Editors Note: What have I been doing? Trying to write a book. Well, that’s an exaggeration; it will probably turn out to be more of a booklet. I do not know how this effort in writing will come to fruition for I am barely emerging from the chrysalis stage in my banal attempts at writing, and I know nothing about publishing and all that is involved with book writing. I have only been in contact with one person for publishing information. The light at the end of the tunnel is still quite dim, but I know the longer I drive forward the more that light will illuminate brighter and brighter and I will eventually emerge from that tunnel. I ask for your prayers as I attempt this endeavor.
The following is the introduction to my little book that I have entitled “Compass Lost”.
On June 22, 2003, I embarked upon a challenging adventure with my brother-in-law to hike along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
I had planned this immense and demanding trip with him since December of 2002. I called it “the quest”. You can read all about the quest on our website www.atrumpetinthewilderness.org
This four-day adventure along the renowned “Lake Superior Trail” was a memorable experience. We walked about ten to 16 miles per day. I had trained vigorously for the quest, walking with a ten pound backpack, five miles per day, six days a week.
In preparation for the hike I purchased the appropriate gear, i.e., suitable clothing, a poncho, hat, hiking shoes, and various other things needed to equip myself to successfully complete the quest. I had just about everything I would need except a compass - I didn’t think I would need a compass.
I remember the night before this feat; I went to the upstairs bedroom in my in-law’s house near St. Paul. While they were involved in viewing a rented video, I sat quietly trying to clear my mind of any pre-conceived fantasies of the next day, and quietly relaxed and prayed.
My brother-in-law would describe himself as a liberal Roman Catholic - a Catholic by religion and catholic by most of his views and I would agree with his assessment. I am extremely conservative, a Protestant, and more under the umbrellas of the Messianic Jewish persuasion than anything else. Messianic Jews (at least some) believe in keeping the so-called Mosaic Law, the Biblical feasts, and basically retaining their Jewishness, but trusting in Yeshua completely for salvation.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, least any man should boast.
I had enumerated several goals I wanted to accomplish on this endeavor, but there were four that were paramount:
1.To complete the challenge
2.To become closer to my brother-in-law
3.To draw closer to the Lord
4.To hear a profound and discerning Word from the Holy Spirit.
The first day of the hike, we were greeted with a continuous rain that was just hard enough to make the view of the giant lake even more majestic. The scene was breathtaking. It was very picturesque, with a monochromatic backdrop and a cascade of mixed colors dancing on rain-soaked trees like tiny ballerinas between us and the massive lake they call "Gitche Gumee" - The ravishing beauty of the area was so awe-inspiring; there were times we slowed the pace of our hike down, and we simply perambulated through God’s marvelous creation.
We had set out to walk about twelve to fifteen miles, making it a suitable challenge for this 56-year old man and my younger hiking buddy of 40. The first part of the trail was challenging enough with a wet, rugged and muddy terrain. We stopped frequently to get out our tiny throwaway cameras and take a quick wet picture of the beauty. But, we quickly returned the cameras to a dry place in our backpacks so as not to damage our eighteen-dollar investments.
After we had walked five miles or so, we came across one of those skillfully made state signs, where the words appear to be burned into the wood. The sign, as stately as it stood, conveyed some very disparaging information. The words read that we had 22 more miles to go to where we were staying. We rubbed our eyes in disbelief. We had taken a wrong turn. We were off course. We were wet, worn, and weary, and this was only day one.
My brother-in-law said: “This sign has to be wrong! ” I said to myself: “I wish you were right. Even though this is Minnesota, the sign has to be correct.” I told him this was a state-made sign, it wasn’t a joke, the sign was correct. We had another 22 miles to go, and I didn’t know if I could do it or not - Three things kept racing through my mind: I just can’t do this, when are the notorious and ubiquitous Minnesota mosquitoes going to attack us, and why didn’t I purchase that compass?
How were we going to walk another 22 miles, after walking almost six miles? We both had trained rigorously, but this was too much of a challenge, at least for me. Although my brother-in-law and I do not agree on everything, on this one issue our sentiments were unanimous. This wasn’t turning out to be a good day- this early setback could affect the rest of the trip. Our once garrulous manner became more and more laconic. We walked in stunned silence for a couple more miles until we came to the main road, where I started to remove my shoes to wring out my wet socks. Looking up, I saw a lady parked by the side of the road in an official government vehicle. Suddenly, my brother-in-law became talkative again, approached the lady and requested a ride. Now this lady was on official business in a government vehicle. At first, she hesitated, but my brother-in-law has a convincing and persuasive manner, so she finally acquiesced and gave us a ride. She must have been as brave as she was nice. Here were two wet, muddy, smelly, men and she invited us into her vehicle.
She drove us several miles to another part of the trail and we resumed our hike. My brother-in-law kept calling her an angel. I was wondering if we had had a Hebrews 13:2 experience in reverse, until we met up with her husband who was equally as gracious - so we had to settle for them being merely mortals, but with very kind hearts.
We ended up walking our intended distance. Over supper it was gratifying to recall the day’s events, but not nearly as strenuous.
