Category Archives: Uncategorized

Who Wants to Be a Supreme Court Judge?

Lindsay Graham has gotten my attention and appreciation over the past two weeks with his memorial to John McCain and his humorous, solid description of the court room. His apology to the circus was funny and descriptive—“not entertaining and not fit for children.”

I watched Brett Kavenaugh’s daughters as they observed the proceedings. I tried to imagine Mr. and Mrs. Kavenaugh telling their girls they can break glass ceilings and one day they could sit on the Supreme bench, a Governor’s chair, or in the Senate chamber. After watching the nominee run the gauntlet of Borkers and then being subjected to insane questioning and protestors paid out of a paper sack, I wonder how inviting they see it.

I’m concerned about youth watching these hearings and the abuse of government officials deciding that public service is a terrible career choice.

Brett Kavanaugh’s self-description reached into my hostility lined bag of sarcasm:

“I am an optimist. I live on the sunrise side of the mountain and not the sunset side.”

Chris Stirewalt, writer, historian and political commentator writes in his Half-Time Report:

HOLY MOSES, WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE

The biblical story of the children of Israel is one of forgetfulness.

When the Israelites forget the God of Abraham who made them and protects them still, they suffer the consequences at the hands of a succession of sufferings in a cruel and fallen world. Sometimes it is in Egypt, sometimes it is in Babylon and sometimes it is in an occupation of their own promised land.

In their pain they cry out to their maker for release and relief, and they are delivered. But even before Moses can return to them with the law, Aaron and the others are already forgetting themselves and the great Jehovah who rescued them. Their leader finds them already worshiping at the feet of the golden calf.

It is the story of the ancient Hebrews, but it is also very much the story of Americans. When we forget the suffering brought on by our failings we are sure to fail again.

Americans are watching today as generation passes on in poignant fashion. The split-screen remembrances of Aretha Franklin and John McCain are meaningful and moving on their own. Two extraordinary lives of achievements that can never be equaled.

No matter your language, faith, color or creed, to listen to Franklin sing “How I Got Over” would make any person at least consider the possibility that God is real and His spirit is in our midst.

No matter your politics or preferred policies, McCain’s sacrifice for the country he served would give even the most cold-hearted cynic reason to think that there is something truly exceptional about our nation.

But there is something instructive about what is happening to their generation and to our country in this moment.

Baby Boomers’ ascendance changed the world. What was, at the time, the largest age cohort in American history essentially invented the concept of adolescence, bent the titans of industry to their whims of taste in culture and commerce and reinvented our politics.

The generation’s arrival into adult life was marked with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In the 15 years that followed our country endured an era of disruption and upheaval marred by profound corruption in the government, America’s first defeat at war, domestic insurrections in our largest cities and a crisis in confidence about the American experiment.

Franklin knew well the wrenching pain that surrounded the struggle for the descendants of slaves to know real equality in the nation that had denied it to them and their forbearers.

McCain knew well the consequences when our government lies about the conduct of war and demands the sacrifices of its people in pursuit of unclear objectives.

But we are forgetting their lessons.

We live in an era where issues of race are recklessly exploited for narrow political advantages. We also live in an era where the very definitions of truth and accountability are in doubt.

Part of the reason we are so careless in playing with matters so potent is that those individuals who lived through the consequences of our past forgetfulness are leaving our presence. We are losing our collective memory as we lose those who paid the price when we had lost our way before.

We join our prayers with those in mourning but we pray also that we will not have to suffer so much as the generation before in order to learn the same lesson of the Israelites.

Oh, God!

  1. (c)2018   D. Dean Benton

Glad to announce the launch of our new self-hosted website:

Benton Books, Blogs, Blurbs.

The digital address is

“https://www.deanbenton.org/

Hey, come look it over, lend us your ear:                 Benton Books, Blogs, Blurbs

Affirmations

In 2016 I purchased webmail—email. To do that I had to also purchase a website. I didn’t have time to work on the website, so I paused it. Three weeks ago, I participated in a Michael Hyatt webinar on setting up a website. We have a website already, but it is static. I wanted a site I could host—change content to suit the day. On the day I purchased the website they were pushing, I got an invoice for my 2016 idle website. I decided to cancel the new one and get the 2016 version operational. Closing out one and updating the other turned into a miserable day.

