By Chinta Strausberg
Pastor Patrick E. Winfield, II, associate Pastor atÂ The Potters House of Texas, gave a warning Sunday to youth that God needs them now and that while some of them believe they are all in the know, they arenâ€™t and that the devil is operating in a â€œhyper-modeâ€ so he can destroy and killÂ them.
Preaching at Saint Sabina Church, the young and dynamic Pastor, who is the father of three sons, began his sermon quoting from 1 Peter 5:5: â€œLikewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.â€
He told the youth in the congregation: â€œThere is going to be a proper time when you are going to be exalted. What you do now will determine if you are ready when your time comes but your time is coming,â€ Winfield said.
Saying God cares for them, Winfield warned them: â€œBe sober minded. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, someone who is going to give him some inroads, someone who is going to give him an opportunity.â€
Speaking on the topic â€œThe Pain of Becoming,â€ Winfield said being a teen today is a very interesting period that consist of a time of change, a time of transformation and a time of transition. Teens, he said want their independence and to be free â€œwithout any responsibilityâ€¦you want your freedom.â€
Mimicking some teens in this state of mind, Winfield said, â€œI want to come when I want to come. I donâ€™t want a curfew. I want to talk on my phone until Iâ€™m ready to get off. I want to text. I want to text while Iâ€™m at home. I want to text while Iâ€™m in school. I want to text while Iâ€™m in the cafeteria. I want to text all day long because thatâ€™s what I do. Thatâ€™s what I want to do. I want to be on Facebook and be on Twitter and talk to everybody and talk to the whole world until I get offâ€¦until I get tired. â€œThatâ€™s what I want to do. I donâ€™t want to go to school,â€ Winfield said still emulating some teenagers.
â€œI only go because you tell me to and I got to do something throughout the course of the day but even when Iâ€™m here, Iâ€™m not there because I choose to be somewhere else. Â If I had my choice, I would talk to my friends all day long, kicking with my homies all day long. Why, because we can relate to each other. I just want to be a teen. Why canâ€™t you just let me be a teen. Why canâ€™t you just let me grow up like the way I want to grow up, Mama? Why canâ€™t you just leave me alone.â€?
Winfield said some teens want to stay in their rooms all day long so they can be hip and liked by their peers â€œand have nobody contradict me or say anything about what Iâ€™m listening to, what Iâ€™m doing, what Iâ€™m wearing, whose my friends. Why canâ€™t you just leave me alone? I just want to play the X Box all day long. â€œWhy do I have to have a time limit on this game? Why canâ€™t I just be youngâ€?
Winfield said some teenâ€™s question why he wants them to serve the Lord telling him â€œwhy canâ€™t I just be young before I start serving the Lord? Let me do what I want to do. Let me do my thing out there, then Iâ€™ll come back and read the scripture and all that stuff and be all holy and stuff. Why canâ€™t I just go out and be a fool for a second?â€
When parents lay down the law pulling their trump card of being a parent and telling their children â€œbecause I told you so,â€ Winfield said, â€œThatâ€™s the only reason sometimes we have as parents because you donâ€™t want to hear reason sometimes so we have to pull the parent card, â€˜because I said so.â€
â€œWhy canâ€™t you just leave me aloneâ€? Some teens ask. Winfield has an answer to that question. â€œWhen Peter talks to this community he is talking to a community that is going through suffering, but everybody is going through suffering, not just the adults but also the young people. As the adults go through suffering, it impacts the young people. So go the adults, so go the youth,â€ he warned.
â€œIf adults are struggling in their faith, so are the young people going to struggle in their faith because they donâ€™t have any point of reference except of looking at people who are older than them which is the reason why Peter said, â€˜and you younger ones.â€™â€
â€œSubmit yourself to the elders. Why? Because there is a sense of wisdom they are bringing to the table that you do not have yet. The bible says he calls the young because they are strong but he calls the old because they know the way.
