Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven


Homelessness - Could it be in your Future?

In these times of social upheaval and unrest, jobs are lost and work opportunities grow scarce. You’ve always found ways to pay your bills, but the economic downturn has left you facing foreclosure or eviction. You never thought it could happen to you, but the times they are a’changing.

It’s a scary thought to be thrown out on your ear - especially in the middle of winter. When Jesus warned about the Great Tribulation He said, “ But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. Matthew 24:19-20

We may be looking at homelessness because we are in the system and the work we’ve been doing has dried up. Or, we may be facing homelessness because we won’t comply with the world system and it looks like we won’t be able to find a place to lay our head.

If you do not have secular documents that identify you, you have no bank account, and you can’t pass a background check, let me break it to you, most landlords don’t want anything to do with you. Top it off by telling them you are a citizen of Heaven and, most assuredly, there will be plenty of doors slamming in your face. But though a thousand doors may close, keep knocking, seeking and asking. Our God is faithful.

Some years ago we found ourselves suddenly homeless when the county raided the property that housed our ministry. Using military tanks and police armed with automatic weapons they forcibly booted us off the land. We had been living on 34 wooded acres where we held wilderness retreats and published materials, teaching people how to live in the Kingdom of Heaven under Jesus’ rule.

We are telling the story of that military raid to show you how faithful our God is, even when the enemy does everything possible to destroy the ministry and send us out on the streets with nothing. Don’t fear what men will do to you. Just be faithful to the work God is doing through you and He will take care of the rest.

It was a cold winter day when the early morning phone call suddenly woke us. Our neighbor reported that military tanks were rumbling down the road towards us. Moments later we heard what sounded like gunfire shots. Hundreds of glass pieces exploded as the sliding glass door below us shattered. When we came down the steps from the loft, police dogs barked and the sheriff deputies burst into the church sanctuary with machine guns drawn. Ironically, the church door wasn’t even locked.

Outside in the rain, soldiers marched two-by-two down the road. Police cars from many jurisdictions swarmed into the parking lot. Last night we had gone peacefully to sleep, only to be rudely awakened that January morning to a war zone.

The eight men in our small community of Kingdom citizens were quickly arrested and hauled away without resisting. Rachel and the children were forced to walk down the county road in the pouring rain, not knowing where they were going, but singing praises to God and confident that He would lead them.

Weeks later when the news was finally out, the county attorney was asked on national television, why they had come with such a show of force against a small, peace loving church. The attorney explained, “Well, we haven’t seen this kind of thing, since the civil war between the states.”

Yes, they had interpreted our renunciation of the world system and our allegiance to Jesus Christ as a direct assault against them. And so they made war on us.

The county seized our material possessions, vehicles, motorhomes, printing presses, supplies, furnishings, clothing, computers - all the things we used to run the ministry, plus all our personal possessions. We were fortunate to keep our clothes on our back. It felt strange to not even have a change of our socks or underwear.

There was a media blackout on the event. Because the county had seized everything, we didn’t even have contact information to let people know about the police raid. When people called the church office, the phones were answered, “Marian County.” Their goal was to seize all tangible possessions, making it nearly impossible to rebuild the ministry. They were confident that they had conquered us.

Rachel and the children trudged along in the pouring rain until a kind neighbor took them in temporarily. Several days later the men were released from jail after being beaten. All charges were dropped. We felt like we were being treated like real Christians who had suffered in the past.

A farmer, a couple miles down the road, invited us to relocate on his back 40 acres. This is the man God had chosen to take us in. And who was he? Someone who had just gotten out of prison for murdering his brother. This is the irony of God. One outcast welcoming other outcasts.

Following the raid, we attempted to visit all the local churches to tell them our story and warn them that they, too, could suffer persecution. These Christian leaders were respectable members of the community. But we were summarily banned. They wanted nothing to do with us, calling us heretics, lawbreakers, and children of the devil. They actually feared us and would not let us mingle with their congregations. These misguided Pharisees had no room in their hearts for us, but a humbled murderer lovingly offered his support.

The county sent us a bill for thousands of dollars to reclaim the things they had confiscated. They knew we could never pay it. What the county didn’t realize is that the moving and storage company that had packed our things would have a change of heart. A couple of the movers went to their boss and said. “We just destroyed a church. What wrong have they done to lose everything they own? We feel terrible about what we took part in.”

Then the moving company foreman called us and apologized. He said they were embarrassed and shaken by what they had done. To show their honor, they secretly opened their warehouse, letting us come in and retrieve everything at no charge. They added that they would never enter into a contract with the county again. So we were able to pick up all the movable property that had been seized.

The towing company that towed away our vehicles and motorhomes refused to return them. But another towing company saw the wrong done and retrieved all our vehicles for us at no charge. A third towing company heard of our loss and brought us a late model car to be used to preach the gospel. He became a close friend and helper.

Shortly after moving our recreational vehicles onto the farm, we began broadcasting a daily radio program from a converted school bus. In previous years, groups regularly gathered for our retreats. Now that the land was gone, we made regular trips across the country in our motorhomes and vans, holding small gatherings in houses, and hosting booths at expositions. The goal - proclaiming the good news that the Kingdom of Heaven is here and now. Instead of living in buildings, we now hung out on wheels, sleeping in motorhomes, campers, and vans.

Being homeless is the natural state of Christ’s disciples. We have no place to lay our heads. And yet we rest peacefully. Here we have no continuing city. We look for a city whose builder and maker is God.

Do not fear homelessness or what men will do to you. Do everything for the love of God and He will show you the Way.

When we were stripped of our material possessions, a new chapter of our lives began. Something new and exciting. We went from holding retreats on the land to a road ministry and radio broadcasting.

The county deputy who led the raid was disgusted by what had happened. He said, “The county spent several hundred thousand dollars uprooting this cult, only to have them reset up a couple miles down the road. Now they are more active than ever.”

We preached the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven to police, tow truck operators, and government bureaucrats. We told them we forgave them and prayed they would repent. Our story softened some hearts. We know at least one police officer quit his job because he was ashamed of his participation in the raid. All glory to God.

They may have meant evil against us, but God meant it for good. This was God’s battle and He led each step of the way. The world is not our source. Jesus Christ is our source. In all our trials, God is the hero of our story.

Present comforts of home life may leave us. Our soft nest may be scattered to the winds, but we continue on as strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13) We are like the saints of old who longed for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a heavenly city for them. (Hebrews 11:16)

God knows your needs before you ask. Let go of your life in the world. It’s all going to perish anyway. Lay hold on eternal life. Now is the time to learn that God can see you through if you will only surrender your life to Him. The world is crumbling all around us. There is no safety in depending on the world’s resources. Step out in faith to serve the One who sets you free. Let Him guide you through these turbulent times.

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. . . .Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10

Wake up and repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.