How my life changed at age 19 while at college in Madison WI

1970..... a bit of my history....age 19.. going to College in Madison, WI...

Life seemed very pointless. I looked at my parent?s lives. The were born, went to school, got married, went to work, had kids, so we could grown up, grow to school, get married, have kids and etc. It seemed like an endless cycle. I always said that unless I found out why I would not spend my life on the same cycle.

In high school I was very smart. Math and science came very easy for me. But in college I started searching. Experimenting with Marijuana caused me to start reading poetry and philosophy books. I wanted to know what life was all about. Why was I here? Math and science started to get very boring. 

Within a few months I was using Psychedelic drugs, LSD, Mescaline and etc. I was studying Eastern Regions in great depth. I began to believe that all religions were the same. That they all lead the same place. That Buddha, Krishna, Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus were all the same. They were people that had experienced Enlightenment. That had seen the ?Clear Light of the Void? had experienced ultimate truth.

Most of the people around me were just taking drugs to have fun. I was so far into the spiritual dimension of it that I was getting ?weird? even for the weirdo?s. I was having a hard time finding anyone who was as deeply into things as I was.

Amazingly, I met a guy who was living across the street from our fraternity house. We started talking and found out he was into all the same weird things I was into - amazing!! 

But the night before I had met him, he told me that he had an incredible experience on an acid trip. He was higher than he had ever been before. He suddenly saw and incredible, bottomless black void in front of him. As he looked at it, an angel suddenly came to him and told him that JESUS CHRIST was the only way across that void. He instantly came down from the acid trip. He asked me what I though and I didn?t know what to tell him.

The next day, his brother came in from California. His brother had been into all the heavy drugs and eastern religions we were into as well. His brother walked in his room, and told him ?JESUS CHRIST? is the answer. My friend got saved on the spot. His brother had become a Jesus Freak out in California.

The time here was 1969.

My friend told me about it, I was quite unimpressed. I said the typical answer at that time: ?Well whatever turns you on, that?s great.?

My best friend and I were tripping on acid the next week. My friend started Freeking Out, and I couldn't help him. I brought him to my new Christian friends. They talked him down and he became a Christian. 

I was still unimpressed.

They then gave me a copy of the book THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH BY HAL LINDSEY.

I read about how the Anti-Christ was going to come and start a false world religion

I believed that the drug culture was a new religion.

Even Timothy Leary said that

But after reading that I started to wonder if I was a part of the wrong religion.

After that whenever I tripped on drugs - I always had bad experiences and freeked out.

Summer Break came and went, It was time to go back to college - I was attending Madison, Wisconsin.

I still had the problem that I was so into the spiritual, eastern religion side of drugs that I had no people to ?fellowship with?

At that time I also used I CHING, it is an ancient Chinese thing that helps you tell the future using coins or sticks.

That morning I used I Ching and got a certain number describing what would happen to me that day. 

After that I went to the WHOLE EARTH CO-OP. That was where us hippies and drug freaks bought organic food. Yes we used to destroy our bodies with drugs - but then eat healthy to keep going.

Well at the WHOLE EARTH CO-OP there were just all sorts of weird things and weird people.

I decided to take a glance at the bulletin board as I needed a new place to live.

To my amazement I FOUND A NOTE ON THE BULLETIN BOARD WITH MY NAME ON IT ?BARRY? , it also had the I CHING number I had gotten that morning. And it had a telephone number on it. I was amazed.

I immediately called the number. It turned out to be another guy named Barry. Who was renting a house with 4 other guys. They had an open room and were looking for someone else to rent one of the rooms. AND THEY WERE INTO ALL THE SAME EASTERN RELIGIONS AND DRUGS THAT I WAS INTO. 

I was amazed - how great, things are really starting to work out. I started walking over there to meet them. On the way I started feeling really strange. Why were things working out so easily all of a sudden. Maybe I really was a part of the wrong religion after all. When I got there, I felt even more uneasy. I started asking them what they thought about all this Christian stuff. They strongly told me it was a bunch of junk and don?t listen to Christians. I felt even more uneasy. I told them I would think about renting the room and call them back.

I left and started walking. AS I walked away, I started to have a revelation. I realized that there was evil in the world. I sensed that there was a devil. He had a plan for my life. I realized I was at a cross road. If I moved into that house, The devil would have his way in my life. 

I got back to where I was staying with my Christian Friends. I pulled out a bible. I said God you have to speak to me out of the old testament because I am Jewish. I flipped it open and came to Isaiah 47. It talked about the daughter of Babylon and how God was going to judge her for all her astrologers and sorcerers. I suddenly realized it was talking about all the drugs and spiritual things I was into. I said, God I never knew you felt like that. So I repented for it.

I then said, OK God, you can speak to me out of the new testament. I flipped it open and it opened to John Chapter 10. Jesus said He was the good Sheppard. All that came before him were thieves and robbers. He was the only one that laid down his life for the sheep. I had instant revelation that Jesus was the only true Messiah, and that Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed and etc. were all fakes.

