Nicky Cruz | World Challenge

Nicky Cruz

Fear is a Faith Killer


Nicky Cruz

December 9, 2020

There will be trouble in this world; the enemy makes sure of it. But we can't be ruled by fear—it must be mastered or it will take over your life, killing faith in the process. Nicky Cruz encourages us to turn to Jesus in our fear and stand firm in his truth.

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A Desperate Cry for God

Patrick Dow
September 29, 2020

The next generation in the Ukraine is desperate for Christ’s healing and power to make a difference in their lives and their nation.

“Nicky! Nicky! Pray for me!”

We had just finished a huge crusade in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine near the Moldova and Romania borders. As the altar call ended and the crowd was being dismissed, a desperate, heavily accented voice cried out to me from the edge of the stage.

It's Time to Believe


Nicky Cruz

July 22, 2012

Jesus told the disciples that it is for our advantage that he went away because in his place the Holy Spirit would be our helper. The Holy Spirit's role is to convict the world of their sin and impending judgment from God, but for believers he convinces us of the righteousness that we have in Christ. Nicky Cruz reminds us that it's time to believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ still has the power to change and transform lives!

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A Prayer for Ukraine

Rachel Chimits
June 21, 2019

Gary Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz offered a conference to refresh pastors in Ukraine and over 10,000 church leaders arrived to hear them.

Chernivtsi, or Cernăuți as it is called by the Romanians, has been called “Jerusalem upon the Prut” for its strategic location between Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.

It has traditionally been a cosmopolitan city, home to many Romanians, Germans, Russians, Poles, Hungarians, Roma and Jews.

Bucharest’s Lost Children

Patrick Dow and Alicia Dow
March 21, 2019

Romania’s capital has an enormous orphan population desperately seeking their true Father.

Nicky Cruz recently joined with Gary Wilkerson and the World Challenge team for a pastors’ conference as well as several city-wide crusades in Romania.

A Final Warning


Nicky Cruz

November 19, 2017

Are you anxious about the future of the world? The birth pains and signs are growing with greater intensity. In this sermon, Nicky Cruz encourages our faith to hold fast and use what time we have to point people to Christ.

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Where Were You When I Was Hurting?


Nicky Cruz

May 15, 2016

We will not escape suffering in this life. All of us will face times in our life when we hurt and feel isolated or abandoned. King David was a man who knew what it was to face hard times. He also knew how to cry out to God, express his pain, and place his hope in God. Jesus, too, felt firsthand the pain of feeling like God has left you alone in your difficulties. Our God is a personal God. He is with you. He will protect you and provide for you. God has not forsaken you!

I'm going to talk to you about "Where Were You When I was Hurting?" Because these are the questions that many people have about God, friends, family. This is the worry that we all have about what's happening, this is the pain of divorce or separation. This is the pains of people that they're losing, little by little the sights of who they are because someway, somehow, somebody in the family is messed up, it's a mess. It is a situation for people that have to understand that this thing happened. You're never going to walk away from pain because pain started in the beginning of the Bible. All over the Bible, you can see the greatest men ever suffer, been hurt and if you think that you're never going to hurt, you might be hurt by your own family, by your own mom, dad or by your own children. You might feel sometime that you're holding things in your heart and your life that you need to get it out because you're hurting so much. If the walls could talk they can say everything about who you are. [inaudible] that can tell you how much pain, sorrow you're going through in your life.

Life is not easy and sometime unfair. So many questions about life that we have. Why this thing happen to me? He didn't answer my prayer when I was broken and I was lay flat, he seen eternity in my life. There are people who want to do the right thing and to be good but there are people that are bad and evil and all of those things. They end up doing the wrong things and there's people that they have lost convictions in their life and that is dangerous, especially when you know Christ as your personal Savior. It never was promised to us in our life that we are never going to go without trial, testing and suffering. We are promised one thing, that God, who want to walk beside us, he want to walk beside us during those difficult times.

I have to mention something here that I just wrote. I got to mention and Karen, the secretary, I just did it Friday. I was thinking about the Wilkerson family and there's a closeness here because Dave, and excuse me if I call him Dave but I always have call him Dave. I never call him brother David. I never call him Reverend David. I never call him Pastor David. I never call him Prophet David. I never call him, what do you call it? Apostle. He hate that. Don't you ever tell him that he's Apostle. But I saw the life of Dave in different dimensions. I saw the life of Wilkerson suffering a lot. And yes, standing in that pulpit and preach, prophesied, and many things that came to life. He wrote one of the book that the people really lost lots of ministers. Hurt him when he wrote the book Vision. All his friends, many of friends walk away from him when he was hurting. But he have a spiritual son that was there beside him, for him. I love you. And sometimes, you have to understand why Dave was in that kind of situation.

Gary, Pastor Gary. Gary nephew die of cancer not too long ago. I watched Bonnie and still moaning and groaning, it's not easy when pain is involved. Gary niece die at the age of 12 years old in the arm of his grandfather, David Wilkerson. And when you began to go deep, then look at Mrs. Wilkerson, Gwen. I don't know, she inspired me, she called me son. She knew the sacrifice that her husband did to come to New York, pregnant, holding her stomach and why she was holding there, this big giant son.

Yeah, pain was real. Pain was there. And when things like this happen, then what you going to do? To who you going to turn? Who going to comfort you? Who going to help you? Who going to bring back the things that you have lost? Who going to be there when nobody going to be there? How, why, how long, strong your faith is? Do you really believe that Jesus Christ is a personal Savior? Do you believe that he's part of your life, your everyday life? Do you believe, regardless of your mistake in this life that God never going to forget you. He never forsake you, he's never going to leave you there. You are something special for Him. And this is what sometimes I don't understand.

I'm going through a situation right now. My youngest daughter, she's going to be divorced. I was so busy that I had to slow down, take six days, just came in from California to be with my daughter, to be with my four grandchildren that she have and she has twins. Two years old. And when I had to say goodbye and my wife had to say goodbye, so I can come and preach for you, how you feel with my granddaughter? Beautiful. Living in California, which is another nation. When I step out of the car, she run and she grab me so tight. She lay her head on my chest and she was moaning and groaning saying, "Papa, don't go, please. Don't leave us." She grabbed Gloria and what you think right now, you can hear the echo, pain, coming out from her.

But I look at Psalm, Chapter 25, Verse 16, 18. This can give you the picture, what we all going through and I have to do it. How to express ourself, how to be honest with ourself, how to be sincere when he say, turn to me, excuse me. I never cry when I was in the gang and now I'm a crybaby. Oh my goodness, that was hard. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiply, free me from my anguish, look up on my afflictions and my distress and take away all my sin. Take away all my sin. It's checking the list in your life. Where I went wrong and where I can do right.

This is what David wrote in situations, mistake that he commit and things that he never did but he were persecuted. They want to kill him. His own son want to kill him. He saw so many things. And David, King David was in that awkward situation, he cry out with anxiety and despair. He felt abandoned. He felt hopeless. This is what made me think, he felt ignored. This is a man who have a relationship since he was a little boy. The only thing that he knew, he was been in the open field just having a good talk with his Creator, writing to him, became a great poet and here he's giving us how we feel. If you think that because my position as an Evangelist, because I have one message, I don't have many messages, I have just one message and it's Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, to preach Jesus Christ all over the world.