The webinar, host and website on which I would eventually post advertised that I could get it operational in 5 minutes. Another paragraph said, “…okay about 30.”

This will be the 12th day of trying to get my new self-hosting website launched. Although frustrated, I have enjoyed some of the process because the end product would provide a place to advertise my new book, make my blog available to a larger audience and share some important resources for people who might not know about them.

This morning, I couldn’t login. The username or password that opened the lock last evening told me several reasons why I was suspended or blocked. I didn’t have time to talk to a person on chat. I had plans for prayer and lawn mowing before incoming rain.

The plan is to give me a larger—at least a more effective/efficient platform—voice. I took my prayer list of critical needs to Carole’s front porch. I have friends and family who are dealing with caskets, ICU, end of life, and infirmities that yield to no prayers or drugs and they won’t go away. I received communications describing those situations that need a response.  I had no words that were not threadbare or trite. The irony—which was pointed out to me during prayer time—I’m looking for a “larger voice” when I’m stalled with what I have. Not one of the words I would put on that website would fit the needs on my list.

“Jesus, do you mind going with me down the rabbit trail?”

The first question was, “What do my friends, cousins and hero need?” HIS PRESENCE! I’m not going to tell them that. Nothing sounds more trite or predictable. Did you hear about the little girl who was asked to pray before a meal? She began, “Dear Alexis….” She was embarrassed, but you can follow her thinking. Alexis hears the questions and answers. My people don’t need heavenly silence in addition to their emotional and physical pain.

At the second bend on the rabbit trail, I “heard” or realized something. I’m not too great with praise. Waving my hands or jumping is not my thing—although I appreciate what it means to others. Praise takes many forms. If you cannot “praise” then vocalize affirmations of what you believe about God.

“I believe God speaks to me with communication and activities that I currently need.”

That was quite a prayer time as I lifted my loved ones to the Father.

“Okay, Lord, what about that website?”

“Let’s conquer one universe at a time.”

Affirmations!

©2018 D. Dean Benton  dean@deanbenton.org.

 

Where Is This Going?

“At least five times…the Faith has to all appearances gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases, it was the dog that died.” G. K. Chesterton, 20th Century.

“The task of redeeming Western society rests in a peculiar sense upon Christianity.” Reinhold Niebuhr, 20th Century.

With gift card in hand, I went to Starbucks to drink something refreshing and to read, then pray. The quotes above pleased me and then rattled me. This morning the unease remains. What if Niebuhr is right? What is my task in the challenge? And yours?

The Pope has warned the world about “Prosperity Preachers.” I don’t know who chose the photos accompanying the article.

In recent days, events, testimonies and scripture have pushed me to think through “prosperity,” and prosperity versus poverty. If we do not limit “prosperity” to money and connected benefits, I’m thinking (at least at the moment) that the basic prosperity message is an important piece of the “…redeeming of Western society.” Miracles, signs, wonders are agents.

Os Guinness is one of my favorite thinkers and writers. His parentage is the third branch of the Guinness empire. There were/are beer brewers, politicians/bankers and third, there were evangelists/missionaries. I cannot think of one institution that has affected me that does not track back to the Guinness vision and teaching. Os is a theologian, author and culture observer.

I’ve been wondering, as I read and watch the news and feel deep disgust at the incivility and anarchy in America, what is really going on? Where did this come from? Where is this taking us? Guinness’ 2014 book, Renaissance speaks to my question with the basic commission:

The task of redeeming Western society rests in a peculiar sense upon Christianity.

A five-story building burned recently. It is one of the downtown anchor buildings. It was 60-days from being finished repairing and updating. Firemen dumped 4 million gallons of water on it. It appears to me that only one corner of the building still stands. The rest is rubble. The sight has upset me—not just sadness over such a loss. Twelve million dollars had been invested in the remodeling and rehab. The rubble heap became, for me, an image of Western Culture making Niebuhr’s challenge feel totally impossible.

