Posted by: Scott Paschal | September 27, 2008

Spooky Naked Guy Draws a Crowd

Luke 8: 34-35

When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demon had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. ESV

The Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles: Part Six

Previously: The Stranger from the Boat allows negotiations with Legion for the demons departure from Spooky Naked Guy.  Legion then bolts from SNG and inhabits 2000 pigs and sends the pigs to their death in a lake.  We learn sin will always strive to negotiate a longer existence, yet God is always in control.  And we get a glimpse how demons are actually used in this world for His plan to unfold in the stories of our lives.

Our story continues…

They witnessed the entire event. It unfolded within their sight.

Without question what was witnessed was fact, they saw it; witnessed it firsthand, and they felt driven to tell others, right then without a moments delay.

I can almost see them studying the situation, cautiously and curiously watching the Stranger from the Boat and Spooky Naked Guy engaged in a battle of words and wills. They’re seeing, and possibly hearing, such strange things, witnessing an uncommon scene brought by uncommon people.

On or near the beach, observing, within this miraculous moment in time, there were probably just a few of them. Simple people simply living to care for their herds of animals… living a seemingly ordinary day with no idea extraordinary events had been placed in their paths. I can just see them, a handful at most, stopping and watching, not sure, as the situation was going down, if they should stay or run away.

There he was, the Stranger from the Boat, terrifying Spooky Naked Guy, who, ironically, was the one who had frightened them for so long.

How?  How was this possible!?

How can their ultimate terrifier be terrified? The strongest chains had refused to contain his power… and now here he is groveling in the beach sand at the feet of a stranger… his destiny completing.

Who is this Stranger from the Boat who so calmly commands and terrifies monsters!?

The observers hearts began beating faster and faster as they struggled to grasp a glimpse of sense within the encounter….

As the scene unfolds, these Herdsmen are forming thoughts and opinions. Maybe, in addition to fear, some even feel gratitude growing inside towards the stranger. Or possibly, they feel a twinge of sympathy for the monster who dysfunctionally taught them who to fear.

Maybe both occurred. I don’t know, the Bible doesn’t say.

Whatever, when the legion of demons, who terrorized through Spooky Naked Guy, begged to enter the pigs and actually did after gaining approval of the Stranger from the Boat…

… and then the terrified pigs sprinted to the lake and drowned…

WOW… the Herdsmen freaked out during that whole explosion of weird stuff, and, I would imagine, as a collective group since they had no way to comprehend what had just happened, they did what comes naturally to us all when we get scared… we run to our comfort zones.

So, they ran back home and told others what they had encountered.

Let me add something here… Herdsmen don’t just run scared. Herdsmen are among the toughest men anywhere on earth. They spend their lives living off the land while protecting their animals from predators. They work in the summer heat, the winter cold, driving rain… they fight bear, mountain lion… and these particular Herdsmen cared for hundreds and hundreds of hogs… day in, day out.

And when they encountered the power of Christ, when they witnessed His ability to slaughter the disobedient will of their living Monster, when they visibly witnessed their hundreds of pigs being overtaken by an unknown force, and when that force drove their herd to its death in the lake… they fled.

They fled to the city and to the country. And they told people in the city and in the country, basically everyone they met, what had happened!

And these people knew they were hearing it from the Herdsmen, hearing it from the toughest of the tough. Their Herdsmen were running, fleeing from the scene, telling everyone they could what had occurred.

After hearing, people then went to witness what had happened. Curiosity got the best of them. Who cares the Herdsmen were basically running around in fear like schoolgirls playing tag, the city and country folk wanted to see what all the excitement was about.

I often wonder what the Herdsmen were saying?

What kind of panic were they in as they told people what they saw? And, did they hear the entire conversation between Legion and Jesus? Did they just hear bits and pieces? I don’t know.

But, however it went down, what I do know is the people came, and they saw, and they were afraid.

Their demonic maniac monster was clothed.

He was sitting on the beach next to Jesus.

And he was, finally, in his right mind.

And they got scared….

Kind of pathetic, huh?  They didn’t get excited.  There was no celebration of the liberation.  Nope, they just got scared.

We can all get into our comfort zones, can’t we.  The place where being out of control is our in control and we feel ok with that.  And we get invited to church by a friend, or we get confronted with our addictions, or we receive an answer to prayer which requires our action… and we see Jesus at work in our lives…

…and we get scared.

