Once Was a Stripper
Finding Your Place
In my early search for significance, while meandering along in my hunt for happiness, I trudged along a few false trails. I wish I’d had some good instruction back when I was a teenager; it might have helped me find my way—teaching from Romans 12:1-8, for example. (More on that later.) Whether I would have followed what I learned is something else.
A churchgoer all my life, (well, for most of it), I had sat through a lot of sermons, many of which seemed to be designed to scare me into the Kingdom and little else. But there were no suggestions on how to help me find God’s unique will for my life. I had no idea that the Heavenly Father had plans for just me.
While in high school, I worked for two summers on a farm in southwest England. For six and a half days a week, I was up at 5am to milk a dozen cows; then to sweat all day harvesting grain; and finally back to milk the cows before sunset. My pay? 50 shillings a week. Thirty of those shillings were held back by the farmer for my room and board, leaving me with 20 for spending money—about $3. But the food was fantastic!
From my early teens my mind was set on immigrating to Canada; so at 17, I was on a ship to my Promised Land. Knowing no one, but with $45 in my wallet and the names of a Christian couple scribbled on a piece of paper, I settled in Toronto, found a church and made some friends. Room and three meals a day in an elderly widow’s home, cost me $15 a week. But I couldn’t find a job.
I had heard that there was a lot of fruit farming near Niagara Falls, so when I had filed my immigration papers, never wanting to see another cow, I indicated I would become a fruit farmer. Ha! I never got to see an apple tree or vineyard until years later.
But I needed to work. If you don’t work, you don’t eat!
Finally I got a job, as a stripper for one whole winter, clearing $35 a week (more on that later). Then I moved on to an office job with an advertising agency, during which time I met Donna. She had just turned 15 and by then I was 19; but it was love at first sight—for me anyway! Her Dad soon made it clear to me that I needed a higher education if I had designs on his favorite daughter.
So I scrabbled my way through three undistinguished years of schooling until finally I gave up and joined the Air Force as a jet pilot during the Cold War.
Moving on, Donna and I patched things up—we had grown somewhat ‘distant’ geographically and emotionally—and got married. For several years I tried my hand as an Air Traffic Controller, salesman and manager, until finally God got hold of me, and together with Donna and our four kids we answered the call to missions. At long last I was getting on the track of God’s purposes for my life.
I had clearly missed out on the map designed for my life—really a chart for the life of every human being, redeemed or not. Simply put, Paul exhorts us to live a transformed life, and then he shows us how to find the square hole in which to fit our square peg . . . how each of us is uniquely gifted to fulfill our role in life, through one or more of our God-given strengths. These are:
*The Prophet—everything Black and White, with no grey areas
*The Servant Heart—spots and meets needs
*The Teacher—Imparts understanding
*The Exhorter—Encourages excellence
*The Giver—Naturally Generous, especially to the needy
*The Leader—Goes out front and others follow
*The Merciful One—deeply cares for the disadvantaged (with a smile)
All experiences along life’s highways—good and bad—have value, and can teach us something. The question is, “Do we actually listen to God, and then follow the route-map that He has laid out uniquely for each of us?”
And then to do our best to follow the GPS along that highway of life?
Oh yes, the stripper gig . . . It was a 5.30pm—2.30am job in a paper box factory, in which I swept floors and with the help of a very large pneumatic chisel, stripped the edges off four feet high pallets of flat cardboard already printed on, and scored.
A few Loren Cunningham-isms
If you see someone taking responsibility, give that person authority.
If you see someone looking for authority, watch out!
Only by taking Jesus’ example into every part of our lives will we be able to win in life.
We get caught in our boxes—but when we pray outside of them, and ask God—the impossible CAN be done.
Here’s a report from our correspondent at the annual UofN Gathering in Costa Rica in September. Posted by JoEllyn Wright:
Dateline San Jose, Costa Rica
God has really been speaking to us as a Mission and there have been some significant shifts because of it. You will rejoice to hear that one major shift was a corporate revelation that EVERY believer is a missionary, sent by God into his or her specific sphere of influence.
There was corporate repentance for attitudes towards those not “in missions,” viewing them as “less spiritual” . . .
A Discipleship Training Course for your Local Church
Here’s a Report from longtime YWAM leader Dave Gustaveson, Dateline: Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 1977, God gave me a vision for a short DTS that could enhance the local church. Loren endorsed it and thousands of these mini-DTSes have taken place. I created a DTC Package for local churches.
