About the Book
Is the God you serve the true God of the Bible? If you profess faith in Christ, this book will challenge you mightily from beginning to end, GUARANTEED! Many are calling it Patrick Higgins’ best and most life-transforming book to date.
Charmaine DeShields thought she had it all. A promising career. Good health. A beautiful house. A promising relationship. Most importantly, she was a proud member of the largest and most popular megachurch in all of Seattle–the Blessed and Highly Favored Full Gospel Church.
Everything started changing in her seemingly perfect life after a pastor visiting from China created such an uproar at her church, with messages most members found both mean spirited and judgmentally offensive, that Mark Lau was asked to leave and told never to come back.
It took traveling all the way to Shanghai, China, with her best friend, Meredith Geiger, for Charmaine to discover the many differences between her church, which was opulent in every sense of the word, and Pastor Lau’s church, which was located beneath a dry cleaners, of all places.
Even more telling were the messages both pastors preached. Despite that they taught from the very same Book, their messages couldn’t have been anymore polarizing. While Charmaine was instantly intrigued by the whole “underground” experience, Meredith was so traumatized that she cut short what had been the best vacation of her life, to go back to the States.
But not before alarming Charmaine’s boyfriend of the grave danger they faced. Rodney Williams then told lead pastors, Julian and Imogen Martín, who flew 5,700 miles from Seattle to China, to rescue her from the so-called pastor who’d already caused some to leave their megachurch.
Upon arriving, they learned their suspicions were quickly confirmed. Mark Lau had used his subterranean gathering place to radically change Charmaine’s way of thinking. Despite her strongest protests, they flat-out refused to believe that God had used him to transform her life and deepen her faith, to the extent that she finally had eternal assurance.
Tragically for the Martíns, by the time they discovered the prosperity Gospel they’d been preaching was a false one, it would be too late…
AFTER THE SERVICE HAD ended, Pastor Julian said, “Wait, everyone, before you go, I understand we have a pastor visiting us from China.”
Mark Lau winced, then glanced nervously at Charmaine, who giggled under her breath. He was already on edge after hearing Pastor Martín’s man-centered sermon. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
“It’s okay, Pastor, don’t be nervous,” Julian said. “We’re your family! Come join us on stage so we can pray for you.”
Lau gulped in air, got out of his seat, and slowly trudged up the steps leading to the massive stage, silently wishing he could make a beeline to one of the rear exit doors. But with TV cameras steadied on him, he complied and did as he was instructed.
Pastor Lau reminded himself again that God worked in mysterious ways. If He was opening a door for him to preach the true Gospel message, Mark wouldn’t hesitate. This is mysterious, all right!
Rodney Williams was still seated at the organ. He shot Mark a thumb’s up gesture, hoping to calm his nerves a bit.
The Martíns positioned themselves on either side of their visitor. Pastor Lau felt great heat coming from Pastor Julian. What some might mistake as Holy Spirit fire pouring out of him—as if shooting out of a furnace—Mark deduced was nothing more than excess body heat from being so worked up throughout his sermon.
Julian said, “What’s your name?”
“I understand you were an associate pastor here in the States before moving to China…” Since his guest was Kaito Fujimoto’s best friend, he probably wasn’t a big fan of his preaching style. The way he squirmed in his front row seat at times during the service further dictated that much.
Julian knew it was risky inviting him up on stage unvetted like this. On the flipside, once they laid hands on him and prayed for him, perhaps God would use this moment to open his eyes and change his heart, so he could finally start living the good life again…
Pastor Lau said, “That would be correct.” As a first generation Chinese American, his English was perfect.
“How long have you been over there?”
“Going on eight years now…”
“Marvelous!” Julian said, “Let’s give it up for our brother sharing God’s goodness halfway around the world!”
Applause thundered all throughout the sanctuary, accompanied by many “Amens” and “Hallelujahs”.
“It’s always an honor sharing the stage with another mighty man of God.”
Lau waved off his words. “I’m a servant of the Most High God. Nothing more.”