And we see change and we get scared.  Our friends begin to heal from longtime pain, and we get scared because their pain gave us a sense on our being needed to help them.  And their healing shows us we need healing…

and we get scared.

And when our teens or those we love feel called to seemingly dangerous places for Him, and, although we know they are truly walking with Him… we get scared.

It takes the confrontation of our sin to clothe us and to put us in our right minds.  You and I have to face it.  If not, it may never heal and you will simply exist as a Spooky Naked Terror, and you may never know it.

Your alcoholism, your drug addiction, your family before God belief, your being consumed with growing “your” church, your tennis ranking… maybe God put this story in the Bible because He needs you to recognize demons are real.  They can consume.  They can destroy and terrorize you and others through you…

But, when confronted by Jesus, they will leave you, literally, clothed and in your right mind seated at the feet of Christ.

Notice, please, the God of the universe allowed the pain.  He allowed the demons to do their work.  Basically, He needed this story to be told.

You and I will go through pain.  It’s going to happen.

Yet, realize your pain is ultimately His pain.  And your worst can be preparation for His best.

And nothing can ever separate you from His love.

For wherever you are in your life, however hopeless it may seem, you have to know that Jesus has destiny planned with you…

… and He will meet you on His terms in your life.

Maybe you are the Herdsman rich will thousands of pigs, and God takes them away.  Maybe you are the townspeople who lived with demonic terror, and God frees you from your monster.  Maybe you are personally consumed with sin, and God clothes you.

I don’t know where you are.

But, I do know where He is and I know He wants you, forever, in His life.

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Posted by: Scott Paschal | April 1, 2008

Spooky Naked Guy Goes Hog Wild

Luke 8: 31-33

And they begged Him repeatedly not to order them to go into the abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and He gave them permission. (NIV) Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. (ESV)

The Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles: Part Five

Previously: Jesus allowed the demons inhabiting Spooky Naked Guy to speak. He wanted them to tell Him their name. Jesus wants us to name our sin, speak its name to Him. Let your sin negotiate with Jesus, not with you! Though it can defeat us, sin cannot defeat God.

Our story continues…

Honestly, if I’d witnessed that whole scene, I’d have probably freaked out.

Not about the pig part, but the whole legion of demons being evicted from the guy part. In today’s computer animation world, can’t you see some movie studio making that whole scene loud and shocking and packed full of incredible special effects leaving the audience gasping for breath!

That said, I don’t know what it was actually like. The Bible doesn’t say. Without much fanfare, the situation seems to go from demons being inside of Spooky Naked Guy to demons bugging out of Spooky Naked Guy to demons going hog wild inside some newly spooked-up naked pigs.

Though probably no one watching even noticed the actual big, demonic switcharoo, there were some mind-blowing, spiritually special effects causing some waves.

Lean in and look around with me at this miraculous scene unfolding on the beach….

You noticed the demons pitifully begging Jesus, right? They seemed terrified of being sent into the abyss. Whatever the abyss actually is, the fact that demons don’t even want to be there is a huge statement to God’s power…

They had just been ordered out of Spooky Naked Guy by Jesus, and then begged Him to not force them to go into the abyss.

As they were pleading, I suppose they possibly hijacked Spooky Naked Guy’s eyeballs to spot some pigs hanging out nearby. They demonically pleaded for Jesus’ permission to enter into the pigs, instead of the abyss, to which He gave the big thumbs up.

It’s not the whole demons avoiding the abyss and making “spooky naked pigs” thing that grabbed my attention, though that situation is pretty amazing and cool.

What has my heart pumping and missionary feet ready for action is something really cool that I don’t want you to miss!

It’s big and it’s huge and I want you to see it for the huge that it is!

Are you ready? I hope so.

Here it is…

I think maybe Jesus wanted the demons to stay on earth.

I think Jesus has a big reason for allowing this unfolding “beach outreach” to be captured publicly, and I smell some smoke from the campfire as he’s lighting in this scene about one of the possible purposes of His fallen angels on earth…

“Whoa…hold on a minute Coach… that’s not biblical… of course Jesus wanted to destroy the demons, they’re demons by God and they must be destroyed!”

Nope. Not according to Jesus’ words and actions.

