Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Under the Authority of Christ, in the Mighty Name above ALL Names, the Lutchman family extends to one and all the tremendous Blessings of Heaven. These blessings began on a cold hill in Bethlehem, (home of my dear friend Jamal Rashmawy, a Palestinian Christian who grew up on the Biblical fields of BOAZ!!!! He also walked the hills where Shepherds watched their flocks by night. A member of my church - Springfield Bible - Jamal and his wife, Afaf, now own the Holy Land Diner in Springfield, Illinois).
These blessings came down to Earth, as the Glory of the Lord shone all around these poor shepherds, not the rich church leaders of this or that time, but dirt poor shepherds. This was an indication of why and for whom Christ descended to the earth He created - to meet us in our poverty, dirty and unclean as we were. Therefore, we wish you a Happy and Holy Christmas. May His Joy and Power gave you and yours all the Peace and Happiness you desire!! AMEN!
Finally, what a December to remember! I lost my voice after Thanksgiving and it returned just in time for me to teach on Prayer and Fasting at Berlin Christian Church, Berlin, Illinois, on December 2. It was impressive to be a part of that, as BCC embarks on a 31 day fast to seek the Lord for their new church building! Oh, that ALL churches would do that! Later that afternoon, we had a wonderful visit to the Mary Bryant Home for the Blind with our 4H group to take a Christmas tree, gifts and sing carols with the residents there! The amazing thing was, even though they were blind, they knew all the words to ALL the carols better than us who could see!!
On December 8, our entire family - Bernie III, Sam, Sarah, Vicki and I - had the tremendous privilege of ministering to the wonderful seniors at the Villa Nursing Home, Sherman, Illinois. What a beautiful time of ministry and Christmas fellowship we led them in. After a short Christmas message, I got to follow up pray with a particular lady. She had a tumor on the back of her head which I had laid hands on back in April 2007. She told me, after 8 months, it was shrinking and wanted me to do the same! I gave God all the Glory as I anointed her with Holy oil from the Holy Land and prayed. We even got to minister to catholic Franciscan brother there, who came to listen to us!
On December 8 and 15, our oldest son Bernie, played at two Christmas concerts with the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony (see photo) and with the Illinois Symphony at the Sangamon Auditorium. He is a percussionist and is in his third year with the SVYS.
Our final ministry outreach this Christmas Season 2007 was at the Stonecroft Ministries Springfield Christian Women's Club at the Northfield Center, Springfield. We were given the music program and that was an absolute delight, my friends!! AMEN! My sweet little daughter, Sarah made her first public solo debut, outside of a retirement home with a tearjerking verse or two of Silent Night! The wonderful thing about family ministry is folks just love seeing the kids! My son, Sam, is also a hit on his violin. When possible, that is the right atmosphere to bring home a short, hardhiting Gospel message!
The Good Lord has been amazing to us all year long, during 2007! We have been blessed to minister in churches, nursing homes and the various speaking engagements from Joliet to Colorado Springs! I can not begin to state how humbling all of this. The completion and publication of my first book "TWO MINUTE WARNING" was the fulfillment of a life-long dream. We still have some duties at church for Christmas.
Each Christmas and New Year's Sunday, for over a decade, I have been privileged to lead the music during the worship services. This year, my son Sam, gets to play a Piano duet with brother Gene Grman, an amazing 80 year old man, who still lifts pianos at his store! Then Sam plays part of Silent Night on his violin as the service begins! All of us can not wait for 2008 to see how the Lord moves....for His Own Glory!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
Photos above are from SVYS Christmas Concert, Dec. 8, 2007 at the massive First United Methodist church building and from our Family's music ministry at StoneCroft Ministries Christian Women's Club, Northfield Center, Springfield, Illinois.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
It is indeed an honor and privilege for me to recommend a tremendous book "QUILTING PATCHES OF LIFE" by a dear friend to Vicki and I, as well as author LORI WAGNER (see photo). The book is a collection of inspirational studies and devotionals written by some faithful Christian men and women from everywhere! You will enjoy it, I guarantee it! Here is the link to Lori's website and the book itself. Her book is a perfect companion for Christmas gifts to my book "TWO MINUTE WARNING"! Please pray about your participation in this book ministry!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
I was lost for about a month, not knowing what to speak about for 45 minutes that would be of benefit to anyone. I did not buy the lie of Satan I was not good enough, the book was a “nice exercise” but “who do you think you are”…but it weighed on me!! Not just that, but I was asked to do the same workshop twice, which would then be recorded for mass distribution.
