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Casey Diaz (From Gangs to God) Lewis Allen (The Puritans)

Janet Mefferd Today / Janet Mefferd
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2021 4:30 am

Casey Diaz (From Gangs to God) Lewis Allen (The Puritans)

Janet Mefferd Today / Janet Mefferd

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September 15, 2021 4:30 am

How did the Lord deliver one man out of the gang life and a criminal history to new life in Jesus? I’ll discuss it with Casey Diaz, author of, “The Shot Caller: A Latino Gangbanger’s Miraculous Escape from a Life of Violence to a New Life in Christ.” Plus: What do Christians today need to learn from the Puritans? Lewis Allen, pastor of Hope Church Huddersfield in England, stops by to talk about it and his book, "The Glory of Grace." Join us for Wednesday's JANET MEFFERD TODAY.

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This archived broadcast of Janet Mefford today is brought to you by a firm films show me the father, the creators of war room and courageous the Cantor brothers explore fatherhood through five true stories show me the father. Rated PG parental guidance suggested in theaters now is Janet Mefford today.

Our confidence is in Christ alone, so it is about gang violence this morning, a 16-year-old from Fairfax, Virginia, was found dead in a remote area after being stabbed. They think about 100 times by fellow members of the notorious gang MS 13 and five men have now been arrested in connection with that murder. It really breaks your heart to hear these kinds of stories about gang life.

But it's also amazing when you hear a story about a gang member like the one you're going to hear today were to talk about it with Casey Diaz as native of El Salvador and a former gang leader who grew up on the mean streets of Los Angeles and who came to know the Lord in prison.

He is now telling his story in the book the shot caller a Latino gang bangers miraculous escape from a life of violence to a new life in Christ Casey it's great to welcome you here. How are you very good now. It's wonderful to have you here and I think your story is fascinating.

So let's start a little bit at the beginning you said you were why two years old when you came to the United States. You don't remember being in El Salvador. Remember be really give you a note to so you know nothing will write so you've just been in the United States. Most of your life. What was your family like I know you had a bit of a tough relationship with your father yeah you know you don't initially your little blinded by the normal normal going up going outside playing baseball and football and forgot the home.

There was a lot of violence with my father right. I know he was abusive. You even try to kill him, didn't see when you were a little boy I am on growing up as well relationship you don't help you grow older you are able to find them.

Mom and so terrible. Growing up in this apartment. I'm so sorry did things develop. When you grew up in a kind of a violent home in a sort of abusive home. You ended up entering the gang life. How did that take place. What was the story of how you went from being a little boy seeing all of this in your home to joining a gang in getting involved in a gang culture just really came of a lie and it was really getting started on a happy note 8 years old.

I believe is when you witnessed the triple homicide writing the book will be all you will and so you'll somebody don't you people so that them getting introduced to the gang by local government, rather know you don't hello court in your your family and then you have the street that are actually embracing you, it becomes very easy to choose one from the other. You'll get introduced to 11 years old gang culture and I took him I just I just ran with it and unfortunately cost me a lot about stereo all time spent losing my mind you, so in juvenile halls prison camps and eventually in secret. That's right. What was it that appeal to the most backings. Was it kind of the conrod arena that you felt you lacked at home would you say that was the greatest pull for you and why you really sort of went in that direction or was it that you like the toughness. But what was appealing to a value for you.

I should say the validation family. Craig and you know your your young boy and if you're not hearing your your father telling you, you know you make it be someone in this life and you go without that you validation somewhere else, so you and that's what happened with me. I like the family. What looked like the unit within the gang you had party drinking all that really elements that look like family and loyalty within "personal really attracted be very young and find out later on. Right when did you start to become involved in criminal acts when you know you began obviously's 11-year-old you didn't start out doing anything heinous to the point that you would be imprisoned later on in your life.