I know this may seem pretty scandalous, but think about it… these demons not only recognized and were allowed to speak with Jesus, they were even allowed to negotiate their exit of Spooky Naked Guy and negotiate the next step of their existence, which was to leave SNG and go Hog Wild.

But, more than that… and stay with me here as my kickin’-some-demon-tail side kicks in…

We know for a fact Jesus did not order the demons into the abyss, and that He did allow them to enter pigs. That is in the Bible and is undeniable. That said, there must be a Godly, God-inspired, God-purposed reasoning for that. He could have said adios and chunked them into the abyss.

But he didn’t.

The demons, upon Jesus’ God-of-all-things permission and approval, then inhabited the pigs. Jesus Christ deliberately chose to allow the demons’ request! After that, the demons bolted SNG and drowned the pigs..

But, think about this… do demons drown? I don’t think so.

Pigs yes… spooky, non-organic things no.

The Bible is pretty clear the hogs bought the farm, but no where in the Bible does Jesus teach us that we can whack a demon simply by drowning one! Demons don’t drown. They’re spooks, they don’t have lungs. Drowning is for those of us who need air.

What demons can and will do is destroy.

And they obviously did destroy the 2000 pigs and they obviously did try to destroy Spooky Naked Guy and they obviously came and went from Spooky Naked Guy whenever they wanted, and, they obviously can recognize and speak to the God of the universe…

… but they just don’t seem to be too darned afraid of water or hanging out inside of pigs.

That all said, if Jesus wanted to send the demons into the abyss, he could have!

But he didn’t.

He let ’em be demons and destroy some pigs knowing full well the demons would survive. Pigs drown, demons get to continue on their not so merry way. Got it?

So, the question hanging in the air here is why?

Why does Jesus want an extra legion of demons doing demon stuff here on earth? Why didn’t He just slam dunk ’em to abyssland?

Why didn’t these fallen angels get God-sized handcuffs and get thrown into the “abyss jail?”

Maybe because it’s not time.

Maybe because what you and I see as what should happen isn’t actually what should happen. Maybe because Jesus has a plan and He didn’t see the need to consult with us and ask us to form a committee to help Him decide His course of action concerning the demons.

Maybe the demons have a reason for existing….

And as they have a reason and are allowed by God to negotiate their existence, I see absolutely no reason why I should be afraid of them!

I see no reason why the church should be stuck playing defense against a opponent that is terrified of God and must submit to His authority!

I’m pretty bored with lobbing and chipping, and I’m pretty darn ready to line up my forehand to go inside-out and pound my opponent’s weak demonic backhand….

As a Christian missionary, I see the damage caused by demonic work. I see it everywhere. Not just in tennis, but literally everywhere.

I know there are plenty of people who aren’t too keen on talking or thinking about demons and stuff, but unless your just plain not too bright or unless you’re just totally spiritually blind, you gotta know demons are working harder than ants to flat out destroy.

And Jesus flat out tells me and you in His word, the Bible, that Spooky Naked Guy was inhabited by a literally freaking legion of demons! So, they are real. Spiritual war is real, Satan is real, and demons are real.

And you and I need to know how to deal with them. Because, and this might sound odd, demons are needed in God’s unfolding story.

He put ’em here, right!? They serve a purpose.

A place without sin and demons and stuff is called Heaven, and earth in 2008 isn’t Heaven!

Demonic activity forces us to rely on God. It builds us, grows our faith, directly forces us to fill with faith as our “footwork” improves….

And, bigger than that, how would God’s glory have been revealed through His Son if not for demonic activity working to destroy Him?

I’m not trying to trivialize Satan’s power. My dad committed suicide after a life of alcoholism, and my family was bashed into the ground. And I’ve personally witnessed horrible atrocities worldwide. But, I am saying through God we have the power to take control and shine for Him.

I am saying Satan doesn’t have total power.  Sure, he’s the local country club 4.0 league champion… but bro he is no Roger Federer or Andre Agassi and never will or can be!  When you put him in perspective he’s only impressive to those who hang around him and compete on his level…

And we have no business or reason playing defense as the church, since we literally have the biggest serve and biggest game in the universe!

Demons… they just want to destroy. Since they couldn’t destroy Spooky Naked Guy, they destroyed pigs. That’s the tattoo of demonic activity, it destroys.