Finally on August 21, I came across the verse which changed all of this and my own perspective. I stand on the Sovereignty of God and His Sovereign ability to speak to whomever He wants…at all times…through the Holy Ghost. When He gave me the verse for my topic “LIVING WITH POWER”…. (http://www.ndptf.org/coordinators/home/Index.cfm?Entity=14&Department=18&Dept_Order=1&This_TopicOrder=4&This_SubtopicOrder=1#5 ); the message was the same as He told Joshua in Joshua 7:10.
Joshua had just lost the Battle of Ai because Israel had sinned against God. He was down on his face bawling “Lord why did you take us out of Egypt…” The LORD said “what are you doing down on your face”?! AMEN!! On August 21, 2007 He basically communicated to me through His Spirit “I have given you so much, why are you acting like that?” Basically, as if I am the biggest loser in history.
Here is the key verse which turned it all around for me! John 1:12 (KJV) says “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on His Name”. (Emphasis mine)
The word which jumped out at me is POWER (Exousia in the Greek). The Lord led me back to the Titles of EACH of my chapter in the book! I was so dumb I could not see it! Each chapter began with “The Power of….” All ten chapters. I don’t know about you, but I thank God, I can leave all the driving and details up to Him. Being a human, I think I am, but subconsciously we still think in our own weakness at the wrong times!
The long weeks of preparation led me from one topic to the next, some of which touched down on three pillars of the book: Leadership, Legacy and Life Lessons. But the Holy Spirit wanted to teach me about Sabbath Rest most of all! Even though I had written about it in the book for a few pages, I contacted the great Bob Warren (http://www.lifeonthehill.org/) for any insight. I respect his input more than a lot of people about in depth matters like this. He did not disappoint.
Using his verse (Galatians 2:20) as a jump off point, the Spirit led me to one revelation after another. The Lord Jesus did not call the Spirit “Counselor” for nothing. He is more than a Counselor…He is Christ…and He lives in me, the chief of sinners!
Along with Sabbath rest, the Lord led me to teach on the Ministry of Reconciliation. It is a theme coming out of Randy and myself and our sad hearts for the lost….seeing the times are short. This theme is now part of my upcoming Seminar series called “FACE UP!”
The National Day of Prayer Annual Conference and Prayer Retreat was literally out of this world. From the moment H B London kicked off the monthly Chapel at Focus (Dr. James Dobson was in Washington D.C. to receive an award that weekend); I knew this conference would be different.
Chip Ingram, the director of WALK THROUGH THE BIBLE (and radio pastor of Living on the Edge), was the keynote speaker at Chapel. On the flight to Colorado Springs, the Lord had him ditch his totally prepared sermon to one which he preached totally off the cuff. His theme? INTEGRITY! If ministry leaders, prayer warriors and pastors…which most of us are/were who were there, needed to hear a message, it was that one! Without integrity, we had better forget it!
This was just the beginning. On the flight to Colorado, a severe and distracting pain developed out of nowhere in my left shoulder and upper arm. Two days later, at the Concert of Prayer it was unbearable. The Concert was held at the most incredible House of Prayer ever – the World Prayer Center at New Life Church. The WPC has set the standard worldwide, just as the Kansas City International House of Prayer (IHOP) has for all IHOPs across the US, like ours here in Springfield, which Scott Beauchamp started (http://www.ihopspringfield.org/) .
The entire theme of the NDP Concert of Prayer was Repentance. A fine soldier of Christ – Matthew Stark (http://www.pureliferevolution.net/) led the intense portion on Repentance, personal repentance. There is nothing like this in our churches. Too many of our people are sailing through their Christian lives, in a state of delusion that all is well and they have nothing for which to repent.
His message is for the serious Christian who wants to live in a right relationship with God! For a 31 year old young man, he is wise beyond his years and deserves to be heard across the country. I am in the process of putting him in touch with Iron Sharpens Iron National Men’s Conferences and Tony Nolan, the pastor to Casting Crowns who ministers to youth, in Winter Jam concerts as well.
Something happened that night. I was already nervous about doing two workshops as the Conference got into full swing. I had NEVER done a single workshop anywhere, and still could not believe the first one was a Focus on the Family! I was so full of fear and trepidation, it bothered me throughout the Concert of prayer to the point I left it briefly. What really added to it was hearing both workshops were full! I put in a call into Randy in Peoria who was shopping in Wal-Mart and walked outside to pray for me! The Lord was in that prayer because the fear was gone…yet the pain remained.