But how did it start. What was the progression of now I've joined the gang. Now I'm gonna start doing some criminal things. How did it start and how did it progress will what the very moment that I got initiated in going particular and so that was like my first party back there was going to 11 can be the one proud to be around the my mom worked two jobs I would fear for the morning and would return until the old and 11 at night and yet any kind of a kind with a look on Sunday and by that time you will will you hang out with the gang started consuming my my thought my actions and everything else right did she know that you were involved in a gang. She did and I think it's like there is very common in the stomach, culture, know that there the denial of seeing their children become the numbers that they become violent and become very dangerous. I think my mom will think to live your my father not helping the situation was and he was getting as well. So all this mixer was glued. It just really am way to choose the gang culture over anything. She was busy she was probably stressed out, so she never's came to you and said you need to get out of this gang did she ever talk to you about it when you were going through it or or was it just allowed to progress without much interaction about progress without any interaction of you. You read on our table and right in and stayed with the and that in she would talk to me, fun, but all the juvenile halls. I spent a year there were six and then get out probably last about maybe you know to three days and then I would be locked up again so I really didn't get to after 11 years old. I didn't see my mom but a handful of times because I was very involved in and in all rights in data sector education because clearly if you're going in and out of juvenile hall.

That's gonna be very disruptive for your life and being able to make your way in the world did and I mean what did you think about school did you care about school or anything like that.

During that time. No so many of the school beginning and in the junior high.

What we call no middle school and so I went to I want to see.

Maybe victory junior high schools, and a handful of again I will laugh until I get arrested so you don't jumping all over the place in downtown they have to ship me in one of the location of the ship me out of Los Angeles and bust me to high school in the sample memorably and where are you not only lasted 40 minutes in the classroom and in and I was arrested.

Well then working to get into more on this. The shot caller is the name of the book in God certainly had a plan for you Casey were to get into that part of the story. When we come back for today. Stay with us from a firm films comes a kindred brothers show me the father registry moviegoers on a cinematic journey that invite you to think differently about your earthly father and how you relate to God through five true stories really show you the father rated G mail playing. More information is available and show me the father this is a story of a young mom in crisis who felt alone and desperate when finding out she was pregnant after meeting with the counselor's a pre-born and seen her baby on ultrasound and hearing the heartbeat. She knew that life was the best choice change completely. The first thing that is when a mounting crisis sees her baby on ultrasound and here's the heartbeat. 8/10 times, shall choose life got delayed maintenance is pre-born is the largest provider of free ultrasounds in the country and the direct competition to Planned Parenthood. Will you please join pre-born in providing love and support for young moms in crisis for $140 you can sponsor five ultrasounds and help save five babies lives just call 855402 baby 855402, baby. That's 855-402-2220 985-5402 baby or there's a pre-born banner took like a champ from Sherwood pictures from films problem films and the kindred brothers drums courageous legacy celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers remastered in full and including a new ending. You're listening to you for today were glad to have you here. Also glad to have with us Casey Diaz. His book is called the shot caller Latino gang bangers miraculous escape from a life of violence to a new life in Christ Casey you are sharing about your background as a kid in Los Angeles. The tough family situation you were enjoying a gang going around getting kicked out of school, getting put in juvenile hall and the arrests and all the rest. What was it that finally had to go to prison new Folsom State prison. I know you ended up there for 2nd murder and some what was it 52 counts of robbery, something like that.

You know, told you just got along old young life you progressive you just get worse and worse in the very very minimal yet patient and there are more real and it is what it is a crime of your being there and so just. You know, there should be any tolerance for oral activity or towards again. I know what religious background at that time I had no care for line or over anything else. So in their continued my criminal lifestyle and the became someone that they were on my life.

Well was there much of the gang culture inside prison because you hear about that a lot.