Guinness explains what is going on behind the nastiness on the streets, hatred between the “classes”, those in power and those who are building barricades to bring down the “ruling class.”

“…all civilizations, whatever their momentary grandeur, have an ultimate flimsiness that is paper thin and cannot hold back the barbarism.” (Guinness—page 17)

“The West has beaten back the totalitarian pretensions of both Hitler’s would-be master race in Germany and Stalin’s would-be master class in the Soviet Union. But it now stands weak and unsure of itself before its three current menaces: first, the equally totalitarian would-be master faith of Islamism from the Middle East; second, the increasingly totalitarian philosophy and zero-sum strategies of illiberal liberalism; and third, the self-destructive cultural chaos of the West’s own chosen ideas and lifestyles that are destroying its identity and sapping its former strength.” Page 19—Guinness)

I like Guinness’ take on all this. He wrote in 2013; it was published in 2014 so the Trump era has no possibility of cause and effect. It may shed light on why Trump was elected. The impending rubble motivated citizens to look for someone—a builder?

“What does our moment of transition to a post-Christian West mean for us? …only God knows. In terms of the past, we can see that the world that our parents and grandparents knew has gone forever—in terms of both the dominance of the West and the unrivaled status of the Christian faith in the West.”—page 24 Guinness.

Gone forever? How much of what makes it “The West”? We’re never going to use hymnbooks? It’s way beyond that. What if our institutions—as we know them—are going away? And the church is going to have a different task—forced to do evangelism differently and what we have trusted and treasured will have the opposite effect on others?

Paul writes to the Corinthians that the gospel is not just words, but power
A new book on Harry Truman. He never dreamed as a boy or young man of being a politician or a leader. There were several life defining events. One was when he realized he didn’t know what his purpose was, nor his philosophy including his grasp of a political purpose. He checked into a hotel in Kansas City to sort out, think through and establish core values and what he was to do.

That has increasingly spoken heavy to me. If the Church is a key player in “redeeming Western Society,” where do we fit in the mix? How important is it that we carve out time to do what Truman did?

Heavy on my heart.
©2018 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org

NOW AVAILABLE
My New book: Meanderinghttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/889323

Words

From the Barna Group researchers.

Over the past 50 years, the use of religious, moral, ethical language has dropped 50%. In a population where 70% say they are Christian, about 7% have at least one spiritual conversation a week. Of those who regularly attend church, 13% speak with someone using biblical or spiritual language at least once per week.

Words that are not used, are abandoned and behavior is changed. Words matter! The new language—formerly not used in public, or “in a mixed crowd” has main stream appeal. How many times did you hear the F-word in public discourse last week? From a public platform?

It is not just “religious” words, but words of compassion, ethical words, moral words, words of respect. I don’t know that there is conspiracy to rid our world of those words, but I can make a case for that. As the use of these words have declined, the culture has become coarser.

We have come a long way from George Carlin’s “7 words you can’t use on TV.” He fixed that!

Malachi—Old Testament prophet described his culture:

“Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name” (Malachi 3:16).

Words influence behavior. Words can pollute the atmosphere or purify it.

For ministry centers, words are creative. In healing settings, testimonies are conveyors of God’s power—“This worked for me,” or “This is my journey through the darkness.”

“Sing them over again—wonderful words of life.”

©2018 D. Dean Benton     dean@deanbenton.org

Wonderer, Writer with expertise in Pondering & Meandering

Then There Is A Gap

My world feels a bit empty. A man I’ve known for 51 years went home to the Lord last week. Died in his sleep. Con and his family were parishioners who became partners in our ministry. He was part of the Iowa Hawkeyes marching band that went to the Rose Bowl, twice. He changed careers a couple times, went back to school and was a life-long learner.