Two awesome prayer warriors, who shall remain nameless (as it was the Healing powers of the Lord working through their obedience) laid hands on me and prayed the pain away!! Needless to say, I have never been closer to the Lord since that night! It was, literally and figuratively, being on the mountain of God! Who would want to come of that?!
Not matter what I do, in the Service of the Lord, I find it more in keeping with His will, if I remain in awe and full of Fear and Trembling! Despite a few stumbles, the workshop went well. All the Hebrew/Greek word study; Baptist-styled alliteration and real-life references made the entire time shoot by.
I was surprised by the fact that while some men bought the book off the book table, most of my book sales went to women by a 5-1 ratio! One lady from Kentucky took a look, totally by accident, of the new FOUR PILLARS OF A Woman’s HEART (which is copyrighted by my publisher) and told her friend…they bought. Another woman from Jacksonville, Florida came by next day and got three….etc etc…
It was totally humbling to be in the midst of the Lord working, my dear friends. The teaching about Sabbath Rest hit home with a lot of people. One woman was also near tears when I taught on the Ministry of Reconciliation. The men and women from all over America who came to the workshops were so nice, encouraging and full of interest; it had to be from God! No one knew who I was BEFORE the workshops were full.
It was the Title, from the Verse He gave me, which brought them in. I rejoiced in the fact that it was NOT about me!! I saw the Power of God and it gave me rest! THAT ALONE is a perfect example of living in Sabbath Rest….a perfect example of Living by the Life of Another….a perfect example of Living an effective Christian life….which can only come about through humility, brokenness, prayer and seeking the total Will of God!! HALLELUJAH!
Vicki, my dear wife, was able to participate for the first time this year and caught the vision! One workshop she attended taught on how to hold a Bible Reading Marathon (where a group of readers read the entire Bible in 90 hours leading up to the National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday in May annually). My gal came back On Fire for Christ, ready to accomplish that in the near future! We struck up a huge relationship with the awesome folks at Bible Pathways in Murpheesboro, Tenn. They video – recorded our testimonies to add in the near future to their website – http://www.internationalbiblereadingassociation.org/
This site allows folks worldwide to see and hear others testify to the power of His Word. They take your testimony and edit it into two or three segments. The other workshops were just so tremendous; it could bring tears to your eyes. The testimony from Kamal Saleem, a former Islamic terrorist/now a Soldier for Christ, would put a lie to the claims by the elite about Islam being a religion of peace!
One of the most beautiful seminars I have ever been to was the Power of a Praying Husband and Wife, led by Gary and Barb Hibma from Iowa. It brought my wife and I so much closer as a couple anointed by God. All of these lessons I learned will be used to the benefit of the body of Christ, not just in the membership of Business Men in Christ, but wherever the Lord uses me. This could be at the Inner City Mission; a Bible conference; a breakout session at Iron Sharpens Iron…anywhere! I am F.A.T….and it is not because of ½ pound Buffalo burgers!!ha!! I am available, Lord…here I am, SEND ME!!
Many in the prayer movement are familiar with the great Dutch Sheets (http://www.dutchsheets.org/). This year I read his book “Intercessory Prayer” for the first time and it blew me away. I never had so many post-it notes in ANY book before! The book is totally based not just on Scripture, but the ORIGINAL Hebrew/Greek words and the instructions from the Lord on how to live. All books written by humans have things we do not agree with. When a man or woman uses the Original Biblical language though, I pay attention, take the meat and leave the bones.
Dutch spoke about a certain weariness in ministry which we must all guard against. So many Para church and church leaders are getting burned out to the point of it affecting the body and the Work of the Lord. The key? Sabbath Rest! What a way to wrap it up! When we weary of doing good in the Kingdom of God, let us not forget to rest in Him! Those two weeks in October…well, as hectic a pace they carried, were the prelude to the biggest lesson of all – Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit!
Isaiah 40:31 (KJV):But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
SATURDAY OCTOBER 20, 2007: NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND PRAYER RETREAT, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY HEADQUARTERS, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - Bernie Lutchman leads two Breakout Workshops on the book "TWO MINUTE WARNING" expanded into a series called "LIVING WITH POWER", based on John 1:12 at 10:55am and 12:55pm Mountain Time.
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10, 2007: NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER NEW COORDINATOR EVENT AT THE WORD OF LIFE CHURCH, TAYLORVILLE, IL. "God at the Center", Bernie Lutchman.
