Henry was born in 1898 in a small town in Texas. It was a town of emigrants. Most everyone spoke with a foreign accent, Czechoslovakian, Polish or German. His father was a carpenter who had immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia as a stow away on a cargo ship. His mother was a first generation Czechoslovakian American.
Henry quit school in the third grade and went to work at the age of ten when his father abandoned his family. His two brothers did the same. They had to rise to the occasion and do what grown men do. They had no choice. The government didn't help people like Henry in those days. They were on their own.
These were horse and buggy days in Henry's hometown. Homes didn't have electricity or indoor toilets. Through a childhood incident with kerosene and a pipe cleaner he was blinded in his right eye. He was not disfigured by the accident, but never regained sight in that eye. Not only did he have to make a living as a child, he had to do it with only one good eye. He was nicknamed "Good Eye". That's what he was called.
He became a very big man when he was older. When he married he was a soda jerk. That was the 1916 version of a coffee server at a fast food restaurant. He also wrestled for prize money. Being blind in one eye was a disadvantage, but Henry was determined. He was self-reliant. Somehow he saved enough money to take some classes at a small commercial college. He wanted to own his own business.
Since he had little schooling he continued to educate himself by reading the dictionary. A dictionary was the only book that he had. In the evening he would sit in his den. He would read the dictionary while his two young sons played. When he learned a new word, sometimes he would tell his kids about the word he had learned. For a period he was a member of the KKK. But he resigned because he didn't like what they were doing. Henry eventually became mayor of that small town in Texas.
Then came 1932. The stock market had lost 90% of its value and the great depression was raging. The banking system had collapsed. Henry was thirty-four with a wife and family. Many were homeless and hungry. His brother's family was destitute with no place to go, so Henry let them move into his home. So, two families lived in Henry's home. Henry supported both families from his small business. He owned a single gas station. In 1932 there was no unemployment compensation, social security or government check. There was no safety net. If you couldn't make rent, you and your family were on the street.
One dark day in 1932, Henry walked to the field where his twelve year old son was at football practice. He found the coach and said "I need to speak to my son." He took his son Harry to the side and said. "Mr. Fisher at the bank has called my note. I'll lose the business. We will lose our home. We will all be on the streets. But I will not file bankruptcy. I am going to talk to Mr. Fisher right now. I will try to reason with him. But if I don't come home this afternoon, you will be the head of the family, because I will be in Huntsville prison." Henry turned his back on his oldest son and walked towards downtown.
A few minutes later Henry arrived at the bank and walked into the president's office. He took a Colt 45 revolver out of his coat and laid it on the bank president's desk. He said, "Mr. Fisher, I came to reason with you. I need more time to pay my debts. If everyone who owed me money paid me, then I could pay you. But the banks have all frozen up. No one can get any money. I need more time."
In the meantime, Harry had gone home and waited on the front steps of his house the rest of that day. He nervously waited to see if his father was going to come home as in other days. You can imagine what thoughts were passing through Harry's mind. Grown men who were skilled in their trade couldn't find work. The time passed slowly as he waited.
Then at 5 PM, he saw his father walk around the corner and down his street. Henry walked up the sidewalk to where Harry was sitting on the steps. Henry stopped and looked at Harry. He leaned down and put his hand on Harry's shoulder. Henry said "Mr. Fisher is a reasonable man". Then Henry straightened up and walked into his home.
After prohibition ended Henry, became a
beer distributor. He drove the truck and his son unloaded the beer. For a time he coached semi-pro baseball. He also put together prospects to explore for oil in Texas. He was a deal maker but he never hit "the big one". He worked hard all his life and eventually paid off all his debts. Yes, he did pay his debts to the bank.
Henry always said that he belonged to "the big church". By that, he meant that he was a part of the large group who didn't go to church. All of his life Henry wondered what a person had to do to go to heaven when he died. Some said that he had to be good and do what the church told him to do. Others said that eternal life came to those who believed... to those who had faith. All of his life he tried to figure out who was right. He wanted to know if eternal life came through being good or through faith.
On his death bed he asked his wife to call the preacher. He meant the one who preached that eternal life came by faith and by faith alone. The preacher came. Henry became a Christian in his hospital bed. Then surgery was performed and he died.
Henry was my grandfather. He died in 1970 when I was twelve. I remember being at the funeral. It was a small town and everyone knew each other. The preacher preached that no matter how evil and wicked a man was for all of his life, if that man became a Christian at the last moment before he died, he would be in heaven just like any person who had been good and served God for years and years. But he didn't just say this only once. He went on and on and on with the same message for nearly half an hour. "No matter how wicked... Not matter how evil".
