Sunday, May 31, 2009

Living with Stage IV Prostate Cancer

The year is 2006 and it is July. It was a few days after visit to the Doctor, the news was not good about my latest PSA test and the level was 80.5. A normal PSA level is between 0-4, an appointment was made immediately with a Urologist. He took another PSA test within a week and it came back at 90.5, which is a 10 point jump. A biopsy was scheduled and the results came back positive 11 at of the 12 specimens showed I had advanced stage metastatic prostate cancer. I remember when I heard the devastating news saying to my wife they must be wrong, they must be wrong, I don't feel sick.

I remember crying out to the Lord and just plain crying why did this happen to me. I was an exercise fanatic, I ran in the NYC marathon and I am a strong Christian. In the beginning I was mad at God for allowing this disease to come into my life, but as treatment started the Lord showed me in the Bible where His Grace is sufficient for me. This one event became a life changer . First, knowing you have cancer humbles a person and I was humbled believe me. Secondly, my whole world was turned around and my view of life is now from a totally different perspective.

I would have taken the news about cancer a lot differently if I was still involved with Word of Faith. The first thing you are taught in the faith movement is to reject any sickness and create your own reality through denial. I remember one time that I kept repeating I will not receive any sickness thinking I could believe my way to health . Which is the essence of the faith movement believe and receive. Its all about my faith and me and not about God and His will for your life. Forget about going to a doctor, or you will be viewed as some kind of weakling. Looking back now I understand the flaws of the faith movement which founded on a mixture of New Age, Christian Science, and Christianity.

The treatment started immediately in July of 2006 which consisted of an injection of Lupron which lasted 3 months and Casodex pills. The drug lupron is an anti-androgen which stops the production of testosterone and arrests the spread of cancer and stops the growth of the tumors in the prostate gland. The side effects of lupron are numerous one of which is very intense hot flashes and impotency. Within the first 9 months of treatment and a lot of prayer my PSA level dropped from 90.5 to 0.4. I was so elated that the Lord looked down from Heaven and had mercy on me. It is now approaching 3 years and my PSA level is still low 0.35 and the bone scans show that no new metastases and I know that God has me here for a purpose and that is to share the Gospel of Jesus with a lost and dying world.

In 2 weeks I will have another PSA test to see if the cancer is on the move, or if I need to add Casodex back into the treatment. Dealing with prostate cancer in 3 month intervals is like riding a roller coaster. Every 3 months I get tested and receive a lupron shot, there is always that possibility that things can go wrong which makes for a time of raw emotion. Whatever the situation, I know that the Lord Jesus is my Strength, He is my Rock, He is my High Tower and that I will continue to Worship and serve the Lord Jesus all the rest of the days of my life.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Salvation through Jesus

The Lord Jesus spared my life from self destruction at the young age of 19, like so many of wiseguys that grew up in the Bronx. I was on a one way path to hell until the Lord reached down and rescued me. I wanted to be that cool guy with all the girls hanging out at the corner candy store. Little did I know that Jesus had a different plan for my life and I am glad He did.

Back to my walk with the Lord. Salvation came to me in 1969 at the house of a Full Gospel Businessmen named Mike in Coos Bay Oregon. Yes, that is right from the Bronx NY to Coos Bay Oregon. I remember repenting and praying to the Lord Jesus to forgive all of my sins and to be my Lord and Savior as the Bible has stated in Romans Chapter 10 vs 9 & 10. I remember the day I was born again and given another chance at life. The journey began with a stay in my Aunt's house in Salt Lake City Utah, then on to San Francisco, and then to Oregon. Mike worked for a logging company and opened his house to troubled teens of whom I was one. My good friend Tommy from the Bronx was there as well other people from the Northeast, about 10 in number.

This one event changed my life forever and led me on a pathway of reading the Bible, learning about God and walking with Him every day. The Lord Jesus has been merciful to me all of my life and I give Him the Praise and Glory. My stay in Oregon was a short one,maybe a few months in which I learned about about prayer and the Savior's love for me through the four Gospels.