There are two things in life that we all are afraid. We are afraid of loneliness and being unwanted. The Webster dictionary say it that loneliness mean to feel isolated, without companions, a feeling of desolation. Let me tell you, something that I never knew. The day when I came for the first time to church, because I wasn't born in a church, I was born in the rat hole of witchcraft. The name of Jesus never was mentioned until Dave Wilkerson came in and walk in to our turf. We went to this place, we didn't know where we was going, for the biggest surprise to find out that that was a religious service. We thought that we were going to start dancing and all of this thing and wow and smoke some grass, go down stairs and, you know, get little high and then open your shirt and let two hair on your chest be showing and all of these things. And I went over there and I want to make this confessions for many of you, I was innocent. I was innocent of one thing, I was innocent that I didn't know who Jesus Christ was. I was innocent that I didn't know that he died for my sin. I was innocent that he's grace is enough, I was innocent that forgiveness is the power that can really kiss our heart and our pain because I didn't know who Jesus Christ was. I wasn't innocent about evil.

One of the biggest and the most desperate cry in the entire Holy Bible is from Jesus Christ himself. This is where you will see his humanity. In Matthew Chapter 27:46. This is what came out from every emotions, everything from his soul, from Jesus Christ. The biggest cry in all of the Bible. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? My God, my God, why you have forsaken me?” If this is not pain, what the heck is pain? Are you a dreamer? Knowing that dream never die but you will die. Dreaming not die but the dreamer do. This is serious. This is what He felt. This is a Jesus Christ, this is where he showed his humanity. This is what it's all about. But in Psalm 22, again, offer hope. He assure us that God is acquainted with our suffering, no matter how horrible it is. He is with us, even when we feel most forsaken. Why? Because he is the God who has known us from before our birth. That sounds weird. I know where God know me.

How many witches have given birth childs and God know their name? My real name is Nicholas. It sounds more sophisticated than Nicky. But my real name is Nicholas. Why? Because my mother put her finger into the calendar and there is the 6th of December. I don't want to tell you my age because that's not your business. The 6th December. And you know what the 6th December say? Saint Nicholas. I'm supposed to be a Saint. I supposed to be a Saint. This is what the Bible say in Psalm 22, 9 and 10. Yet you brought me out of the womb, you made me trust in you; even in my mother breast. From birth I was cast up on you; from my mother womb you have been my God. From my mother's wombs, you have been my God. This is the unique power of the Christian message. That God knows personally and intimately, he knows you, he know me. Beside my wife, she know me. And she's still in love with me because I'm still irresistible and always will be irresistible and I die irresistible forever and ever, Amen.

Other religions might affirm that God as the Creator and the ultimate ruler of the world but the God of the Bible is personal. He knows better than we know ourself. Even though we might feel abandoned, the fact that he never forget us. He's conscious of our sorrow and our grief. Hebrews Chapter 11, Verse, when I'm quoting Bible, most of the time I quote two or three verses. Hebrews Chapter 11, 36 to 38. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskin and goatskin, destitute, persecuted and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in the hole in the ground. And when you begun to think that we are not going a little slightly where these people went. They were willing to die. Look at the disciple, what Pastor Gary just said very clear, the way or where the country that the Apostle died, they die for a cause because they believe, they suffer. If you think that you never going to suffer, you come from another planet. You come from the place that I don't know where it is. Probably the Twilight Zone.

Let me put it this way. David acknowledged God. He said one thing that I want to share that you protect yourself. This is the word of David. Guard me. Guard my life and rescued me. Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. My integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.

And let me tell you something that loneliness have a face. Loneliness have a face. And if you cheating yourself, it because you put yourself in that position. If you try to rationalize, rational everything, to try to excuse your wrongdoing, you are falling in a hole. If you think that everything is La La Land. Go ahead and start singing all your life because you're not. We have been afflicted. It's like a storm that is seemed like it's getting worse. Christianity instead to be getting strong, we getting weak. Instead of give witnesses to other, we are afraid to be rejected, or being laughed at. All of this thing that you never want to be. You want to be Miss and Mrs Perfect or Mr Perfect. You want to think that we never as a minister have problem? Yes, we have a problem. Gary went through a lot of problem but God came through and he became an over winner. This is all we going to have to go. We have to go through pain. We have to go through pain. We have to see things that we hate to see. We want close our eyes but no our eyes are open to the reality that this is life.

Oh, I remember those days, marijuana, if you was marijuana, that was the worst thing that you can do. Then things began to change. In the 60s and all that. Heroin became very strong and it was cheap heroin. Then, again, in the 80s, there cocaine. Then they all kinds of drugs that I'm not going to spend my time because you know it, many drugs today and they are killing us. This is not a problem of the ghetto anymore. This is not a problem of the poor anymore. This is the problem of the middle class, the upper middle class, the richest of richest. This is a epidemic. A small country, a small city, they are crying out, help. This is moving all over. Sweeping all over. And you know where the problem is? That many people got hooked in prescription drugs. When a pill you can get in the street for almost nothing, painkiller, opium, then you can get it now because the things getting hard and harder, now the doctors are now we are preoccupied that this is a serious problem, one pill costs $80. Why is this? Because something is wrong with our soul. Something is wrong with our life. Something is not right. This mean that there is something that is hurting deep in your soul and your soul is crying out for satisfaction, for lust, for everything that it can grab. This is the things that we got to understand that prescription drugs is the biggest problem in United States and is reaching the highest to the lowest. People are hurting.

Where are you? Where are your questions? I tell you I still have a lot of friends. I can open myself to friend and tell them how I feel. I don't have no problem but I would never trust a gossiper. Many time we Christian, someway, somehow, we resist satisfaction and just not only kill the person but step on and step on and never forgive and never forget. Well, let me tell something, that's not my style. I prefer that God take me home. Because I believe that every soul is so important in the eyes of God. I believe that we all commit mistake and I am not justifying mistake. But if you began to question, there's a God, he's never going to forsake you. He never going to leave you. He going to be right there with you, in the good time, in the bad time. When you have nothing and when you have plenty. God never, never going to forsake you. He will be there. He will protect you. He will supply all your needs. He's the God that love you and given us Jesus Christ. I'm here and I thank God. That many people think, they ever thought, Nicky never going to make it. I don't know if Dave Wilkerson thought that. I don't think so. Not after the chance that he took that almost got killed.

But I'm going to tell you something, people have took advantage of me. I preach to 7,000 people. I had a little center when I had 17 children that I pick off of the streets, their mother the prostitute, their father in prison and they have nobody. So, The Cross and the Switchblade came in and then I began to go all over, then the book Run Baby Run, both became instantly bestseller in New York Time. But how do you feel when you speak to 7,000 businessmen and when they give you a cheque for $100. To who you going to turn? To who you going to go when you have to feed 17 children. That they don't know in this world that we were suffering but God is a God of justice and God never forsake us like always and that's words going to stay in your mind and your heart, either whatever you're going through, you in different teenagers that many time you don't understand the pit hole that is in front of you and sometimes we are nothing but a spoiled little brat, that we take everything for granted. We take everything for granted. We're spoiled. We want everything. You, are the best in technology, you can tell everything, you can say so many, I don't know how, so many new things in technology that I will be living in the day of Noah. But God is a God of technology.

Let me tell you, to finish, God knows and let you know when people are suffering, when people are hurting. God have been there for me many time over and over and he will be until the day I die.

A lot of people thought when I got married, you know what Dr. Goodman told me, a psychiatrist in the criminal court of Brooklyn, lost so many thousands of dollar to try to straighten me out. Thousands and thousands, to tell me that I was walking straight to the electric chair in hell and I'm never, I'm never, there's no hope, that I'm never going to change.

