of God, not because I was righteous or holy, no, no! But because God is full of love and compassion for His afflicted and elect sheep and saves them by GRACE alone according to the good pleasure of His will. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:8-9). Have you been born again? Have you become a new creature in Christ? The Bible says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17). You must be born again, by the Spirit of God, by the grace of God, through faith in the Lord Jesus, or you will perish in Hell under the mighty hand of God’s justice!

Don’t wait any longer! Turn and live! Be converted! “Now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation.” Call out to the name of the Lord! The same God who created everything, the same God who saved me, is the same God who can save you right now if you will call upon His name in faith and forsake all to follow Christ.

www.puregospeltruth.com

Rehab Center Update

4/21/08

REHAB CENTER UPDATE, TIJUANA, MEXICO

Grace and peace in God our Savior and Jesus Christ the Lord.

Update on the rehab center (see last update). We went back to this place Sunday to continue to preach to and to pray for the men who were desperate and/or responsive to some degree to the preaching of God’s Word. Many of them weren’t there, or weren’t available. But, bless the Lord, we were able to speak and pray with four of these precious souls.

Let me say that this place is much different than America. In the US, it seems like almost everybody ‘knows’ the Gospel (or thinks they do), and most are extremely self-righteous, rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. But here, these men are broken, beaten down, depressed, and without hope. They don’t know or understand the Gospel. They have never said a ‘little prayer’ and ‘asked Jesus into their hearts’. Many have never even heard that terminology. But the funny thing is, that many of them have been baptized and to some degree trust in baptism to save them.

Actually, they don’t know how to be saved. They are stuck in a works-based mentality. When we sit down with them to talk, the first thing I do is ask them questions and find what their understanding of the Gospel and salvation is. And without fail, they all seem to forget the Cross, forget about Jesus, and faith in Christ. I ask them how to be saved. They say, ‘By repenting of all sin and living righteously’. This may sound good, but in their minds, they think they have to exercise their own willpower to stop sinning, and once they are completely free from sin, start reading the Bible and going to church, and that means they are saved. So we preach and stress constantly the importance of receiving grace and of faith in Christ, of justification by faith alone and the true meaning of the Cross.

Some have so many strongholds in their minds that we have to take a considerable amount of time just tearing them down and preaching the truth to provide a solid foundation upon which their faith can stand. Sometimes it feels like we’re trying to explain to a blind man what the color red looks like. When there is no foundation laid, it takes time to instruct perishing souls in the ways of truth and lay a solid foundation. But like I said, it is much different from America here, and praise God for putting us across the path of people who are lost and know it, for Christ came to seek and save the lost, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance!

At first we sat down with three men who wanted to talk to us. We shared the Gospel with them, explaining in more detail exactly who Jesus is and what He did. These three were desperate. One was a crystal meth addict, the other two heroin addicts (these are both the worst possible drugs to be addicted to). After laboring in the Word and attempting to get them to see the Gospel, and boost their faith, we moved on into prayer. The crystal meth addict wasn’t ready to serve the Lord; he said he doesn’t want to play games with God and receive anything from prayer if he’s not ready to serve him yet. So we exhorted him to continue to seek the Lord, and to read the Gospel of John, and he left. So we prayed with other two men, both of which are heroin addicts.

Both of these men were doing terrible. They have been off heroin for a number of days. Going through heavy withdrawals. Covered in sweat. Unable to sleep or eat for days. In utter torment. It’s so sad. But after talking with them, both of them prayed to the Lord to confess their sins and ask for forgiveness, and asked Jesus to save them (and we didn’t lead them in a prayer and give them words, they did it themselves).

So then we prayed for them. The first man we prayed for had at least a hundred tract marks on his arms (wounds from the heroin needle). As we prayed for him, a mighty cold chill came upon his whole body and he was freezing cold (demonic manifestation). As we continued to pray, it left. Then he felt a strong burning sensation in his stomach. We continued to pray, and that too, left. Then he felt better. We asked him if he still felt withdrawals, and he said no, that they went away. Then immediately he began to get extremely sleepy. He was about to fall asleep on the spot. This is a good sign, because he had not slept in days, and the torment was preventing him from sleeping. But now, he couldn’t stay awake! Praise God! So we sent him up to room and told him to rest and gave him an assignment to read the Gospel of John. He needs a lot more work, that hopefully his heart will be right in the sight of God and the Lord will perform that work in him.

The second guy thought he had been a Christian for 5 years in the past, but backslid. After talking with him for a while, he came to the realization that he was never born again. He simply stopped using drugs, stopped cussing, and started going to church, and thought that constituted being a Christian. He knew a lot of scripture too. But the Lord was able to use us to show him the ways of truth, and teach him what true conversion is. We were able to pray with him too, but the withdrawals didn’t leave him when we prayed. So we gave him much instruction and commended him to God. The good thing is that he was much encouraged and renewed in hope, and claims to have repented and says he will serve the Lord now.

After they left, we called in a third guy (we have our own little ‘office’ at this place, which consists of plywood on all four sides, a plywood ceiling, a dirt floor, and a few benches). He wanted to talk with us and for us pray with him. He was an alcoholic and pill popper. We were able to share much with him. He had no understanding of the Gospel, and was baptized both in the Mormon church and in the Apostolic church (The Apostolics here are highly legalist, they deny the Trinity, and say you must be baptized in the name of “Jesus only” and speak in tongues to be saved). We were able to reason with him of sin, and righteousness, and judgment to come, and of the Cross and Gospel of Christ, and preach the way of salvation by grace through faith. He was much affected, and with much exhortation we told him to seek the Lord until He is found, until he knows the Lord saved him, and how to do it. We prayed for him as well.

After we talked and prayed with all four of these men, 7 hours had passed by and the day was expired. Planting and watering the precious Gospel seed takes time. Please pray dear saints that our labor be not in vain, that God would give these seeds the increase and grow them to fruition! I was highly discouraged by one man we have been instructing and praying for. After much work, and him getting delivered from many demons, he seems to be going like a dog back to his vomit. He hasn’t even read his Bible or prayed in the last week. When we talked with him briefly just before we left, the demons were jolting his body now and he couldn’t stop twitching and having serious spasms and doesn’t like to be around us. He won’t reach out and seek after God. Just a vessel of wrath fit for destruction? I pray not! Please pray for him!

Please, keep all these men in prayer! May they be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and made clean by faith in His name.

In Christ – Josef
http://www.puregospeltruth.com