As for the Hagin meeting, there was much hoopla and little
substance. Kenneth is just another of many men with their names
in lights, presuming
to be serving God with knowledge and sensationalism, but leading
many astray and lulling them to spiritual slumber and death. His
doctrine of “Word Faith” (“name it and claim it”)
is a pernicious one, its roots going back to William Branham and
since taught by Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, and many others.
How is the “Word Faith” doctrine so pernicious?
It gives the impression that we can properly exercise the power
of God independently
of Him and without sanctification. (For more on this, read about
Joel Osteen: Everybody’s Friendly Enemy.)
Particle – Folly and Fate of the Heedless
Again and again, we were confronted with people to whom we spoke
truth and tried to persuade from evil, but to no avail. They
rejected what we had to say out of hand, and opposed us. We
invariably saw them suffering the fruits of their foolishness, ignorance,
and heedlessness, their works catching up with them in devastating
And even then, they still weren’t getting
Particle – Uncle
Steve and Aunt Flossie Szmon
Marilyn and I decided to pay a visit to Steve Szmon, my mother’s
brother, and his wife, Flossie, in Transcona. Steve had been a wild man,
forever fooling around, rarely serious. He lost his arm in a factory
accident. I don’t know if he took up drinking before, during, or
after the mishap, but he certainly took it up: He and Flossie were alcoholics.
As we visited in their shabby home, he had a case of beer beside his
sofa chair, and Flossie had her beer in the fridge. As they sat visiting
with us, they drank, while we abstained. It was a sad spectacle. They
were entirely sold out to alcohol. I had the impression that had we accepted
their offer of a beer, they would have found it difficult to part with
it. It seemed almost too precious to them to share with anyone.
Uncle Steve expressed appreciation that I should honor him with a visit.
He seemed flattered. I wondered if somehow we could reach them for the
Lord and bring them to life, but it never happened. Of course, God could
have done anything, but He didn’t give us to say or do anything.
Particle – Mount St. Helen’s
Our landlord asked me if I would paint our 2½-story building.
It being aged, wood-sided with weather-worn wooden windows, I had much
scraping and sanding to do. But I wasn’t very professional about
it. I hung over the edge of the roof by a rope tied from the chimney
to my waist to prep and paint the dormers (I used no scaffolding). I
wonder about it now. What was I thinking?! I was thinking cheap – that’s
The house was to be painted white. At that time, Mount St. Helen’s
erupted in Washington State and sent the ash thousands of miles, all
the way to Winnipeg and beyond. What a surprise! Seeing a fine ash settling
on everything, I thought my paint job would be in jeopardy. Who would
suspect having such a concern? But it was OK.
Particle – Worker Not Worthy of His Hire
I hired Merv Forbister, a muscular fellow, to help move furniture for
a while. He was a bodybuilder and quite able to do heavy lifting, which
He was also a writer, or so he said. One day when I asked him what he
wrote, he said I wouldn’t appreciate it because it was quite sexually
explicit (he knew I was a Christian).
I had a constant struggle with him, always having to tell him everything
again and again - to be careful, to tilt the furniture we were carrying
in the right direction, to think ahead, to think for himself, and more.
Otherwise, he was a hard worker.
I wanted to give him a raise. I thought, “He’s only getting
minimum wage. Surely, I am cheating him.” The Lord withheld me,
saying, “He isn’t worth what you’re
One day after I lectured him, as I was dropping him off at home, he
proudly, dramatically turned to me and said, “Oh, and by the way,
you can take your job and shove it!” and jumped out of the truck.
It was disconcerting and amusing at the same time. I was glad it was
Particle – Employer Not Worthy of His Workers
I was hard on workers. I demanded performance and often upbraided them
for their shortcomings. I had several quit on me. I was to be blamed,
not having patience or understanding. Several of them tried hard to please,
but I was never satisfied and would express it.
I recall one worker I appreciated - Armin Grueneklee, who was in his
late teens. He was quiet, responsive, responsible, respectful, mild-mannered,
unpretentious, punctual, dependable, and a hard worker - even though
he wore an earring! I had difficulty being hard with him. On the contrary,
I was thankful. I had plans for him for expanding into some handyman
and landscaping business. The Lord, however, had other plans for me.
It is remarkable how well a life can speak without a word.
Particle – An Explanation of My Temperament
One of our customers was an intelligent elderly widow who had been married
to a Russian (Belichenko). Recognizing my name as Slavic, she kindly
commented on how her husband and Slavs in general were basically insecure,
sometimes paranoid, due to their historical background of being forever
I recognized that I had fears and thought her explanation quite credible,
partially because I had seen these things in myself and in my families
(maternal and paternal), in contrast to many others who were not Slavs.