At a certain point, my father and I began to shrink down in our chairs. We realized that the preacher was trying to convince the mourners that a man like Henry Phillips could be in heaven. Apparently, there were a lot of mistaken people at the funeral that day. They were mistaken because they believed that people go to heaven because they are good.
They thought that people go to Heaven by being good:
- Jesus said "Why do you call me good? No one is good except one--God" (Mark 10:18).
- John 3:16 states "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
- "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The first verse says that no person is "good". The second says that eternal life is determined by only one condition: FAITH. The third says that we are not saved by being good ("not by works"). You see, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). Jesus came to save people like Henry.
Now is a good time to consider the answer to a very important question.
What path are you on?
If you don't know God, the Sixth Path is not available to you. The Sixth Path is walked by faith. Its an incredible path full of power, peace, faith, love, pain and suffering. The paths without God still have pain and suffering. But they don't have the power, peace, faith and love.
So, if you don't know God, please go to the appendix and read the subchapter titled "How to Become a Christian." Once you become a Christian, the Sixth Path is available to you, by faith.
If you are a Christian, prayerfully consider the Sixth Path:
Fellowship with God is a two way conversation in the spiritual realm, as we follow Christ, bearing His yoke in the world. How deep can this fellowship be before we enter into Heaven? It can and should be all consuming to the minutest detail. Our every thought, word and deed is involved.
In the Fifth Path, we have fellowship with God as we interact with God in scripture. This may take place in a daily devotional with a Bible in our hands. But in the Sixth Path, we have fellowship with God as we conduct His business in the world. What is "his business"? The yoke of Christ is His business. The yoke of Christ is the business of making disciples. It is the Great Commission. Christ said that it is easy. And it is. We repeat the words of the Father and pray.
But how can we remember scripture? Notice that I said, "We". But I didn't really mean that "we" remember scripture. Actually, God reminds us of scripture (John 14:26). As we PRAY scripture, His word is hidden in our hearts. Then the Holy Spirit reminds us of His words at the time of His choosing. We ask Him for the words that point to Him and He gives them to us (Ephesians 6:18-19). Then we repeat His words and pray to make disciples. The scriptures on Endorsed Prayer reveal this.
We receive supernatural rest as we bear this yoke of Christ.
In the Sixth Path, we work to receive rest. And rest feels very good. It is the abundant life. We experience it in this life as we work... as we work as a disciple maker.
The Lukewarm Path:
There is another path wherein the Christian does not work and does not receive His rest. It is the Lukewarm Path. Jesus described those Christians on this path as "miserable, poor, blind, and naked".
Those who walk in the Sixth Path bear the yoke of Christ, They are not lukewarm. They are not "miserable, poor, blind, and naked" in this life. They receive rest in this life as they bear His easy yoke.
The Sixth Path is "Turn, Turn, Turn and Behold the Lord".
It is the prayer that never ends. It evolves from the Fifth Path. In the Fifth Path, your heart is engaged with him, in His word, praying in the secret place of your heart. In the Fifth Path, we PRAY the scriptures. But in the Sixth Path, our time with God does not end when the quiet time comes to a close. It never ends.
While on the Sixth Path, we will do seemingly ordinary things like manual labor, driving a car, writing reports for work or solving math problems. But these "ordinary" things will take place on this path. They are changes of focus. Even though we are doing "ordinary things" on the Sixth Path, we do them with an awareness of God's presence. As ordinary things take place in our lives, we "watch in prayer" for opportunities to bear the yoke of Christ (Colossians 4:2-4). At every opportune time, we turn in our spirit to God within. So, through day and night, we Turn, Turn, Turn and Behold the Lord.
The Sixth Path is All-Consuming Fellowship With God:
The next five subchapters will show this from the scriptures. Subchapter 2.2 will reveal from scripture that we bear the yoke of Christ in every thought, word and deed. Subchapter 2.3 will describe the Yoke of Christ. Subchapter 2.4 is about watching in prayer. Subchapter 2.5 reveals the depth of intimacy that is available. Subchapter 2.6 presents the scriptural varieties of faith. Subchapter 2.7 is about the Lukewarm Path and its peril.
As Post Pentecost believers we can have a deep intimacy and oneness with God in this life by walking in the Sixth Path. We enter more deeply into this path by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit as we PRAY scripture. I know of no other way to enter into this path, than to PRAY scripture.
We cannot choose this path (John 15:16). We can only ask God to bring us into it. We ask God by praying the Endorsed Prayers. So, there is an interdependent relationship between the workings of scripture, the workings of the Holy Spirit and the Endorsed Prayers... to enable this abundant life... this union with God in the Sixth Path.