Yet, by God’s people rising up out of the destruction, by God’s people having the faith to shine for Him in a demonic, fallen world, by you and me standing strong against all odds despite our ridiculously unqualified ability… God can fill us with His grace and His love and His Holy Spirit and His wisdom as He moves our mouths and He moves our feet…

… just as the demons could inhabit and influence Spooky Naked Guy and the hogs to create destruction and Hell on earth…

… God can work within us and through us and in spite of us to build His kingdom and to share His glory.

Got it? Good.

Right now in our story Spooky Naked Guy’s life has radically changed. He’s not even back to being Normal Guy. Something new has been born, created by God and radiating in His story.

On the sandy beach something special is happening… and I look forward to sitting around the fire with you in Camp Jesus spending some time together as Spooky Naked Guy Draws A Crowd.

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

Posted by: Scott Paschal | March 16, 2008

Spooky Naked Guy Answers Roll Call

Luke 8:30

Jesus asks him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him.

 

Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles: Part Four

Previously: In the past Spooky Naked Guy had been chained, but always escaped when the demons returned to inhabit him and gave him supernatural strength to break the chains. Then, they made him run to solitary places.

We learn from Spooky Naked Guy that sometimes chains (discipline, accountability, intervention) are meant to protect us. Yet, sin can cause us to see healthy boundaries as controlling and dangerous, thus driving us away from the very thing which truly cares about our happiness.

The story continues…

Jesus really didn’t need to know Spooky Naked Guy’s name, or the names of the demons inhabiting him. He already knew exactly who and what He was speaking to and why. Yet, the Bible clearly shows Jesus asked him his name!

And, just before this, Jesus had commanded the demons to come out of Spooky Naked Guy… but He then let the demons ask Him questions before obeying His commands.

Why would Jesus negotiate with demons, and ask them their names, and even allow them to speak to Him in the first place!? In other places of the Bible, Jesus commands and no negotiating follows.

Jesus had chosen to have this amazing meeting on the beach with Spooky Naked Guy long before he even knew he was spooky and naked. This guy cutting himself with rocks and living in a cemetery while terrorizing locals was the object of his Savior’s love. Before, and during, the demonic possession is a child of God made in His image who is totally loved and adored by His maker who has come to rescue Him.

And here is Jesus writing the Bible through His words and deeds to teach us and show us and love us nearly 2000 years later. He has his reasons for allowing the demons to speak to Him.

When we have sin in our lives, sometimes we don’t see it. Sure, sometimes we do, but often we don’t. Maybe we have sinful habits passed down from our parents or grandparents. Maybe we are addicted to something and the sin has blinded us. Could be we choose to sin and rationalize it as ok.

I’m guilty of all of the above!

Aren’t you?

Jesus needed us to read this passage in His story. Jesus wants us to name our sin, see it for what it is.

He knows sin is powerful and can and will overtake our lives inhabiting and controlling our destiny. When sin recognizes Jesus, it will bow down… yet will still attempt to control through negotiation.

When Jesus and Spooky Naked Guy were face to face on the beach, the demons recognized Jesus and Jesus recognized the demons. Sin began its negotiations, yet Jesus demanded Spooky Naked Guy to name his demon (sin). He wanted it to be revealed through words. He wanted it to be exposed.

We all have sin in our lives. Jesus knows our sin.

He’s asking you to name the sin in your life. Is demonic activity influencing your thoughts and actions? Are you immune to it!? No, you’re not. Name your sin. Expose it. Tell it to Jesus.

Stop negotiating with it yourself. Stop letting it rule your life. Name it. Expose it as the fraud it is!

Jesus knows every detail about you. He knows every aspect of your life. His love for you knows no end. As you live each day, do you have a complete and clear understanding of the power of God’s total love for you? Forget what the world teaches! Forget it!! What was trendy 100 years ago, is idiotic now.

Who cares what the latest God-aphobic trend is now!? I don’t. You shouldn’t. The absolute only thing that matters is Jesus Christ crucified. Nothing less. Nothing more.

Name your sin. Tell it to Jesus.

You are a child of God made in His image.

Jesus is asking for all of you…

… give him your sin, so you can begin to live free in Him.