“Amen to that, Pastor!” Julian said, half-heartedly.
Mark wondered why Imogen kept gazing at him. Whatever she was thinking, it literally caused the hair on his arms to stand at full attention.
When Charmaine introduced him to her before the shenanigans began, something felt strangely off about her. Now up on stage with her, that troubling sensation only intensified.
Imogen said, “Where exactly is your church in China?”
She said, “Ooh, I’ve always wanted to go there. I hear the shopping’s unbelievable…”
“You heard correctly. But our church is located on the lesser side of town, far away from the massive skyscrapers and ritzy shopping locations. That area’s too rich for our blood…”
Ahh, the words she wanted to hear. Imogen closed her eyes and started shaking her head softly at first, then wildly, violently, as if having an epileptic seizure.
Pastor Lau observed in silence, already knowing this wouldn’t end well. It went on for several seconds before she finally broke out of it.
With a determined expression on her face, she said, “I have a word for you, from God Almighty Himself!”
Someone yelled from the second level, “Bless him, Pastor!”
There were more “Amens” uttered from many.
Mark Lau flinched, then tilted his head strangely at her, wondering upon whose authority she was about to prophesy.
After a prolonged moment of still silence, Imogen answered his question—at least her version of what she thought to be true—when she screamed into the microphone in her hand, “I declare by the authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, that when you return to China many new doors will be opened for you that no man can close, to include newfound financial blessings!”
“Amen!” someone in the balcony shouted.
“Hallelujah!” someone yelled on the lower level.
“Praise Jesus!” declared a wealthy business owner, seated in the front row.
With her face mere inches from Lau’s, Imogen started speaking in unintelligible tongues. Mark couldn’t understand a single word she spoke. He felt certain no one else could either—there was no one there to translate for her—but she almost sounded angry.
Mark glanced over at Julian. Arms lifted skyward he, too, was speaking in tongues, but a little more softly than his wife.
Pastor Lau remained silent. He felt himself shivering, sensing her spirit was entirely different than his.
Had Charmaine told him in advance this would happen, he would have never agreed to join her in the first place.
Out of the corner of his eye, Mark noticed two men walking up on stage, positioning themselves behind him with a covering rag. He knew why they were there—in case he suddenly became “slain in the spirit”, as they taught at this place, and he lost all control and fell backwards.
If so, they would be there to catch him in the covering rag.
Another shiver snaked through him, seeing some of the elders and church deacons form a tight circle around the three of them, to lay hands on him. It wasn’t the laying on of hands that spooked him, even his church did that, it was the different spirit he felt behind it all.
Pastor Lau knew this was all part of the prosperity gospel that had enslaved so many churchgoers for so many years.
After a while, Imogen opened her eyes and shouted at the top of her lungs, “Stop selling yourself short over there in China! Why praise God in such squalor when you could have a place like this of your own to worship in someday?”
Looking her visitor square in the eye, she said, “You must cease from cheating your flock, my brother, by withholding the limitless blessings God’s been trying to shower upon you all this time!
“Can you imagine the overwhelming disappointment you’ll feel in Heaven, when God shows you the storehouses full of wasted blessings that were intended for you and your flock back on earth, but they were never received because of your lack of faith? How do you think the members of your church might feel about that?”
Mark Lau glanced out at the massive congregation. They were sad for him; pity was splashed all over their faces. He wanted to ask Pastor Julian why he had handed total control of the situation over to his wife, but his eyes were still closed as he spoke in tongues.
His eyes volleyed back to Imogen. She was sweating profusely. “Our Heavenly Father loves His children in China just as much as His royal princes and princesses here in America.
“As part of God’s royal priesthood, it’s time to start acting like it by increasing your faith! Once you do that, my brother, get out of the way so God can finally unleash His mighty power in your life, and the lives of everyone at your church!”
Imogen shot a quick look at Charmaine, and went on, “Another thing the Lord told me to tell you has to do with your overall approach, when sharing the Word of God with others.