Upon my return home to the Bronx being a new Christian was really a challenging adventure. I was on fire for the Lord with zeal for lost and unsaved spreading the Word of God to all my friends and family, telling all who listen about Jesus. At that time there were not a lot of Bible believing Churches in the area and fellowship with believers was non existent. I hungered to gain knowledge of the Bible and fellowship with good Christian people. With that purpose in mind I set out to find a Bible believing Church.

Then a friend told me of a Church group, the Way International and Victor Paul Weirwille who was the leader of the organization. Little did I know of what I was about to get into. What a way to start out, I became involved in a cult, all the while thinking that it was a Christian Church, wow was I deceived.

I went to some meetings because of the hunger to gain knowledge in the Word of God. At each meeting more and more pressure was placed by the twig leader on those who attended to take the class. The indoctrination of the cult became very apparent and didn't sit well with me.

Talk about shepherding, you could not make a move without approval of your twig leader. Then there was the insistence of taking their mind control course disguised as a Bible study class; in which those in attendance would become the next twig leader to get more converts to join the cult.

So that's how it worked more converts to the cult equaled more money for headquarters to keep this false cult rolling. Through all of this the Lord protected my mind and gave me the strength to leave this cult and truly follow Him.
Praise the Lord forever!!!!!!!!!

So what is happening in the
Charismatic World? The year is 1984 my daughter was born and at that time I felt the Lord tugging at my heart. It was time to get serious in studying the Bible and re-commit my life back to Jesus. A 10 year period had elapsed since backsliding and running from the Lord Jesus had begun, but He knew where I was and how to get my attention. Which He did very easily, a broken foot in a cast, some time off from work, and a Bible was all the Lord Jesus needed to get my undivided attention.

As the broken foot healed my wife would always put a Bible by the chair that I would sit in, one day I opened it up and started to read. The Lord's mercy is so gracious. His love and forgiveness jumped out from the pages of the Bible and I knew the Holy Spirit was calling me back.

I found out many of my wife's family were born-again Christians and so my entrance into the Charismatic World began. First there were my two terrific brother-in-laws in the Lord Gary and Rich who loved the Lord Jesus and started a home Bible study that developed into a large prayer group, and eventually into a public access TV show called Decisions. They were both very instrumental in pointing the way back to walking with the Lord .

Full Gospel Business
Men's Fellowship was thriving at that time in Connecticut and I was invited to a dinner. For the first time I was able to see men sharing their testimony about how Jesus changed their life and prospered their business. There were many outstanding Christians that I met through Full Gospel and love very dearly, people that love Jesus and have a servants heart. I will never forget all the people that helped during my family's time of financial struggles. When a poor business decision on my part almost wiped us out financially.

The problem within Full Gospel
became evident all too soon, that sound Biblical doctrine was not the cornerstone of the ministry, but spiritual experience was. When given the chance to share a popcorn testimony at a dinner. I was told not to sound too preachy at the podium because we wouldn't want to give the first time attendees the wrong impression.

Wrong impression wait a minute, what the heck is going on here, the object of the dinner was to win the lost to Christ. How do you tell someone who is lost in sin that Jesus saved your life from destruction and hell without sounding too preachy. Give me a break please!!!!!!!!. After that episode let it be said that my assignment as speaker on the FGBFMI circuit was hastily curtailed. That was alright because I would rather obey God rather than man.

Once again questions began to surface in my mind about where did Jesus fit into all of this. The dinners were set up to win the lost to Christ but what it turned into was a platform for the next hot shot speaker to sell his tapes, books, or outlandish
testimony of out of body experiences, of someone going either to hell or heaven.

Full Gospel in Connecticut had some of the wildest false prophets that came through town, on the other hand there were numerous authentic brothers in Christ who gave up their time to speak at the dinners and share their testimony of how Jesus changed their life.

I remember one dinner where I was sitting next to Paul Cain and not very impressed at all with this so called prophet. Little did I know that in the near future he would wreck havoc on the Body of Christ through the Kansas City Vineyards movement.

There were many more false prophets such as Cash Money, and John L who had the
anointing of John the Baptist and Elijah. Another speaker on the circuit was Tommy Hawk who after finished his testimony of how Jesus saved his life went to the back of the dinner hall and began selling his latest product a protein drink.