SUNDAY DECEMBER 2, 2007: BERLIN CHRISTIAN CHURCH, BERLIN, IL. ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS AND TWO MORNING WORSHIP SERVICES. "PRAYER AND FASTING", BERNIE LUTCHMAN
FRIDAY DECEMBER 7, 2007: VILLA WEST RETIREMENT HOME, SHERMAN, ILLINOIS AT 2 PM. LUTCHMAN FAMILY SINGERS SHARE A CHRISTMAS GOSPEL HOUR FOR THE RESIDENTS. Lutchman Singers with Sam Lutchman on the Violin etc....
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12, 2007: SPRINGFIELD CHRISTIAN WOMEN'S CLUB, NORTHFIELD CENTER, SPRINGFIELD, IL. BRUNCH AT 10AM. LUTCHMAN FAMILY SINGERS SHARE THE MUSIC PROGRAM FOR THE CHRISTMAS 2007 BRUNCH.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9, 2008: IRON SHARPENS IRON NATIONAL MEN'S CONFERENCE. BREAKOUT SESSION: FACE UP! SERIES. FAITH FAMILY CHURCH, SHILOH, ILLINOIS/BERNIE LUTCHMAN.
SATURDAY MARCH 1, 2008: IRON SHARPENS IRON NATIONAL MEN'S CONFERENCE BREAKOUT SESSION: FACE UP! SERIES. FUMC WEST, SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS/ BERNIE LUTCHMAN.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I even read some of the old rabbinical writings, none of which could be considered canon (or ‘kosher’ for inclusion in the Holy Bible). I would encourage anyone to read the ancient writings! There are vivid descriptions of what supposedly transpired between the tribes of Joseph and his brothers, after Jacob’s death! Moses only included what the Holy Spirit wanted him to, in the Pentateuch.
There were a number of months between writing about Jacob’s blessing and what turned out to be an incredible journey for me! I had read about an old Puritan preacher named Obadiah Holmes many years ago and wanted to know more about him and who his descendants were!
My research led me to a website where the material, (no doubt Spirit-led as was everything in this book) just jumped out at me!! I needed permission to use it in the book and emailed the contact. The gentleman to whom I spoke, and made contact with, was so nice and generous, I was overwhelmed! The materials he furnished me later on, after we spoke, vividly livened up this chapter! It is a part of Living American Christian History!!
I spoke to a living descendant of Obadiah and Roger Williams, long accepted as the First Baptist in America. He is also credited with founding the state of Rhode Island in 1636. The Rev. Williams is called a colonist, but he was actually looking for religious freedom when he fled Massachusetts and landed in Rhode Island!
Not just that, but my new friend Ron Wightman, is also a cousin from the same line of the man now claimed by three states – US President Abraham Lincoln! I followed the family lines all the way back to Obadiah, in this Legacy chapter!
The purpose of the chapter was to illustrate from both the Bible and modern historical greats, how Faith (not fate) and perseverance change destiny! Jacob’s blessing on the Twelve Sons gave us both corrupt Levite priests and the High Priest of Heaven – Jesus, from the Tribe of Judah. Obadiah’s blessings on his own children (see Chapter 8) led us to Abraham Lincoln and Ron! Behind it all, is the Mighty Hand of God!
Webster’s Dictionary calls a heritage “something possessed as a result of one’s natural situation or birth.” Job 31:2 asks “For what is the allotment of God from above and the inheritance of the Almighty from on high” (NKJV)? That is the crux of this chapter.
There is a debate over intergenerational curses. Here is what the Bible says about that from Ezekiel 18:21-22 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live” (NKJV).
Sure, mankind is inherently sinful, but God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” NKJV. We, who are saved, are a forgiven people. So don’t believe too much in curses but believe in Leaving a Legacy!!
Read the personal histories of men like Obadiah, Roger Williams and other modern day giants of the Faith. Some of it is address briefly in the book. You will be amazed at suffering and valleys True men (and women of God like Joni Tada) have to be taken through, in order to reach the Mountaintop of God!! Praise His Great Name!
(Photo credit:Public Domain)
Saturday, August 25, 2007
God is SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOD!! All the time, He is good!! Praise His Great Name!
PHOTO : Doug Mazza (read Chapter 10 of the book); former CEO of HYUNDAI, N.A. and now President of Joni and Friends, stands behind Joni at the signing of a new contract with Franklin Springs Family Media (photo credit: http://www.franklinsprings.com/news/ )
It is still a stunning shocker to me to be asked to do two workshops on this book, even before I had my own copy in my hands! This was a Divine appointment, friends!
