THE MASKED PREACHER
WARNING! May be inappropriate for some Christians
In a small town, a very devout man preached the word of God. He preached from a large, old commercial chicken house that he and others had converted into a church. He preached the Bible, verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter, and book-by-book. He preached the gospel wearing a mask (one very much like the Lone Ranger wore.)
As she parked on the gravel lot in front of the church, she sees that the front doors are standing open. She walks in to an off tune whistling of "Amazing Grace" coming from the mens restroom. She hears a toilet flush and then squeaky wheels rolling. Moments later, from out of the bathroom appears a middle-aged man of average build, with medium length dark hair, wearing dark blue coveralls. He is pushing a cleaning cart and whistling.
“Hello, you must be Jane, the newspaper journalist? Like I said, I would be in the church cleaning when you arrived. My name is John.” He reached for her hand and shook it.
Jane - “Don’t you have people that clean and help with the upkeep? And, by-the-way, where is your mask?
John Laughing - “I only wear the mask for about the first ten minutes of the sermon, just to prove a point. And, as for help cleaning, well, sometimes I have help, and sometimes I don't. I do a lot of the maintenance and cleaning myself.”
Jane - “What is the reason for the mask?”
John - “By show and tell, I make it known that you gather to worship for only one reason, and that is to worship God. You don’t go to a church, a building, or any assembly for any other reason. You don’t go for the pastor, the entertainment, or any of the worldly amenities that most churches seem to offer these days.”
Jane - “This is the reason I wanted to interview you. You are very unorthodox. Your church is always full, or even overflowing. Your church alone helps more people than any three of the huge ones. You have become famous, and even infamous around these parts. So, shall we go to your office and we’ll start the interview?”
John - “I don’t have an office. We will have to go to a pew for a seat.”
Jane - “Hmm, no office! Why is that?”
John - "I don't need one. I don't believe that Paul, or any of the Apostles had one.
As They walk through the foyer, she makes notes about the building. She notices that the inside of the church is as the outside; nothing elaborate, nothing fancy, just a plain decor. One might even say that the atmosphere of the place was humble, friendly, even homey. The place was definitely user friendly, a place where one could be at peace. A feeling that God resided here was overwhelming.
The flooring looked to be a cheap interlocking wood system. The windows were normal house windows; no stained glass, or anything special. The pulpit sat on a small raised platform. There was no choir loft. No sign of any microphones, speakers, instruments, or any musical amenities.
Jane - “First, tell me about the church building and its name.
John - “When I bought this land sixteen years ago for my home, this large old chicken house stood here. It was made out of block, with a saw dust floor. When I started to preach, my relatives, friends and a rather small congregation, helped me with my idea of turning this place into a church. Using inexpensive material and a lot of hard labor, we built this house of God. I then felt a great need to name it, Adonai’s Chapel.”
“We added on to the building, making it into a cross. This gives the structure twelve sides, which is an important biblical number. If you read the Bible any, you know what I’m talking about. As you walk through the main entry doors on into the foyer, there is a wing to the left and right. The left wing is for homeless men, complete with basic staple foods, cots, full bathrooms with simple toiletries, and a washer and a drier. The right wing is the same for women too. On through the foyer you enter the sanctuary, where we sit now.”
“This house of God has only electricity, hot and cold running water, heating and air. The doors don’t have locks, anyone can come and go as they wish. We don’t, and never will have any kind of high-tech computers, or audio and visual equipment. Unlike most churches, I am here to preach the word of God, not to embrace and keep pace with the world.”
Jane - “When I walked in I saw a small galvanized bucket sitting on a table, in the middle of the foyer. What’s up with that?”
John - “That is for collections. Anyone that wants to give, at anytime, simply puts their donation in the bucket. You see, I never ask for tithes. That was nailed to the cross, as was some other Old Testament ways, when Christ was crucified for our sins. The people here always give what they can, when they can. I take no money for preaching and trying to win lost souls for Christ. Each of us is going to have to kneel before God one day. I for one am not going to be held accountable for taking donated money that is intended for the poor and needy. It is wrong, on so many different levels, for anyone to take God's money. Though a very small portion that is donated goes for the upkeep of the church. I would say that a good ninety-percent, or more, goes to help people.”
Jane - “That’s incredible! Most that preach, and their staff, are well paid through tithing. Any of which would argue you to hell and back, and even quote scripture about you being wrong.”
John laughing - “I know what you mean. However, if a person actually reads the bible, asking for guidance by the Holy Spirit, then the truth would be made known. When Yahshua was on earth, he was more angered and disapproving of the clergy back then, then he was of the common folk. The lure and greed for money causes corruption in most people.”
Jane - “Amen to that. Ah, when you said Yahshua, you mean Yeshua don’t you. Even I know that using Jesus is incorrect, But, I've always heard that the true name is Yeshua.”
