Posts Tagged ‘asbury park’

His work is honorable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered…He has declared to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations…He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name. Psalms 111:3-4a, 6, 9

I’ve always been a snoop. I’m not proud. I suppose it’s just one more aspect of my sin-nature in which I was (am) proficient. When I was a kid for example, I’d stay home sick from (of) school and go through the house top to bottom just looking for interesting stuff to get into. I cannot begin to tell you of all the discoveries I made – some wonderful and some dreadful.

Anyway, one of the more fascinating times involved finding my dad’s scrapbook from when he was in high school. The very first entry was a May 12, 1940 Asbury Park Press Newspaper clipping recounting his baseball team’s state conference loss – their third straight. However, in that same game my dad hit a home run. The account read:

Russ Wells led off the fourth inning and tied the score for Asbury Park by parking one of Horvath’s fastballs in Deal Lake. It was a tremendous drive that carried into deep left center field and even if it hadn’t gone into the lake would have been a round tripper.

The lake must have been pretty far away because on the next page there was a May 9, 1940 account of another game where my dad hit an inside the park home run that didn’t reach the lake, but was so far out in left field he practically walked around all four bases.

Here’s an aerial shot of the Asbury Park High School as it looks today. By my rough estimate the map scale puts dead left field at about 400 feet.


Years went by and I had essentially forgotten the story, when in a bar (I think) I heard a tale of when Babe Ruth had come to Asbury Park High School for some kind of exhibition baseball game and he hit a home run into Deal Lake on the same field my dad did. The person telling the story summed up with,

Nobody had ever hit a baseball into Deal Lake before and nobody has ever done it since.

Of course I chimed in with my fuzzy account of the 1940 newspaper clipping I had allegedly seen as a lad, but nobody believed that my dad had achieved such an inconceivable feat. I actually began to wonder myself.

Yesterday, while going through some of my dad’s things, I stumbled upon the old scrapbook and wouldn’t you know it, there were the articles, just as I remembered. Now all I needed to do was to verify the legendary saloon narrative I had heard years before. Searching the internet I soon found a couple of resources that helped solve the mystery.

According to two books: ‘The Big Bam: the life and times of Babe Ruth,’ by Leigh Montville and ‘Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig,’ by Jonathan Eig, the year was 1927 and Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were playing exhibition baseball games across the country. On this particular day in Asbury Park, they were playing the Royal Giants, a Negro League team. The game was bizarre in that spectators were continually streaming onto the field to acquire autographs from Ruth and Gehrig and to steal the baseballs as they were batted into play. Three dozen baseballs were brought to the game by the promoter and the game was called in the sixth inning when Lou Gehrig (not Babe Ruth) blasted the 36th (and last) ball into Deal Lake for a home run.

After a prolonged search, I could find no reference to this being the only home run to ever land in Deal Lake. At the end of my research, the only two facts I could confirm is that my dad, Russell Van Kirk Wells Jr. and Lou Gehrig both hit home runs into Deal Lake from the same baseball field at the Asbury Park High School, thirteen years apart.

What if…

Imagine for a moment if someone had come along, before the birth of these two great men and predicted the time and location of those events. The likelihood of that having happened would be like one in a gazillion, right? Oh well, even without a prediction or the verification of all the details, it’s still a nice fact-based memory to cling to. It just makes me grateful that God took the time and effort to authenticate all His facts, through fulfilled prophesies and documentation, so there would be absolutely no doubt as to who Jesus is, what He had accomplished, and what He continues to do.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Amazingly, the Bible records over three hundred and sixty prophecies that pertain directly to Jesus Christ and so far Jesus has fulfilled over three hundred of them. In ‘The Case for Christ,’ the author Lee Strobel, (quoting mathematician Peter W. Stoner), reports that the odds of fulfilling just eight of the three hundred would be astronomical; the equivalent being one chance in one hundred, million, billion (that’s a one with seventeen zeroes after it). The odds for fulfilling forty-eight prophecies jump to a whopping 1 in 10 to the 157th power.

To help visualize the probability of one person fulfilling eight prophesies, Professor Stoner imagined secreting a marked coin in a pile of silver dollars two feet deep and covering the entire state of Texas. The odds would be likened to selecting the marked silver dollar on the very first try.

If we want an illustration for the odds of one person fulfilling forty-eight prophecies, Professor Stoner maintains that the silver dollar is now too large to make such a comparison; we would need to use electrons. Envision five hundred solid balls of electrons extending in all directions from the earth to the distance of 6 billion light years. Now put a check on one single electron and find it on the first attempt.

When we contend with these prophetic odds, appreciating that no fulfilled Bible prophesy has ever been successfully disaffirmed, we can logically accept the details as facts. The reality is that Christ fulfilled the predictions of His own birth, the place of His nativity, the time and manner of His death, the reactions of the people, the piercing of His side, His burial, His Resurrection, plus three hundred more. No proof has ever been proffered to dispute any of these claims. In fact, and according to all probability research, it would be impossible for anyone but God to accomplish this extraordinary accomplishment.