That there are various gangs inside the prisons and people kinda end up in this gang are that gang. To what extent did that affect you when you were in prison you know in California very greatly. The economic law that you Cairo you. You will have to join something organized crime in there, so there's nothing that you can do about you. You will have to partake of all these decisions are made by the IRQ of gang so whether you are black you join the black joint and then there's divisions in between all of that and so going in there you you're the story, and this time will event often and you go in whatever that means. You tell me you love being with me and and so easy for me that that way to help me to become one of the what one of the young shufflers in their eyes. So how was I know you ended up in solitary confinement and you had your moments in prison that were just horrific. How was it that the Lord ended up getting a hold of you. Can you tell us that story should probably little Bible study group from her church small church mega church is just a small church making a difference and you know she came in there to follow. I remember him that she came in there and address me your guard: and it was that initial moment that you know, pray for you again. I didn't want anything to do with anything that will where law G that the Bible already you wasn't part of my life and when she invited me to the altar inviting the Bible and you got so I didn't think of my mind and again I just want anything to do that. I never know that, but her feel her courage for boldness and you, pray for you and Jesus use you and year and change later to stop by this church will become your father once a month so very short and she always been her point. On my cell and let me know that she was praying for me and that Jesus would use me in the wonderful experience in there which I talk about will be to book him that just changes the course of my life at that moment. Yeah, so wasn't it that you you saw your lice kinda play out in your cell distant. This is interesting how this happened, how you really. The Lord really kind.

I got you and grabbed you did me.

You know I need my money with in place of them. But I always got one.

One. When you want to get a hold of you will get a yes and no yoke of my eye level to you and that's what happened with me. You really became so real and that moment in my spell that there was no denying what had just took place in my heart and I felt so young I never prayed before. Nobody ever taught me how to pray, but I just knew that what I just saw what just took place myself was absolutely 100% real and the that led to my life being required before stepping down from this leadership in that's amazing. So what was said about the gospel that grants you the fact that you were loved the fact that Christ would go to the cross for you.

The fact that you could be forgiven. What was the thing that really pulled it you all those things I mentioned to some extent, but what you remember about that experience and finally understanding what the Lord had done for you will eight or nine. I remember my first name is Darwin and out.

I did like me had no idea about what you like my name and a member getting up bunch of kids from the neighborhood in the middle of the baseball game and though right before the game started night on an 12 little bit about right and I did that. I don't know where I got that name from whatever spin that day, my mom, everybody, my family, everybody called me crazy so well in that moment that I see him on the cross and in my computer Jesus telling me Darwin.

I did this for you and I heard his breath taking out of the body like these losses is like tennis and I could hear the actual sound very loud in my cell and that's what that's what made it so real need to meet their peers.

This is real love to someone that died for me and immediately I knew in my spirit in my heart that you know him wanted my life that I had been before a holy God, and that made the difference in my life and I remember it anyway.

The floor on my knees and I repented and I remember telling them know you you I'm sorry for a night and I got very well and some events happen. What was Francis's reaction Bible study friends there in the prison. When he tells her he found out I think you been shot. You know, and I think that so many of us even now you know what we underestimate the power of prayer and intercession that we have available.

Because of Jesus to no one. And I think that's it so underestimated and so needful and so powerful that we can go to a loving father to a loving God and pray for anybody.

Yes, to come to Christ and what that guard your heart you change people and an end product of liberal little lady in the fact that she dismissed from this little church and she just was going in and sharing the love of God in sharing the word of God with prisoners and probably had no idea what the Lord was going to do on that particular day Casey, what would you say about your life since you came to know the Lord and what the Lord has taught you and what he has really done to impact your understanding of your former life.

So many things that I've learned so far, you know, you know I've been a Christian for a long time now and one of God can do miracles good you can really save the lost. That's what he came to do and no one's blood covers everything and I mean everything that you know sometimes you think that it allowed a crime or habit that the person is there's no way that that person the right and I think that were so wrong that because some of you know, 20 on my third decade and got good for forming life after you become born-again my life being required before stepping down as a shock collar you over 12/200 inmates become Christians after that you may send many allowable shock collars. One of them in particular.

One of the founders of 13 go here gospel and I've learned that no Bible is real, it's relevant today. It'll always be relevant and that's really all you need Christ needs his word and line Casey. I couldn't stand it any better than that people of God to reach her pockets, shot caller Casey Diaz with S Casey so good to talk to.

