Motel Warfare Fight
September 16, 1997
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God‟s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places.
—Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT
y 5:30 p.m. that same night, I was settled in Room 136 at the Motel 6 right by the airport. It was still light outside, so I kept the curtains open as I stretched out on the bed reading a book. At 9:15 p.m. I glanced at the clock. It was now dark outside. BAM! I was jolted by a huge bang on the door.
Did someone just kick my door?
The kick was so powerful I could actually see the outside lights shining through a gap between the steel door and the frame. I jumped for the door. But before I could even reach the knob, it burst open.
Suddenly, there is a gun—a long-barrel .38 revolver—pointed at my upper right thigh. A huge man, towering between six-five and six-seven is holding the gun in his left hand. A mountain of a guy, he appeared to be 285 pounds of solid muscle. He is foaming at the mouth, his head tilted back, and he is shrieking like a banshee.
I'd never seen anything like it. His eyes are messed up. They don't even look human. “Give me my wallet!” he shouted.
This would be funny if it wasn't happening to me, asking for his wallet instead of mine. This is like a dumb criminal “reality” show on TV, but it's happening in real life—my life!
I raise my hands in total surrender and stand frozen in fear. I‟m probably going to lose my leg. I try to calm him down and befriend him.
“Hey, buddy, you can have my wallet. I don't have your wallet, but you can have my wallet, my car, whatever you want. I won't tell anybody. I won't call the cops. We can keep this just between us,” I said.
“Give me my wallet!” he repeats at the top of his lungs.
“I'm going to kill you!” he screams, as he holds the gun in his left hand.
He began moving the gun upwards on my body. As it passes my heart I'm thinking, I‟m going to die.
My right hand grabs the gun, my thumb under the barrel, and my fingers hold the hammer down.
The gun flies to my forehead between my eyes. I can see the scratches in the grey lead of the bullets in that revolver just waiting to be fired.
He is squeezing and squeezing as he tries to get off a shot, but my grip is preventing it from firing.
[I need to explain here that our family, including Natalie and my girls, have done tae-kwon-do together for years. The whole family is “black belt” level. Our family plans were to leave in two days for a competition, so I'd been in training and I was in pretty good shape.]
Fighting this guy is like fighting a brick wall. I am hitting him with everything I have in my left hand. Because I have the barrel in my right hand, I only have my left hand to defend myself. I hit him so hard I feel the spine in his neck. He doesn't budge. I gouge his eye, rip his
nose, rip his mouth. I cannot move him. I use a kick-move to get the door closer to me.
I begin smashing his head between the door and the door jamb. Nothing is working. He continues to try and squeeze off a round. I haven't moved him even one inch.
This is all happening in the partially open doorway. People are standing outside watching. The manager has been doing his rounds, but he is frozen there, too afraid to move.
On the other side of the parking lot, two elderly couples have just checked in. They are petrified, like statues. Later they said the fight lasted a full five minutes. It seemed much longer to me.
The attacker is still screeching.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” I'm yelling. I'm desperate and getting tired. Very tired. I can't do this much longer, I'm thinking, but maybe it is more of a prayer. If I let go of the gun, I'm dead.
I know I have to get the gun off my forehead. In a last ditch effort to survive, I grab the door and manage to move my head behind it. Then I slowly slide my head away from the gun.
If it goes off, it'll blow the side of my head off, so I'll probably still be dead, I reason. Yet all the while, I'm still yelling: “JESUS! JESUS!”
Then as my cheek is flattened against the door, I look up towards the ceiling and it has disappeared.
I am on the ground floor, Room 136, of a three-story motel, and there is no ceiling. I am looking right into space, outer space, and it is so huge and so beautiful. It seems surreal, like I am looking into deep space from the bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise. It is so magnificent!
“Did the gun go off?” I ask myself. It hadn‟t. I could still feel the barrel in my hand.
Maybe it did go off and I'm dead and I just don't know it yet.
I could still feel the barrel in my hand. No, it has not gone off.
What is going on? I'm fighting for my life. I'm at the end of my strength. Why is there no ceiling? What is happening?
For He will order his angels to protect
you wherever you go.
—Psalms 91:11 NLT
All of a sudden there is a mighty “swooping” sound as angels charge into the room.