Full Report: click here
Signs of the Times:
Floods & Rumors of Wars
What a month we’ve lived through! Some of the things that have happened are exactly what Jesus said was going to happen. Read Matthew 24:3-31; Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:10-36.
We must be careful to guard against deception. False prophets will rise up and try to deceive us; “Fake news” is just that: Fake. Test everything according to the Word of God and the presence of the peace of the Holy Spirit.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but don’t be alarmed. PRAY, especially for those in leadership.
Nations will rise up against nations, kingdom against kingdom. The kingdoms are clashing—the Kingdom of God versus the kingdom of the enemy. Which kingdom do you belong to and how do you know? The Kingdom of God is righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit. It’s not a matter of talk but of power, and the Kingdom of God is within those who let Him be Lord and King in their hearts.
The sun will darken, the moon not give light; stars will fall from the sky, heavenly bodies will be shaken.
We’ll see famines and earthquakes in various places, pestilences, fearful events, and great signs from heaven. Nations will be in anguish and perplexity as the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming in the world.
My niece (who is a YWAM Associate), along with her husband and two young boys were in the midst of Hurricane Irma in Florida. They felt they were to remain in their home. I was one of many who were praying; first I prayed that God would send His angels to surround their house.
Then the Holy Spirit reminded me about the story of when Jesus told the disciples to get in a boat and head for the other side of the lake; He then proceeded to fall asleep! A storm blew in and the waves came crashing over the sides of the boat; the disciples were really fearful and woke Jesus up, so He rebuked the waves and storm saying, “Peace be still.” What spoke to me was that as disciples of His, He is always ‘in the boat’ with us. Don’t forget that.
What happened to my niece and her family? The boys slept through the storm, there was no wind or water damage and they were able to help others after the storm. [Matt 8:18-27; Mark 4:35-41 & Luke 8:22-27]
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. So many young people are losing their faith—they’ve been warming a church pew, while millions are coming to know Jesus most of whom had never heard of Him before.
The gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the WHOLE world as a testimony to ALL nations, and then the end will come. If you are arrested because of your faith, do not worry beforehand what you are going to say. Just say whatever is given to you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is coming back BUT no one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, BUT only our Father.
Be prepared, live for Him. Get ready to be His bride. Live Kingdom values. We are sons and daughters of the King of kings.
Jesus told us to stand up, take our place, be alert, watch and pray. He who stands firm will be saved.Love God, love each other. Live for eternity when we will see Him face to face. Have no fear. Relying on His love takes away all fear.
Like Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:14, I say to you, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
One More Gathering This Year!
Oct 18-21: Singapore, with Dr Bruce Thompson
Click here to email for more information (But Hurry)
Dinner with Loren and Darlene Cunningham
Many, many years ago, during the time that Donna and I and our kids were part of the pioneering team of the YWAM Kona Base, I became Loren’s assistant; for nine years. It was an honor and a privilege and my life was touched forever by his life of faith, humility and Godly exercise of authority.
Earlier this year, Donna and I were back in Kona, and Darlene—Mrs Hospitality—invited us, and our daughter Julie, for dinner at their home, along with a few other old-timers from back-in-the-day. What a delightful sun-setting, overlooking-the-Pacific-Ocean kind of evening it was, with many old and tall tales being remembered and recounted. Amid much laughter and joy. Not to mention the delicious dinner!
Suddenly, I recalled an incident that occurred back in the early nineteen-eighties. I was to drive Loren to the airport. He was heading off on a three-week ministry trip to Europe—at least 12 time zones away. Loren didn’t like standing in lines, so it was a normal last-minute departure.
Off we went, and halfway to the airport, Loren turns to me and asks, “Can you lend me $20?” It was too late to go back for it (if indeed he had that much cash at home, because Loren lived a simple life of faith in God for his family’s provision—just like the rest of us). Strangely, I happened to have that much with me and gladly handed him a twenty. Off he flew.
And we both forgot about it; until those reminiscing moments at the Family Dinner amongst our friends. I just couldn’t resist bringing the story up.
I’m not sure if Loren actually remembered the little transaction on the way to Kona’s airport, but his reaction was immediate: out came his wallet and he extracted a twenty dollar bill, handing it to me. Everybody laughed and we had this photo taken . . .
To me, that $20 bill represented far more than riches or gold. It was a symbol of much that had been invested in me by Loren—with compound interest!
I could not, and would not, accept Loren’s proffered ‘repayment.’ I had been paid and repaid in full, many times, over many years.
Take a few minutes and think of those who have invested good things in you.
And be grateful to them.
Till next time,
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