Particle – Lost, Lawless Lives
We received a call to do furniture delivery in the slum core of the
city. We had just loaded our truck for a woman, when the back lane was
blocked by a taxicab. The driver was her husband (or boyfriend), who
owned the furniture with her and wouldn’t let me out until the
truck was unloaded. They were breaking up, and she was trying to get
away with his furniture! He had called the police, who were soon on the
scene trying to mediate in the squabble. She wouldn’t pay me. “Too
bad” was her attitude.
Particle – Never Out of the City Core in
Doing another job in the same area, I temporarily recruited the woman’s
boy of about sixteen years, seeing I had no helper at the time. Sean
Smith wasn’t a great worker. I began to think that perhaps I could
help him learn something, maybe even save him from the slums, so I tried
working with him.
One day as we were driving to another part of Winnipeg, I was surprised
to find that he had never been there or to any other part of the city.
In his entire life, he only knew the tiny slum section in the core. I
was amazed, but also recalled how many in the Bronx and Harlem slums
of New York were the same, never venturing out of their local neighborhoods.
The boy had no idea about anything. His diet was atrocious. For lunch,
he would have a slurpy and a bag of chips from the convenience store.
In an hour or so, he was standing around in a sluggish, dozy manner;
he had no energy just when we needed it. I tried to talk to him about
proper food – protein for energy, for example.
He also had no idea of work ethics. He was standing around letting my
customers lend a hand in work they were paying us to do, not because
he was lazy so much as ignorant and without a shred of experience. It
I marveled at how lost and clueless people could be. His older brother,
Tim, was a derelict, hooked on drugs, his mother a calloused opportunist,
and who knows who his father was.
Some customers began complaining. I was having to repeat instructions
to him, and he was reacting unpleasantly at times. I didn’t know
what to do. Finding myself unequipped for the job of helping him, I let
him go. I didn’t feel it was up to me to deliver him. Also, it
seemed it wasn’t his place or time for deliverance.
I do believe that during the time we spent together, I said many things
to him concerning principles of life. Perhaps those would help him, just
as pieces of advice from concerned adults helped me when I was a child.
Particle – All of Creation Groans
Time and time again, I found myself witnessing dire straits and various
needs of others, but I was unable to do anything about them. This concerned
me as a Christian. Wasn’t it my duty before God to find a way to
help? Couldn’t anything be done? Was I not willing to sacrifice
myself to that end? I just couldn’t do anything, and yet I harbored
the hope that, one day, something could be done for many, if not all.
Particle – Revisiting MIT (Now Red River
I decided to check out the halls I once walked at the MIT from 1965
to 1967. One thing shocked me in particular. The floor in the Business
Administration section was completely plastered with cigarette burns.
When I was there, 14 years earlier, we smoked, but we put our butts in
the ash trays provided. Now I witnessed a travesty. How lawless and destructive
people have increasingly become! And that lawlessness grew (and grows)
worse by the day.
Particle – Gunn’s Great
Somehow we found out about Gunn’s Bakery on Selkirk Avenue in
Winnipeg. They made great bagels and other pastries and breads, but we
particularly loved their super knishes.
“Is it not good that he should eat and drink and make his soul
see good in his labor? This I also saw, that it was from the hand of
God” (Ecclesiastes 2:24 MKJV).
Particle – “Go With
Two young men came by our home from the Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s
Witnesses). I invited them in, and we visited for two or three hours.
In spite of the reasonable arguments and evidence I gave them from Scripture,
which they couldn’t reasonably deny, they were adamant and steadfast
in their resistance, as are most JWs I’ve met.
While the elder was trying to be civil and measured in his response,
the younger became impudent and even mocked me. I wondered how they expected
to win anyone to their truth that way.
I also thought, “Better to provoke now and let their colors show.
What about those who don’t provoke them, are deceived into thinking
they’re joining godly men, and discover too late the folly of their
There is a parable speaking of this very thing. It is the whole seventh
chapter of Proverbs.
Finally, as they were leaving, standing at the door, unpremeditated
words came forth from my mouth that surprised me. I said, “Go
with your gods and be destroyed with your gods.” The expressions of
both the reserved and the arrogant immediately changed and became as
one. They were stunned, even the young, impudent one. God had turned
them to destruction.
Particle – A Letter from Carroll Vance
Carroll Vance wrote me a note (I’m not sure exactly when I received
it), and closed it with words I knew were prophetic and significant:
“May you find grace in the
sight of God, even as did Moses and Noah. ”
Those words would become more and more significant and meaningful as
the years passed.
Particle – It’s Great
to Be Somebody
What a freedom when you come to the place where you don’t have
to prove anything, when you can accept being nobody because you’re
accepted by the Only One Who Counts!
I knew a man by whom I met Judas Iscariot. Judas, I learned, was a glory
seeker, one who wanted in on the best this world had to offer, and who
was prepared to betray any association to get what he wanted. Ironically,
what he wanted was belonging, acceptance, recognition, social security,
and most of all, glory. He lost it all or, rather, lost all opportunity
of gaining such because he was so consumed with himself.