Immediately, a shapeless black glob, about three-feet tall pops up from the floor and the battle is on.
Each time an angel swoops in, one of the black things pops up, and they begin exchanging blows.
The angels are gold in color, yet I can see all their muscle structure. I can look right through
them. Some have wings, some don't. They are all between twelve and fifteen feet tall. Their faces shine with power. They don't appear male or female. They have no weapons or shields. It is all hand-to-hand combat.
The angels are hitting and going at it as the black things strike back. The fighting is intense. A fight to end all fights.
An army of angels fills the room. It seems like God sent in angelic reinforcements to protect me and combat the enemy who's not giving up.
I am beyond astonished. The fight is still on when suddenly a brilliant light begins beaming from the back of the room. I turn my head to look over my shoulder. I hear a voice that is all authority.
“You will not take these children's father,” the voice said.
I felt about two inches tall, like I could skydive off a skid mark on the street.
God sent an army of angels, not because of me or anything I was doing, but because of my children.
God was honoring the covenant for my children's sake. It is a hard place to be in.
It wasn't exactly what I was doing that was the issue. It was more about what I wasn't doing.
I'd surrendered most of my life, but not all. I was still limiting God's control of certain parts of my life. God wanted me to take the full journey. I was still putting God in a box, and only pulling Him out when it worked for me.
“Call upon my name,” He said. (Keep in mind I was still physically fighting this guy, still yelling “Jesus” at the top of my lungs.)
“I am! I am!” I yelled back to God.
Then I felt like I was suddenly within a sphere. My hearing was so acute I was no longer limited to just one conversation. I could hear and comprehend Him from all 360 degrees.
All around me, God was speaking into me. He imparted knowledge to me of things to come, things that would happen, things I could and could not share. I was immersed in Him.
Then He said, “No, call upon my name. In the name of Jesus.”
So I said, “Go, in the name of Jesus—GO!”
And just like that, without me touching him or hitting him, my attacker instantly folded up and went shooting out the doorway. I see him soar through the air even though I haven't moved him an inch. He didn't land on the sidewalk or where the cars parked. He landed in the center of the parking lot.
Later, witnesses said it looked like when a cartoon character is blasted out of a cannon,
except this was no cartoon. This was my attacker.
I slam the door and lock it as fast as I can. My room is still full of angels and Jesus is in there, but I want the door secured.
Then I hear: “Come unto Me.”
This is just a regular single motel room. There are still many angels and black things fighting like crazy. It is crowded. I carefully make my way to the back of the room. As I get to the back, I hear the voice again speaking to me.
“Stand upon my Word, and I will stand in front of you.”
Looking down I see what appears to be a “pillar of words.” It looks like a transparent cube, 2 foot by 2 foot by 1 foot tall, filled with floating sentences. They move constantly, filling the entire cube. As I look at the pillar, I see the verse: Nothing shall by any means harm you.
Two weeks prior to this incident, I was in church but I was bored and not really listening. I picked up the Bible. After the maps, there were no more pictures to hold my interest. I started flipping through the pages. When I got to a certain page, the words appeared to be levitating above it.
This is cool. Some kind of misprint made this hologram effect, I thought.
“Nothing shall by any means harm you” (Luke 10:19) floated above the page.
Natalie was engrossed in the sermon, but I whispered to her, “Look, Honey, these words are floating above the page.”
She glanced at my Bible and didn't see anything unusual, so she just shushed me, like only a wife can, and fixed her attention back on the sermon.
I've never been into memorizing verses except for, “In the beginning ... and the Amen.” But this verse stuck with me. Our God is good. He was preparing me beforehand for this very moment. And that one verse was all I'd needed.
Now, in the back of the motel room, I stepped into the pillar of words. Instantly, my arms go up without my even telling them to. I really wasn't into raising my hands in church. I thought God didn't need me to put my hands up. But now, I'm standing there, my arms up and I don't think anything of it.
In the meantime outside, the attacker gets up off the pavement and comes back. He starts pounding on my door with his gun. He hits the metal door so hard, all the while screaming, “I'm going to kill you!”
In spite of everything, I am standing in the pedestal of God's Word, confident Jesus is in front of me.
“If you stand on My Word, I'll stand in front of you,” He told me. I'm counting on it. God's divine light is beaming out of the window of my room like crazy.