“Simply put, the words you speak are weak at times, morbid even. And your lack of energy and enthusiasm is costing you dearly. Your church needs to be reinvigorated, not bored out of their minds!”
Imogen gazed deeply into Mark’s eyes and shook her head sadly. “Trust me when I say, once you repent of the great sin of squandering away the very things God’s been wanting to lavish upon your church for the longest time, it won’t take long before He fully restores what the locusts have eaten away for so many years, due to your weak faith.”
“Amen!” someone yelled, in reply.
“Hallelujah!” someone else yelled.
“As their pastor, it all starts with you! Now’s your chance to repent in front of God, and your many brothers and sisters in the faith. You said yourself that the finer things in this life are too rich for your blood.
“That changes today! Doubt needs to be replaced with rock-solid faith, my brother. But first you must repent of your many spiritual shortcomings before you can expect God to bless you in this capacity!”
Finally, the word Pastor Lau wanted to hear all day—repent—only it was directed at him, not them!
The congregation once again erupted in thunderous applause. They praised God for blessing them with such spirit-filled pastors.
The way Imogen spoke into this man’s life further proved that she was chosen by God to be one of His mighty prophetesses.
The sanctuary fell silent when their guest lowered his head and closed his eyes. While they were right, he was communicating with God, he wasn’t repenting but praying that God would deliver this so-called body of believers from the clutches of Satan himself.
When he was finished, he opened his eyes to find Imogen still gazing at him, huffing and puffing loudly into the microphone in her hand, her face mere inches from his.
She was so close he could feel her breath on his face.
“Well done, brother! Now you can rightly claim the things you want—they’re there for the taking, in the mighty name of Jesus of Nazareth!”
Glancing skyward, Imogen said, “Lord, I command You to release your countless blessings on this man, this very instant!
“May Your first miracle come in the form of physical healing for his father-in-law. We rebuke every cancer cell invading his body! Heal him, Lord, and bring him back to perfect health!”
With high heels on, Imogen’s 5’4” height was elevated just enough to where their eyes were level. “Fear not, my brother, he’s going to be just fine.”
“Amen!” Pastor Julian shouted.
Another chorus of “Amens” and “Hallelujahs” filled the sanctuary.
Mark stood stoically silent, motionless.
Imogen didn’t know what he was thinking. Their eyes remained deadlocked, as if both were trying to gain spiritual ground.
After a few more uncomfortable moments, she could no longer hold his stare. She tilted her head one way then the other; her counterpart’s kind eyes earlier now looked deeply troubled. It was impossible to overlook. “Anything you’d like to say, Pastor?”
When Imogen handed him the microphone, most in attendance started handclapping. Mark knew it wouldn’t last…Give me the grace, Lord, and your strength, to say what I must…
Gazing out at the congregation, Pastor Lau lowered his head. “Let us pray. Father, protect everyone in this sanctuary from the many lies this so-called prophetess just told. Seal her lips shut, so she’ll no longer fill the ears of so many with such blasphemous words.”
Imogen opened her eyes and glared at him. Anger surfaced on her face.
Mark’s eyes were closed, but he wouldn’t be surprised to see her reaction. He went on, “Lord, give everyone upon whom Your mighty hand rests in this place spiritual discernment to realize her message didn’t come from You, but from the great deceiver, the devil himself.”
A loud collective gasp fell upon the sanctuary. Many blinked hard and shook their heads in disbelief; they glared at him angrily.
The last thing anyone expected was for their beloved pastor to come under attack like this. They ached for her.
Pastor Lau went on, “Shield the hearts and minds of Your chosen ones in this sanctuary, whoever they may be. Lead them into the Truth by sending biblically-sound preachers to share Your Gospel with them, as only You can. This I beg of you, Father, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
You could hear a feather drop inside the sanctuary…
Mark Lau opened his eyes. As if on cue, droves of congregants emptied out of the sanctuary, with menacing growls on their faces.
