Philadelphias Freedom

October 8, 2007

Titus 2:11-12  “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

Last month we were computerless at the house for a number of days (it was a blessing.  Seriously) and as a result, the post “Closer than a Brother” (Sept 19) was done at the library in Constantine.  After wrapping it up I was heading out when, on the shelf of new arrivals, was a book called “Ghetto Nation” by Cora Daniels.  I had never heard of this author or the book, however, because of my tendancy of striving to be watchful concerning the times that we’re in and trends which are leading to prophetic fulfillment, I checked it out.  Here is a site concerning this book and the author.

www.coradaniels.com  (Three links in as many posts.  A definate trend is forming)

The book is very well written and Cora does an incredible job of dissecting this current counterculture which, as she mentions, has become far more than  just a passing fad.  With billions of dollars being made, this mindset has permeated the fabric of our entire society.  I live 4.5 miles from the nearest town in a setting of fields, broken up by large patches of woodland.  Yet hip hop is what everyone seems to be listening to and the accompanying linguistic structures have become the preferred pattern of speech for many.  (Our oldest daughter talks it.  In fact one of her many screen names is “Gangsta”) 

Cora grew up in Brooklyn where she still resides.  She paints a vibrant picture of growing up there.  Many fond memories of what sounds like a close knit family.   She also writes about current observances of those who have succumbed to the lowest common denominators.  This book did two things for me.  (I’m still only half way through it as time is always in short supply)  ( 1 )  I have a greater realization as to the lateness of the hour and the vast array of devices that the enemy is using to keep people from the light of Jesus.  Self destructing habits and lifestyles as the devil and his minions try to “do them in” while they’re still without Christ.  ( 2 ) I began to think about Philadelphia, a city where I resided for ten months.  A city that, to this day, holds a special place in my heart.  Not the physical metropolis, but rather, the 1,429,281 souls who live there.  Priceless, eternal souls who are bombarded with a steady supply of hopelessness; a situation that is repeated in every community, large, and small.  Souls for whom Jesus went to the cross to rescue from eternal death. 

II Timothy 2:4  “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath called him to be a soldier.”

It was early October of 1984.  I was in the navy when our ship pulled into the Philadelphia shipyard for a ten month overhaul.  I was 13 months in the Lord at the time; a very new christian lacking in wisdom on an array of fronts.  (still lacking in wisdom. lol)  Yet a ferverant desire for those outside the household of faith to come to Jesus.  This desire took us (the other brothers on the ship and I) into the streets of Philly.  I think that, in the course of ten months, we covered every portion of the city with the good news that when Jesus sets a person free, they are free indeed.  When a person comes to Jesus in sincerety and true repentance, their sins are washed away and all things are become new. 

We talked with folks from practically every facet of society.  Oftentimes I would go it alone as it just seemed easier and folks seemed more responsive to one person as opposed to five or six.  (Although five or six can saturate a corner quite effectively)  Each venue had its moments and the fellowship that we had was unlike any that I’ve been a part of since.  In addition, we often joined with Calvin Stringfield, a welder who lived on the northernmost side of Philly.  He was a member of Benjamin Smiths church on North Broad street and very active in community outreach.  Even after returning to Norfolk, I made several return trips to meet up with Calvin and his family. 

Yet the one-on-ones, when there were no other conflicting agandas are the ones most treasured.  Particular standouts are the athiest on Broad street, (a conversation that lasted the bulk of an afternoon) the “extremely angry” native American near city hall, the muslim who tried repeatedly to get into a discussion over race, the punk rockers who hung out on Chestnut street, and the homeless.  Many of them veterens for whom life had just never been the same.  So many stories.  So much heartache.  So many wrestling with demons.  Priceless souls; all who can be set free through Jesus Christ who paid for the sins of all at Calvary with his own blood. 

Yesterday, pastor Greg preached a message, quite simply entitled “We Have the Answer.”  Jesus is the answer.  He is the answer for the addict, the homeless vetren, the single mother, the single father, the kids that Cora refers to as “the knuckleheads on the corner,” the drunken sailor, the petty thief, the girl who ran away from an abusive home, and the guy who lives in the van down by the river.  Jesus is the answer for every one from every venue; rich or poor, young or old, well-educated or barely literate.  He can free the man who has voices in his head and the lady with a band of alternates.   He is the answer to the manic depressive, the new ager, the wiccan, the muslim, and the lady with an alien implant in her neck who gets abducted by the greys every once in a while.

Today is a warm morning in rural southwest Michigan.  Like so many others, I’ve become a “run-of-the-mill” middle class American with a monotonous job, a mortgage, and a very average lifestyle.  This isn’t a bad thing; it’s just “average.”  Yet the burning desire to be back on the streets remains and Coras book only rekindled the desire.  The hour is later than it was in 1985.  The darkness is darker; all across the land, not just in Philadelphia.  (We were in a lot of places during my navy days, however, our lengthy stay in Philadelphia left a lasting impression.)  I had thoughts of, upon the conclusion of my enlistment, travelling to Los Angeles and joining up with Duane Pederson who worked in the streets there and we corresponded for a time  Yet such never came to be.  Perhaps the Lord wasn’t in it or perhaps I was just being rebellious.  (Romans 8:28)

This is going to sound even nuttier than normal, however, I sometimes wonder if I secretly desire for the plant to go to Mexico (it’s already going one product line at a time) and the bank to take the house back.  We would then be forced to look completely to the Lord and seek his will.  (I don’t ask the Lord to please bring this to pass; I only pray that his perfect will be done.  If his perfect will is done, all is going to be well.  Even if it looks scary in the natural.)  A few weeks ago, my wife mentioned that wherever we go, she’ll trust my judgment.  It took a second or so for that to sink in.  I have a very wonderful and loving wife and I truly believe that she was serious.  As in all decisions we are to take it to the Lord in prayer and then be obediant when an answer comes forth.  (Even if it’s not the answer that we were hoping for.)

The truth is that souls are all around us; regardless of where we live and it’s imperative that we do all to reach them.  As Pastor Troyer mentioned recently, our view of eternity will determine how we behave on this side.  (That’s not an exact quote.  In fact I think it’s worded differently than my previous reference to the same quote. lol)  When we are truly eternally minded, we’ll do all that we can to bring others into the kingdom.  Well, I have to run to Sturgis and so I must close this up for now.  I apolagize for any grammerical errors.  I’ll try to clean it up when time permits.  I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.



  1. Hi timbob,

    We have battled the ‘ghetto’ mentality with our 19 year old. It is so pervasive now in the schools and on TV. It is the new norm. My 8 year old came downstairs yesterday morning with the back of his shorts pulled down below his (camo colored) boxers. He has seen some teenage boys around town wearing their pants like that. What is up with this new ‘fashion’ trend? Why are teenage boys exposing their rumps these days? Now that is soo….’ghetto’.

    Anyway, your point is so well taken. Our society is moving farther and farther from God’s plumb line of righteousness. But, Hallelujah, Jesus is the answer! We need to be like Amos and cry out for our nation to repent and plead with God to spare and restore us individually and collectively.

    btw, awesome new photo header. We could use some cool weather down here in Texas.

    Blessings to you and yours today,

  2. …and Jesus is also the badly needed answer for us ‘Christians’ as well.


  3. Ya’ know, timbob, I live in a rural area that is very church-focused. That is not to say that many aren’t Christ-focused but it’s as if the ones who get caught in the snare are more condemned than lifted up…as I’ve said in another post when you mentioned your desire to “take it to the streets” I need to crank up some type of ministry for those who don’t “know” but feel intimidated to come to a church and “find out”…please pray with me on this as I do for you and yours.

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