Updated: Feb 14
Why I Believe ALL Black Lives
Really Matter to God.
(And they should matter to you also.)
Below is an SECTION of book that I just wrote "How to Fast Safely and Successfully", which will be coming out soon. I wanted to highlight a story. Not my story, but Gods' story. And the story of many amazing people. Below are a series of dreams, the body of Christ uniting together, and weak people fasting until...
Detroit and the African American Priesthood
Any able-bodied adult can do an Esther Fast. Seriously, unless a doctor says, “You can’t,” I want to encourage you to do an Esther Fast. That’s right, I want to invite you to fast and pray with your friends for three days without food and water. Why? First, this is one of the most powerful ways you can fast; powers and principalities of darkness are defeated. Also, powerful divine revelation from God about who He is and what He is doing is granted when you enter an Esther fast.
I have done several Esther fasts and all of them resulted in something powerful happening. Literally, every single time. I want to take time to tell you one such story. BUT WAIT! As you read this story, I want to encourage you to become inspired to do an Esther Fast with your friends. Remember, read your Bible until you find Jesus’s Dream and then fast and pray until you see His Dream come to pass.
This story is not my story. It is God’s story; His dream. I just read my Bible and one day found His heart, then like Peter in the Bible, I was invited to serve. As you read this story, you will understand that this is certainly not over. In fact, it is just beginning, and there is so much more to come.
JESUS’ DREAM: AFRICAN AMERICAN PRIESTHOOD
I was 30 years old when God’s Word struck my heart. What He said tied together years of encounters with Him. Seemingly random dreams, promises, and words all collided together in a moment, with just a still small voice, bringing clarity and life-giving vision. He said, “I [God] will raise up 1 million African American men that will stand as watchmen on the wall for Israel [Jerusalem].” Next, He fervently proclaimed, “Call them a radical Nazarite army and tell them to sing.” As those words saturated my heart, He continued, “They must first be a priesthood before me and then watchmen on the wall for Israel/Jerusalem.” SELAH. I stood still and waited.
In the middle of the living room, late one night in prayer, these words riveted my heart and held me in place. Two life-changing events happened that night. First, God began to connect different things that He had told and shown me since I was a little boy. I had many dreams about the African American people. As a gangly white country boy who grew up across the street from a cow farm, I did not come across many black people. However, I had always felt a draw to spend time, hang out, and live near my African American brothers and sisters.
Secondly, I knew that what God said was a Scripture verse from Isaiah 62:6-7. I want to take you on a journey and tell you a story, God’s story, and the story of others that spoke to me along the way. I want to bring perspective, biblical fortitude, and rich stories, which I believe are inspired by the Holy Spirit. So, let me start with the Bible verse the Holy Spirit spoke (Isa. 62:6-7), then I will share when Jesus quotes this verse while on earth in His earthly ministry.
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
And give Him no rest till He establishes
And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isa. 62:6-7)
Isaiah spoke these words after God shared His heart. How many times have you shared your heart with someone? (Did you really feel understood?) Do you really understand God’s heart in the Scripture above? If you do, and I hope you do, you would feel God’s earnest desire to dwell in His beautiful home in Jerusalem. And in His beautiful home, His children will love Him wholeheartedly while loving their neighbor as themselves. In Jerusalem, Jesus will have a beautiful Bride who loves Him with dove’s eyes (those are eyes of singular devotion). In Jerusalem, the worship room never stops and the sun does not need to shine, because God is that—Son!
But before God lives in His heavenly home in Jerusalem, He is going to lead a mighty victorious army. The army will be the greatest army ever established in world history. Men and women, young and old, vibrant and frail, rich and poor, standing before God in Heaven, but singing while on earth. The army will love; they will know it is all about that heavenly wedding to come. The army will sacrifice; they will not need the pleasures of this world and they will not waste their time or energy. This army will dance; they will joyfully think about His Kingdom come. This army will fast and pray; they will give up legitimate earthly pleasures. This army will sing; they will be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem. God is inviting you into this army! Let me tell you how God led me on this journey.
My wife and I moved to Richmond, Virginia, to see this dream come to pass. God spoke absolutely clearly, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and told us to go to Richmond and we would see the beginnings of this grand adventure. (Note: my wife and do not think we are God's answer for the plight of black America. We are just a small part, but I believe a vital part.)
After moving to Richmond, Virginia, which was a former slave market in America, we spent three years praying daily and serving in the inner city. It was really important for me, a skinny white country boy, to move to a predominantly black community to learn empathy and serve without an agenda. During that season, we watched, learned, listened and served. We watched the heroes of the black community, moms and dads that had relatively nothing, but gave themselves to continue putting food on the table and paying their bills on time. We watched single mothers work their hands to the bone, and smile, thankful to raise their amazing families. I watched grandmothers, tired, long past tired, raise another generation of grandchildren so they could get a fresh start.