Do research about all these guy that have been bad, people that have gone different direction. I'm standing here to tell you that in marriage you go through all kinds of things. When Gloria married me, she took a chance, she took a risk. I can backslide anytime, she would left with our children right there, lonely, completely alone. But the God of protection, the God who love Nicky Cruz, never leave me, He never have forsaken me and then the people that thought that this Dr. Goodman told me, you can never be a father because you are capable to hurt your children. This is what he told me. Because that's the way you are and that's the way you going to be. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. No. No. No. No. No. No. God gave me a girl, in a place that we should be. In the place of fellowship. God gave me a girl in Bible school. And you know, she fall in love. And I fall in love. And we have four children. Girls. Ten grandchildren. Let me tell you Jesus, I thank you because you are all our life, our marriage, our everything. In good time, in bad time, you have been faithful my Jesus. And let me tell you, we have been married for 54 years and we still in love.

Mary. Mary. Mary. Mary. In the clock, I'm looking, 11, 11. Mary. How I can forget Mary? I was a teenager, listen to me teenagers. I was a teenager. I was in the gang. She knew what I was doing. The total neighborhood. The total New York and the gangs. I have a this little place, with one table and two chair, small bed. I used to pay $15 a week but I have to steal the money and I never went broke. I notice sometime when I used to come, I used to sleep, about 3 o'clock in the morning, that's how my life was, sometime came high. And here is an old lady, about 80 or 82 years old. Here is a wall and there's a boy, 16, 17 years old, there was a wall that separate us, that lady, that old lady, she was hurting, something strange happen every time about 3 o'clock in the morning, that the sounds of pains and affliction came through the walls and I hear her moaning and groaning so loud, crying so loud. I used to get upset and I used to hit that wall, lot's of times I was bleeding and I hit that wall with hate, anger, screaming, "shut up!" And I used to put my hands on my ear because I don't want to hear her. Why this old lady have to be crying exactly at this time? Well, I went and I knocked the door and I was going to break the door, I'm going to kill you, I cannot sleep, you always crying, what is your problem? I took three of the guys and I break in and I stole, we search under the mattress, there was about $282, something like that. I took it in my hands, I was walking around the room and there's a picture and you know what, I took the picture and I look at the picture and I was just a young kid, there's a gentleman, tall, with a hat, there's two boy beside her, one beside him and one beside her and there's a pretty blue eyes lady, the picture was getting faded away. I put the picture back and I took the money. Six week later, I got converted. Almost got killed twice and Dave thought that the best way to put me in the airplane and send me to California. I went to Upstate New York and I was in the front page because they don't want me in the city because I was from New York, I was from the gangs, Dave had to come and rescue me again. I went to Bible school. One of my three month of vacation, my first year, because I had to go for three years more. People from all over United States, they've read the story of my life and then began to send money and I didn't know what to do with the money in Bible school so I told the Superintendent to put that money aside. I flew to New York to help Dave. Then he had no Teen Challenge. But in my heart, I have this lady. She haunt me when I was in Bible school. I pray for her.

I came to the same place that I used to live. I went to the third floor and I knocked the door, I heard her, when I mention her name, "Mary, Mary. This is Nicky. Open up, Mary." "Get away from me. You're a killer. You're a thief." Mary, open up. I got the money to give for you." "No." And for five minutes, I was arguing with her. "No, I am not going to open the door. You bad." I said, "No. I am no more. I've changed. You've never seen me running the street again. I went away. Open up." "No!" Then, the gang-buster got in, "If you don't open that door, I'm going to break that door! Do you understand? You don't want me to get mad!" And you know what, it work. And you know, in New York City, you've got to be in New York City in those area that put some many chains to protect themself, she got about five. And then she have a big bar to protect her and you can see the. And, she opened the door, there's Mary. "Mary, I came over here to give you something. I was the one who stole that money from you. I want to give you back your money, Mary." She said, "No, I don't want it." I said, "Yes, you're going to get this money. It's yours." "No." I said, "Mary, when I stole that money, I was on the other side, there was two policemen, why didn't you told those two policemen that I was the one because I told you I did it. And you didn't. Why?" You know what she told me that broke me? "Regardless if you was bad, I know that nobody going to hurt me, that you would protect me." She was right. "Mary, this is your money and you going to get it." And I grab her hands and I put the money, I close the fist, this is your money. And when I reach, then it hit me. Now I know the Bible, now I've been in Bible school, now I've had a lot of research and study and there's a number, there's a number. What about that picture Mary? That my husband, my two children, that there was gas in the concentration camp. I hate those Jews. I say, "Mary, that's a waste of energy. I came to tell you about Jesus." "Don't talk to me about Jesus." "Mary, I want to pray for you, okay?" And she say, "Okay." I mentioned the Messiah. I did everything for her to understand who changed me.

And then, me and Gloria, we went to see her, when I knocked the door, nobody. So, I went to the corner where I used to take my clothes and the lady told me Mary died. She died with pain. She died in anguish. She die of loneliness. She die of hate. She die of the past. She never give herself a chance. She never thought that there was a God that can see her pain. I could not help her because I was no good. But there is a God that He was there and I'm going to ask you right now, ask this question, where were you when you were hurting? Who were the one who helped you? Who was the one who took your hands? Who were the one who put their arm around and pray for you? To who you confess when your husband walk away from you or vice verse? To who you have gone and trust my children, they're messed up? I need help. To who people have come and say, "Help me. I'm getting caught up in drugs and I need help."?

You don't want to talk about your adultery or your fornications but you're hurting and I feel the pain in this place. I am no Clinton, I feel the pain of many of you and that the reason God gave me this message for you. And I'm here, hurting for you and I'm a human being but there's a divine Jesus that wants to help you. Okay? And those is the people I want here. Take that mask off of your face. Let a real smile come out. Let those eyes start shining, being bright. Bright again. Bring all your thought, all your doubt, because that what happens when you begun to get hurt. You begun to talk to God, "Where are you?" Because I'm hurting, I don't have faith, I doubt that you are there. You know what my grandson told me, 12 years old, Liam. Because this divorce, "I don't believe in Jesus anymore."

Shall we pray? Thank you. You guys come close to me, I don't want you to be apart either, 2,000 miles away. Come.

Pastor Gary that's the message that God gave me for the church. There was no publicity. I miss the sinners. You get out of your seat, come close. Got to have the guts...

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It's Just a Train Passing By


Nicky Cruz

February 6, 2011

Tenants of a New York City apartment building were calling 911 because their building was shaking. The operator told them not to worry; that it was just a train passing by and they would be okay. Those vibrations ended up causing the building to collapse. The world portrays sin as acceptable and even enjoyable — it won't hurt you! Just as those little vibrations caused that building to collapse, sin in our life escalates and causes our life to collapse. In the midst of it all, God provides a refuge, a way out, through His Son Jesus Christ.

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Not Living Up to Your Label


Nicky Cruz

November 15, 2019

At some point in our lives we all get labeled by others, and some of us carry those labels until the day we die. Once applied, labels are hard to remove. They become self-fulfilling prophecies that affect how we live our lives. Jabez, from birth, was called “pain” but he didn't let this label direct his life. Instead, he asked God to give him a life contrary to his label. Let God give you a life that lets you live contrary to the negative labels that have been applied to you.

I'm going to talk to you about not living up to your label. People put label in a life. Right now in United States we have so many labels. The Christians they have been putting labels to the Christians. We have people from all walk of life, they are confused between masculine and feminine and gender, or whatever you want to call. And we have a problem, a serious problem with revival of drugs, synthetic drugs coming from China all the way to Mexico, across the border.