â€œWhere youâ€™re trying to get, somebodyâ€™s already known how to get you there and you wonâ€™t get there without submitting,â€ said Winfield. â€œYou said train up a child in the way he should go. That word training comes from the word initiating.â€
Winfield explained that â€œif you are pledging on any fraternity, there is an initiation. You just donâ€™t get there by yourself. You need somebody to give you legitimacy into the group. You need somebody to give you a license into the group. You just donâ€™t show up at the DMV saying â€˜Iâ€™m ready for my license.â€™ You have to go through some things, and you will not drive by yourself until you learn to drive with somebody else.â€
â€œWinfield tried to give the youth a snapshot of where they are in life. Quoting the bible, he said, â€œWhen the bible says that you need to be submissive to the elders, you need to also understand the reason why. Winfield said you need to be submissive. He said you need to be humble, sober and vigilant. Why? Because you have an adversary. â€œIf you have an adversary, when does he start being adversarial? If he is an adversary to me, when does he start becoming my enemy because an adversary is somebody who is being a contradiction to what I want to do or what I need to be or who God has called me to be? An adversary is somebody who has declared war on me,â€ he said. â€œAn adversary is somebody who comes up to you and declares war on you, picks a fight with you. Our attitude then should be this. â€œIf he’s picking a fight with me, when does he pick the fight because if I can discover when he picks the fight, then I need to discover when I need to start getting active for God.â€
He asked the church, â€œAnybody like to be beaten up? Anybody like to be hit in the face? The devil has been hitting you in your face all this time and youâ€™ve never hit him back. You never had a desire to hit him back and when it became time to it him back, your excuse was â€˜Iâ€™m young.â€™
â€œWhen does God expect for you to start living for Him. At what age because the mindset is Iâ€™ll wait until Iâ€™m an adult and then Iâ€™ll start living for him. I donâ€™t want to be Holy until I go through some stuff back here and then Iâ€™ll catch up with you up there, but who told you a lie that said youâ€™re going to make itâ€? â€œIâ€™ve buried more young people than Iâ€™ve buried adults,â€ said Winfield referring to the street violence that has claimed the lives of so many young and innocent children.
Winfield asked, â€œWho said youâ€™re going to make it? So, when is it an acceptable time for you start living for God? When is it? It is when the devil starts attacking you.â€ Winfield referred to the book of Exodus where he said the devil got involved with the leadership.
He was referring to Pharaoh â€œgot wind of the people were growing, his attacks were against the babiesâ€¦the first born male needs to be killed which is how Moses gets out of his house into Pharaohâ€™s house because his mama couldnâ€™t hide him anymore. She had to send him out for adoptionâ€¦sending him down the Riverâ€ where the queen found him and raised Moses as he were her own son.â€
Winfield said Moses was sent away because there was an attack on him like there was also on Jesus. â€œRemember, there was an attack on Jesus. When Herod found out there was a Messiah comingâ€¦that a Messiah was going to be born, he said, â€˜I canâ€™t handle Messiah into adulthood so I have to kill him at the point of initiationâ€¦. In our modern day, we call that kind of mindset, that kind of killing abortion,â€ said Winfield. â€œWhen the enemy starts attacking a baby at the place of birth, then you need to understand that the enemy is scared of your generation. Why? Because of the damage you can cause.
Winfield explained, â€œKing Josiah was a king at the age of 8. Well, when did you become a king? Not when you are chronologically ready to become a king but when the nation has need of you. I need you now. I can wait on you to become an adultâ€¦. We need you now. Eight years old, 9 years old. I need you now.
â€œWhen did you start serving God? When God says I have need of you.â€ Referring to Daniel 15-17 about the story of Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego who worshiped One God, the true God, Winfield said, â€œWhen does call you out of your country into another country and call for you to go into leadership, at the age of 55, at the age of 45? For them 15, 16, 17, I have need of you now. Mary, I have need of a womb to deliver my son into this world. Will you accept the responsibility and Mary at the age of 12 would say â€˜Yes, Lord so be it unto me.â€™
â€œWhen do you start serving Godâ€? asked Winfield who said he came all the way from Dallas to tell the youth that â€œGod needs you now, quick fast and in a hurry,â€ he bellowed. In answering why now, Winfield said, â€œBecause the devil has entered into a hyper-mode to try and kill you. â€œYou can understand how much God is trying to use me by checking out the intensity of your enemy. When he starts intensifying the attack, when he starts increasing the things he is doing to try and get youâ€¦,you got to know that God must mean business right now.