(Click HERE to listen to “It’s Great to Be Somebody,” or
to read the lyrics.)
Particle – Reagan Taking America for a Ruthless
It seemed like a tight race between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter during
the 1980 Presidential elections. At the last moment, while people were
in the polling booths, I received that they would vote for Reagan, and
it would be a landslide victory.
When Ronald Reagan was elected, I had a vision in two parts. In the
first part, he was driving what looked like a school bus. The bus was
America. He drove into a set of deep ruts. In the second part, he drove
the bus toward a cliff, and it seemed sure he would be taking it right
over the edge.
In the vision, I heard that Reagan was going to take America straight
down to Hell. Years later, it was realized by analysts that “Reaganomics” and
the policy of deregulation did exactly that. Reagan’s deregulation
legislation in the name of free enterprise has delivered America over
to tyrannical powers operating in unrestrained greed. He has brought
America to bankruptcy, powerlessness, and misery.
Particle – Warning to Marilyn’s
Marilyn’s kid sister, Sheila, fresh out of school, was planning
to marry and wrote from Calgary to tell us so. We knew this wouldn’t
be good for her and, by letter, strongly advised against it. We felt
she wanted to escape her situation at home under her stepfather, Les
Klein, who, we were told, was mistreating her. He also wanted her out.
She ignored our warning. Years later, we would hear of the sad results.
Particle – Quickened to Quicken Others
Around this time, I had a vision of a person lying on the ground, at
the foot of a mountain. I was that person, mortally wounded or sick;
indeed, for all intents and purposes, I was dead. Down from the mountain
came a spirit being, shining in light, almost light itself, and picked
me up. He began to carry me up the mountain, and as we proceeded upward,
life gradually entered into me.
Soon he expected me to make an effort to climb by myself.
And I did so, gaining vibrancy and strength. By the time we reached
the top, I was
transformed into a like spirit being, radiant with light. I then
descended down the other side, and did for another as had been
done for me.
Particle – The Beals Arrive In Town
It was in the summer of 1980. While fast asleep about 11:30 in the evening,
the phone rang - it was Art
Beals: “Were you sleeping? Ha, ha!
Two sleeps are better than one, you know!” I was surprised to hear
from them. We hadn’t seen them since ‘75 on our
way back from Europe.
Probably being tired after a long, hard day’s work and having
to rise early for another, I was a bit annoyed that they should wake
us when there was no apparent need for it. Perhaps they had hoped we
would invite them to our place that night? That didn’t occur to
me, knowing they were in their motor home. We made arrangements to meet
them at the Grant Ave. shopping plaza the next day.
Arriving there, we found them in a terrible state - defeated, depressed,
and miserable. They were at the shopping plaza in their motor home, likely
because they weren’t able to afford a trailer park. They were back
in Winnipeg, ready to take up residence and occupation, having just arrived
from Aylmer, Ontario, where they had moved several years ago, and where
Art had taken on pastoring a small independent church. Their daughter,
Andrea, was with them.
They told us of how they had been almost starving in their church. The
people Art was shepherding weren’t bringing offerings sufficient
to support them. Why they didn’t get a job, I don’t know
- I suppose they expected others to provide for them. During that time,
Art was also preaching some in the southern States with “Reverend” Franklin
Walden of Georgia.
Having spare rooms in our suite and parking available at the back of
our place, we offered them to stay with us till they found their own
home. Instead of having them live in their motor home, we decided to
sleep in our basement, give them the master bedroom, and Andrea another
large bedroom. They remained with us for three weeks. I needed someone
to help me in moving and hauling, so I hired Art and paid him wages,
not charging him for room and board. They were free to help themselves
to anything they pleased.
Art and Doreen had come under some Pentecostal influence known as the
Holiness Movement. They believed women shouldn’t cut their hair
or wear makeup or women’s slacks, or have an “uncovered leg.” They
believed women shouldn’t dress appearing as men, in clothing, hairstyle,
or any other way (we agreed with the principle of women presenting as
women and men as men).
We didn’t disagree with these matters in principle, so much as
with their application, particularly the peculiar notion of leg covering
(which I’ll explain later). The problem was that they emphasized
external holiness, but failed miserably to have any peace and righteousness
with God through faith.
We found all of this rather ironic, because they had once been amused
and even critical of us, thinking we were legalistic when Marilyn wore
a head covering for a time in 1975, something we changed our minds about
not long after. We didn’t change because of their criticism, but
because it was revealed to us that a woman’s hair was given for
We found they hadn’t nurtured Andrea, their adopted daughter,
in love, something we had warned them about in 1975. Now the chickens
were coming home to roost. Andrea was in a state of mind toward them
in which she swore that when she turned the legal age of sixteen, she
would cut her hair very short, plaster her face with makeup, and wear
the tightest jeans she could possibly squeeze into.