I kept a journal each day of the trip. Each day had its challenges and rewards. However, the night before our last day, I was disillusioned, for I had envisioned this endeavor to be a mountaintop experience. It was not - not as a mountaintop experience usually goes. Yet something about a compass kept resonating in my mind and spirit. My bother-in-law and I had involved ourselves in many theological discussions, neither one convincing the other that he was right. Instead of coming back with revelations, it appeared I was going to return to Texas with nothing more than a few blisters. Yet this word “compass” would not leave me alone. I knew America had lost her moral compass. She is adrift and heading for destruction. What had saddened me even more is that the Church as a whole has also lost her moral compass and is adrift and committing the grossest of sins. But, I knew this before I ever took one step on our hike. I knew both had lost their compasses.
Then I heard it. It was one of those times when you know who is speaking. It’s like on a summer evening in Texas. The weather is hot and humid, very humid, and then you hear that first rumble of thunder toward the west, announcing the approaching thunderstorm. I heard the thunder. The Holy Spirit said in no uncertain terms: “Jack, you have also lost your moral compass. You are as much off course as you were the first day of the hike.”
So, the last day of the hike was the first day of my search-and-recovery undertaking. This search continued after our return to Texas. I had to take a deep and austere look into my own life. As the days turned into weeks, I found that - I had drifted into complacency, banality, and stagnation. When you are in a state of triteness, you can wander aimlessly and drift off course. Getting off course can lead you into a ditch - or a ravine - or to the bottom of a towering mountain after falling off of it.
When you’re really off course, you’re in a disconsolate state, like the mouse, caught in the trap, still nibbling at the cheese. You’re already dead, and don’t even know it.
I had to come to terms with some paramount doctrines such as: Do I believe? Do I really believe? Do I believe Him and do I believe in Him? Do I love the Lord God? Do I know Him? I continued to wrestle with my own doubts and while doing so, I had to put not only myself on the altar, but everything of myself on the altar as well. I had to be willing to jettison any and all plans, no matter how holy they seemed, until I could honestly say, “yes Lord I do believe You, and I do believe in You. Yes Lord, I do trust You.” And, I could finally say, “yes, Lord, I am beginning to know You.” Believing is something you do daily, it's not a one time thing, it's a diurnal activity. As we continue to believe the better we know Him.
However, I also know that I no longer care to live if I am going to be immured in mundane religion and the insipid lifestyle of lukewarmness. I knew that I had heard clearly that our country, the Church, and our errant society had lost their compasses, but I also heard as acutely as I have ever heard anything, that before I could even begin to start writing this book, I had to rediscover my own compass.
I have entitled this little book: “Compass Lost”. Recovering my own compass was one of the two things I knew I had to do before I could write this book on correction. It’s my prayer that you will somehow hear the clarion cry of my heart calling for our pernicious society and most of all for the Church to repent, and find their moral compass. In all of my admonishments that I have tried to write, all pales by comparison to what you are about to read.
Before I could even begin to write, I had to do these two things: First, I had to find my own compass, which I did after a lot of prayer, and repentance, and secondly, I knew that I must get completely honest. After seven years of writing the newsletter, “A Trumpet In The Wilderness”, I believe I am to share my testimony - This will not be an easy thing to do. In fact, it will be an arduous and oppressive undertaking.
There are at least three deleterious avenues that sharing one’s testimony can lead one down
1. It can take the focus off of God and on to oneself.
2. It can glorify sin.
3. It can cheapen grace.
May I never even cross those avenues.
I doubt if this book becomes a bestseller. It will probably be hard to give away, but it will be honest. I knew before I could write this book or even another newsletter, that it was time to talk about the past, regardless of the outcome or the feedback. I had been reluctant to share my testimony because I am so ashamed of it and feared many would ask to be taken off the mailing list
I advise you that what you’re about to read brings glory to no one. I take all the blame, and I am responsible for my sins.
The blood of Yeshua cleanses us from all unrighteousness, but many sins have consequences. Many sins can leave a sword in your house. I know about swords. I am experiencing one as I write this book.
When you read my testimony, perhaps you will understand why I am so vehement and adamant about the sins of our country and the sins in the Church.
A grandiloquent writing or a pompous manner cannot make the ugliness of sin pretty. To try to assuage them by titivating them with bombastic and embellishing speech, rationalization or pretending they don’t exist will only add to their severity. Only the blood of Yeshua can do away with our sin. Only His blood can remove the offal in our lives that still clings to us like parasites despite our efforts to remove them. His death on the cross, paid the penalty for even the grossest sins, and His resurrection cancelled sin and death, because He alone was the perfect sacrifice without even a spot, stain, or blemish.
The most important thing you can do right now is to ask the Holy Spirit of God to reveal Himself to You. Have you lost your moral compass? Have you ever had a moral compass? Yeshua must be our moral compass – He must be the One who guides us through this very uncertain journey we call life. I believe the time of “playing church” has past and it’s time to “get real” with the Lord and everything He is about!
In my testimony I have changed most of the names except for my immediate family.
These may or may not be the chapters, but these are close to the titles. I do not know how this booklet will come to fruition, but somehow I believe it will - I ask for your prayers.
Chapter 1: My Story
Chapter 2: Before We Begin To Fight
Chapter 3: The Lost Compass of the Church
Chapter 4: The Lost Compass of the Courts and Civil Disobedience
Chapter 5: Sealed Lips Sink Ships
Chapter 6: I Don’t Use the Word Gay
Chapter 7: My Warning
Although I am barely emerging from the chrysalis stage in my writing, a tyro writer at best, its my prayer through my feeble attempt as a communicator that you will somehow be blessed and come to a deeper walk and understanding of our blessed Messiah Yeshua.
Now may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless you through His Son Yeshua.
In His Service
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem