They call it CRACK — and millions of young people are obsessed with it. Many have become hopelessly hooked after one dosage. The high lasts for only a few minutes, but it is so intense, some have described it as being greater than a thousand orgasms all at once.
Crack is inexpensive, compared to heroin — and it can be produced in the kitchen by teenagers. Cocaine powder is turned into crack by putting it into a mixture that is heated, allowed to harden and then broken into small pieces that are smoked, usually in special glass pipes. Street kids smoke it out of soda cans with holes punctured near the bottom. The drug is almost weightless and is sold in tiny vials. Whereas cocaine is sold for about $100 a gram, crack sells for $5 to $20 a vial.
Crack is king on the streets. The jolting high is so overwhelming to users, they spend hours in drug dens called "crack houses." Many get high four or five times an hour. They end up robbing, stealing, prostituting and selling drugs to support their habit.
The big high is quickly followed by a frightening low — an emotional depression that can lead to violence and paranoia. Crack addicts become irritable and their personalities get twisted. They think that people are talking against them, that family and friends are plotting to destroy them — so they strike first.
Here in New York City, a 16 year old boy in Harlem killed his mother after getting hooked on crack. An 18 year old Brooklyn boy killed a minister during a robbery to get money for the drug. Three people were murdered at a crack party on a recent Saturday night. An eight year old girl was thrown out of a 31st floor apartment by her uncle who was on a crack high. The child's mother was also a crack user. Last night a father hung his three month old daughter out the window by one finger. He was high on crack, but the child was miraculously saved.
The worst tragedy of all is to see young expectant mothers, some eight months pregnant, laying around in crack dens, getting stoned, with no concern that their babies will be ruined by their actions. Fathers who operate these crack dens have been known to use their own daughters to sell the drug — to prostitute — and getting them hooked. As many as 18% of users claim they have attempted suicide. Side effects include brain seizures, lung damage, stroke, heart attack, nerve impairment, chest congestion, black phlegm, coughing, nightmares, violent outbreaks.
In some sections of the city there are more "crack houses" (dens) than churches or liquor stores. At these crack dens kids can rent the pipes, buy the drug and stay for days — stoned and strung out — if they have the money. They walk the streets looking like zombies — pale, almost lifeless, emaciated and very sick.
I have been preaching on the streets of our American cities for nearly 30 years now. I was on the streets of Houston, Texas last month. Now, I am on the streets of New York City again. Everything is spinning out of control. The curse of Deuteronomy 28 is upon us. "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not harken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments...all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee..." (Deuteronomy 28:15) "The Lord will make thy plagues intense...even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses...he will bring on thee all the diseases of Egypt...they shall cleave to thee...also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, these will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed..." (Deuteronomy 28:59-61).
Aids was not written in the Law! Nor was the disease, herpes, nor chlamydia. The new crack plague was unknown in the days of Moses. But God warned us that disobedience and sin would bring down upon us long lasting, devastating, new plagues.
There are over 10,000 aids victims dying right now here in New York City. You see them walking the streets — they look like walking corpses. Some have brazenly boasted they are headed for hell but will take as many with them as they can. Some purposely spread the horrible disease. The number being infected doubles every six months.
Three out of four drug users who came to us for help now are crack addicts. The murdering, the robbing, the violence, is unprecedented. I tell you — and I know because I am on these streets — it is out of control! It is absolutely, positively — a curse allowed by God!
That is what I am preaching on the streets every night. I see hundreds of children, and I weep! What hope is there for them? Soon, before they are teenagers, the plague will get many of them. The schools are mini-hells! It seems to me like one out of three students are sellers of drugs. The stories the little fourth graders tell are horrifying. It is a story of cocaine, pot, booze, pills, sex — I can hardly bare to listen to their stories. There is a hardness, a hopelessness — it is as though a point of no return has been reached. The only thing beyond this is anarchy and utter chaos.
I weep inside as I write this. I am writing this message on 8th Avenue near 42nd Street. My heart grieves over all the smooth talking, "all is well" preachers in America. I say to them — "Come with me to the streets; come let me show you the thousands of young people — the hopeless masses — stoned, drugged, sick, bound by demons — then tell me America is getting better! Tell me this nation is not under a curse! Come see the plagues! Come look into the eyes of thousands dying with aids! Come see the diseased prostitutes, the killer pushers who damn our youth — get out of your ivory tower — climb down from your safe pulpits — get out of your theological fortresses — AMERICA IS RIGHT NOW UNDER PLAGUES AND CURSES FOR SIN AND REBELLION AGAINST ALMIGHTY GOD!"
I cannot describe to you what I see on these troubled streets. Thousands of backsliders — shipwrecked — having turned away from Jesus to the world. They are everywhere. I can only imagine what the prophet Jeremiah would say if he stood now where I stand.
"Thus saith the Lord unto these people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the Lord doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins..." (Jeremiah 14:10)
Why are so many backsliding? Pentecostals, Baptists, Charismatics — every denomination! Why are they being cast out on the streets, victims of demon forces? I meet hundreds of them who attend our street services — some are backslidden preachers now using drugs, getting drunk, going to parties every night. It is because of backslidden, adulterous preachers. When you meet a city preacher on fire for God, holy and brokenhearted over sin — he is strong and precious. But so many are now powerless, sitting in front of a TV idol watching playboy movies — overwhelmed by evil powers — helpless to deliver the people they preach to. Jeremiah said of them, "The prophets assure peace...they prophesy lies in my name...the deceit of their own heart...I did not send them...the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out into the streets...I will pour wickedness upon them..." (Jeremiah 14:13-16).
Pray for all the inner city pastors. Demon powers have been unleashed — Satan is determined to undermine and destroy their morals and their spiritual authority. It is going to take holy, consecrated men of God — with much spiritual authority — to break the chains that bind city dwellers, especially now, with all the plagues and curses that have befallen the nation.
Right in the middle of all these plagues — God is raising up a glorious testimony to His power and glory. Alcoholics, crack addicts and people bound by all kinds of horrible sin, are being delivered and set free. Young crack users are getting straight — some are with us out on the streets telling others how Jesus Christ has set them free. Backsliders are weeping, repenting and coming back to the Lord with all their hearts.
Preachers are repenting! Sinners are calling on the Lord to be saved. Mothers and fathers are turning to Christ — praying protection for their little children — and I already have gone with believers to the house of God.
Wherever sin abounds — grace much more abounds. Things will get worse — judgment will spread — new plagues and curses will break out soon — the mockers and scoffers will continue to blame us for being negative and judgmental. But we will not just sit around and curse the darkness — we will continue to go right to the very gates of hell and rescue as many as we can while there is still time. Let our critics say what they will — I for one want to set up shop right at the portals of hell and save some brands from the burnings. Pray for us! Pray for our youth! Plead for our nation! Repent for our cities!