We never watched a Hawkeye game together. That would have been an experience with Con. We seldom sang together. We did not see them frequently, but, I miss him. To me, Con was a cautious, but not resistant, thinker and Jesus follower. He was a questioner of all things spiritual, but he loved Jesus and followed Him. I enjoyed being with him he asked some of those questions and we talked about preachers and books. We never went fishing or tossed a ball. I was not invited to join in any of his outrageous adventures—like moving a piano through a second floor window with pulley and railroad tie. I don’t remember him ever telling me he thought I was a good singer or preacher, but he invested in our family in several ways.

It settled on me like a dark cloud—we no longer have Conrad praying for us. He and Martha and family prayed and undergirded us and in the process a transfer occurred. Some of that family’s Spiritual gifts and talents were transferred to our family members.

After writing on Abraham learning how to be a blessing and what it means to “bless”, I take more seriously that there really is a spiritual transfer from God’s “warehouse.” How that happens?

Just before I stepped to the pulpit to preach Con’s funeral message, I realized I was missing a hearing aid. Never happened before. I thought it hardly subtle—a satanic device to distract my focus. Hearing God is paramount to blessing in which transfer occurs. That is what the new book is about.

Dean’s new book: Meandering. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/889323

I encourage you to pray for your tribe and spiritual leaders. Our worlds become emptier when you are absent.

©2018 D. Dean Benton

Writer—Wonderer–Meanderer

An adventure you haven’t heard

There are 526,492 (plus/minus) podcasts currently available—at least that was the count when Kim Komando last reported. I listen to several of them regularly. Malcom Gladwell’s podcast is one of my favorites as is The Art of Manliness.

The author of a new book on Apollo Eight tells the story on https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/podcast-426-the-daring-odyssey-of-apollo-8/ It is fine radio—compared in my mind to the “days of yesterday when out of the west came….” Except it is real. Neil Armstrong said it is the biggest story of the space program. It is certainly high adventure!

Listening to this story of astronauts, I remembered several men and women we encountered when we worked in a small town just north of Cape Canaveral. We worked there 4-5 times and got to know several in the space program. One of the men told us stories of extreme stress. He said each day a space engineer would keel over. From others we learned about the wild-west living of the early astronauts. Lots of sports cars, fast driving, wild living. Apollo Eight was manned by extremely brilliant and normal men.

Frank Borman was captain of Apollo Eight. One of the unique characteristics of that mission is that it is the only one where all the marriages lasted. The rest of the NASA program was riddled with wide-spread divorce.

One of the NASA families we met included the man in charge of retrieving the space capsule from its landing spot and returning it to the Cape. The first time we talked, I asked him about a normal day. He said he would tell me about that particular day. “I went clamming.” He said he knew if he wanted to stay healthy and be available for the next mission, he had to take days off when his body hinted at overload. He talked about his physician son in South Carolina and his family. He chose personal trajectories carefully.

The podcast and the book are well-worth checking out. Call to adventure!
©2018 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org

Question, Dilemma or Provision?

From Meanderings—Swapping Road Stories with Abraham’s Tour Group. (Published August 1, 2018): Chapter 34

For a touring group/ministry, transportation is critical. The vehicle is not just to faithfully get a group to their next appointment, it is home and sanctuary as well as beast of burden to carry equipment and product. When we were in a distressing vehicular problem, I dreamed we would acquire a bus and we would know it was ours by a red stripe on the sides—front to back. It was a GMC 4106. We prayed that we might find it, have the funds to buy it. In our great need, God had spoken, we believed, it was a done deal, we believed. You would have laughed at us or cried at how pathetic we were. If we met a bus on the Interstate, we would lean out of our van windows looking for a red stripe. We found one in a parking lot in Ohio—bright red stripe. I whipped around the block to claim our bus. Up close the red stripe was the only quality it had. Vision or not, we never owned a GMC 4106. We did own a GMC motorhome with purple stripes. Like all our travel vehicles, it is the source of painful, costly memories.4a

This week I have been rechecking editing before sending the manuscript to the formatter. I lived through those days that can be described as agonizing, fearful, hopeful and tense. Today as I published my blog with a note about the new book, Carole yelled up the stairs:

“Dean! Come down immediately! Hurry!”