Thank you so much for being with us this portion of Jana Mefford today is brought to you by courageous legacy remastered in 4K, including a new ending, courageous legacy. Rated PG-13 in theater September 24. This archived broadcast of Jana Mefford today is brought to you by courageous legacy. The new movie from Sherwood pictures affirm films prominent films and the Kendrick brothers remastered in 4K and including a new ending, courageous legacy.

Rated PG-13. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

In theaters September 24 Mefford today and here's your host Joe my great sense of my great limitations and of my great piercing forever.

They bring afresh into my mind. The remembrance of my great helped my great support from heaven and the great grace that God extended to such a ranch as I what we don't talk much like that anymore. Do we by John Bunyan did and so did his fellow Puritans. These were Christians who were absolutely devoted to Jesus Christ and to his work in their lives.

We have a lot that we can gain from their wisdom in our own day to talk about it today with Louis Allen who is pastor of Hope Church Huddersfield and Dir. of gospel Yorkshire, a church planting initiative in England's largest county. He and Tim Chester have written the book are going to discuss.

It is called the glory of grace and introduction to the Puritans in their own words and wonderful to have you with us, Pastor Allen, thank you so much for being here about not by pleasure. Thank you. Is it about the Puritans that you think is so important for Christians today to know that they get sort of a bad rap. At times, but in fact they have a reputation that I think they don't really deserve. In modern parlance, that Best Buy would they will break love close they will castle Yeah they they label men and women much like us all great people to run trials, heartbreaks, tragedies, it would just convince of the gospel was the best thing you have to know they needed to figure 3 deeply articulates it clearly that it passionately. That's right.

That's why I think we we need to rediscover them find what I was saying and what pointers they have to fight for discipleship people a little overview on the history of the Puritan movement. I know there are lots of moving parts to add, but how was it that the Puritans developed how was it that they came to be the Puritans as we know them today while claiming that, let me try a concise object by Me. In England was really purifying movement. It was a movement to keep calm purifying the Church of England adopted shortly after the Reformation by what men without it. Puritans in the 1560s and 70s. I met burden was was to see the truth of the gospel rediscover the Reformation work through the church state family life analytical muscles well allows a movement which which had different expressions but was was going on, really through the next the next century right so it went on for quite a while and people.

Of course, will think of the Puritans who ended up at Massachusetts Bay in 1630 and the origins of the United States yeah yeah but you know how was it that the Puritans, for example, would've been different from the separatists. Yeah well it can't depend on my quick spec that you're looking at a map. I'm using the language differently from the Puritans believe the separatism was was schismatic was grievous to the Holy Spirit. They they the English Puritans were very realistic about problems in the Church of England. The fact of some said it was quite Hopley reformed that the Reformation had stalled within it, but they still believe that they were serving called and will best place to preach the gospel been within the Church of England Puritans so that I differently think about.

Some are more pragmatic. Some friendships and family split type of that that that divide all those could cope with it almost good with a good example of mine who work within the church, but who felt conscience bound like to leave it. Yes, right now, one of the themes that she's mentioned about the Puritans was they they were about discovering grace and suffering. That's one of the things that characterize many Puritans was it that they suffered because I think this is a historical fact that is lost on some Christians today. The degree to which a lot of these Puritans really did suffer.

Yeah, I'm actually I would say. Especially with reading those who knew tragedies and difficulties, but I think actually that's what we in the preachers in the much as we got in the mice and men and women mocked by setback is often illness and temptation. So something from my nails about the suffering. Just close by, by the hardships of life in the in the light and chorizo falafel. Joe and I were in all that wine number of children as well.

But then when looking at man I'm from women who who underwent great hardship for calls of all the climbed they lifted we thinking that the great projection 1652 when the 2000 gospel believing ministers will. He objected from the job they were denied wages, they were literally throwing out on the street and many of them when you have broken halted trading this with the physical cross bearing and Sentry war on the penalties against gospel preaching Catherine people to make full Bible reading Pratt preaching with the legal level.