It is also no accident the subtitle is "Effective Christianity for the 4th Quarter of Life". These workshops are part of a National Conference and Prayer Retreat held in Colorado Springs this October! It is still overwhelming that God would choose a nobody like me to share His testimony and Glory with others more eloquent, knowledgeable or better looking and younger than I!!! haha
For weeks I floundered not knowing how I would even begin the workshop or what to specifically address for two 45 minute sessions! Then this past week, the Lord placed it right before me! It is still amazing to me and I want to please Him so much. Alas, we are still mortal! Nevertheless we persevere.
Here is the verse the Lord gave me from John 1:12 (KJV) "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name". The word POWER is from the Greek word EXOUSIA. This has the connotation of "delegation of authority from Above"!! Namely, when Christ saved us and gave us His Holy Spirit, who is GOD!! We therefore have the same power, authority and thus, effectiveness if we walk in His Light ALL the time!
This is what the book is about! I could not see it until God gave me the verse and led me back to my own Table of Contents!!! You can see them below! Each chapter was named "The Power of...."!!! This proves we are NOTHING without the Lord leading us! Absolutely NOTHING!! LORD, please help me to stay clean, submitted and surrendered to You all of my days on this, YOUR earth. I am Yours, In Jesus Name, Amen.
Here are the Names of the Chapters in the 312 page Work of Love; from my pen to the people of God; via the Spirit of God. Thank you, Jesus!!
Chapter 1: The Power of Great Faith
Chapter 2: The Power of the Bible and Sin
Chapter 3: The Power of Prayer
Chapter 4: The Power of Repentance and Revival
Chapter 5: The Power of Leadership, Part 1
Chapter 6: The Power of Leadership, Part 2
Chapter 7: The Power of the Fourth Quarter Christian
Chapter 8: The Power of A Legacy
Chapter 9: The Power of Holiness
Chapter 10: The Power of Contented Living
Chapter 11: Smorgasbord.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Joe puts 150 percent into loving young adults - finding out who they are and where they're at in this crazy world of ours. I don't know anyone who has spent more time with kids than Joe. He knows what's going on in their lives. And I feel blessed to call him one of my best friends".*
This is the Joe White who is responsible for many men getting saved from the fires of hell at multiple Promise Keepers events across America, from 2000-2006. Just as crucial, the Gospel of Christ preached, only as Joe can, led men like me to get the bleachers, taking off our street clothes; confess our sins and put on our Christian Warrior Uniform. Brothers and sisters, I am in the game because Christ used Joe White to "slap me upside the 'haid'"!!
There was no one else I could have imagined to hand off this book concept to than him for his approval! The first two rough chapters were hardly out of the keyboard, when Joe's assistant Kara Britt recommended it to him! Looking back at the hack writing of those early chapters about one year ago, I am amazed he even looked it them!! Both of them became parts of fuller chapters, in order to tell the Story Jesus flowed through me!
I was absolutely floored when our dear brother Joe White endorsed the entire book after those two now chapter-sections!! His trust in me, even after four months of writer's block, led to me aspiring to live up to his endorsement! The Holy Spirit took care of that as the finished product from 10 intensive weeks of writing the 300 plus page book can testify to. The Lord is now preparing the way to use each part of His book, through me, to teach Effective Living - at any age - for ANY Christian!! PRAISE HIS GREAT NAME!!
Here is brother Joe White's endorsement: "Two Minute Warning offers a powerful reminder of the hope we have in the Living God by giving the insight and motivation to live sold out for your Savior to the very end. Bernie Lutchman gives an outside perspective on the life of Fourth-Quarter Christian and uses basic truths to convey a deep, moving and inspirational message! Living in the world and not of the world is a daily challenge and God is using Bernie Lutchman to help Christians like you and me embrace that challenge and end this life on earth victorious".
Brother Joe has kept in touch with all new developments and I consider him not just a hero, and a hero of the faith, but a mentor and encourager to me! Pray for his ministry, his family and his health, please. As many of us know, he is well known as a college and high school conference champion. Dr. James Dobson said "Joe knows more about teenagers than anyone in America"! Indeed! From our favorite, Focus on the Family to a Liberty University college campus, young people all over America are finding out the truth about what is really important in life - A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST!!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
There is a school of thought which says that God speaks only through His Word in these last days. I do not deny He does this. His Spirit interprets our prayers, reveals multiple layers of Truth in a single Bible verse and releases Power from Above through us. Where I differ from men like one of my favorite teachers, Dr. John MacArthur, (whose Bibles I have four different copies etc), is this - GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS, PERIOD!!!
I, myself, am wary of people who said the Lord told them "to do, thus and such". We all remember someone back in the 1980's in a tower in Oklahoma who said he was not coming down until he raised $6 million! This is not what happened to me.
