Written by cycleguy on June 13th, 2011

I know…misleading.  I will say it right off the bat that I was NOT arrested…at least in the way you may be thinking.  The word arrested can also mean


The year was 1994.  I was on a personal retreat at a house in the middle of nowhere.  I was in need of this 3 1/2 day getaway.  I had brought no food since I was not going to be eating.  Just things to drink.  I needed to hear from God.  It had  been a tough season of ministry, one that had brought me to the brink of feeling like I was at the end of my rope.

I brought my Bible, a notebook, and some other books to read.  On the second day there, I began reading a book I had read a year earlier,  and could sense something happening.  Suddenly, the presence of the Lord was so real, it was almost like I could touch Him.  Innocently reading…when it seemed like from out of nowhere, I was arrested.  Yep, stopped dead in my tracks.   From out of nowhere, tears began to form in my eyes, and then as I read more, they began to flow and would not stop.   Never had I ever had that happen to me before.  I needed to process what was happening,  so I stopped reading.  But the next day, when I picked the book back up to read, the tears came unbidden.  I am not ashamed to admit they flowed until I finished the book later that day, and then longer as I began to worship and pour out my heart to Him.  This was the book.

Why was I arrested?  Because the ugliness of the legalism that I was preaching hit me full force.  I had made forays into getting away from it, but fear kept pulling me back.  Fear of failing.  Fear of not having something to “punch” someone with.  Fear of not being able to control people.  You see, I had become good at manipulating people, but lousy at living in freedom.  I “forced” on others what I myself could not live up to.  I had to learn to accept myself, and live in the freedom Jesus offered, before I could honestly lead someone else into that freedom.  How could I when I, myself, did not have it?   My legalism was a self-imposed one.  Not doctrinal (although that had  been in my past).  Not clothing.  It was a “this-is-how-you-must– live-or-else” type.  I wanted to be a grace-giver!  I wanted to be one who saw people as they are, where they are.

As fate God would have it, I listened to this song on the way home.

Lyrics by Kenny Marks

  You say it's all but over.
  You say there's no use in trying.
  You say He'll never ever hear you crying.
  But when the tears start falling.
  He knows the reason long before you turn and find,
  He's been with you all the time.

And He is right where you are
right when you need to know
that someone cares
Right where you are
saying I love you so
and always will be there

Cornered by things you've done.
Knowing how far you've run you,
wonder just how someone could ever find you.
No matter where you're going.
No matter where you've been or where your heart has strayed,
He has followed all the way. He is...

Have you ever been arrested…by God?  What circumstances brought you to that point?  Do you need to make a shift in your thinking?  If so, you will be glad you did.  I would like to hear your story or thoughts.


31 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jim F says:

    Only a couple of times in my life have I been brought to that point. I can remember one time years ago and I was simply praying alone in the apartment I lived in – it was nothing unusual then I felt the very presence of God. I was praying that I would sense God’s power in a mighty way in my life and that I would feel His freedom as I was feeling trapped in a few places in my life. I went from praying sitting in a chair to my knees and then prostrate on the floor. I sensed God in a powerful way and wept and felt a sense of release. I am not too sure how long I prayed that night but it was a long time – I was actually listening to Kerry Livgren Prime Mover album at the time. It was a powerful moment for me and I remember it vividly to this day.

    • cycleguy says:

      You are describing exactly what I am talking about Jim. I used to have that album also. Long lost brothers for sure. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that.

  2. Arrested by God? More like “busted” by Him! When my heart is far from what it should be, when it’s too wrapped up in my interests and comfort…yep…busted.

    Thanks for your vulnerability bro’

  3. dustin says:

    Loved this post Bill. I remember a time when I was in my early 20s… kinda doing my own thing… and God really broke me down and said to me, “I’m still here.” It was one of those moments where everything was colliding at once, and all the roads were about to intersect. In the end? Really grateful.

  4. Moe says:

    I’ve been arrested, read my rights and asked to change. I was approaching ministry with the wrong motives, perspectives and ideas.

    Thank God for that. I prefer to live life the way God wants it.

  5. Zee says:

    One could say I was arrested when I was reading When Heaven Weeps by Dekker (well, actually, the entire Martyr’s Song series)… Dekker knows how to describe love and the way he described love of God toward us, human beings who don’t deserve His love… it stopped me dead in my tracks – the sheer realization of just HOW MUCH He loves me…

    And that song above… wow… no comments…


    • cycleguy says:

      i always find it interesting when I see how God reaches different people. The important thing is that He reached us (or that we responded). Glad you liked the song. Thanks from coming lil sis.

