Kirk Taylor continues talk about God in our society. How believing in God can help a person understand their self-worth, identity, and strength.
KT: One of my pastor’s prodigies found this 97-year-old woman living on the streets in New York. This is a hard city to live in during the winter. They took her into their house. She outlived her children, husband, and friends. She did not have anyone else. They started ministering, clothing, and introducing her to the Gospel. Pastor Carter said one night the Lord whispered to her, “I have waited almost 100 years for you.” People do not understand his tender heart and patience for us. She was alive because she was waiting for someone to give her a chance. He loved her all her life and was keeping her on the street. He directed Pastor Carter who has a heart and a good spirit.
God is trying to give us chances. Some people get away with evil. You are not going to get away with it forever. If you believe at all the scripture is true, then it says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Hopefully, people get the message. “How am I able to get away with this and I am not in jail.” Sometimes this is merciful. I have gone to halfway houses and ministered to the kids there. More than a few said, “Prison was one of the best places I could have gone.” They said, “I’ll be dead or in the worst situation if it was not for me getting caught.” This was because of God’s mercy.
This is what started me on my walk. At the age of 15, I got caught stealing bikes for someone else. I was trying to help them. I did not need the bike. This was my turning point. My best friend ended up in jail. Gabrielle, I heard someone say, “I will rather be one foot away from hell going away from it, then 10 thousand steps away from it going to hell.” So, I changed my direction. I chose this crossroad. Someone may have 10 thousand steps to go, but they are getting closer to the judge and having an answer. I thank God for this patience, kindness, thoughtfulness. You can see these things when your eyes are open. It is almost like saying you missed it. He was there the whole time, even in my mess and rebellion.
ATM: People often wonder why some live longer than others. Pertaining to people who have done terrible things, sinned more than most, and who do not have a relationship with God. God sometimes keeps people on Earth to get it right.
KT: I love this.
ATM: He wants them to know him. Like the 97-year-old woman, God allowed her to be paired with someone to teach her the Gospel. She probably said to herself “Why am I still here? All my family has left.”
KT: “Why am I still here? What am I doing here? I am 97.”
ATM: God gives people a chance. He probably says, “I am going to give you a chance to reconnect with me.” Some children attend church while young, but often stop when getting older. There is nothing wrong with this. But is God still in your heart? Along the way they lose sight of the God that was instilled in them at a young age. Some people go because of their parents. There comes a time when you have to get connected to him on your own. You must know him for yourself. I feel before some people die, God lets them reconnect. He wants to reconnect to when you loved him as a little child. Everyone has some turning point in their life.
KT: I do believe this. I have seen some examples of God come into people. This is a very accurate insight. In his silent mercy, he says, “Give them more time.” I have an uncle who is still alive. He lives in DC. His name is Uncle Sonny. He is agnostic. My cousin is an atheist. God has been working on him. Each family that passed away, God did not take them until they came to faith. Just like you said, I had all these other relatives who died young but knew the Lord. My uncle Al, who is my Uncle Sonny’s brother in law, had all sort of problems. He retired from the CIA when he was in his late 20s-30s because of high blood pressure. He had strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, clogged arteries, and they had to cut his legs off. It was unbelievable that he was still alive. I am looking at him saying, “Oh my goodness. God has not taken him. He has gone through a lot. He is not taking him because he wants to give him one more chance.”