Particle – What Are We Eating?
It was now time for more lessons on diet. The Beals didn’t believe
in eating pork, being listed in the Biblical Law as unclean. We hadn’t
yet come to that conviction, having been steeped in traditional orthodox
Christian rationale and doctrine, though the truth of clean and unclean
meats was plainly set forth in the Scriptures. Still, we were given to
pay some attention, thankfully.
Marilyn and I went to a Chinese restaurant around that time and ordered
breaded baby shrimp. While eating, I thought, “These shrimp aren’t
at all crunchy. They’re very soft.” Two weeks later, we red
in the Winnipeg Free Press that the restaurant had been shut down for
serving baby mice as shrimp.
The thought of eating mice will tend to make one gag. I certainly felt
betrayed and defiled. However, the Beals pointed out that shrimp and
pork were no different from mouse, dog, cat, rat, gopher, or skunk, according
to the Scriptures. God classified them all as unclean.
I also remembered the information Gary
Fry had given me in Prince Albert
in 1972 while he was working at Burns’ processing plant, about
a high percentage of pig carcasses being rejected, from time to time,
because of parasites.
(By the way, we had gone to the restaurant because we had a promotional
discount coupon. “Cheap is as cheap does”? The unpleasant
occasion was just another of many “eating out” lessons the
Lord was bringing home to me.)
Particle – Downfall of the Superpowers
We were watching a newscast one day when Art said, waving his index
finger as he was wont to do, “There’s going to be a nuclear
war for sure between the USSR and America.”
I immediately received a Word from the Lord: “The
superpowers will be brought down from within. ”
I took this Word to mean that we wouldn’t see the USA and the
USSR destroy each other with their nuclear arsenals, which was a comforting
thought; nonetheless, they would be coming down.
Particle – Beals Storm Out
It was quite apparent, as days passed, that the Beals were becoming
rather disgruntled. Perhaps eating pork was one of the things that bothered
them while staying with us, though they were well aware of the Lord’s
words, “And into whatever city you enter, and they receive you,
eat such things as are set before you” (Luke 10:8 MKJV), interpreting
them as a call to submission to eating the unclean in such situations.
But I think we soon limited or eliminated pork for their sakes. I’m
not sure we did, but it would have been the right thing to do:
Romans 14:19-22 MKJV
(19) So then let us pursue the things of peace, and the things
for building up one another.
(20) Do not undo the work of God for food. Truly, all things indeed
are clean, but it is bad to the man eating because of a stumbling-block.
(21) It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything
by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.
(22) Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Blessed
is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
They didn’t complain about anything until one day, without warning,
Doreen blew up, and they stormed out in a rage. For one thing, somehow
they saw us as an evil influence on Andrea. She had been helping herself
to the non-alcoholic beer I kept in the fridge. As far as they were concerned,
we were making a lawless drunk of her. Marilyn was also perceived as
an evil influence on Andrea, because Marilyn wore slacks and cut her
hair (though she didn’t wear it short). It seemed nothing was their
fault or Andrea’s; it was all ours.
Particle – Paul Shows Signs of His Calling
Paul came for another visit, and he was there when the Beals blew up
and stormed out. The Beals were confounded by his speech and reasoning,
unable to answer. This didn’t deter them from their chosen course,
however, throwing all our hospitality in our faces without a cause.
Then and there I received another demonstration of how God was going
to use Paul to confront religious hypocrites in their folly years later
with truth, good reason, logic, Scriptural evidence, forthrightness,
and boldness, yet without contempt or insult. (I had also seen indications
of these qualities in Paul when he reasoned with people at Revivim.)
Particle – Moon Turns Blood Red
In one of these years, I had a dream and saw the moon turn blood red
in a manner as though a can of red paint was spilled over top of it.
I then saw the letters “CCCP” on the surface. I wondered
if the Soviets or Russians were going to claim ownership or control of
it, thus winning a major psychological and social, if not military, victory
over the West and, indeed, over the world.
As of 1989, the Soviet empire was no more. As of 2009, it is still defunct.
What to make of the dream, I don’t know; I only report what I saw.
“Here's what I see in the dream: The Soviet and their socialistic
system had ambitions to take over the world. They presented their system
as the way to peace and prosperity, under their rule.
They particularly claimed there was
no God - it was man's endeavor and power all the way. The moon (man)
has no light of its own, being dependent
on the sun (Christ). So God gave them what they declared, and the
Soviet system collapsed, extinguishing their light and hopes, whether
or for any others who looked to them. Even China got away from
pure socialism after the Soviet collapse.”
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened,
and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of Heaven shall
fall, and the powers in the heavens shall be shaken” (Mark 13:24-25