In 1988, I had just chosen the Lord over the flesh in July, finally returning home for good. I was asleep when I suddenly felt myself pulled really fast up the side of a huge green, tree-covered mountain range. I did not, nor do I not now, recognize it. It is amazing that when the Lord wants to reveal Himself, He takes you to the mountaintop!! AMEN and Hallelujah!
I could not see to whom I was speaking, but heard the smooth, deep, loving voice of My Lord Jesus Christ! I have never heard it since August 16, 1988 and do not expect to until He says on that day - when Joe White, Steve Farrar, Billy Graham, Joni Tada, Vicki Lutchman and millions of others stand before Him. The next time I hear His Voice speaking to me again, He will say "This one's mine"!! Thank you, Jesus!!
Here is what the Bible says about the Voice of the Lord from Psalm 29: 3-4 (NKJV) " The voice of the LORD is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty".
In those brief moments, the first thing Jesus said was "I have a plan for you". He did not say what the plan was or is! He then said something really funny which I can not remember to this day! I said "You are joking with me?"
Then the Lord said "Who do you think invented a sense of humor"!!! I am sure He said invented....as He is the Inventor and Creator of all things! With that, He was gone! Just as He appeared in a Burning Bush on a mountain (!!), He comes and goes as He pleases. The book has more of what happened subsequently and how my life changed from then to now.
But since then, the Lord has revealed Himself to me many times through visions and dreams. I have only told very few people about this. Around the year 2000, I remember seeing the silhouettes of two men in the dark in robes in our bedroom in our previous house. The next thing I knew I was looking at myself lying on the bed (obviously just my body) and heard my wife sobbing and praying for me to stay! The two men simply told me "it was not time yet" (verbatim!). Then they were gone just as quickly!
It would appear that, like the Apostle Paul, I was ready to die to go be with Jesus!! Another time, it was as vivid as day, I was allowed to see the Apostle teaching in Heaven but I was not as full of joy as I should have been. I woke up stunned, because I wanted to soar into Heaven with all flags flying!! He was telling me I was not living up to what He put me here to do! This is NO LONGER THE CASE!
Friends, in Jesus Name, I am making up for that right now!! The fire in my heart, mind, body and soul for Jesus is more than a 5 alarm. In fact all the fire trucks in a tri-state area could never douse this Fire for the Lord!! Look at the BMIC fire truck on the right...that is just a symbol of our Passion for the Christ.
The Hot Fire of Evangelism; the Heavy burden for the Lost; the High aspirations to teach True Truth (Francis Schaefer); the Heavenly roadmap He gave me....have all merged right now to a Plan! It is the kind of Plan ONLY JESUS COULD COME UP WITH!!
Praise His Great Name!! "Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory" Psalm 24:10 (NKJV).
NEXT: READ JOE WHITE'S ENDORSEMENT AND MORE ABOUT JOE!! WE ALL KNOW HIM AND LOVE HIM! (We, being, all who have seen him build the Cross at Promise Keepers in the past decade).
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I first seriously began writing children's stories while living in Hartford, Connecticut in the early 1990's right around the time Vicki and I had our first child - Bernie III. At that time, we were teaching about 20 beautiful children at Immanuel Congregational Church (directly opposite Mark Twain's house were he actually wrote Huck Finn etc. on Farmington Avenue). I had a puppet show starring a talking wolf head named Woffie and a short fat clam, with no name!
We were so blessed by these children, it shaped our lives!! This church is the opposite of what we believe then AND now! It is part of the United Church of Christ, the most liberal mainline church in America and the only one to sanction "gay marriage". We went there for about three years for two reasons - it was around the corner and secondly, we could not find an Evangelical church anywhere within moderate driving distance in 1990. The sermons we heard were shocking....mainly anti-military; anti-Ronald Reagan etc...even pro-abortion! From the pulpit!! So when we were offered a chance to teach church school DURING the service we jumped at it!
The first thing we noticed was these kids had no clue who Jesus is/was/is...or as Jesus said "before Abraham was, I AM!!" We had the privilege over almost all of those three years to teach the same kids about Him and His Word! We saw lives transformed, even at that age! I wish I could see some of those kids now to see how their lives turned out. Most of them were from elitist latchkey homes, or the inner city. This put a fire in me to write a book....but about what?