John - “You know more than most. Through centuries of constant bad teachings by, supposedly, well learned men of God, we have what is taught in most churches today. The names Yeshua and Yahshua both have their fanatical followers. They would, as you say, argue a person to hell and back, with their facts and logic, trying to prove their point. I subscribe to neither side. I simply try to always listen to the Holy Spirit, and use a spirit of discernment; by doing that I choose to call our messiah, Yahshua. The question I pose is this; how many people have actually read the Bible these days? More important, how many that preach have read the Bible from cover-to-cover? You have all kinds of preachers now that are best selling authors. You have followers of ministers, not followers of Christ. In my opinion, no one should listen to, or read anything by any so called teacher of God, unless they read the actual bible for themselves, using prayer and a spirit of discernment, as they read.”
“In Hebrews chapter 5, starting with verse 12 it reads. 12: For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13: For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14: But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
“Unfortunately though, you also have the ones that say that they are doing God’s work, but who are really working for themselves. Of these, their followers may go to heaven, where as they won’t. For example, in Matthew chapter 7, starting in verse 21 it reads. 21: Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23: And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
Jane - “I agree. Now will you tell me a little about yourself?”
John - “Sure. I am thirty-nine years old. I was born and raised in this county. I am married with two children; an eleven year-old daughter and a nine year-old son. I am self employed as a licensed auto mechanic. I have two employees that work for me.”
Jane - “Did you go to any seminary school, or have any formal bible training?”
John - “No, I obtained everything that I know through the Holy Spirit. You have to remember that, Yahweh, God is alive and well. He can easily guide us to the truth and understanding, if we just calm down, ignore the world for awhile, and pay attention. It starts with us just reading his book, and praying for knowledge, wisdom, strength, courage and discernment. That is why this church doesn‘t belong to any denomination. We follow no organized, worldly belief system.”
Jane - “I see. Why strength and courage though?”
John - “I consider myself a rogue-Christian now. Changing from what I was and telling others takes courage and strength. I Won’t argue with anyone, but I will tell the truth. Most people won’t study the Bible for themselves. They rely on self-help guides, study-guides, seminars, just anything of the world that they think will help them understand God’s word. They don’t use any discernment. They will buy CD’s, DVD’s, books, and just anything to keep from reading the gospel.”
“I like what is written in Romans 12:1&2 - 1: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2: And do not be confirmed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
“Most will never change. They enjoy paying the cost of admission (tithing,) and being entertained for one hour, or two if they attend Sunday school. They enjoy the elaborate sound systems, the professional singing, the humongous TV screen hanging over the pulpit.”
Jane - “As I know and see, you don’t have any of that here.”
John laughing - “I won’t even wear a suit and tie. My clothes come from a discount retailer. I am about the Lord’s business all the time, however, I am not a business man. I will not wear inappropriate attire to preach God’s word to the poor, sick, homeless and needy. It sends a conflicting message about who I work for and what I am about.”
“We also don’t have Sunday school here. Sunday school was originally started in the 1780’s to give illiterate working children a chance to learn some education. Here we choose to start services earlier and let the children learn with the parents.”
"We don't print out fliers, or pamphlets to hand out before a service. We don't have any sports programs, or anything that is not strictly devoted to the learning of God's word. We don't waste money going on trips. And I for one don't play golf, or socialize in places that a man of God shouldn't be."
“Another nugget of information for you is this; no one is allowed to sing, or play music if they are professionals, or are aspiring to be. This house of worship is for one purpose only, and that is to praise, worship and teach His word. I love good honest amateur praise music. Anyone can bring any instrument, or sing any praise song. However, no recorded music is allowed. And, we, here, won’t tolerate anyone that makes money in anyway off of singing praise songs, or teaching God’s word.”
Jane - “ My finale question. How did you become a preacher?”
John - “I have a very simple and dull answer. During an out patient operation that I had eleven years ago, I had a conversation with someone. The operation went smoothly and routinely. But, while I was asleep, I distinctly remember having a conversation with someone that I had great respect and reverence for. I don’t know who it was. It could have been God, or a heavenly being, I just don’t know. Anyway, It was a very friendly talk, and I was asked many questions. I was also given an assignment, if I so chose to accept it.”
Jane - “May I ask what questions and what assignment?”
John - “Sure. I was asked why I needed to pay to be entertained, by wasting money going to concerts, to movies, and just ignoring the needy. I was asked why don’t I put my free time to more valuable use. That I needed to actually read the Bible for myself and not rely on outside sources. There are several questions asked of me that for now I am keeping to myself.”
“The assignment given to me was this; That I needed to turn this old chicken house into a church and preach the word of God in it. I was given instructions on how the building should look and how to run the services. And through the Holy Spirit, I have been guided to knowledge. With this ever growing knowledge, I am guided on how and what to preach on.”
Jane - “One last question comes to mind, if you will? How does the Holy Spirit lead you?”
John - “With eyes wide open. In other words, Now that I tune out the world, I have eyes to see and ears to hear.”
Jane - “Thank you for your time. I think that this will make for an interesting read. I will submit it for your approval before I publish it.”
John - “You are very welcome. Please stop in for church any Sunday.”
Jane with a smile - “I believe I will. I think that it would be quite an interesting experience, with as you say, eyes and ears wide open.”