For example handle the hall thinks of losing to wives cold is he would fulfill leave his church in the southwest of England. He came on the bus, all looking a little 5 mile Atwood said that a man who left his I his living should you going to allow to come within 5 miles he would put A minimum of five was one of the many men felt conscience bound to break that role, he would slip into the town at night he would talk in disguise.

He would would be given. People with outside the town and they they would meet in the early out the morning pitch talk they would states that Ryan watchmen to see if if the kings men were coming from Reston fine and imprisonment flap on the sufferings of ministry.

The hardship of life, something such a subject that realism too much about the best approve in writing yet you're so right about that and use God. I know some excerpts there from William Bridge on suffering now.

Why choose William Bridge on that particular subject among all the others clearly were also writing about the same sorts of trials we we absolutely have some myself and Tim was just not the who suffered and in the great projection he was profit town Great Yarmouth with cream eastern edge of England have many links with the continent. It was an important town and will wreak with think of as a strategic ministry. There were many links with the best of all of the equipment Puritan movement in the low countries of the great vibration that him that wasn't the end of his suffering consent. It was the beginning it was a lot of hardship and I could have gone to many, but the book he writes, lifting up and down cost is just blessed by God through the centuries, because that's a pendant next to it. But also I think when you read the printed book on suffering. They don't let the Rita wall. I know that the Rita throwing himself or herself that in the heat.

They know when to be appropriately and they always take the Rita back to the gospel become mom mom to see whatever suffering in the life of gospel control like a railing present Christ through Christ. Yes, that's so true, and I love that book. By the way, I have a holding election of those Puritan paperbacks, and that's one of the ones that I really love is a lifting up for the downcast and you're right.

This is generally true with all of the Puritans. They force you back to God's word again and again and again and again for whatever subject they happen to be addressing in their many more in this book, the glory of Christ to take a short break will be back with pastor Louis Allen an introduction to the Puritans in their own words.

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My whole family is here because of people that are involved with ministries like freeborn help moms choose life with pre-born. Your gift of $28 provides an abortion minded mother, a potentially life-saving ultrasound $140 could say five babies, you can give now at 855601. Baby that's 855-601-2229 or visit here's your reference today and I have to say for my own point of view that when she read the Puritans you will be ruined in some respects for many other Christian box because they're just so good there so deep there. So Bible centered. There's so Christ honoring and we are talking with pastor Louis Allen about the book the glory of grace and introduction to the Puritans in their own words and we are looking at some of these great Puritans that you feature in this book. What film is William Bridges. We were discussing on the issue of suffering another when you feature though is Richard Sims on assurance and I think this is a really important topic because as you say, the Puritans wrestled with how someone could know that he was one of God's elect. And that's been a perennial question for a lot of us what sibs address that in what was that the general take their from the Puritans on having the assurance that you truly are safes that got a big Mac got it about the nature assurance in.

The village and many many times have been written on it. I wonder if he was was such a big one, and not in much of the Puritan cervical computer had decades later joined decade and that was a rich heritage of Puritan preaching made among some of its leaders. A slight confusion in the gospel.

This time I people seem to be so weak and it may seem not to get which is replete to fix. Also, I guess maybe the Reformation began to take shape in England if he did have some high Jesus was riding out through the lab in the declaration of his gospel. Surely people would all come and Bartolome and be saved in the history of English history like oil and disappointment in many respects inside it was a partial priority for preachers to be reassuring that flock is Christian experience. It half difficult sites in Israel.

Persecution is inevitable. I think some Puritan patient assurance was was very irate, very propositional, very dry.

I think will will whole company on the very same breeze to reach you thinking about the 25th 20 appreciate, he will not break the smoldering wick he will not quench and bring justice to return it. Good book about going to pay for it.

Ready to make my wife personal favorite method so good and help from insurance because he ground assurance and cry.