  6. Jason says:

    God’s kicked me in the spiritual wedding tackle so many times I have permanent cleat marks from it. It comes from everywhere, too. Podcasts, sermons, blogs from this pastor guy I know…

    A funny aside…Kenny Marks does the morning announcements and welcome at a church about ten miles from where I’m sitting right now. I can still remember a time we visited and said to my wife…”that can’t be the same Kenny Marks I played on the radio.” She smiled and said “what town are we in again?”

    • cycleguy says:

      Yeah been kicked many times too. I liked Kenny’s music and lost sight of him. Don’t know what happened but while i was researching this post I ran across a youtube video of him “marketing” himself and showing work he had done for Porsche, QVC type shows, and others. Cool to hear he is still attending church. Thanks Jason.

  7. Dan Black says:

    I have been arrested by God a number of times. It was when he was speaking in my life about my calling and how He wanted to us me. Two main times where at conference and the musis/ message really opened the door for God to “arrest” me.


  8. Jon says:

    This post kind of choked me up. Thanks for sharing this Bill.

    I’ve been arrested by God on more than one occasion. I remember the time I went to Guatemala for a missions trip. I got really sick–I had to make frequent hospital trips. I remember that our team would have nightly prayer meetings. This one night–it was so powerful, they were praying for me. I just broke down. I just never felt God in that way before that time. It was just wow…

    • cycleguy says:

      That story should become part of your testimony Jon. Glad you were able to hear. Sometimes God has to get us on our back before we can look up. thanks.

  9. Tony Alicea says:

    I love your personal stories, Bill. This is so powerful! You hit the nail on the head. Legalism comes from a fear and a desire to control and manipulate.

    The thing is that God’s kindness is what leads to repentance. You can punch people with His kindness and it makes an even better impact!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for your kind words Tony. I know you have written about “guilt tripping” people lately. I love the idea of God’s kindness leading people to repentance. the bible. Thanks for the comment.

  10. Michelle says:

    I wish I had more of those kinds of encounters…instead of thriving on my own junk. Cool God meets us wherever we are at. Love the post bill.

    • cycleguy says:

      I wish I had more of them also Michelle, but then again, maybe when I did it wouldn’t mean as much. Thanks for the kind words and for coming by. Hope you are feeling better.

  11. Mercy says:

    Powerful story! I was arrested by God when I recently read the book of Daniel. I felt like God was around me and wanted to communicate something to me. After reading, I told Him that it had been a long time since I had dreamt meaningful dreams, I mean dreams that would change someone’s life and dreams that made me to see what was going to happen in the future and to prepare. I prayed to Him that I want to dream again. I want to be used by Him again.

  12. Joseph says:

    I use to think if someone who claimed to be a christian made a mistake they were obviously not a christian. I had to learn that no one is perfect. Great post Bill!

    • cycleguy says:

      I hadn’t gone that far but I had come close to it. Mine was more “if you don’t see things my way then you aren’t.” Yep, no one is perfect. Thanks Joseph.

  13. Larry Hughes says:

    I imagine that God has some powerful and profound ways to get your attention be it a book, music, an action, or His voice.

    All that we can do is follow His guidance and not our own. It is important that we allow that to happen. When we stop is when we get arrested or busted, which has happened to me a few more times than I can remember.

    One that I remember vividly is at an encounter service put on by a Vineyard Church here in Cincinnati. Being some what of a reserved laid back person and not outwardly emotional, I broke down with tears of Joy and fell to my knees praying but could not understand what I was saying. Then a voice said to me ” You are not retired, you are refired.Follow the Lord’s will.”

    Thus my new journey began.

    • cycleguy says:

      Love those words Larry: “You are not retired. You are refired. Follow the Lord’s will.” Great words! Glad you listened. Thanks for sharing that.

  14. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    I can’t take time tonight to read your post and the comments. I’ll try to do this at the end of the week.

    It was the first day of Trial today. Thank you for your prayers. I think things are going reasonably well. We are all hoping to have things done by Friday or before.

    The Trial Justice gave me some things to do tonight and I am cross examining my former husband tomorrow on the evidence he gave today in Court. So I’m working tonight.

    talk to you later.

    • cycleguy says:

      Understand Linda. Wondered when the trial was to begin. Will make it a definite matter of prayer this week. Asking all my readers to do so as well. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  15. jenn says:

    I have definitely been “busted” before, as Jay put it. Actually it happened on a small scale just this last week. I have a post that I’m working on about it, but it isn’t finished. Maybe I’ll get there, maybe I won’t. I’ll give you a hint so you’ll know which one it is when I finally post it. It’s about love.

  16. Rodney Olsen says:

    Great memories from Kenny Marks. I’ll have to dig out my photo of us together backstage after a concert in Perth.

    Then again …. I think I had a mullet in that photo. Maybe I should keep it hidden.