Then at a table set up for all his tapes books and whatever else he could peddle, the question that kept coming to my mind was, where was Jesus in all this self promotion? Talk about making merchandise of God's people this guy was a pro, it was like a feeding frenzy at a shark tank.

organization had many flaw's, one of which was when once a person got saved at a dinner. The new convert was not encouraged to attend a specific Bible believing local Church or join a Bible study . In other words if you were a Catholic and received Christ as your Savior, it was alright to go back into the Catholic Church to attend services. Now how could that be good for the spiritual growth for the new convert ? It was not conducive for spiritual growth at all

The reason for this is that the FGBFMI was more concerned with the big tent idea of unity, where all denominations would fit in, thus leaving most doctrinal differences outside the door and never discussed. I didn't realize it at the time but, the foundation was being laid for the Ecumenical and Charismatic Catholic movement to go through Full Gospel Businessmen's Organization with the false vision of unity as its vehicle.

Friday, May 22, 2009

What is happening in the Charismatic World? Part1

After much soul searching, researching, and prayer I have left the Charismatic movement, after being part of it for 24 years. I am now a member of First Baptist Church, in Naples Florida and love it. My search for answers on what was happening in the Charismatic world started last year as the Lakeland Revival began and Todd Bentley came on the scene.

I couldn't believe how many Christians were being deceived by this false prophet and his false miracles. The more I read about Todd Bentley and the people surrounding him like C. Peter Wagner, Paul Cain, Rick Joyner, Bob Jones and the rest of the Vineyards fellowship. The more I understood this was another false revival like Brownsville and the Toronto Blessing.

So I started with Todd Bentley and worked backwards it became project of connect the dots in reverse. My research lead to an article by Let us Reason Ministries about Todd Bentley called " Meet the new thing same as the old thing". In it I found out about a conversation Bentley had with Bob Jones who said he had the same visitation of an angel that the latter rain false healer William Branham of the 1940's. Another piece of the puzzle came together when I came across a website In which a video clip by Justin Peters was presented about the Word of Faith "A Call for Discernment". This video clip spurred me on to continue with my research because I was just beginning to scratch the surface of the problem of what is happening in the Charismatic World.

The connection deepened as Rodney Howard Brown, laughing revival, Kenneth Hagins Word of Faith, Kenneth Copeland, Joels Army, Later rain, Manifest Sons of God, Apostles/ Prophets movement, the Charismatic and Emergent Church started to intersect and had much in common. The light bulb finally went off in my mind and the Holy Spirit confirmed what I was thinking all along. That what these groups had in common was not Biblicial Christianity, but Apostasy which the Apostle Paul writes about in II Timothy 3 vs 1-7.

About a year and half ago a good friend and brother in the Lord was telling me about the next move of God and there were going to be great signs and wonders coming from this new anointing. He told me about the Elijah list and about the how God is going to use the Apostle's and Prophets in these last days. For many years most of the teaching in Charismatic circles has been that there will be an end time revival before the Lord Jesus returns. So I looked in my Bible and read what it said which was the opposite there would be a great falling away not revival.

The year was 1987 and my introduction into the Charismatic Church world began. A Non Denominational Church called Bright Clouds Ministries was the place. This Church just so happened to be pastored by a new minister who just graduated from Rhema. My brother-in-law led the Praise and Worship music, and my indoctrination into the Word of Faith began. The strange thing about this Church was that the services were held in a old movie theater which used to show porno movies. The Pastor used to proclaim this fact as proof of victory that the church was reclaiming the territory back for God. This was before adultery and divorce swept through the church eventually causing the Pastor to step down after being caught in an adulterous web.

In the beginning the Word of Faith teachings were exciting, learning how to tap into the so-called secrets of faith, prosperity, and healing. I bought every book and booklet that the word of faith bookstore was selling by the most popular faith teachers such as Kenneth Hagin, EW Kenyon, Kenneth Copeland and TL Osborn. I felt with this knowledge I was on my way to a new life and experience with God .I bought into this false teaching hook, line, and sinker. Yes I was on my way to being deceived and didn't know that trouble was right around the corner.