Over the past 14 plus years, I had many starts and frustrating stops. I began to wonder if I would ever realize my lifelong dream to write a book. I grew up the son of a school principal and government education officer who refused to have a TV in the house! Therefore I discovered the love of books from an early age. By the age of 10, I had already read biographies on Beethoven, Dickens etc. In my twenties, I would read one book per week...any book. If it was on a shelf and it was NOT a Harlequin romance, I read it!haha
But here I was all through the corrupt 1990's, across the bridge to the 21st century. I could teach 20 kids in a century old church basement or adults in a Springfield, Il. Sunday School class, but could not write or even read a book past the first couple of chapters!
This all changed on September 7, 2001! Dr. Joe White, a man I had never heard of before that night, walked out of the thundering darkness in the Conseco Fieldhouse. This was at Promise Keepers in Indianapolis and he was carrying a huge telephone pole across the ground floor, up to the stage. He proceeded to hue a Cross out of that huge log and nail it together with foot long nails. All the while he narrated a story of what a Roman crossbuilder may have seen while he prepared this execution device for a Nazarene preacher named Jesus!
Every nail Joe pounded, every swing of the hammer, bore into the very depth of my soul. It was me pounding those nails into Jesus. I could not bear it much longer. Joe made an invitation after he had prayed the Martyr's prayer and the great testimony by Pastor Shadrach Meschach Lockeridge! Joe was talking directly to me! I wrote down my sins on a piece of paper, came off the bleachers into the game and Joe nailed my paper full of sins to the Cross. It was the first and only altar call I ever answered. Tomorrow's post will describe my face to "FACE" actual Encounter with the Living Christ at 3am CDT on Monday August 16, 1988, but this was my first face to face with myself, broken in front of the Cross.
This is what Jesus was waiting on! This changed everything, my dear friends! Next, in June 2002 at the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. James Merritt was the outgoing SBC president. His farewell message was based on 2 Timothy 4: 7 (KJV) "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith".
That sermon pointed out the urgency of my remaining years and what this verse really means. I resolved to do something about it. All the while, the Lord was preparing me. Right about that time, Dr. Jerry Falwell wrote a nice piece in the Liberty Journal on 4th Quarter ministry...which really clicked something in me! Then my brother in Christ, the former head of the Springfield Fellowship of Christian Athletes and former Atlanta Falcon linebacker Bryan Mckenzie, brought something called Men's Fraternity to us in Springfield!
We jumped right into "the Great Adventure". Dr. Robert Lewis (http://www.mensfraternity.org/) is the creator and teacher of Mens Fraternity. This teaching propelled me into the Greatest Adventure I have ever had in my life! In fact when I met Dr. Lewis last year in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention, he took one look at me and said "you're living the Great Adventure, aren't you!!!" Yes, sir!
For many years, I collected a massive folder of clippings and research. It was so huge, you could not miss it on my bookshelf! I had no idea what my book could even be about. Then last September 2006 I sat down to write finally. Guess what? The folder was nowhere to be found!! In almost one entire year, we still have not found it! I began to write on Fourth Quarter Christians, midlife Crisis and other things together with my testimony. Then for the next four months, I had the biggest writer's block ever! But the Lord was still working!!
I had sought out my hero, Dr. Joe White! After sending him the two totally unedited chapters, he endorsed the book!! This was the Hand of God again. First the missing folder, now Joe White, the same man responsible for me standing on the playing field right now! Some people's heroes are politicians, movie stars or musicians. My heroes are sold out, submitted, solid, servants of the Savior Jesus Christ....like Joe White!! He has become a real friend and brother in Christ!
In the meantime, I had a publisher, lost a publisher, got a book contract from PublishAmerica, refused a contract from PublishAmerica and then decided to selfpublish with the largest Christian publishers in the entire world - Xulon Press! God finally got a hold of the entire book in January 2007. Three people, including my wife, independently confronted me and told me to write the book or drop it!! I sat down to fulfill my dream.
From snowstormy days in February and the next ten weeks, I sat in front of this computer, driven, with eyes wide open....and I mean open! I was up writing as He poured His Spirit and the words out of me sometimes until 3am to 5am, several times weekly...only to have to go to work at 7am! The insights from Scripture He gave me, I still read and marvel at! Not at just the Scripture and the teaching out of it, but just the fact He would use me! ME! A nobody, a non-seminary trained little guy just muddling through life....1 Corinthians 1:27 (KJV) says "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty".