And there's one drug that can kill thousands of thousands, that can kill the whole city. And people have been busted or arrested, thank God because these drugs are very dangerous. I'm going to give you warning as a Christian and this warning either you take it or you leave it. In 1st Chronicle, Chapter 4, verse 9 and 10, let me read what it says. Now Jabez was more honorable than his brother. And his mother call his name, Jabez saying, "Because I bore you in pain." And Jabez call on the God of Israel saying, "All that you would bless me indeed and you would enlarge my territory, that your hand will be with me. And that you would keep me from evil." Evil, remember that.

That I might not cause pain. So, God granted him what he request. This is a book that was written by the name of Wilkerson, not Dave Wilkerson, called the prayer of Jabez. Do you heard about that book? The prayer of Jabez. But there was something that happened when Dave wrote that little book, it wasn't big. That the people twisted, they took whatever was the best for them and then forgot other things. And I'm going to explain that as I've going to go through this. People had label play something from the time they are born to the time they're dying. There are both good and bad labels.

Labels are difficult to peel off once it placed in the person. Labels become self-fulfilling prophesy. They influence our individual personality, temperament, and destiny. That's what it can happen. But there's good news. We don't have to live up to our labels. I don't know how they called you if you have a nicknames. I don't know, but call your mother call you that you're going to cause pain. That is not a blessing, that is a curse. That is something that is a curse. Why you call, can you imagine why you call your son that you're going to cause pain. The story about Jabez is so beautiful.

There are only two verses in the Bible about this man, yet a powerful testimony. Powerful. He was a descendant of the tribe of Judah from which would produce the line of David. And subsequently, Jesus Christ. This is Jabez. And here his mother, however, name him Jabez which is mean he will cause pain. Can you imagine Jabez walking down the street, let's put it right now in this moment. Our time. Can you see a guy with a big head walking down the neighborhood and everybody say, "Hey, big head. How are you doing big head? Hey, big head, can we play baseball, basketball? Huh, Big head? Hey big head, come down, let's go dancing. Big head, do you want to try marijuana?"

Can you imagine call somebody given labels like this? Well, he went to his mom, he told his mother, mom, why they call me big head? Why? And what do you expect from her mother, his mother? No son, you don't have a big head at all. So label is putting in all of the people, but the worst for the Christian is when they call you a hypocrite. When they call you a liar. Where you preach exaggerations. When you walk in the neighborhood and people know what kind of lifestyle you live in. Christians, we are the example of the world. And they expect us that we should conduct ourself properly and spiritually.

The hardest thing is somebody that call you and put a label on your life. You know something, I can never escape from my label. I can't. People know me as a gang leader. People introduce me as a gang leader. Ex gang leader. Do you think I like it? I was. I cannot denying that I was that kind of person. Yes, in my neighborhood. Parent used to take your children across the street and they're going like this, "He's bad. He's mean. Don't get close to him." Can you imagine that I have a label that I was born in a witchcraft home? Because I said that my father was a satanic priest and my mother was a witch. What a nice label!

But I can tell you, God didn't change Jabez name, his still was called Jabez. But something beautiful happened. Something beautiful happen in my life and because it happen in my life, one of the hardest thing in life is to reach your own family. I don't know if you've had that experience. But to have a label in my neighborhood, that I was bad. To have a label on my parents in Puerto Rico that they are Satanic people. That was the label that them put on my parents. The great one, the one who do miracle. And when you began to think about this, that's something that I'm so proud to say that I gave my life to Jesus Christ, that I was born again, went to Bible school. I didn't know nothing about the Bible at all.

Seriously, I didn't know who Adam was. I know a little bit about Eve. I didn't know. I went to Bible school one month and a half converted. I did not know nothing about the Holy Spirit like brother Claude was talking about it. I thought that I was in another country and another land. I saw people speaking in tongue and I just couldn't believe it. I said, "Why these people are talking?"

He seemed that he was destined to be a troublemaker. From the time he was born, the very mentions of his name reinforce the curse of his future life. However, he did not live up to that name. He refused to allow this label determine his personality, his temperament, and destiny. He came to the conclusion, in his life that he will not cause pain. That he going to reverse everything in a different direction. And then he did the right thing, he called, this is what the Bible say, "He call on the Lord of Israel." That's the key.

That's the key that can change everything. That's what he was talking about, prayer. It is essential that we pray every day. I miss, right now my devotion with my wife, she's not with me. We have our prayer time, one hour every day. We pray. And I ask you to do the same thing. His life did not cause pain at all. As a result, God granted him what he request and now that is the twist what happen with that prayer of Jabez. Why was misunderstand? Why people went in different direction and here this is his prayer, to be blessed. You want to be blessed, right? Blessings of God, which is mean inherit God promise.

Enlarge my territory, his territory, the borders. Able to prosper and that's when he came in, what you call today, so many years ago every Bible a prosperity. They twist it. Then is reading all the thing about him, but there everybody was talking about prosperity. If you give $10 God going to give you $100. Bring me your handkerchief and I going to bless your handkerchief, but give me some money. They twist it so bad because everybody was talking about the prayer or Jabez, but then took it as a prosperity type of ministry and that it wasn't what Jabez want. If I wanted to be honest to you, enlarge my territory, it go deeper than that. Enlarge me with faith, with grace, with favor, with love, with forgiveness, with strength.

No, twist it and say, enlarge my territory and prosperity. Choose which one you want. Because regardless of what, God always going to be there for you and he going to prosper you, But that's not supposed to be the priority of your life. The priority of your life is to live a life of faith and prayer, communion with God. Be with him. Remember, families and all of these in your life. Tell God hand be upon him, which is mean receive first. This is what Psalms 5:12 said. For surely, Oh Lord you blessed the righteous, you surrounded them with your favor, as with your shield. That's what he was trying to say. Your hand will be your upon me.

And this one, you're not going to like it, but it is true. Keep me from evil, because I'm going to be honest to you. You are surrounded by evil. People want the worst for you as you want the best from God in your life. Some people want to hurt you. This is evil day and you have to deal that you've got to fight all of these things in your life until you die. Look the way King David saw this. Psalm 23, verse 4, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Cast out all fear, that's what love do. You cannot live a Christian life, full of fear, depression. You cannot be negative about this, the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a privilege to really serve the Lord.

And is through the presence of the Holy Ghost that you're going to be a winner and evil cannot touch you because you will be a blessed child. That to me is the blessing. And you know who put it very beautifully, Jesus Christ himself when the disciple ask him, teach us how to pray. Teach how to pray. And do you know the Lord prayer, there is something in the book of Mark, chapter 6, verse 13. Right in the middle where he prays, this beautiful prayer, boom, he make this statement. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. We are no exception to the rule. This is going to happen until we die. The devil going to be chasing you, you cannot allow him to be the one who take the victory. You've got the victory already in Jesus Christ.

You believe in the resurrection, right? You believe that you have been resurrected from your sin. I have been resurrected. The day I gave my life to Jesus Christ. He gave me new heart. He gave me new mind. And this body is temple of the Holy Spirit. He dwell on me. He's here. I can feel him. I'm not afraid. And I came to the conclusion, that I'm going to be aware that the devil is devil. That evil is evil. That he want to try to destroy your family, your relationship, he's going to put in yourself. I'm going to tell you something, I don't want you to ... I cannot watch Christian television. So many new theology that God never heard about it.

A guy controlling the people mind. You know his name? What his name?

You are scared of him? What is his name?

Had to force you to say his name. My goodness. Let me close with this, you was expecting a message of deep, deep message of evangelism. I will do it one of these days. You might not have a choice on the label that was placed on you or me, such cultural background, poverty roots, label placed by your own family members. And that's what I want to warn you, don't call name to your kids. Don't hurt them that way. Because that's what my mother did to me.