And we saw the pain. Young men, wanting to make a difference, wanting to be loved, wanting a chance to do something in life. Regrettably, they ended up in jail at a young age. We saw the single mom carrying a backpack and running drugs, just so she could put food on the dinner table. We watched moms have to go into subpar stores to buy food with little or no nutritional value. We listened to young men cry because they never knew their father, and they lived with the pain of this day in and day out. I had to watch a grandma try to sell me weed out of a van with her grandkids in the vehicle. Why? Not because she was an addict. She had to make money while watching her abandoned grandkids so they could have food that morning.
It is then that I learned something very profound. Not only was I white, but I had white privilege. (I am not a racist, nor did I ever know what white privilege was.) However, one evening I could not sleep so I sat outside on my porch. Not wanting to wake up my children, I lit a candle so I could read the Bible. At the same time there was a group of young men, who happened to be black, walking by. They saw me light the candle and then asked me if I was lighting it up (smoking weed), because they wanted to join. Not wanting to miss the moment, I jumped up to talk with the guys. Eventually, the leader sat down and talked. He asked me what it was like to be rich. I told him I am not rich at all. He said, “You have to be rich, you're white.” I laughed. But then, he proceeded to explain how he was brought up without a father in poverty, and he had never been outside of the city limits.
I pondered the words he said and thought deeply. I did have white privilege and did not even know it. (In the natural world I was living very close to the poverty line). However, I could pick up the phone if I was in need and call someone, and they would help me. I could walk into a bank and get a loan with little to no problem. I could walk into a store to shop, and most people would not think I am about to steal something. I could drive at night and would not get pulled over because of the color of my skin. It was at that moment that I saw this man's life and future life differently, and I was filled with empathy. After I finished my three-year task in Richmond, I moved my family back to the International House of Payer in Kansas City. (As you know from earlier, to serve God’s call for the Iranian woman.) It is here that I begin this story about Esther fasting.
6 MONTHS AFTER WE MOVED FROM RICHMOND TO KANSAS CITY
Holding the word that God would raise up 1 million African American men in my heart, I felt to share the word with my immediate prayer team. At that time in my life, I was a prayer room supervisor at the International House of Prayer. I was in charge of a small group of intercessors to provide pastoral oversight in their life. I loved my job and I absolutely loved the people I was called to serve. We met five days a week and encouraged each other, read the Bible, shared stories, and prayed with one another. One of those people was named Jong Kim.
Jong came from a very strict Asian family. He was well educated and his parents had hoped he would lead in the marketplace successfully. However, Jong had felt led to move to IHOPKC and join the staff. As his prayer room leader, I would meet with him regularly to discuss how he was doing and what he wanted to do. He felt content to serve in the prayer room, but I always knew no matter what God asked of him, he would do it. He was a faithful man.
One day, I shared with my team about the dreams I had for the African American people. I remember explaining with fervent passion about how God would raise up 1 million African American men to stand as Watchmen on the wall for Israel. I explained how this would be a part of revival in our nation. I shared how our nation had a Biblical call to provoke Israel to jealousy (Romans 11:11). But before we can provoke Israel to jealousy, we would have to unite across political and denominational lines (at the cross of Christ; Eph. 2:15-16). Paul proclaimed, “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (Eph. 2:15-16).
God said, He would bring Peace but only by bringing Jews and Gentiles together through the Cross. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. Before God brings Jews and Gentiles together, He would have to unite Gentile believers together under the power of the Cross. And then He will have to unite Jewish believers (of Jesus as Messiah) together under the power of the Cross. And then He would unite them (Jews and Gentiles) together as Paul taught in Ephesian 2:15. But how would the unity come? Only through the Cross of Christ.
So, before we could unite together and provoke Israel to jealousy, we would then have to unite together and serve the African American men into their calling. The Lord has asked me 1000 times, “How can you unite together and provoke Israel to jealousy, and serve them unto their calling, when you have not learned how to unite, get low, humble yourselves, and serve the African American male into their calling?” There is no other way then the path that the Lord lays out.
(side note: The African American male is the only people group that is decreasing at an increasing rate; see http://www.theradiancefoundation.org/).
Also, when Jesus came as a baby, God had not spoken to the Jewish people for over 400 years. Jerusalem, and the Jewish people, were under intense Roman occupation, and also intense governmental persecution of their own Jewish leaders. The Jewish people were treated as second-class citizens in their own land. They suffered intense political, cultural, and economic pressure. Their only hope was for the Messiah to come and rescue them. But the prophet Micah had spoken some 700 years earlier, and said,
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
What does this mean? Even though Israel was small, and suffered much, the Messiah would still come and bring forth salvation. Today, the African American brothers and sisters suffer intense persecution, but out of them, the African American male will arise and serve God’s redemptive plan for true peace; peace that only Yeshua can bring.
I continued to share that this would come with extreme tension. As the African American people would have to stand up and lead with meekness and humility, other races would have to reach out in empathy. I knew the path forward had to do not just with social justice, but with the cross of Christ.