I then went out side. Someone had told me, that If I wanted to find out if Jesus was real, just ask him to show. Me. I began to do that, but I never got the words out of my mouth. all my life I had communicated horizontally with the people around me. I never had tried to communicate vertically. When my heart made that turn from horizontal to vertical, I was instantly flooded with a peace I had never known. I knew it was the present of Christ. He made himself real to me that day in 1970, and has been real to me ever since.

When I looked up that night, there was a full moon overhead, and a ring around the moon from moisture in the air, it was a magical evening.

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A Gem From Life Together


A Gem From Life Together

House 2 House Magazine 6/16/14

As we contemplate ways of encouraging spiritual family, the classic book by Bonhoeffer, Life Together comes to mind. There is too much meat in that little book to cover thoroughly in a single article, but there is a gem of truth from that book that I?d like to recall and think about.

Ever since I became a believer during the Jesus movement and spent the first 8 years of my Christian experience in a commune, I have had the impression that spiritual family was the essence of a true and valid Christian life. After leaving the commune, I was disappointed in the depth of relationship I found in regular churches. I felt I had a relationship soupspoon that was too large for the shallow relationship bowl I was eating from in mainline churches. In the intervening years, I have gravitated to a Christian life focused on relationships, as opposed to being focused on being a part of an organization.

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A Walk in the Park

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A Walk in the Park

House to House Magazine 5/14/2014

Last Tuesday evening my wife Penny and I were walking our dog in the park near our house. Up ahead we saw a homeless man sitting on a park bench.

We assumed he was homeless because of the large backpack on the bench next to him. But, as we got closer, we noticed that it was a young man who looked very well groomed for someone who was homeless. He was reading a Bible that looked so new that the gold edge on the pages reflected in the setting sun.

After we passed by, I felt a nudge on my heart. I mentioned to my wife that we should go back to the house, put some food in a bag for him, then come back, and give him a little money as well. She agreed, sensing the same ?unction? of the Holy Spirit.

That was how we got to know Zach. He told me his story; that he had been a Bible teacher at a church and used to have a full time job. Zach told us that, in 2013, God told him to do a faith walk from Texas to Florida. God commanded him to stay out of shelters, missions, etc.

At first, Zach explained, he stayed in hotels and ate in restaurants until all his savings were used up. God challenged Zach to trust Him for his needs. He did not go to shelters and he did not hitchhike, he just trusted the Lord. Rides were offered to him along the way, as well as food.

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J-B Weld Fixes almost anything

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Then there was the plastic fitting of the Temperature Controlled Pantry on our Refrigerator. It has broken about 3 times from items falling on it.... bad design I'd say. They part is over $100.  J-B Weld fixed it....

J-B Weld ... it seems to me it will fix almost anything.

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Too Much Family

Too Much Family

House 2 House Magazine 6/3/14

When I left home at 17 to go to college, I was ready to be separated from my family by a few hundred miles. I loved my family. They were supportive and nurturing. I knew they loved me and wanted the best for me. So why was I ready to start living on my own?

I was 17 and ready to be an adult. However, there was more to it. I was tired of being told what to do. I was so close to my family that they got on my nerves. My sister and I would fight quite often.

I think our family was normal. We loved each other and sometimes we bothered each other. Sure, I missed them when I was at college, but I enjoyed having some space to my own that wasn?t being invaded by family who were always asking too many questions about my life.

While at college, I had a personal encounter with Jesus and ended up moving to a Christian Commune on an 80-acre farm. I stayed there for eight years. At first, I was really attracted to the idea of having a spiritual family. It was the 70?s and the beginning of the Jesus Movement. Brothers and sisters who were about my same age surrounded me. They had been swept into the Kingdom by the sovereign move of the Holy Spirit. I also had fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers in the faith who were older than most of us were and were helping show us the way.

We worked together, ate meals together. We built living quarters for the influx of new young believers that seemed to arrive every week. We farmed the land. Grew our own vegetables, raised our own livestock. We had our own printing business and construction business. Our meetings were completely open; anyone was free to share what the Lord was putting on their heart. Some of the brothers and sisters would get new songs that just fell on them during our worship services. Some of those songs are still sung today many years later.

It seemed like heaven on earth, I was part of a wonderful family. As the years went on, I started to see problems with the authority structure in the group. Some of the people started getting on my nerves. I suppose I got on some people?s nerves as well. I found myself cherishing time alone, since other people constantly surrounded me. We had become a group of 120 living communally on an 80-acre farm.

Eventually, after 8 years, most of us left the group and decided to live lives that were more normal. I missed many of the people in the group. Over the intervening years, some of us still see each other from time to time. It varied from two couples getting together, to a few couples, to a full on reunion. The thing that is amazing is that when we see each other, it is like we haven?t missed a day. You see, we are family. We know each other so well. Even the passage of time doesn?t change that.

Once you become family, even years apart doesn?t change the closeness we feel. We look forward to getting together. But, if we spend too much time together, we start remembering why this person got on our nerves. So the demands of life come in and we have to end our time together, and then we look forward to the next time we will see each other.

How do you know when you have become a spiritual family? When you react to them the same way you react to you natural family. You love them so much that at times you can?t stand to be around them, but if you haven?t seen them for years, it is like you haven?t missed a day, because you know them so well. And you miss them.

?God sets the lonely in families.? (Psalm 68:6)

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