And you know what, I believe it. I believed that I was a failure. I believed that I was evil. All the name that she gave me, one by one, about seven curse. Seven curse. You might try to change this name, but everybody know that I was a ex gang leader. Everybody know about it, but if you listen to my story, do I am still a gang leader? Talk to me. Why? Because the God of Israel, because Jesus Christ had changed my life completely. He have changed me. And the conclusion is, the day you stop crying for the lost, and praying for your families and your neighbor and your barrios, which is the ghetto. I saw when I was driving here. I couldn't believe it, when I look at the mountains.

You can build the most beautiful places and there is nothing but ghetto. Poverty. Is hurt. Don't forget your family. And your name, what is your name? My name is Nicolas Cruz Velasquez. I repeat myself again, my real name in the passport, Nicolas Cruz Velasquez. But if you want to really put my real name, you know how my mother called me Nicolas? What Nicolas represent? Christmas. My mother called me what she called me and she was prophesying Saint Nicolas. Hallelujah, Saint Nicolas.


No evil Nicolas, Saint. We are saint people.


We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.


You've got story to talk about.


You have been freed. Free in deed.


The peace of God dwell in you.


The Holy Spirit is right there with you. God filled me with the Holy Spirit when I was about eight months saved. And there he called me into being evangelist. He didn't call me to go to South America. I thought he going to send me to Central America because I speak Spanish, yo hablo español.

Yeah. And you know how he call me? With one of the most awesome brokenness that last more than four hours on the floor. A teenager, a young kid broken by just hurt. I would cry until there was no more tears. I didn't understood why he called me, I didn't. Until it dawned on me, Nicky, I'm calling you to be evangelist. Trust me, I'm going to take you every place that you never imagined. And then two days later, a professor from the Bible school, came to me, and he told me you have been called to be ambassador to all the youth all over the world. That's the calling that I got. Gary, that's enough. That's enough.

Either we are going to believe in the prayer of Jabez or either we're going to twist it in my way. There is a song sing by Frank Sinatra, I did it my way. If you want to go that way, you want to be a loser. If you want to go God way, you're a winner. And you should already praise the Lord because God is good and he is worthy to be praised by all of us. I never ask people to clap because I don't know, I never, but I just want everybody to stand and let's give Jesus one of the biggest standing ovation, one of the biggest clap, and you pray, and you already pray with Pastor Claude. But I want you to lose yourself, renounce all kinds of label. That label is out, you are born again.


Stay on the rock, okay? All right?


And if you're having problems with your children or with your parents or friends, release it right now.


Release it. If you're having a problem with yourself of being real, release it. Don't be a phony. Don't be a phony baloney macaroni. Let's pray. Let's go for the blessing instead of going for the curse. Can you do that? Grab everybody hands and we're going to do it together as a body of Christ. I want you to pray. You know your heart better than anybody. I know my heart, I need quite a few things to change in my own life. I don't have to confess to you, but I know Nicky Cruz very well. Can you say the prayer, the prayer of Jabez in your own words? Can you ask him what you want with your life? Can you believe in miracle that God can change your son, your daughter, your parents? Can you pray as a minister of the gospel that the anointing of the Holy Spirit will be upon you?

You evangelist that God can put his fire in your tongues. Can you pray that? Then open up your mouth. Open up your mouth. If you lack love, ask him to give you that love. Because sometimes we're cold. Let me hear you. Hello, let me hear you. Hallelujah. Blessed be the Holy One. We worship you Jesus. We thank you for the transformation of our life. Thank you for our family. Thank you for the miracle that you have done in our family. Thank you for answering our prayer when we felt completely alone and lost. Thank you Jesus for being so kind to us. Thank you Jesus for supply all our needs. Fill us with your Holy Spirit. God, cleanse us for everything that is not right.

And now we worship you Jesus. Why don't you raise you hands to the sky and worship him? Say, I worship you. Thank you Jesus. Praise your holy name, Jesus. I thank you for what you had done in my life. I thank you for what you have done in my children life. I thank you that you have delivered us from the evil one. Hallelujah, yes.

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The End of Your Family Dysfunction


Nicky Cruz

January 29, 2012

God exists in family — as Father, Son and Holy Spirit — and because of this Satan makes family one of his primary targets. He has specifically targeted men and teens in our generation. Most of the people incarcerated grew up without a father. Teens struggle with loneliness, rejection and suicide. Pornography has infiltrated our homes. The strong influence of the media has distorted the family image and glorifies immorality. Our families are under attack and we need to fight back. It is time to bring Christ back into our lives and into our homes.

Not that many people, and I travel all over the world, dare to ask me what to preach. But Pastor Gary Wilkerson sent a message very straight and asked me ... he's always polite. He's got a mellow voice. He's not like his father. His father, he was a boxer, I mean slugger. His son is a boxer. So nice. Wilkerson, boom! That's it. And asked me to finish this, and it's going to continue, because the people are excited in the community, and they've seen that God is bringing new wine to Colorado Springs.

He told me to speak about dysfunctional family. And I'm so obedient that I did, yes. But it's a topic that I know very well. I am not going to talking about something that I don't know, I never experienced. It is a sad situation that I went through, but I don't mind to say it. And I'm going to do it, and I'm going to try to just talk to you little bit about the dysfunctional family. One of the most painful things for all of us is to accept that we all come from, somewhat, a dysfunctional family. Nobody in this room can say, "My family is perfect." Nobody! Liars. Because there's not somebody like that. Get it together.

But Satan want nothing more than to hurt and destroy the family. And how Satan can do that? Because the devil, Satan, has target one of the most sensitive areas of Jesus' heart, of God's heart, the family, to destroy the family. He target the family specifically, and that the reason we have so much problems, so many people are divisive and all of those things, and hate in the family. And the thing that I began to notice in my life as a Christian, the reason why Satan want to hurt the family, you've got to put the finger straight to him. Straight to what the devil is all about. Satan hate God. Do you know that? They are not friends. There's a new religion that say that Jesus Christ and the devil, they're going to make up and they're going to be friends. Hell, no. I mean, heck, no. I'm sorry. Over my dead body. There's not such a thing. Terrible. I'm sorry.

The reason the devil is target the family is very simple. Because the family is the foundations of everything, and the foundations of our nation. That's the only thing ... and the whole world. We are community. And the pain that the devil cause between God and family, the division. When thing go beautiful and nice, we always say we are lucky baby, and when thing go wrong, who we blame? God. If somebody die in a situation unexpectedly, God is the one to say ... we begin to question God. Only those born again, people that have connected with God, understand, and from there we draw power, and we will draw the things that ... many time we don't accept this comfort. It is good to accept comfort when we are ... because we understand the meaning of God's mind, how He love us, and we can go through all this situations. I lost, in the last three years, two of my brothers. One was killed, murdered. Kidnapped, murdered, and found out 24 hours ... his body was decomposed. My brother was a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ for 42 years. The pain that the devil cause is serious, and damaging, and we have to deal with issues like loneliness and the problem is...

I have come to the conclusion, because I travel extensively in this country and all over the world, I find now that it the same, loneliness. Right here in this room, there is many people you are fighting loneliness. It can be a issue with husband and wife, children and parents, all can be something here. It can be that you feel that nobody care for you. There is rejection. We have to deal with that. And I believe ... that I'm a pastor, and I speak about this. There is drugs and alcohol abuse. There is such a thing ... adultery. That is a serious thing. Adultery is a serious thing. And one thing that bother me a lot is wife-beating. I don't know why in the world that wife go back to that monster.