They refused to listen to any more of this man’s vitriolic hate speech. It spewed out of his mouth like vomit. How dare he disrespect our Pastor like that—especially with the cameras rolling!
Julian watched his wife furiously storm off the stage. The humiliation on her face ripped through him like a knife in warm butter. His fists were clenched in a ball—he burned with anger. If looks could kill!
Usually when Imogen prophesied over someone, the recipients joined her in speaking in tongues as she delivered encouraging messages from God’s lips to their ears, or they became giddy with laughter, or jumped up and down with tears streaming down their cheeks, like they’d just won a new car on The Price is Right game show.
But not this man…Their hearts were pierced within them.
And with more than 17,000 viewers watching on Facebook live, 8,000 more on Twitter, and another 4,000 on Instagram, how much potential collateral damage had this man just done?
One of the cameramen recording for their TV audience shot a desperate glance over to his female counterpart, as if to say, “What should we do?”
She shrugged her shoulders and kept the camera steady, thankful that all TV sermons were aired two weeks after they were recorded. There wasn’t a chance this man’s evil rebuke would make the final edit.
It didn’t take long for loud choruses of boos to replace the dead silence that had filled the sanctuary for so long, from those who still remained.
Amid the constant shouting to get off the stage, Pastor Lau went on, “God’s salvation isn’t about miracles or financial gain; it’s all about the shed blood of Jesus Christ, who alone has the power to cleanse repentant sinners and rescue their souls from eternal damnation. That’s the whole premise of the Gospel message, not worldly possessions!
“Think about it, if God’s sanctification was meant to make us more like Jesus, why should any Christ follower expect to be honored in a world where our Redeemer was hated to the point of being crucified as an innocent Man? Does that make sense to any of you? It doesn’t to me.
“Once the miracle of salvation happens in a life, we’re called to serve God, not be served by Him! In the end, when you stand before your Maker on that inescapable day, you will be judged on the things you did or didn’t do for Him, not the other way around.”
A handful of ushers rushed the stage. They glared angrily at Mark, as they slowly closed in on him. Rodney Williams ran his right pointer finger across his neck, signaling for the sound man to cut his mic immediately.
The problem was the sound man was completely transfixed by the words this man spoke. They convicted him deep in his spirit, as if his soul was hearing truth for the very first time.
He wasn’t the only one. Others felt that same deep conviction in their souls and wanted to hear more…
Pastor Lau was mildly amazed the microphone was still turned on. Seeing dozens on the edge of their seats, hanging onto his every word, he took it as a sign that God had left it on just for them.
He would keep speaking until they muted it or ripped it from his hands, which he anticipated happening at any moment. “Everything your pastors strive for is nothing more than chasing after the wind. I assure you the many material things they want you to have won’t mean a thing to any of you a hundred years from now.”
“So, if you haven’t truly been born again, I plead with you to stop chasing after worldly material blessings and get right with God! Since tomorrow’s promised to no one, the day of salvation is at hand.”
He ended with, “But for those of you who receive this woman’s message as truth, and reject the true Gospel message, you will come to see that what she preaches will be God’s judgment upon you.”
Only no one heard it. Pastor Ogletree stormed the sound booth and turned the microphone off himself…
About the Author
Patrick Higgins is an Amazon bestseller and award-winning author of the end times prophetic series, Chaos In The Blink Of An Eye. The “CHAOS” in our present world is well documented in this series, which won the Radiqx Press Spirit-Filled Fiction Award of Excellence, soon after the first installment was published. Download now and see for yourself why more than 3000 POSITIVE RATINGS – REVIEWS have been posted on Amazon and Goodreads, on the first 6 installments…and counting! Have you read it yet? If not, what are you waiting for?
Once completed, there will be 12 installments…
Higgins also wrote “I Never Knew You”, “The Pelican Trees”, “Coffee In Manila”, and “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor”, which won both the 2016 International Publishers Awards (IPA), and the 2018 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Awards in Christian fiction.
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