 

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

 

 

 

Posted by: Scott Paschal | December 28, 2007

Spooky Naked Guy Waits with Demons

Luke 8: 29

For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

The Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles: Part Three

Previously: Spooky Naked Guy is met by Jesus on the beach. The demons controlling his life are able to recognize the Son of God and beg for mercy. We learn Jesus will come find us no matter how bad our circumstances. He will confront the sin controlling our thoughts. Our sin will fight back, beg for mercy, and try to stay in control.

The Story Continues…

I can just hear the demon begging for mercy, begging Jesus not to torture it! (vs. 28)

What exactly is torture for a demon? Viewed through a demon’s perspective, maybe torture is simply being confronted by Christ and enduring His commands.

Jesus commanded the demon to leave the man it had invaded. Jesus had come a long way to set Spooky Naked Guy free… free from the chains of man, and free from demonic oppression and possession.

The time had come. Jesus would not be denied.

Normal Guy’s life had been stolen by demonic goons driven by hate and hell bound to destroy him. Now, when confronted by the Son of God, the same hate-filled creatures are crying in self-pity!

They got caught. The party ended. And, instead of accepting responsibility for their actions, they blame the One confronting them accusing Him of coming at the wrong time and of tormenting them! I wonder if Jesus laughed. I would have!

Can’t you just hear their rationalizations. They seem to have an inability to see themselves for what they are! To them, Jesus is the tormentor.

Over the years, people had captured Spooky Naked Guy. They chained his hands and feet securing him from harming others and himself. Guards were ordered to watch over him.

Apparently, they had caught him when the demons had left his body. Yet, the demons always arrived back to their unsuspecting host and gave him supernatural strength to break the chains holding him so they could continue their existence….

Though “free”, he was led to solitary places… hiding among the tombs, cutting himself with rocks… avoiding those who could help him.

That hits close to home for this ol’ tennis coach.

God has blessed me to have friends who are from other religions. I have witnessed this exact struggle in their lives.

I’ve watched unhealthy supernatural forces lead them to faithless, solitary places among spiritually dead people. Like Spooky Naked Guy, they are blinded to their situation and are often given opportunities to make sure they stay “dead.”

As a tennis coach, I’ve endured the pain of witnessing this situation with players, too.

I would really like to make a point clear. Come up to the net for a minute and let’s talk…

The verse above says… “Many times it had seized him…”

To me, that means, at times, the man was able to have a breath of air, to somewhat be himself where he wasn’t under direct demonic influences. I’ve seen my “dead” friends come up for air, too. They see Christ. The joy and recognition on their face is amazing! Then, swiftly, Satan uses his demonic goons to bully their hope away and send them to their “solitary places.”

As for Spooky Naked Guy, in those times of being free from demonic possession, I wonder what he thought?

He probably noticed he was homeless, living in a cemetery, had cuts all over… maybe he thought he belonged there or maybe he missed his mom. Who knows. He probably noticed the people were terrified of him. And that he had a lack of coping skills when it came to normal interaction with others. Maybe, he even wanted clothes and welcomed being chained and fed and watched over and bathed and taught and talked to.

I don’t know.

But, Jesus obviously had a plan for him.

Maybe in the times of being free from demons, he simply wanted love and to be truly free. Yet, whenever that hope of freedom came near, the demons took over….

Isn’t that just like us? Our false idol worship holds us from God. Sometimes in our sin, we can’t see hope… and others see us as a bad person… so the demonic oppression keeps a stronghold in our life story… and we believe its lies… and it works to destroy us.

There often comes a point in time each of us will have something happen.

Either the demonic oppression destroying our lives will be confronted by someone God brings, or we will be the one used by God to confront someone in need.

Whatever the situation, by observing Spooky Naked Guy, we can clearly see demonic work work when allowed to influence a life.

Satan’s influence had so become a part of this man that observers couldn’t see a child of God buried deep inside. When they saw him, they only saw a crazed maniac who haunted the cemetery. Satan had a goal to destroy the man.

What did Jesus do? He rowed 7.5 miles to find him! He met Spooky Naked Guy in his home town. He planned a specific time and day to go to the beach. Never was Spooky Naked Guy forgotten. Neither are you.

Jesus, today, seeks you and me and others who need His guidance and wisdom and forgiveness and discipline. It is really a thrill to see God change someone’s life. In my Christian tennis academy I have seen this miracle over and over.

None of us has the power to overcome Satan alone. We can’t count on society to do it for us, either.