Then depression. I know that in this room there's people are depressed, because you want to be something and you cannot reach that point, or because you been rejected by somebody, and then you feel depressed. And depression's a serious thing. And pain has a face. And one of the things that I going to warn you that is very serious, is suicide upon the teenagers. We don't know anymore as we send our children to school, we don't know if they're going to come back. And then later on, we found them in a ditch someplace, abused sexually, and killed. They take a ride in a bicycle, and they never came back. We living in a type of a situation that the whole thing had become a very strong battle between the flesh and the spirit, between good and evil.

I feel very strong. But as I began to look, who is behind all of this? Satan. He's a liar. The Bible describe very well in John 8:44, "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar, and the father of lies." Don't believe him! Don't believe what he say to you, that you ugly. Although I believe some of you are.

God instituted the family in Genesis. Some of the family mentioned show us something what family life is going to be. You had it right there in Genesis. And some face severe moments in life. And here in Genesis, God wanted to bless us, and these people that think that we want to be ... that God create Adam and Eve just for themselves, no. God, in the beginning, spoke very clear to multiply. He have a plan. And who was behind to destroy the plan? Because he hate God! Everything that has to do with pure, everything that has to do with good. It was the devil himself, because he was dethroned. He was literally cast out. He's a liar. He's a liar! Do you know what he did in heaven? He brainwashed one third of all the angels, and he say, "Listen. If you follow me, oh, I'm going to give you power in earth, or wherever I'm going to be. And not only that, I'm going to give you power over many thousands." And those angels believe him, and that is reason they called fallen angels. Demons. Invaders. He told all the good things, that they going to possess power, but the devil is a liar. He never told them, "And because you going to follow me, we all going to go to the lake of fire."

Don't follow him! Don't follow you thoughts! Don't let all this depression, all the loneliness, just take advantage of your vulnerability. Don't follow those thought that sometime come like lightning! Because you are vulnerable. Because the only thing that can keep us literally close in with God is that our mind will be like Christ's mind. And God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful, and increase in number. Fill the earth, and rule over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, and over every living creature that move on the ground." He give you power! Not to destroy, but to live. That's what it's all about.

Look the way ... as you begin to go through the book of Genesis, it tells you the full story. The families in Genesis. Adam and Eve, Noah, and Abraham, Jacob. In the first four family, we heard of murder, drunkenness. Noah cursed one of his sons. Abraham lied, that Sarah wasn't his wife, and another man took her, not only once, not only once, twice. Abraham! Who you think you are? Who Nicky Cruz think I am?

We are [inaudible] without Jesus Christ. We are weak without the power of the Holy Ghost in our life. There's no strength left, whatsoever. Here, you deal with one of the most painful thing. I believe this is painful. The person I'm going to use is King David. He really committed heavy mistake, and he have to pay the consequences. There's so many people have used drugs, and so many people that smoked. Sometime, many people that they have been free from that, sometime, out of the blue sky, they'll die with lung cancer. Believer, there's consequences. David was trapped in such a way that he literally could not sing to the Lord, pray to the Lord, he was locked into this darkness, depression. He could not eat. He could not sleep. He was losing weight. I mean, he was literally in torment. He was tormented, because he knew better.

Listen to me, you backsliders. God love you, and He always going to love you, and He going to give you whatever chance for you to come back, and be God your Father. Don't listen to all this ugly things, "Well, I'm a backslider, I've done many things, God don't love me anymore," or try to use all kinds of excuses, but this is what David did, and I tell you it was the perfect way to do it. This is a perfect example of dysfunctional. Psalm 25:16-18. This is so beautiful, clear, what else I can put or say? I should close the message right here. "Turn to me, and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The trouble of my heart have multiplied. Free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress, and take away all my sins." My God, isn't that what we going through? Isn't this the prayer that we should pray? Let me cool my throat. I speak from my stomach. That's why I've been ... longevity is my thing. Because if not I would be [grunt].

All the pain that he saw with his own eyes. How he was tormented by all these things that he witnessed! One son committed rape. One son committed murder. And in 2 Samuel 13:28, Absalom ordered his men, listen. "When Amnon is in high spirit from drinking wine." That mean [garbled] drunk. You don't know how to think. You would think that you never thought that you would do it. You black out, and you don't remember. "Wait for him." That was a setup. Do you know that the devil would love to set you up, and think that you love, and then after that, bang, you are dead. This is different than the first message, huh? They strike him down, then kill him.

I know how to setup. I was the gang leader. I knew how to play the game. I knew when to strike. If I know that this guy come in with a sawed-off shotgun and I have a 0.38, I say, "Oh, hold it. We need to talk about ..." And the next time, I know that he got a sawed-off shotgun, I come with bazooka. I come with a bazooka, and then I blow him away. But that's what he did. That was nothing but a setup.

I went out of my note. Maybe it's the best. So I can go, and I want to talk about what God did in my life. And I'll tell you something that is hurt me. I don't know how God helped me for many years, and just making everything so fresh, but this is what I learned from what happened to King David. Absalom ordered the death of his half-brother, because Amnon had raped his sister. The wicked act of David's oldest sons made them guilty of sexual immorality and murder, as their father had done before them.

I care for the family. As a family man, I have gone through everything that you normally go. But I tell you one thing. As long I live, I will fight for my children and my grandchildren, and if God gave me the blessing, for my grand-grandchildren. And I believe protection by God over every family here. Even if you are not born again, we speak protection, and we want to ask you to give God a chance in this morning. How direct I can be? Because you don't want nobody to play games around, because there's no music here to play some dance.

Marriage. There seem to be a disregard for the institutions of marriage. Divorce rate continue to climb, from 40% to 50%. The divorce rate is the same among Christians. What is this? Who seduce you? How do you pray to get married? What do you see in that man or that woman? Are you playing the game that maybe it's going to work, that the Christian girl try to get or marry a guy and say, "I'm going to save him?" Mm-hmm (affirmative). He might take you to the other side. And here is people who marry by convenience. Convenience is something that, well, this is good, or this is bad, or maybe we can click together. Or marry based on condition. I love you, if. If you ... if. [inaudible]. This is the way how dysfunctional things began to establish. 70% of those in long-term incarceration are without father. 70%. And many of them go back again. 60% of the rapists in prison are also fatherless. We become a nation of fatherless, and children be raised by single parents. More mothers than fathers.

The importance of the father in the home cannot be overstated. Discipline provide boundaries. Boundaries bring security, and we all long for that security from our parents when we are young, and from God our entire lives. We cannot make it without God. I could never make it 53 years of salvation without God. God is good. God love you so much. God is here to heal your wounds, to kiss your pain, to take you out of that dark depression.

And let me just close, because I'm looking at the clock. I'm doing good. I hate you! [inaudible] none of them come that way, to 12:03. You don't like me? I don't like you either. But these people will leave if I stay too long. The first thing that happened is, my pastor say, "I want you to look over there. We have a clock." I hope that he can follow that, too. Gary don't know what I'm going to say next.

Let me just talk a little bit about why Pastor Gary took this subject, dysfunctional family. Let me be honest. The only way I can do it is to be vulnerable. I got to be vulnerable. I want to just ... for you to be vulnerable, and I want to do something. I'm going to open up, and I'm going to put my heart in your heart, and in your hands. It's a miracle that I'm here in front of you. It's a miracle that I'm talking about Jesus, about the blood, about the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost. I didn't deserve this, because I was born in a witchcraft environment. I was born, and put, or set, in the womb of a mother that was a witch, in witchcraft. Since she was a teenager, she practice all of this. Then she met a great man. He was powerful, that he was a Satanic priest. My dad, my father. You know what I regret about my father, in this dysfunctional situation? That I never had the privilege to call him Dad. I used to call him his first name, Don Galo. I could not call my mother Mom. I call her Doñaleija.