On the street outside our kitchen window was a huge tow truck pulling a GMC 4106 with a red stripe on the side. A bus that size or style has never been on our street, let alone one with red stripes. I couldn’t get my head wrapped around what was happening. My brain was buffering. Was it being delivered to us?

I don’t want a bus, have no use for one and couldn’t afford it even if it were a gift. But its presence on our street indicated something odd was going on. I ran out to help them park it on the lot across the street. Didn’t want them to scratch it—just in case.

There it sits. I don’t know if it is there to taunt, haunt or bless us. Carole said, “That damn bus is going to sit there and torment us.” That tells you how serious those days years ago banged on our souls. We did laugh when she said, “It was being towed by a tow truck. That should tell us something.”

After the tow truck left, I walked over to touch it—not unlike the many times I placed my hands on buses to claim them for our ministry. I checked it out like parents look over a newborn. Just being next to the bus felt strange, unexplainable.

I laughed with God because the book Meanderings is about hearing, deciphering and understanding God’s voice and how to interpret it—what God was telling us. All I could say was, “Lord, what is this all about?” There was no parting of the heavens today any more than there was in the long ago.

Local dream interpreters say when evangelists and clergy dream of vehicles it usually indicate feelings or revelation about ministry—ministry size, impact or potential. A dream about a bus or ship might indicate growth or a miraculous provision.

It seems to me—this is not a provision, it is an affirmation. I heard that, but I don’t know what it means. Yet! That bus was delivered to us—not to possess, but to consider.

36 hours later. Bus is still there. Someone joked that it is my chariot coming to carry me home. I don’t think so! If my chariot will need a tow truck…the joke won’t be lost on me, but I’ll be disappointed. I seriously doubt that the chariot to carry me home will have “Trailways” bleeding through layers of paint and have 36 seats inside and a low front tire.

If this were God’s provision, it would be an Eagle or Provost with a beautiful mural on the skin. Unless someone hands me the keys and says, “This is yours,” it will not have my name on it. That bus showed up hours after I had written about the dream & vision concerning such provision. I conclude it is about affirmation and healing for a time when a GMC 4106 with a red stripe was significant to us. It sits in an odd and unusual place to speak to me about a time when we acquired questions and wounds that need healing and correction.

The timing makes the bus delivery meaningful. Meanderings has just been sent to the formatters. The purpose of the book is to share the stories of The Father of Faith hearing God as an example of how we may hear, recognize, discern and obey God’s voice. Is this a satanic taunt? My concern is this will be another “What was that all about?”

What it is not about is a bus. It is about whether God speaks to individuals about things that matter in real time, real life. If the Abrahamic Covenant is operational, is it useful? Does God speak? Instruct? Guide? Provide?

I settled that in Meanderings—Swapping Road Stories with Abraham’s Tour Group. I think.
Available August 1, 2018

©2018 D. Dean Benton—Writer, Wonderer, Meanderer

Stuff to Report

I’ve been concerned about a fella I’ve known for a long time. His ex-wife says she still thinks of him as the smartest person she ever met and always expected him to be a U.S. Senator.

I’ve been concerned. Haven’t heard from him for too long, so I wrote to him.

“How you doing? What’s going on in your world? Be in touch.”

That has always been adequate to provoke him to ask about gas prices, temps and whether the grass was growing in addiction to a massive political report. Several months later, he replied,

“Not much to report”

Not even a period at the end of his response.
I’m still concerned, now more so. He is isolated; he has cut himself off from even his quirky friends.

On a tour, I was invited to a men’s breakfast. About 20 of us showed at a restaurant. The waitress knew the men’s orders by heart. Besides a couple of clergy, the group was made of the communities of military, medicine, education, marketing, inventors, government and men running for state and national public office One man’s wife is running for mayoral election. You might know a couple of them. Several millionaires among them. A man who dressed off the racks of Salvation Army has invented electronics you see in TV newsrooms and military staging areas and the White House.