Study your Bible… memorize chapters and verses. Surround yourself with Godly examples who love Jesus. Develop a powerful, consistent prayer life. Serve in a Bible based church. Journey into the world and share your knowledge of Jesus and the miracles He has done in your life to those you meet.

Jesus can and will work a miracle in our lives… I’m living proof of the power of God to reach the worthless…
… and as we will see in Part Four, so is Spooky Naked Guy when he witnesses the power of God…

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

Posted by: Scott Paschal | December 27, 2007

Spooky Naked Guy Shouts

Luke 8:28 NIV

When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”

The Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles: Part Two

Previously: The demon possessed, spooky naked guy was divinely led to the beach and met Jesus upon His arrival with His disciples. Even the spooky naked guy was sought out by Jesus. He wants to reach all of His kids!

The Story Continues:

Spooky naked guy saw Jesus.

There he was basically haunting the beach scaring people and doing spooky stuff, when He was confronted by his Creator.

Though he had never seen Jesus before, he knew who He was.

Instead of saying “Boo!” or whatever spooky demon possessed guys do while haunting places and scaring people, he throws himself at the feet of Jesus. This man who has terrorized his region of the world for so long, sees Jesus and immediately hits the dirt in submission.

Nothing and no one had been able to get him to do that! Chains couldn’t even hold him! Now, he is laying in the dirt at the feet of the Messiah.

He didn’t just lay there, either. He shouts at the top of his voice! He wants to know what Jesus wants with him, and begs Jesus not to torture him.

He, also, without ever having laid eyes on Jesus, knew Jesus was the Son of God.

Somewhere in the midst of his personal living nightmare is this poor guy. His body filled full of creatures from Hell and he is in control of nothing, yet being used by satanic beings to terrorize the country and destroy his life.

Let’s take a little break in the story and “sit a little closer to the court” so you can get a close up view and coach’s perspective….

Often, I’ve noticed many of the pro tennis players and high performance juniors I have coached tend to have some seemingly pretty poor attitudes on the tennis court, particularly when stuff isn’t going their way. I can see most of you parents and tennis coaches nodding.

Sometimes the player seems to take on an entirely new, and unwelcome, personality during tennis practice or a tennis match! Back in the day, I used to get upset with the player when this happened. Time and experience has changed my view. Now, I look for the root cause of the player’s pain and see if I can help.

Today’s youth have a lot of pressure. There are many distractions, such as parents who don’t know how to stay married. Daily, terrorism is the theme of the news. The internet fills kids with information to a point I couldn’t even imagine having to deal with when I was their age. Little is being taught in the churches about Satan or the Great Commission or Sin, and God is being reinvented to look like a jolly Santa. Talk about pressure kids are under!

Parents… here’s some loving advice from a Christian guy with 20+ years experience in tennis as a coach, and 10 years in ministry as the founder of a sports ministry…

Let the kids be kids and have fun. If they have fun, they will focus better as they age. A player who loves tennis gives a coach more to work with. Then, great coaching combines with a happy, focused player. From there genetics and opportunity take over to determine pro potential. Your job is to model and teach them about Jesus….

Ok, now back to our story…. Remember, spooky naked guy is currently in the dirt shouting at Jesus not to torture him.

You know what? We really don’t even know who this guy is! We know he’s spooky and naked and now covered in beach sand, but we don’t know him. We haven’t even met the real him!

We’ve only met the demonic groupies hanging out with (in!) him.

What we know is the demons have taken him over. This may come as a shock to today’s trendy Christian, but Satan wants to destroy us all and he is loaded with demons who can inhabit and influence and oppress people.

The demons have turned the guy, who we’ll call Normal Guy from now on, into a monster. They entered his body and took him over. Normal Guy turned into Spooky Naked Guy. I wonder if Normal Guy even noticed the transition.

Yet, the Spooky Naked Guy demons noticed a transition coming! It walked onto the shore from the boat. They saw Jesus and knew the end of their kidnapping and murder plot was near. Sin and oppression came face to face with reality.

In a small way I understand this because the anger taking hold in my players during a tennis match knows its in serious trouble when I stand up to walk onto the tennis court. You can also see the player himself have an awakening as he is freed of the bondage.

Just as Normal Guy wasn’t seen by the disciples because of the control of Spooky Naked Guy, athletes need to be aware of their actions during competition. Your anger can hide the real you from being a positive example. In fact, people may only see you as the anger you showed on center court at the US Open, or in the finals of your junior tournament.