â€œAnytime when you have babies killing babies, babies having babies, abortion overrides, where people shooting each other, killing each otherâ€¦,â€ he said it is he sign of the time that the devil is out to kill and destroy. Winfield said he canâ€™t even watch Soul Trainâ€™s music awards with his sons without turning the channel because â€œitâ€™s unheard of the stuff they are putting on.
â€œI canâ€™t go to a PG 13 movie with the kids anymore because itâ€™s soft porn even in the things that you see.â€ He said the devil â€œhas need of you.â€ â€œThe attacks have increased. Talking specifically to teenagers, Winfield said, â€œStrange things start happening. Â Hormones start flooding the body. You become emotional. All of a sudden, you want to be yourself while you are in an unstable emotional state. Study when you get some time. â€œWhen these hormones flood your body for young people, your brain is still in development mode,â€ Winfield said.
â€œYou havenâ€™t fully developed as an adult. You want adult responsibility, but your brain canâ€™t handle it. â€œYou donâ€™t understand that your pre-frontal cortex, which is the part of your body that makes judgments, is not fully developed yet, but the limbic system, which is the embodiment of all of your emotions is heightened.
â€œYou increase in emotions, but you donâ€™t have the judgment or the wisdom yet to handle what youâ€™re feeling; so everything about you is frustrating. â€œYou got friends that frustrate you. Youâ€™re trying to gain their acceptance, but they donâ€™t accept you readily so youâ€™re struggling with rejection,â€ said Winfield. â€œYou got your parents who are too busy to spend any time with you to tell you the stuff Iâ€™m telling you right now.
So, youâ€™re going through your years confused.â€ He mimicked some teens who say, â€œI want to do right, but I donâ€™t feel like it.â€ Referring to girls whose estrogen may be increasing, Winfield said, â€œYou become more emotional and now you want to be relational while you are emotional, but the only problem with that is that youâ€™re trying to be relational with boys who donâ€™t even understand who they are so how can they understand you when they donâ€™t even understand themselvesâ€?
According to Winfield, girls will develop psychologically and scientifically faster than boys. â€œSo, girls you are at one level and trying to deal with a relationship with a boy on a whole different level so now you got to stoop down. You got to lay down standardsâ€¦. â€œ
Winfield then addressed the boys saying, â€œthe flood of testosterone thatâ€™s coming through your body that increases your sex drive but your judgment area is still dumb. So you are led by your drive instead of being led by your intellect. It does not makes sense then to sleep with or lay down with somebody and you lack the resources to take care of a possible consequence that can come to the relationship. It does not make sense at all but you donâ€™t think about that because your brain is not developed.â€
At the same time when they are vulnerable, Winfield said, â€œin which as a lamb you want to walk away from the Shepard because you want to claim your independence. You walk away from the sheep fold and while youâ€™re walking away from the sheep fold, your adversary is looking for the one who is fighting for their independence so much that you will stop listening to the elders that God has placed in your life at the most vulnerable time of your life.
Â â€œThe devil is an adversary. Heâ€™s like a lion. The bible will call him an angel of light. He will come and appear to be right but everything about him will be wrong, but if Â you are unable to discern that then how can you battle against that? God has given you tools to battle against that. God has given you things, gifts in your life to help you discern what you cannot discern, to understand what you canâ€™t handle yet to be able to rationalize what you canâ€™t rationalize yet. â€œThe tools and the gifts God has given you to help you in this time of your life are called parents,â€ Winfield.
Looking at Father Michael L. Pfleger for help, Winfield referred to ex-Pennsylvania State University assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, Winfield said, â€œthe only reason why a Sandusky can get those children is because parents gave him access. He had to have access. Where was the man? Whereâ€™s daddy? â€œDo you understand that it is your parents who give you legitimacyâ€¦.â€?