I sat in after his wife Elaine died. This is Sterling’s mother who passed, and she had been led to the Lord right before she died. I knew she had petitioned for him in Heaven. This was in her heart for him to know the Lord. Everyone felt it was too late for him because he is an atheist. I have prayed for many dangerous prayers. I went in and said, “Uncle Al wouldn’t you want to know if it is true about Jesus?” He said, “No, when we die this is it. We go to the ground.” I repeated, “But Uncle Al wouldn’t you want to know if it were true?” He kept arguing about it. I opened my heart and started weeping in front of him. I said again weeping, “Uncle Al if it were true wouldn’t you want to know?” He looked at me and saw my heart. I was not trying to manipulate, deceive, or make fun of him. “If it were true, then I would want to know.” Shortly after this he had a stroke and was alive for some hours. A family friend of ours was praying with us. She said, “He has been given a chance to honor him because he asked.” We know it is true, but if you pray a prayer with someone saying:
“If Jesus is the Messiah, Son of God, sent to save us, then reveal him to me and make him my Lord and savior.” This is a dangerous prayer because it is going to happen. “You ask then you shall receive.” Uncle Al asked, “If it were true, then I would want to know.” There is a question in there. “Is it true?” God met him. You are saying people are kept around and have been given opportunities or walked away. In this case, he never knew. No one had told him. His parents had been nonchurch people. There is a generation that comes up with no Jesus and does whatever they want on Sunday. “Let’s go play baseball.”
They did not know. They have children, and these children do not know. You have a legacy in the family, and God was interrupted. I am sure Uncle Al is in heaven. I know Aunt Elaine is in heaven. Grandma is in heaven. Aunt Lee is still alive in the Virgin Islands in her late 90s. Uncle Sonny, the agnostic, he came to see Revival! Myatheist cousin Sterling, who I love came, his wife Linda, and Uncle Sonny came and said they were moved. Sterling called and read the review he wrote about it on Facebook. He was weeping. He said, “Kirk you are going to make me a Christian.”
He is pure righteousness. He has no choice but to judge. Isaiah says, “Before you were in your mother’s womb, I saw you in the world.” This shows there is personhood before birth. There is a film called Unplanned getting ready to come out. It is a true story. A woman working at Planned Parenthood noticed the fetuses they were trying to kill would move away from the needle. I do not know what this means. She says, “Why are they moving away from the needle?” They had awareness that something was going to happen to them.
ATM: If you had seen Revival! at the age of 14, a year before your turning point, how would you have observed the production’s moral compass?
KT: There is such a fresh perspective on it. It is a musical. It is set in unusual places — the timeless of the message. God does change, but his word endures. A black man is playing Jesus, which is Mali Music, who is a two-time Grammy nominee. This would have been a lesson of Jesus can look like me. We saw a lot of pictures of Jesus like the people that drew it. This is how you thought he would have looked in Italy. I would see a message that was unusual. It is done as if it were a play. It was written as a play at first. Things are happening on stage. The characters fall into the 1st century somehow.
They woke up in the 1st century. They are not just playing the disciples or Jesus. He is Jesus. He is going through the things Jesus suffered. I would enjoy this, and the 14-year-old me still enjoys this. We flash to the future in LA in 2050. We are on top of the Hollywood sign. We bring the message today. “This is supposed to be about stuff that happened a long time ago, not stuff that happened in the future. Not present-day stuff. They are supposed to be wearing robes. Having long beards.” This opens things up. Revival! opens up the discussion about faith and causes people to investigate it.
ATM: If America was translated into a book of the Bible as a teaching source for people – Let’s say every state was a Gospel or like the chapters in the book. America during the Civil Rights era would be the Old Testament. How would this be observed? Now, 2019, we would be in the New Testament. Each book would tell what is happening in every state.
KT: Hmm, the Bible does not sugar coat. It tells you the standard, people who met the standard, and people who did not meet the standard. It is honest. When Samson did not follow God’s will, he lost his eyes, hearing, and strength, but God still came through. So, each book would be relevant to each state. Look at the Book of Acts, how did it work out for them? God made a crazy prediction. “You will go with this Gospel in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. And to the ends of the earth.” These are a bunch of rag tagged fishermen and collectors. These are unsavory people to the religious establishment.
The Gospel that you are talking about is going to reach the whole world. This means from every state and city in America. The gospel is going to go there. If you look at it historically, then you see how ridiculous it was, then it happened. Three hundred twenty-two prophecies were fulfilled in one man. This is a remarkable love letter God has written to us telling us the good, bad, the blessings and the curses. In every state, in every book, they would understand there are truth and choice. You can use choice to live by it or do your thing. Know that you will be judged.