I shared the stories of how my grandfather and grandmother had served the African American sharecroppers in the 1940’s and 50’s. They did this by building them homes, helping with food, providing spiritual instruction, and providing jobs. I explained how the KKK would organize, pressure, and protest against my grandfather and the community he worked with. I recalled stories of my grandfather and grandmother being shot at by the clan, buildings being destroyed, and other stories of fear and intimidation. But I remember my grandfather saying that's not the end of the story. God has something great planned for this nation and the black people.
I told our team how I believed God was going to move supernaturally in our land, but we all had to do our part. I remember looking at Jong that day; it was as if God had already spoken something in his heart. As I shared the story God had told me, God was mixing a dream that was already in his heart. I remember Jong stood up and walked out the door, and I never heard from him for the next 8 months. (More on this later).
ONE MONTH LATER
Then I was approached by a black woman one day. She was anything but ordinary. This woman had grown up under an intense and extreme parental situation only to overcome; today she is a Godly prophetic leader in our land. She had a strong desire for a generation to embrace their spiritual identity through intimacy with Jesus. She also had a passion to see healing between races, the ending of abortion, and revival in our land. (She later went on to lead a prolific prophetic movement called 818 The Sign Gathering).
She asked if I would pray with her in regards to these areas. Excited, I shared God’s dreams and desires for 1 million African American men to stand as watchmen on the wall for Israel. I asked if we could pray for this also. She agreed, and together, with a few friends, we started to pray together daily for 3 months, 5 times a week, for two hours each day. (That is 10 hours a week, over 3 months, which is 120 hours of prayer.) We prayed for the African American people, we prayed for the ending of abortion, and for revival in America. Sometimes it was hard, and sometimes there was a sense of God’s presence and His desire for revival. It was about that time that God began to speak to us about His plans and purposes for the city of Detroit.
Each time that we would gather, all were encouraged to share any dreams that they had. There began to be several dreams where God was speaking about His plans and purposes for the city of Detroit. Many people know Detroit as a failed economic area. But God was talking about touching the heart of people and bringing a spirit of revival. And I remember one day that forever changed my life as we stayed steady in fasting and prayer, bringing each dream before the Lord.
A man named Lou Engle burst through the door of our little prayer meeting one day, and made a ferocious statement, “Do we bring the call to Detroit?” Lou, or Papa Lou, as we affectionately call him, was a prophetic intercessor who led a ministry called The Call. (Today he leads Lou Engle Ministries). In 2000 Lou had sent out a call inviting people to stand for revival in the nation at the Washington D.C. Mall, and remarkably 400,000 young people showed up believing God would change the nation. Several things happened that day.
First, the lives of everyone who came were impacted through the inspirational worship, teaching, and prayer. Second, many historic ministries came forth, which had monumental impact in the areas of the gospel being preached and justice for the oppressed. We were also believing for the ending of abortion in America. Unfortunately, we have not seen this happen, but we believe the best is to come.
Lou had come to our humble prayer meeting because he heard we had been praying for the African American people and the city of Detroit. His team was also sensing from the Lord that God wanted to do something significant. He came to our meeting to hear the dreams and listen to what the Holy Spirit had been saying. After 40 minutes of sharing stories it was evident that God wanted to do something rich and vibrant in the city of Detroit that would have lasting impact.
I knew that God would do amazing things. I also know that He is able to do several things at once. God is the master chess player. He can play chess on 100 different levels at once. But in my heart, I knew that somehow, I had been called into this because to see young black men stand up as a radical Nazaire army that would sing. I continued in the cause because I believe God would raise up 1 Million African American men that would stand as Watchmen on the wall for Israel (Isaiah 62:6-7).
As we began to move towards the event in Detroit, several ministries came together. It is always extraordinary to watch the body of Christ arise and unite together. As we fasted and prayed, there was also much opposition. First, we were not able to get the building secure as we did not have the finances to do so. Second, it seemed that the local ministries were not as excited about the event as we were. We knew something supernatural had to be done.
Lou Engle follows the Daniel 10 Biblical principle for intercession. Lou understood that the battle was first won in the place of prayer and fasting. Daniel spent his whole life living, eating, and praying differently than the culture. Daniel 6:10 shows that Daniel prayed three times a day from his youth. Daniel chapter one affirms that after a 10-day fast, Daniel looked fitter than all of those around him, and God blessed him by making him ten times smarter than others, and gave him skill to understand all dreams and visions (Dan. 1:17). In Daniel chapter 10, we see Daniel fasting and praying, defeating the enemies of God in the heavenly realms in order to see victory on the earth. In fact, we see in Daniel 10, he is praying for the restoration of God's plans and purposes for Jerusalem just two years after the Israelites had returned to the land after fulfilling their 70-year judgment. Daniel understood how to win the battle in prayer.
In the same way, Lou began to ask if there was any place for a small group of people to live in a community while fasting and praying for God's purposes in Detroit and for the African American people. And this is where we find our friend Jong. Jong, after hearing the story about God's heart for the African American people (but not knowing we would eventually pray about the city of Detroit), had moved to Detroit from the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and he was now working with an after-school program. This after-school program occupied an old public school which was no longer functioning.
The building was unk