Saying he is an educator, Winfield said, â€œWhen you know as an educator know that you have parents who are supportive of that child, you will treat them differently because your concerned I do something wrong , mama and daddy will come up here and have an issue. Youâ€™re going to be careful about the things you say. Parents give you legitimacy. â€œYou want to be great? Greatness comes at the point of legitimacy.
â€œSomebody has got to legitimately help you become great. Theyâ€™re called parents, and the enemy who is like an angel of light has walked you away from your parents.â€ Winfield told the youth, â€œyouâ€™re irrational yourself. Youâ€™re emotional yourself and in order for you to get some wisdom who are the first people that you go to that the enemy tells you need to go to, your friends and they are in the same state. Itâ€™s the blind leading the blind and everybody is bumping around in the room and nobody is saying, something is wrong here.
â€œItâ€™s been three-years since weâ€™ve been jacked up. You canâ€™t handle a relationship. You got an issue with your parents. How are you going to tell me about the issues Iâ€™m having with my parents? â€œSo the enemy will say donâ€™t talk to your parents. The enemy will tell you donâ€™t say anything about what youâ€™re feeling. Donâ€™t say anything about what youâ€™re going through. The enemy will tell you, have secrets.
â€œWhy? Because the devil knows if I can get you alone, you are not strong enough or wise enough to handle what Iâ€™m going to tell you.â€ â€œWhen God tells Adam and Eve, Adams specifically, do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it would seem like He was being a bad parent. After all, Lord, you created me. I got all of these trees. I got access to all of this and youâ€™re telling me there is something I canâ€™t do? What kind of parent are you? â€œHe does not tell them that because he does not want them to be happy. He does not tell them that because He wants them to be frustrated.
â€œIn the bible, there is one type of knowledge. In our English language, there is a knowledge of which I know youâ€ and another â€œI know about you.â€ In that text of scripture, he said, â€œthe knowledge of good and evil means experience. â€œHe said the reason why I do not want you to eat from the experience of good and evil because on the day you eat of it, youâ€™ll become like me having knowledge of good and evil but youâ€™re not like me in being able to discern because youâ€™re not developed yet you will experience something that I never wanted you to experience and I know the end result of that experience which is the reason why Iâ€™m telling you donâ€™t eat from it.â€
He told the youth when parents tell them not to go to the tree of knowledge of good and evil it is because there is an experience that you are not ready to handle and you do not know the consequences that are going to come from that experience. â€œYou will never be the same after that experience so there are certain things that God is trying to protect you from.
â€œWhat He does not do is to take your will,â€ Winfield said explaining that God could have come down and told Adam he would take his will to prevent him from experiencing life after sinning. â€œYou canâ€™t take your will and neither can parents. We canâ€™t take your will. Your will is yours.
â€œWe can put guidelines in place. We can put rules and regulations in place, but if you really want to do it, who can stop you? I canâ€™t police you all day longâ€¦. If you want to do it, youâ€™re going to do it,â€ he said chalking it up to his experience.
Referring to the devil, Winfield said the devil is seeking the sheep that leaves its flock in the name of freedom. â€œYouâ€™ll run out but eventually youâ€™ll run back because the lion, the adversary is seekingâ€ you. â€œThere is a spirit of deception that has entered into our culture. The culture says to you that you need to be an American teen. What does that look like? That means dumb, ignorant, play a lot of games, hate your parents, walk away, smoke weed, get high, have sex, just do it all.
â€œEnjoy yourself because this is what teens do, party, clubs, do it. Do what you do. Just do it all. Just party, partyâ€¦what ever you do. Do it to the hilt. Just do it. I love me. My Facebook, iPhone, iPad. Itâ€™s a narcissistic society. I, I, I. M, me, me. Selfish, I, I, I. All about me. Never about you. â€œWill you pick me up from my game and after the game, youâ€™re spending 20-30 minutes talking to your friends and your parents are out there waiting for you. I, I, I. You playing the X Box, your mama coming in there with groceries and you still playing the game and she needs help bringing in the food thatâ€™s going to feed your tail. I, I, I, me, me, me. My grant, my clothes, my style, my swag. Itâ€™s me.â€
On the youthâ€™s desire for clothes, Pastor Winfield explained, â€œFrom the experience of Adam and Eve, the first thing that God had to do to cover up their issues was to give them clothesâ€ he equates with walking away from God â€œof you saying itâ€™s all about me. I will do what ever I want to do, and so God says I sent somebody to warn you that if you make that decision whatâ€™s waiting for you is the devil.â€
Pastor Winfield told of the time when he counseled a young lady a few days ago. â€œShe had been raped at the age of 12. She had just come back from running away. Her mother brought her in for a counseling session. I was not going to meet with her until next week because it was a very busy week for me.â€ However, one of his elders urged him to talk to her because she was contemplating suicide.