Everything that happened in my life, like I said in this morning, as I extend my arms to you, and my blood is running to my veins, I can never deny my identity, who is my parent, who I am. What flows through my veins is the blood of my mother the witch, and the blood of my father the Satanic priest. A curse. We all ... and not only my dad or my mother, but the whole family. The curse is all over. The dark cloud is all over the Cruz family. I wasn't the only one in the family. I have 17 brothers and one sister, because my father was a lovable man. And he loved my mother. He never believed in television. He never gave my mother a break. At least 24 month, every 11 months, there's a baby coming. A-waa! There he is, my brother.

The beating, the abuse. This fear, the scare. The demon demonstrations. The way that they house used to shake. The fear that it was on my brother. The time that we just sneak to the door, and saw my mother possessed by the devil. To see my father doing miracle, not in the name of Jesus Christ, but in the name of Satan. To watch them bring this man dying, and there is my brother Gene and Felix and myself watching through the door as those frog began ... five frog, fume, began to come from his belly out, hit the door, and hit the wall, and just fall dead. That how possessed my family was. That was what happened, if you talking about being dysfunctional.

And when you began to put two and two together, why my mother went after me? Why my mother beat me and beat me? Why my mother, until I was nine years old, locked me in this room, and many times she broke my nose, my lips, close my eye because she hit me so hard. How many times she grabbed me by my hair, and I was defenseless, and hit me against the wall, that the whole house was turning around. How I wake up naked in the fetal position, holding my pain, holding, because I was in physical pain. And the worst, I ask question, "Why?" And secondly, I love her. Why she went after my innocence? She took my innocence away. Not sexually, brutally physically. She called me every name that you can imagine. She told me, "You are not my son."

Listen to me. I beg you to listen to me, because maybe some of you, you are looking right now, and you are say, "Who is Nicky Cruz?" And you might heard that in whatever publicity. But I want to tell you this. It is the most darkest thing that a child can feel. It is the most abusive thing that a mother can put a child. It is a spirit that is controlling your mind, and it's controlling your body. The suicidal thing started when I was seven years old, and I was insecure in that thoughts, all those dark thoughts, when I was nine years old, and I want to hang myself from a mango tree. The last blow of my mother was when she literally grabbed me, and grabbed me by my two little arms, and make me look at her eyes and her face, and I don't want it. There was some lady there, and I was scared. I was shaking. I was so shaken, I don't want to look at her eyes because I know what it was coming. She forced me, and I look at her eyes, and it was scary. Her eye was so big they don't look human. They was dark, dark orange. Why I began to hate my mother? That was a thing that I never expected, but I became to hate her guts.

Then I came to New York City, and here I'm in New York City, and I got lost. I got violence, I began to do things that you can never imagine. My hand was so full of blood. I had no conscience. I was cold blooded executed, calculated. I was going straight to the electric chair. And some way, I got busted, and then I came out. Then my best friend got killed. He died in my arm, I holding his head in my arms. And I want to cry, but I couldn't, because I swear when I was a little boy that I would never cry again, and I would never love again, and there was nothing, no feeling inside of me. I remember that the only way that I can survive ... and I knew I don't want to live no more than 21 years ... it was to bury that little Nicky when he was nine years old. I told him that, "Nobody going to hurt you, nobody going to beat you. Nobody going to do this and that for you. I will kill for you." And that's exactly what I was doing in New York. I was protecting that little boy.

The nightmare that I have, it was so diabolic when I was a teenager. How the devil play game with my head, with my mind! How trapped you feel in a room, and you screaming, and the neighbor of the next door, they're scared to come in because they knew my reputation. But I want to thank God, that God is good. When I was completely finished and done, when I didn't believe in love, God's love was moving in the hills of Pennsylvania, in a little town of Pennsylvania where Gary was born. A town that they have more cows than human beings. And the spirit of the Lord came upon David Wilkerson, sent him to New York City, walking into the mouth of the lions. We were bunch of savage ... the city was burning, and nobody can change it. The mayor, the governor, nobody. We taking over. We were the pioneers of the gangs.

This man come in, walk in into our turf, our territory. Walk into the warzone, where's there no guarantee that you're going to live. Like I said in this morning, it was so scary that Dracula and Frankenstein was afraid to walk in our neighborhood. But Dave walk in, thank God. I didn't know who God was. The police warned him, "Don't go. They want to kill you." David didn't listen. He came in. He stood there in the street corner, started speaking loud, competing with all the noises of the train, the buses, and the children and all of these things in the hot summertime.

Then I'm with my girlfriend, I'm half a stone high, and I told him ... I look at these people, I said to my girl, "Come on, let's go. Let's go and see what happens." She said, "Oh, come on, Nicky. The only thing that people get excited in New York when somebody get killed." I said, "No, you going to come with me." She didn't want to, but there is a law, a rule in the gangs, you do what the gang leader tell you to do. She forgot, when I initiated a guy in the gangs, they have to go through the process. "When I say you come, you come. You understand? And when I say you go, that mean you go, okay?" So I told just my word to my girl. "When I say you ..." Okay, she know. When I say you come, you come. I grab her, we walk ... to what?

To hear this loud voice. "God has the power to change your life right now!" On the street, hundred people there, and then I started screaming loud, "You shut up! There's no God! I am God! And if you open your mouth again and talk about God, you are dead man!" Then I said, "I want to see this guy. This guy got lot of guts to come over here and talk like this." So I start pushing violently with people. And here is Dave. Here is Dave Wilkerson. Look at him. I was shocked. He was so skinny, skinny, skinny, like a spaghetti [inaudible]. And he got thick, thick glasses. I tried to psych him out. I couldn't, because I was going different direction. And the worst, to come to New York City, the guy who gave Wilkerson the hair cut, he was nothing but a butcher.

He might look insignificant. He might look like a 117 pound. But you don't know what is inside! You never can undermine the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of a human being. The possession that was there in this man! In the beginning, I went after him and I spit on his face. Humiliate him. And yet, he understood that his life was in danger, but he has a message. He got to deliver that message. That the reason he was in New York. He told me right straight, "I came over here to give you a message from Heaven, Nicky. Nicky, Jesus love you!" The opposite what I ever heard in my life. Then he change. He change in front of me. Boldness came over him. No longer he was afraid. Now he got lot of guts. This boldness was so strong that he started screaming at me. "Kill me!" I said, "What?" "Is that going to make you feel good in front of these people? Go ahead and kill me. Let me tell you something, Nicky. You can go ahead and you can kill me, and cut me in thousand pieces, but every thousand piece is going to cry out that Jesus love you, and I love you, Nicky."

There's the two elements there. There's the two elements of love. The divine love, and the human love. I said, "What?" Never had nobody talked to me that way. Well, just to ... it's a long story. I came to the conclusion, because Israel ... to go and see the preacher. Because Israel played the game, because I told him, "No, I don't want to go." He played the game of chicken, that I was afraid of Dave Wilkerson. I say, "I am not afraid of him. Did you see how skinny this guy is? I could [swish] fall on the floor." "You're afraid of him." "No!" "Well, come." So I went. But I don't want to go by myself. I took 75 guys for protection. What a tough guy, to listen to a skinny preacher. And my gun loaded with bullets.