Now, the attacker comes to the window. The light beams illuminate his face.
It is just single-pane glass, not bullet-proof. He takes his revolver and he starts hitting the glass with everything he has. He seems determined to get to me one way or another. He's trying to smash the glass and he should've succeeded. But God is reinforcing that glass and it is impenetrable. I knew even if he did shoot at it, the bullet would not go through it.
Nothing shall by any means harm you.
A police car rushed up and two officers jump out, drawing their weapons and shouting, “Drop your gun!”
The attacker raised his hands and tosses his gun down. The officers approach and grab him by the arms, one officer on each side. They holster their weapons. Then just as they are putting his hands behind his back to put the handcuffs on, he breaks loose. The fight is on again!
Another police car pulls up and another and another. They are all fighting him. It takes thirteen well-trained officers to restrain him.
I am still just standing there. God's light is beaming all around. The angels and the black glob things are still fighting.
Once the man is in police custody, the light cleared. The room appeared normal, just four walls, and a ceiling. I didn't see angels anymore —just me.
A police officer motions for me to come out. The first thing I see is this huge guy, double-handcuffs on his feet and hands, surrounded by thirteen officers.
The police separate me, the manager, and the two elderly couples to get our statements. I go with the sergeant, while two other officers go inside to inspect my motel room.
One of them comes back to the door and asks, “Where's the photographic equipment?” “What?” I said.
“The equipment. The photo equipment. Where is it?”
“There's no photo equipment,” I answer.
“Yes there is,” he insisted. “We saw the bright light beaming out of here when we pulled up. We thought you must be filming something.”
“Well. There's no back door. And I just came out. You can see there's no photo equipment in there.”
“How many people are in the room?” the sergeant asked.
“Well,” I said, “It was me, Jesus, and about one hundred angels.”
“Whoa!” he said. “Hold on a second.” Then he called his partner to join us.
“There's something I need to tell you,” he said looking directly at me. “I don't know how we are going to write this up. I've been on the force eighteen years and nothing like this has ever happened to me before. Whatever ... I need to tell you something.”
Then he turned to his partner and said, “If I say anything that isn't correct and the absolute truth, I want you to take your gun out and shoot me.”
“Wait a minute,” I jumped in. “Let's put the guns down and keep them down. Enough is enough.”
“Because Houston has four million people the shift changes are very specific,” the sergeant began. “Whenever any of us has a shift change, we immediately go straight back to the station. There's always another two officers waiting for the car. This is standard operating procedure. Once we get the call, we make the change and we head straight for the
station. There's no stopping unless it's a matter of life and death.
“We were on our way back to the station when we both heard a voice coming from the back of our car. It said with authority, 'turn around.' We looked at each other and then we looked in the back seat to see if somebody had snuck in. The seat was empty. We looked at each other again. Then without a word, we turned the car around. As we were driving, the Voice would say, 'Go left' or 'Go right.' When the Voice stopped, we were in front of your motel room. This isn't even our district, but that's how we got here.”
Then one of the policemen checking my room came out. “Where can I get some of that cologne?” he asked.
“I don't have any cologne. I don't use it,” I said. ( But if you were to take the most expensive perfume, it would have reeked compared to the scent in my room. It was the heavenly fragrance of the Lord.)
Then one of the officers found a bullet on the floor. It had two impressions from the pressure of the firing pin. But it was intact and had never been fired.
Police later identified my attacker as a truck driver who was a competitive body-builder. He had taken steroids, crack, and alcohol. They
theorized he'd had enough of life and wanted to commit mass murder starting on one side of the motel and working his way down.
“Fortunately, he started at your door,” the officer told me. “You should have been dead. It took thirteen of us to get him down, and you fought him off with one arm.”
My attacker needed medical treatment, but I didn't.
I tried to buy that motel room door, but they wouldn't sell it to me. I think they were worried I wanted it to sue them or something.
I checked out of the motel that night, as did all of the witnesses.
This was another life-changing pivotal moment for me. This encounter changed everything. Now I was on fire for God. No holding back. I was going after a relationship with God like my children have. And I would take it to everyone I could.
“The devil planned for you to die that night,” my pastor told me, “but God planned for you to live