Winfield changed his calendar and met with the young lady. He appealed to the intelligent person inside of her and told her: â€œThe reason why these thoughts of suicide are coming over you is because you have left the environment that God has set up so that you wonâ€™t feel like youâ€™re in a hopeless situation. â€œYou have attached yourself to your friends. Are your friends your real friends,â€ he asked her?
Winfield said the young lady responded, â€œWell, I think so.â€ Winfield responded, â€œWell, thatâ€™s a problem because if you know if they are or not how are you putting your life in the balance with themâ€? He told her â€œall the things that are happening in your life right now is a result of your choices.
â€œSuicide will leave you when you submit. Suicide increases when you donâ€™t. Suicide is in the context of rebellion. Whatâ€™s a rebellion? I will not say anything to anybody and when the devil holds you in a place of isolation, he works on you. â€œYour adversary has been studying you since birth. Heâ€™s been studying you. Heâ€™s been watching you.
â€œHeâ€™s been watching your ways. Heâ€™s been watching your attitude. Heâ€™s been watching what makes you tick. Heâ€™s been watching you what gives you passion. Heâ€™s been watching what gives you joy. â€œHeâ€™s been watching the little sins that you have going on in your head. Heâ€™s been watching your dreamsâ€¦your visions.
â€œHeâ€™s been seeing you, seeing what you have been thinkingâ€¦looking at on TV, what youâ€™ve been watching over the Internet. Heâ€™s been seeing the stuff that you have been texting to your friends and the little nasty stuff that you have been doing. Heâ€™s been seeing, observing all of that stuff and setting up different pitfalls for you to go into because he knows if he gets you by yourself, heâ€™s the lion. His whole objective is to kill you,â€ he said.
â€œWhat do you do with that informationâ€? he asked. â€œDo you continue to stay rebellious? The country that hypes rebellion up. Trick of the enemy. Even the music you listen to is hyped up by rebellion, and you listen to it and pump in your head all day long. This is what you listen to when you are trying to get rational.
When you get wisdom, you listen to foolishness. â€œHow can you hear what is rational and your pre-frontal lobe is not develop.â€? Winfield gave the answer to how you fight these obstacles: â€œHumility, submission, being sober-minded that deals with your mind. Anything that is not pure should not enter your mind.
â€œYou need knowledge and wisdom in your mindâ€¦. Wisdom is the principle thing. Vigilant, being watchful, lookâ€¦pay attention. Donâ€™t ever go to a movie without watching. â€œThe bible says watch as well as pray. Watch your friends. Watch how they stab you in the back. Watch how they talk about you. Watch. Evil communications will corrupt good manners.
â€œ You got to watch because the enemy is trying to bring people into your life who is going to try and lead you away from the fold and the lion is out there. â€œThe last thing He says is to resist. How do you resist? You do so by faith, your belief. God wants to use you now.
â€œResist the desire not to want to be used,â€ Pastor Winfield told the church. â€œThe devil will tell you â€˜you donâ€™t need to be usedâ€¦â€™ Do you realize that the devil doesnâ€™t have a problem with your being in church? Heâ€™s here. Oh, the devil canâ€™t be here in Godâ€™s presenceâ€¦,â€ some people may say.
Winfield told the church to read the book of Job 1:22 â€œthe bible says the angels came before God and the devil came in with them. The devil can be in Godâ€™s presence. He doesnâ€™t mind us being in Godâ€™s presence. â€œHe doesnâ€™t have a problem with you holding your bible. He doesnâ€™t have a problem with your reading it. He doesnâ€™t have a problem with your singingâ€¦. He doesnâ€™t have a problem with that. Heâ€™s all right with that.