What kind of person do you want to be? Normal Guy or Spooky Naked Guy? How do we know when satanic influences have rooted themselves in our life story? It’s a big question.

Start seeking the answer. Look at your life habits. Look honestly and look deeply. Ask people who know you. Are you obsessed or find your happiness with drugs, pornography, alcohol, food… or even cooking, winning, cleaning, working, pastoring, coaching.

Seek to discern if something has taken over your life and taken you away from a singular focus on Christ.

Go places and be near Godly people who love Jesus with all their hearts. Read your Bible. Pray. Your sin will be exposed! Just as the demon recognized Jesus and fell at his feet begging for mercy, your sin will be revealed as sin when near God.

Then, finally, comes the battle! The battle you desperately need. The battle Jesus is “rowing” to so He can help you succeed in sharing His amazing grace with the world!

Sin when revealed by God claims God will torture it!

It will grab its victim and throw her around while using her to manipulate circumstances in its favor. Maybe she will find herself angry at the one God sent to help her. Maybe she will yell and scream and shout as the sin seeks control!

That is what happened to me when I was far from God and sin controlled my life.

I’ve have also coached players who have gone through this situation. Some made it through, some didn’t. Some thank God for their new life in Him. Some curse me for having been used by God to reach them. Being confronted with God and seeing the sin which controls is difficult for anyone.

Know God is always in control. Nothing can withstand His love and fury. He will come to you on your turf in your sin and He is willing to throw out all oppression and possession to save His special child made in His image.

No matter what sin tries to convince you is true and real, it will always grovel at the feet of Jesus.

And, as we will soon see, must obey every command of Jesus… as Spooky Naked Guy will soon learn!

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

Posted by: Scott Paschal | December 26, 2007

Spooky Naked Guy at the Beach

Luke 8:26-27 NIV

They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs.

The Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles: Part One

Gerasenes was a scary place. Think Gotham City back in the day. Yet, it was Jesus’ destination. He rowed 7.5 miles to get there after battling a storm.

When his boat landed Jesus was met on the shore by a demon possessed, naked guy who lived in a cemetery.

Jesus could have gone anywhere. Why here? Why meet this guy who was known as the worst of the bad in Gerasenes? This place was way outside the disciples’ Jewish comfort zone.

Why did Jesus meet spooky naked guy on his own turf?

Because that is what Jesus does with me, and other sinners, every day. He comes to us because He knows we are hurting and need help. He knows His children need Him.

He comes to us on our own turf as we hide in our personal cemeteries of demonic oppression.

When our lives are at their worst, Jesus knows where we are. He is rowing towards us. The Messiah cared so much for this one demon possessed man, He sought him out. He is seeking you, as well.

When I feel my life, or the life of someone I know, seems beyond help, I can rest assured Jesus is willing to come to me. He loves me, and you.

When I was young, around 16, my dad died. I felt hurt and scared. The pain of how my dad died tormented me for years and years. I, also, hid in the shadows as I worked to cope and survive the pain and anguish. In some ways, I, too, was banished from normal society.

Just like he did with spooky naked guy, Jesus came and found me. Though it seemed like it took forever, He knew where to find me and had a plan to set me free!

Weekly, sometimes daily, I hear from people who have difficult lives.

Maybe I hear from someone while I’m leading an outreach to a pro tennis tournament, or just reading email or answering the phone. Over the last 10 years, I’ve spent much time with hurting people.

What I’ve been blessed to understand is the pain I went through as a teen and young adult was desperately needed so I could understand and empathize with the pain others are going through, today.

Same with you. Whatever your current pain, know God will meet you on the shore.

Whatever your current circumstances… cancer, divorce, hunger, alcoholism, drug addiction… whatever the oppression and pain, know you are totally and completely loved by the One who created all and knows every hair on your head.

Something drove spooky naked guy to be at the beach at the exact moment Jesus arrived. Though his years of demonic oppression and possession had ravaged his life and was hurling him to eternity in hell, he was divinely led to a beach to meet Jesus.

Nothing you have done, no situation you are in, no pain you have endured can keep you from the love and forgiveness and protection of Jesus.

I personally can tell you this is true…

… and so could the spooky naked guy, as I will share with you soon!

God bless each of you.

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

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