We walk in, wow! There were 2,000 people! Wilkerson was naïve. He invited all the gangs, 12 different gangs, and there's going to be blood. Somebody going to get killed. Seriously. That's going to come all over the news. And then this girl tried to sing, and we didn't know that that was a Christian place, or a religious gathering, so we started dancing all over the place. Threatened the other gangs. Then she didn't finish the song. She dropped the microphone. She split. She really split.

Then Dave ... I call him Dave because that's the way I will call him. Dave grabbed the microphone. You don't believe what he say. We were screaming and all of this. He say, "I want right now five guy from the Mau Mau's to collect the offering. I say, "What? This guy is insulting us. Do you hear that? They going to collect money! He know that we are thief." They give us this empty basket, and we was passing it. How do you think that we passed it? "Hi. God bless you. God going to bless and multiply, double what you give, because God love you. And I love you too." Can you see me doing things like that? No! We were pushing the people. We were screaming the people. We were cursing the people. "Put that money right here, right now! No, not enough. If you don't put more money, I'm going to blow your brains out. Put the money!" People were dropping their wallets.

But you know what? You laugh, but that was ordered by the Holy Spirit, because I felt so proud when I gave that money to David. We didn't took a penny, because I want to show him a lesson. I'm going to double-cross him, that we are not a bunch of thief, when we was bunch of thief. That was the moment that I receive something, that I never felt good. I felt so good. I never had felt so good since my childhood. I felt so good that I did something good, and I was talking to myself, "Wow, Nicky, you good! Look what you did. You give the money to the preacher. You are nice guy." Ha ha ha ha. I'm a nice guy.

That was a setup. The Holy Spirit set me up, because something is coming. He put me in that place, and then Wilkerson spoke about many thing, but one of the thing that he spoke was, the last two minute, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That opened my eyes, because I can identify myself with violence, and the crucifixion of Christ was violent. And there, it was like I was watching the preacher like I was in the movie, and I watching what they're doing to Jesus Christ. I don't know who Jesus is. And then, just like that, he began to go in detail, and he's captivate my imagination. I was listen to everything that he was saying, and then I was talking to myself. "He is good, I'm bad. He deserve life, I deserve the electric chair. Why they have to kill Him?"

Then, just like that, Wilkerson finish, and he say that Jesus died, and then He resurrected. And he brought down, and then just like that he start looking in at us, and he try to give us the message. He ask me, "Nicky, do you want me to pray for you?" I say, "No." But that was the beginning. Israel stood up. Then I stood up. Then, 25 guys stood up, and the girlfriends. Then the power of the Holy Spirit was so strong that there was nobody there to move! We stood up, and we went to the front. I never in my life had been open to anything, and right there, when Wilkerson start praying ... when he start praying, I start feeling something coming into my heart. But I took his hands and I put it away, and I push, and I say, "No, no, no, no, don't pray for me."

The battle began between my soul, between who going to control my life forever. Where I'm going to go. Where is my destiny. And then, Wilkerson say, "Nicky, He's all over you." I broke down and I start crying and crying. And I just crying so hard, and I collapse in the arms of Jesus Christ. I went down on my knees, and for the first time, I called God to help me. "Help me, please." Care less about my enemies. Care less about the 2,000 people. There I gave my heart to Jesus. Ladies and gentlemen what took place it was this. Little that I knew, little that Dave Wilkerson knew, he will put the point right straight into a dysfunctional family. He put the finger into a curse that would destroy the Cruz family.

I'm so happy that God gave me a chance to experience love, because that day when I gave my life to Jesus, then two years later, I went home, and I went to talk to my mother, to forgive my mother, and my mother gave her heart to Jesus Christ. My father gave his heart to Jesus Christ. 13 of my brothers gave their heart to Jesus Christ. I want to bless you. He literally broke the curse of witchcraft! He want to break the curse right now! I don't know whatever got you bound. But I'm here to be a inspiration for you. If Nicky Cruz did it, you can do it to. So I'm going to ask the musicians, the people that didn't pay me to train them to play. Ladies and gentlemen Jesus Christ superstar.

Kelly, I love you. We want to go all the way. I don't want no chicken in this crowd. No coward, and gutless. Don't come over here, "I'm scared." Don't believe that. This is going to be a gutsy afternoon, but you got to have the gut to do it. I had the gut to do it in front of 2,000 people, in front of my gang, and in front of my enemies. Care less, because what I receive, it was life. Salvation. A baptism of love. And those who going through all these things, I want you to come out. Come out from wherever you are sitting. Don't be intimidated by nobody in this room. Be strong to allow those feet to start walking, from all the way back. This place is packed. You got to have the gut to say, "Nicky, I'm tired. I'm tired of doing the same thing."

Everybody standing, please. I want you to get out from wherever you are. Oh, beautiful. [Spanish]. You are loved in this church. I want you. I don't want to start begging to no one in this place. I know you can do it, I know you got the guts. Can you do it? Bring your friends. Bring your wife, bring your husband. And if your wife and your husband and your children, tell your parent. "Dad, Mom, it's time for us to get a ride, and bring Jesus into our home." Beautiful. Get out from wherever. All right. Just come. That's right. Don't be afraid. Stand right here.

Let me say this to you. A few moment, we going to close. And I know many of you were struggling with this word dysfunction. And some of you, you had turned your back to Jesus, but Jesus never had turned his back on you. Some of you, you're scared that you're not going to fulfill what you're going to promise in this afternoon. But I know, in my heart of heart, that some of you need a great change in your life. Maybe the first time you come, and maybe you put religion as something in you, and you are never really experience personally who Jesus is in your heart. Some of you, you got guts. Some of you, you're gutless.

Some of you, you don't want to admit that your marriage having problem, and that you need to do something. If you're going to divorce or something, there's a chance that you can cross the line, and you can grab your wife or your husband and say, "Come on, let's make it right this time." Some of you have so much hatred in your life that you need to release it. Anger. Anguish. I'm summing up everything. I'm summing up everything, and the only thing I can tell you is, without a shadow of a doubt, that I love you. That I did my best. That I open up my heart to you, to encourage you. And yet you stand there, full of loneliness. Some of you depressed. Some of you, because you have lost somebody so dear to you, or because you got to break up, because they abuse, or because you really are struggling with a spirit of violence and rage, and the people around you suffer. You're explosive, and you don't know how to control it.

This is my last call. My last crying out. The best that you can do, a special song that brought your friend, to extend your helping hand and tell your friend, "I go with you." I know that person will say, "Thank you." Don't stand there. Somebody there is move and touch. Extend your helping hands and say, "I go with you." From my heart to your heart, and my soul to your soul, this is my last crying out to you. Don't resist the Holy Spirit. Don't fight it. Please. I never used the word please, but I'm using it today. Don't leave this place. Please don't do it. He may never talk to you with the same tenderness and kindness, and loving care, that He doing right now. I ask you one more time. Come. And that's it. I am no going to beg you. No pressure whatsoever. But you got to have the gut to get out. Come, and don't be afraid! Get out from wherever you are, in the name of Jesus! And there's going to be healing, in your soul, in your mind. Just come.

I'm going to say this verse one more time, but I want my pastor to say it. Psalm 25:16 and 18. Because I believe this is what this people, just like his son, is going through right now. We going to enter into one of the biggest fight for your soul like you never have seen. I want every Christian that love Jesus, that you filled by the Holy Spirit, to join us to fight for these children that are in the front. Read that.

Psalms 25:16-18. "Turn to me, and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied. Free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress, and take away all my sins.

Amen. Hallelujah.

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