â€œWhat he does not want you to do is to live it. Heâ€™s got a problem with you living it because the day that you live it you are resisting him and the bible says when you resist the devil, heâ€™s got to flee. Heâ€™s got to get back, get backâ€¦. He cannot resist you when you resist him.â€
Winfield told the congregation, â€œIf you have sensed the attack of the enemy on your life that you have been dealing with and struggling with some of those things I have mentioned, come to the altar.â€
Scores of people young and old came to the altar and prayed. As they filed round the altar, Pastor Winfield said, â€œYou donâ€™t know that the next act of rebellion could end your life, could kill youâ€¦â€ . He told the church because some of them, he said, donâ€™t believe the devil is real and that he is alive and is around him.
When he was in school, Winfield said he went to an Alpha party. â€œOne of my friends wanted to fight. We got thrown out of the Alpha House. When we were on the doorstep,â€ he said he saw black silhouettes and they were jumping on people and everybody they jumped on started fighting. I saw one go through the door of a car. A guy gets out and starts fighting. â€œThe devil is even at your partiesâ€¦at your clubsâ€¦in your musicâ€¦.
â€œPeople are not the devil, but the things that influence us we unknowingly give to others. He is real,â€ Winfield said referring to the devil. He said the bible talks more about the devil than it does about angels â€œbecause heâ€™s real. He is your adversary. He has been trying to kill you. Thatâ€™s his job, and if you want to win against your adversary, you have to go to another level of submission, to authority.
â€œParents, you have to submit to the authority of God, too,â€ he said, â€œbecause the only way the devil can come in and attack your children is that you leave a door. Stop allowing for your children to go places that you have not investigated. Itâ€™s unpopular parenting but weâ€™re trying to save your life from experiences that could hurt youâ€¦.â€
He asked the church to stretch their hands towards those standing around the altar. â€œThese are sheep, lambs our children. The enemy is coming about like a roaring lion seekingâ€ them, he said. â€œ I pray in the name of Jesus that you get into their minds that the enemy has been trying influenceâ€¦trying to lead them astrayâ€¦to try and suggest them as angel of light.
â€œI pray that you open up their eyes right now and that you will call for them to see the truth, to see the reality for where the enemy has been trying to attack, pervert and to leadâ€¦. â€œI pray in the name of Jesus for right relationships. I come against bad ones. I pray in the name of Jesus for right networks.
â€œI come against bad networksâ€¦. I come against every foul spirit, every demonic spirit every spirit of perversion, every spirit of deceit. I come against spirit of greedâ€¦. I bind the spirit of depression, bind the spirit of suicideâ€¦everything that has been trying to steal and kill the lifeâ€¦in the minds of these young peopleâ€¦.â€
Winfield then turned to Pastor Pfleger and the church saying, â€œI hear God saying â€˜shift.â€™ Itâ€™s time for you to shift. There is a move that I have been seeing over here. Thereâ€™s a shifting in the Spirit.â€
Then, looking over at Michael Drayton, Saint Sabinaâ€™s Minister of Music, Winfield said, â€œI was watching you mentor this young man while he was on the keyboard and God is saying itâ€™s time to shift into hyper-mentoring. â€œIf it takes a whole village to raise a child, who is going to raise the village? Itâ€™s time to shift. Stop talking about what is not being done. Shift into action.
â€œStop talking about the young people. Shift into helping them. Start listening for purpose and destiny. Shift to bring back programs that will allow them to go into their purpose and into their destiny. I hear God saying â€˜shift.â€™
â€œItâ€™s not about Saint Sabina anymore,â€ said Winfield. â€œItâ€™s about legacy. Itâ€™s about the next generation. Itâ€™s time to shift. I even hear leaders shifting. Heâ€™s raising out some out there. If you are supposed to be in leadership and you have been sitting there because you think it has already been filled. Shift is happening,â€ he said.
As the church prayed, Pastor Winfield bellowed, â€œShift, shiftâ€¦.â€
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.