He doesn't lead the reader into speculation about his all souls condition but he leads them to Christ. He shows them at Christ's compassion on the bruise on the broken cabinet with those who faked his is just like a smoldering wick holding people back to Christ to look to him just such a strength of much good preaching to commit a strength. I have deals with the topic of assurance's old sensitive people through hard time facing through things will come moving section and not work which we reproduce where Mike makes a claim that we need to be bruise before compression and often will bike almost strange and difficult but having said that God the son through that leads us to Christ. Since then, since we need bruising, the compassionate God will help us weaken vulnerable and needy, knows what he is doing and he will stay close to us. We need to look to Jesus and came not from his make it so good that such a great talk. Another great book to is is one you excerpt from Jeremiah Burroughs who is also awesome.

And that book was the ritual of Christian contentment was interesting that you guys point out in the book that he had refused to read this book of sports that had been put out her mating dance rain and sports on the Lord's day.

This sounds so foreign to a lot of us today, where we have you full-blown shopping malls all open on Sundays now yeah I know things have changed that little bit about that, Jeremiah Burroughs and his commitment to the word and his refusal to announce that from the pulpit lined up with many.

He knew that when it was multicultural man intelligent man but not a gospel man when he issued the book of gold. He was really knowing he was heading on a collision call with the Puritans who he so what two powerful and too difficult and fall through. But here's his views his belief so this was a cute and connivance with with the Archbishop of Canterbury. They wanted to put a line in the family wanted to deny what I so with the preciseness of picking us all.

Some type of keeping on. It was it was mandated by little the right in the pulpit across the nation pauses on the money you said and that got back.

With he had to leave his position in the church and no flick will not straightway electron persecution.playback state and close the lid Puritan was a slow it was Islam that it meant really uptight overzealous Richard Baxter, the boy said I'm going people like that Puritan and he knew it was it was used soundlessly but these women thought well if we get that title. We hope it's because I see something to think about this would actually it will. Jesus and the crib and laid like us will be with the Methodist facsimile the fallen country with the most abuse must falter cold I was so particular and mounting about the evolution of United Methodist thinking like that, but again they were happy to use it if it distinguish them serious gospel people if you don't yes I was keeping was was up was a real top study Puritan spirituality. The day was a little church leaders who purchase wanted to get off of that people to rejoice in the mold and they want to fight the site because the base at the populated activities and other activities must be must be avoided and the class on the gospel right now. It's so interesting and yet it was Jeremiah Burroughs who, as you say looked for all the everyday things that we have in life is gifts from God is the man I ended up losing his pulpit but he's talking about Christian contentment, which is obviously a personal lesson that he had learned yet.

I'm United violet clutch to cure computer that they were right. They were against the wall. They knew that God every good gift richly their enjoyment thankful to do that to the best. Try to set up right before the dove that which we retrieve the gift of family the gift of love gift of children the gift of food and drink, but I knew the hall. His wicked and greedy and sees contentment in the same positive thing called itself the contentment and joy what he's given you seek in the safe nice nice yeah it's just it's great when you go through all of these Puritans who were many people will know John. I went on. Of course, John Bunyan and John's level. As you mentioned before Richard Baxter.

A lot of these do you have one particular favorite out of this group you feature in the book. Yeah, I got my my jump level someplace label some type of valve negativity might travel yeah I work on Joan YY like some properties I think his warmth and humanity shine through and kill handling the Scriptures with with the precise reformed Phil Scowcroft bought with a worshipful is really stopping. I went to see a friend in our church yesterday and to my delight and amazement at how the travel next to his Bible. He said I just love this man. He just shows me Christlike audio and that's been my experience I think I'm travel is especially readable.

Absolutely. I've really enjoyed his writing well wonderful choice in so many great choices. The name of the book is Gloria Grayson introduction to the Puritans in their own words. You can pick it up and so good to be talking with Pastor Lewis Allen. Thank you so much Pastor Allen was just a delight to have you here with us.

Thank you very much. Thank you God bless you. Thanks for joining us here today is our agenda for today is brought to you via firm films show me the father, the creators of warm room and courageous the Kendrick brothers explore fatherhood through five true stories show me the father. Rated PG parental guidance suggested in theaters now

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