Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Sparky, Cassie, and Stubby at the fry.
(Click photos to enlarge.)

We did go to the Mormon-sponsored fish fry, and I will admit: the Mormons can fry fish. Sparky is ever infiltrating various religious persuasions, bringing them truth incrementally. He met these Mormons while helping them with construction projects. Sparky calls himself “Special-Ops.” God drops him behind enemy lines, and he picks people off (and ticks them off) one at a time. 

Spark told this Mormon kid I was
"looking into the Mormon religion."
I could have pounded him.
Sparky and Cassie are a unique pair. She is twenty years his junior. Age makes no difference here, because here is a union of common souls. As Sparky says, “Brilliant calls unto brilliant.” It’s no exaggeration. Love also calls unto love; love is boundless and  insists on defining itself. Who would care to stop its momentum?

After the fry, we went to the beach just off a pretty town park, to dabble in a little salt water.

Leo’s is a fun place to eat in Ocean Springs. We got some wings and drinks in the dining area half in and half out of the warm spring air.  

Arriving home, I had to start thinking about the next morning’s talk in Baton Rouge. I studied and wrote a little in bed (“on the air mattress”) before turning in. I was feeling pretty darn good about everything.

Bridge off Ocean Springs.
This French guy first explored the region about
300 years ago. He doesn't move much now.
Looking out onto the Gulf.
Baby bird at Leo's in Ocean Springs.
Cassie peeks through the wooden napkin holder.
Zender looks off.
Sheldon looks in.
                                                     BATON ROUGE

In the morning, it was off to Baton Rouge. On the way, thank goodness, we picked up Cassie’s mother, Maureen. I say “Thank Goodness,” because I really liked Maureen. It was like when Ringo finally joined the Beatles. Now, our little evangelistic group was complete: Sparky, Cassie, me, Sheldon, Maureen. Oh, and Stubby. Nothing happens quite as it should without Stubby.

I wish I’d taken more photos at Abiding Hope Fellowship in Baton Rouge, but I was too much in the moment. It was the same deal here as elsewhere: Fellow members of the body of Christ understand one another upon contact. You shake hands, hug; everybody gets it. Still, you want to bring them a message making Christ even more alive.

Thomas Kissinger's wife Sarah.
I spoke to them about our freedom from sin, and how it thrives in the face of sin. This is one of my favorite things to tell people. It never fails to move people; folks don’t often think the way of freedom. Bondage dies hard, even among seasoned spiritual veterans. We all have leftover “stuff.” Even I, Martin Zender, had leftover stuff before meeting Clyde Pilkington. I have since felt bricks falling off a religious wall I didn’t know existed. I guess you would call it, “Leftover Catholicism.” For these folks, I suppose it would be  leftover Pentecostalism. After all, this is the land of Jimmy Swaggart.

I never feel to raise my arms for Jesus in public. I rarely do in private, but it happens. Mainly, for me, it’s an awareness of the abiding presence of God. Everything is always raised inside me for Him, aware, so thrusting out the arms seems redundant. This is why I’m rarely moved to do it. But if the movement comes, I will do it. I’ll do whatever I feel, because living in me is Christ. If I don’t feel, well—living in me is Christ.

Cassie and her mother, Maureen
David is the pastor (I’m sorry I don’t know his last name), and the assistant pastor is Thomas Kissinger, who writes books, including The Glory of God, and the Honor of Kings. I loved the spirit of these two men of God. Great and glorious, so simple, so true. After all, look at what they are doing: believing God in the middle of Satanic worship. Satan worship in Louisiana comes in three forms here: 1) Catholicism, 2) Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, 3) Voodoo.   

I don’t mean to be harsh, but the funky magic of bloody, scarred, headless-chicken-death-entities is to be preferred over the teaching that God Almighty and His Son, Jesus Christ, will oversee the eternal torture of billions of Their creatures. I am sorry to have to say that. I wish it were different, but it’s not. I'm not saying Jimmy isn't a good man. He is. But he's teaching a false gospel that is so false, words can barely describe it.

The remedy to all this is the truth of the cross of Christ, the gospel of Paul, and the Word of God, correctly cut, correctly translated, and boldly articulated.

Martin Zender, Thomas Kissinger, Tom "Sparky" Purcell.
Thomas told me to speak between 30-40 minutes. That’s my usual, anyway. But the people were drawing from me. Everyone was awake and hyper-attentive. I could just tell. It was perfect. It rarely happens that so many people hop on your ship simultaneously and ride whatever wave you kick out from the podium. I cannot help gauging body language. Sometimes it is necessary to ignore it. This group, however, was alive and kicking the whole way through. So on I went for 55 minutes. It was not too long. I believe in my heart I could have gone another 55 minutes, such was the pull of those loving people.

Milling around after the meeting.
I sold several copies of, How To Be Free From Sin While Smoking a Cigarette, enjoying several spiritual conversations afterward. Safe to say lives were changed. If this didn’t happen, I’d quit. It shouldn’t be hard to change lives if only you have truth and un-install all your filters.

There is nothing like going to the French Quarter in New Orleans after a hard teaching spell in Baton Rouge. This has been one of my favorite sayings for years, although I never had the opportunity to live it out until now. So the gang-of-six detoured off Interstate 12 onto I-55 South, easing along Lake Ponctchatrain into The Big Easy.

                                                 NEW ORLEANS

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll spare you a lot of reading by simply sharing my photos from New Orleans and the French Quarter. I will give you one word: Spectacular.

Meeting Mary Cage on the way to New Orleans.
To hear this story, click on Show 102 from the
Martin Zender/Dan Sheridan Show.
The Superdome, as seen through Sparky's windshield wiper.
Vintage French Quarter.
Down the sidewalk.
Jeanne d'Arc
Stubby needs help.
The Jazz capital.
Street band.
House of Voodoo.
And its wares.
Here comes the rain; Bourbon Street.
On the sidewalk.
Self portrait.
Whose mama?
Sheldon at Tropical Isle; Bourbon Street.
New Orleans is famous for the Hand Grenade,
"the strongest drink on the French Quarter."
Don't worry; there's hardly any alcohol in it.
These people invented the Hand Grenade.
Unfortunately, they forgot the alcohol.
Amazon keeps watch over Tropical Isle. Fine by me.
This is where you sit.
Sheldon and me, inside Tropical Isle.
Saints outside the window.
Sin is rarely where people expect to find it. Jesus would have hung out in New Orleans and loved it. The people would have loved Him. When it was time to die, He would have headed over to Jimmy Swaggart Ministries and preached the success of His cross.

He would have found respite at Sparky’s house, I know that.

© 2013 by Martin Zender


Mary C. said...

I am sorry I am so old. I would have loved to have gone with you all to New Orleans. I am going to "hint" to Sparky to come get me one day and take me to lunch at Archie Manning's Restaurant. I loved meeting you and cannot wait to hear what you have to say about this old lady. BTW, I worked for Jimmy Swaggart when I first got to Baton Rouge. As I studied the Bible and learned more on my own, I left the ministry. Sparky went to school there.

Max said...

I know Jimmy Swaggart has a history with prostitutes. Obviously God will forgive him and save him eventually, but it goes to show the effect that heavy legalistic preaching can have on people, even the leader in this case.

Anonymous said...

I wish I was there with you ...,

Lonely sister in Christ from Holland.

God bless you all,