At least one Jewish man. About 70-80% are Jesus followers. There were no studies or guest speakers, just a serious prayer of food blessing and conversations.

The room was filled with a quality of caring and joy I carried to the car. It wasn’t a Bible study. Nor was it a banter session of put down and muscle flexing. A gathering of gentlemen in an atmosphere of bacon, eggs, oatmeal and testosterone.

I have not been in such a gathering. Just being in that gathering made me feel better about myself. Most of them welcomed me verbally and heartily asked me to come back next time I was in town.

Every time when I have felt or said, “Not much to report,” it was the results of absence of breakfast with such men. Stephen Mansfield calls it a Band of Brothers. Others call it Tribe or Pack. Eating breakfast alone is not good for me and among a couple of other things breakfast with some of the boy is what my friend needs.

I promise you: when Jesus gathered His friends for breakfast on the beach it was one of the most empowering and important times in their lives.

Want to grab eggs and coffee with grits or oatmeal?

Have I got stuff to report!

©2018 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org

An Embryonic Idea

I’m sure they are out there, but in all the protests and screaming, I have yet to hear an idea, solution, strategy how to handle the 600,000 illegal immigrants who enter the USA each year. Nor have I heard a suggestion what to do about the 20,000 children and teens who are roaming our country from Central America. Incidentally, of the 20,000, only 2000 came to this country with their parent(s). “…ripped from their mother’s arms” is predictable incendiary rhetoric.

“Unaccompanied minors.” That phrase has unsettled me since I met some “unaccompanied minors” in the aftermath of the Sudan crisis.

“There was no place then, and few places ever, that offered a more stimulating environment for creativity than Florence (Italy) in the 1400s” (Leonardo da Vinci, Walter Isaacson)

With the modeling done by the Guinness family, A British soap company (Lever Brothers-?) and the Cadbury people during the Industrial Revolution in Ireland and England, I have an idea. It is embryonic. Those companies built villages for their employees with a plan for improving their hygiene and ability to build a life. They attempted to touch every aspect including education in every aspect of life.

The Creator of the universe has not run out of ideas, especially in the areas that Jesus declared redemption and creation. (Isaiah 61 & Luke 4) With a vision of a 21st Century Florence—“stimulating environment of creativity.” I also refer you to Greensburg, Kansas. We did 2-3 extended meetings there as well as a couple one-niters. When the city was destroyed by tornado, they rebuilt it with a vision for the future. Technology and the electric grid underground, for example.

Looking at the crowd on any day trying to gain entrance into our country, how can we tell which ones of those kids are the “best” that President Trump says we want? Some have not been parented. Most have not been tutored and prepared for life in our culture. We are given the opportunity to shape them and train them to become the best. We cannot forget that in those crowds are some of the “worst.” This sounds like a ridiculous hope for utopia. More than that, in fact, it is battle for the souls of the lost and for the soul of our country—the City on a Hill.

A vision keeps coming to me—I cannot say where it comes from. I see new cities and villages and renovated rural towns not just to house, but to heal, train, educate and teach community. Others have tried this—(ie. the high rise buildings in Chicago). As smart as Americans are, we can learn why they didn’t work and then build on their purest ideas.

Perhaps, a better approach is to go to the source of the problem. Take all this to Central American nations—“You shall bless the nations—Genesis 12) Not to colonize sovereign nations, but to plant resources, leaders and a vision of economics, education. Plant the 7 Mountain vision. What about Daniel in Babylon? Joseph in Egypt? Early Christians in the Roman Empire?

I am waiting for the results of the weekend call for people to leave their churches if the pastor didn’t address the border situation. The “call” sounded like a demand to attack our government and president. My inclination is to issue a call to leave churches where spiritual leaders do attack the government and president. Leave to establish communities that will build. Let’s make Isaiah 58 our stimulation.

Let’s announce to the world with the 7 Spheres of influence and authority (legal and military) that this is who we are and if you want to come to USA, then this is the path to participation. You are welcome to become one of us. If you see yourself being assimilated into our values and society, then bring your best tools, ideas, culture. We don’t need for you to try to change our country into Honduras or El Salvador. We want your best traditions and skills to make us better. If you can see yourself in that role, then come join us and work for the American dream.

One of my mentors said to his children, “If I start swearing, run! My choice of vulgar language means I have run out of ideas and ability to rationally communicate.” Some of the current actions and language in our country on both sides of any conversation is described in that statement.

In our legitimate defense of what we treasure, we have allowed the American vision to grow dim. The opposition is about deconstruction—tearing down. How shall we stand against the invasion which the southern border is only a symptom?

It is an embryonic idea. The Creator/Redeemer is found in the Kingdom of God, of which the Church is a local outpost. God works through the Kingdom and Kingdom people.

Your idea? Your suggestion: what amendments to this? If this experiment of “by the people…” what will you contribute? If building a new city is not possible, how can your segment of the Kingdom do it locally? Perhaps God has brought you to the Kingdom for a time such as this!

©2018 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org

Will Spiritual Awakening Touch North Korea?

In case you didn’t know.

• World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse were founded by Bob Pierce in response to post-Korean war orphans. Pierce left nothing of his life on the court—perhaps foolishly. His total commitment to mission cost him his marriage, his ministry, his family and his health. He was attached to Korea with his last breath. His daughter wrote an insightful biography: Man of Vision, by Marilee Pierce-Dunker.

• The Korean Orphan choir came to our city in the 50s-60s and some came to our church—as I remember. Pierce brought the choir to the USA to build awareness and support. I have been curious about the spiritual state of Korea since then, and when we started working in churches that shared their buildings with Korean congregations—then when Pastor Cho and his church became a world-wide sensation. Then the Methodist Korean church in Seoul, Korea became huge by any measure.

The Korean Church has been graced (“You shall bless the nations….) to teach us about prayer and evangelism. Twenty-seven thousand missionaries have been sent from South Korea to cities around the world. The mountain top prayer gatherings are a phenomenon. There may be some, but I know nothing in USA to compare.

Some weeks ago, I sensed that Kim Yong Un had a spiritual awakening and wondered if that could be true and if so, how. A pastor from South Korea filled in blanks for me. Before the Korean War, North Korea was the spiritual center of Korea, experiencing awakenings and revivals. When it became evident that the war would change North Korea, the pastors went south. They became leaders of what became the SoKo mega-churches, while the NoKo communists destroyed the church buildings. The Church went underground to sing silently and to whisper their prayers.

In the early 70s, the North Korean government was collapsing. The SoKo churches built an evangelism plan to take supplies and the Gospel north. A central leadership of all denominations built a plan to plant—replant—3000 churches. The collapse did not happen—I think it survived because of China’s intervention. The SoKo churches worked on their plan of taking the Gospel to their families and fellow Koreans for four years. The plan is still in place.

In a Christianity Today interview, the SoKo pastor said that every SoKo church prays in every public worship event for the North and for government leadership.

The freedom in SoKo has brought a huge economic lift. Lance Wallnau tells mighty stories of his leadership conferences and God’s call to business and government. Many of your high technology devices are from Korea. Many business leaders are Jesus people.

This very well could be Korea’s time for breath-taking conversions—beginning with Kim Jong-un. It will take some time for NoKo to break out of the slavery mindset, much like Israel coming out of Egypt.

We know Koreans. They are uniquely wired in the Spirit. We have talked to Koreans in the USA on assignment and have heard them sing and pray. They are especially graced for evangelism and making connections. I sense beneath all the horrors over many decades, there is a Kingdom foundation that is soon going to push through the surface.

How does a born again Kim Jon-un make that public? How does he make restitution? Who will disciple him? Soul-stirring to contemplate and pray for.

Jesus, we celebrate the foundation of belief in North Korea. I speak Kim Jong-un’s name to You. Holy Spirit, however You work the redemption call and conviction, we invite you to enter his world and secret heart places to reveal the Father, the Son and Yourself. Thank you and praise You for commitments that no one should perish. Let it be so!

Dean dean@deanbenton.org