After a month of rereading and vetting by my dear brother at work, John Woolridge and myself, I submitted the manuscript. Even now, I can still find a few typos or missed grammatical errors, none of which affects any of the content, praise God!! But the Mighty Hand of the Lord is undeniable in this! He allowed many people to respond to my outreach for input in His book. Dr. Steve Farrar allowed me to ask him five questions and let me use his books as reference. Joni Eraeckson Tada and Friends allowed me unbelievable access to their president, Doug Mazza, the former CEO of Hyundai NA. I got to meet, via email, a retired professor from St Louis, who is an expert on Existentialism. We are totally opposites in faith, but got along great! The chapter on Legacy led me to a long distance relation of President Abraham Lincoln! Now you see why I said God wrote this book! He just used me!
Over the next few weeks, I will post various overviews of themes discussed in the 312 pages of the book (in total). You will see how entirely comprehensive the Holy Ghost allowed me to make this discourse and why it is called a Handbook! Thank you again for allowing me to tell this amazing story and the continuing Great Adventure which I am still living in! Like all adventures, we experience severe bad weather, valleys, snakes and ambushes.....but He who is in me, is greater than he who is in the world!! AMEN!!
So why did I write this book? Well, I did so that anyone who wants to, can come on in and join in this - the biggest and most joyful adventure ever - Life with Christ!!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Just 30 years ago, it was Global Cooling and the Coming Ice Age! Which is it, my friends??!! Now each day brings new demands for the Western world to give up our regular lifestyles and go back almost to the stone age....why? None of us are against conservation, recycling or living healthy through organic foods etc. We are not barons of greed but just regular folks! We live conservative and wholesome lives! However, the scenarios keep getting more unbelievable each day and some of them can make your hair turn gray!!ha!
God has always brought drought, famine and harsh natural disasters throughout world and Biblical history. However it seems as if these days, people hold the creation in higher esteem than the Creator!
In my new book "Two Minute Warning....Handbook of Effective Christianity for the 4th Quarter of Life" the topic of Global Warming is fleshed out exclusively from Scriptures in pages 299-301. I illustrate, by simply stating the relevant (and in context) Bible verses, just who controls even the smallest flash of lightning! I invite you to take a look at it. God is perfectly clear about who controls the weather. HE DOES!
To wrap up this short discussion, I invite you to look at what God said about the weather. Here is Jeremiah 14:22 (NASB) "Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not You, O LORD our God? Therefore we hope in You, For You are the one who has done all these things."
In the next post, I will introduce my book and what it is about. Feel free to post comments on anything, in the comment resource below. This is how I see it, my friends. As an apologist for the Faith, there is only way I can see it intellectually - from the Bible!
Sunday, August 12, 2007
My name is Bernie Lutchman and am the dad of this wonderful family which God has given me. I have been married to the only woman the Lord has given as my bride, Vicki, since June 1989.
We are the parents of three wonderful Christian children - Bernie III (15); Sam (12) and Sarah (9 in November 2007). They have all accepted the Lord as personal Savior and are all baptised into the Witness of His Holy Name, at the First Baptist Church in Petersburg, Illinois.
The Lord has given us a heart for ministry which involves all our children. Like my mother in law, Joyce Mancke and her husband Verlin and Ben Tan who formed a blossoming Nursing Home Ministry called Sonshine Outreach in Joliet, Illinois, we have a heart for nursing and retirement homes as well as small churches since 2003. The Lord has also allowed us to minister at the Springfield Professional Christian Women's Club in the past, with another divine appointment coming up this December 2007 for their Christmas program.
We love small churches, out in the country, for their authentic homespun ambience and the people who just reach out to us. My son Sam is an excellent student of the Violin and plays hymns. By the way (I will post these later) but he is also an superb artist and has just won two blue ribbons for first place in Painting and sculpting at the Illinois State Fair. My eldest son, Bernie, is a percussionist with the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony in Springfield and has himself won two blue ribbons in 2003 for his painting and pencil drawing. My sweet little Sarah is daddy's little girl and has a heart for Jesus which shines through by the way she sings. Of course the love of my life, Vicki, is my main inspiration.
The Lord God is my true Father in Law and it was He who gave her in marriage to me. I cherish her every moment and love her unconditionally. She has the voice of an angel and the heart of Christ. She is a powerful praying woman and a powerful evangelist over the years to the people she has come into contact with. She is our special music vocalist as well as part of our duet. We gave our love, time and resources to this ministry, no matter how small etc...and the Lord has blessed us many times over.
This is just a brief introduction to our family and how we function in our love for the Lord. We are open and available to answer the call to minister almost anywhere. Thank you for allowing me to do so. Come back next time for information on a fantastic Men's and family resource called Business Men in Christ (http://www.businessmeninchrist.com/) and the columns available there for your reading and illumination!! God bless you! Shalom
Communications Director, Business Men In Christ