“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27

Did my dad do what no other man, other than Lou Gehrig, had ever done? Could be. Maybe there were others. But we know Jesus did fulfill the three hundred plus things that were prophesied about Him.

Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:40-44
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And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven….But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. Matthew 8:11, 6:20-21; Philippians 3:20; John 14:1-3

I didn’t feel like going to the train station today. I shot-up one of those quickie prayers and asked God to guide me in what I should do. I was kind of hoping He would tell me to go back to bed because I needed more rest. He didn’t. I was however drawn to His word and opened it to my Psalm reading for the day; Psalm 81. Verse one read:

Sing aloud to God our strength; Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob.

To the Train Station I Go!

I stopped to pray before I left and asked the Lord for some divine appointments (as usual), and added, “It would really be cool if I could lead a person to Jesus today.”

I drove the five miles or so to the train station, took up my usual spot, and began to play my guitar.


I was playing an hour or so before I saw Mario. He was talking to another fellow on the bench next to mine. When I looked up at him our eyes met and he said hello. I stopped playing and said to him, “You’re a pastor, aren’t you.”

He said yes and asked how I knew.

I said because he was wearing those hip eyeglasses that most pastors are wearing these days.

He laughed, but I sensed something about him that wasn’t right. Oh, he was smiling, and seemingly happy, but I felt this negativity. When he spoke again the pieces fell into place. “I’m a pastor and a Jehovah Witness.”

He caught me a little off guard, so I reached into my coat pocket, pulled out one my ‘Trillion Dollar’ tracts, and handed it to him saying, “How would you like a trillion dollars?” When he reached for it, I teasingly pulled it back and said, “But first you have to answer the trillion dollar question.”

“What’s the question?” he asked.

“Are you going to heaven?”


That of course set off our Biblical discussion. Mario didn’t have his fake bible, but I had my real one with me. When I (lovingly) told Mario why his bible was bogus, he replied, “There are many Bibles written today where men have changed the words or have taken words out.” As he spoke the words it seemed he realized that the negative tone of his remark cast a dark shadow over his JW translation, so he changed the topic.

We probably spoke about 20 minutes. I brought him to places in the Bible, but Mario wasn’t going to budge off his false doctrine, so I told him it was probably best we end our discussion. It was a friendly separation, but nevertheless I was saddened by how deceived this man is and also that he is leading sheep astray in the same station as me. The Bible montage (above) about Heaven is for Mario–If he continues down his path, his remark about not going to Heaven will be quite prophetic.


I played about another hour before packing up my guitar and leaving. As I walked to my car I was drawn to the bench where Millie was sitting. “Wanna answer the trillion dollar question,” I asked as I handed her and the guy sitting next to her, one of my tracts.

“Sure,” she said, “What’s the question?”

So I asked her if she was going to Heaven and she replied that she probably was not. Joe said he probably was because he was a good guy. Meanwhile, Millie told me the gospel message from memory, but she hadn’t yet received Jesus as her Lord and Savior. By the time we had parted ways, Millie did receive Jesus – praise be to God.

Then Things Got Ugly

As we chatted some more I revealed that I used to be a cop in the town where she lives. “Oh, what’s your name,” she asked. When I told her, her countenance dropped.

“I remember you now. You once arrested my son; you tackled him in the street and held a gun to his head. I’ve got it on tape.”


I told her I didn’t remember doing that, but if I did I was sorry it happened.

“Anyway,” she said, “I forgive you; I am a Christian now!”

Praise be to God!


“So Joe, how bout you, do you wanna accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior,” I asked?

He said that he wasn’t ready, but he would read the other tract I gave him (with the Romans Road on it) when he got to work.

The bus came and Millie and Joe had to leave to catch it.

Please Pray

Please remember Mario, Millie, and Joe in your prayers — Mario is deceived, Millie is a new believer, and Joe is somewhere in the middle.

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few: Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. Matthew 9:37-38

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For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. Jeremiah 29:11-14

Wednesdays are typically Asbury Park Train Station days. I pack up my guitar, drive the five miles or so to the station and settle into one of the pew-like benches. The mission: to share the Good News through song. Talking about Jesus in the train station is frowned upon, but singing about Him is apparently okay; regardless of how well or un-well you sing.

I always pray before I go and ask the Lord to open doors and such, but normally there’s not a whole lot of interaction. Occasionally someone will amble by and give an appreciative nod to the music and/or the Subject matter, but for the most part I’m just praying for some evangelical seeds to be planted. I’m not concerned—God is in control. Today was more interesting than most in that I had two visitors: Rob and Gene.


I could smell Rob before I could see him. As he sat down next to me it was clear he was inebriated; matted hair hung from beneath his faded cap, stains marked the back and sleeves of his winter coat, and the front of his pants were wet down one side to his knee.

“Music sounds good; mind if I sit down?” he asked.

“Thanks. Not at all.” I said.

He introduced himself as Rob and stuck out his hand. Rob wanted to talk and I wanted to listen, and like drunks do, he repeated the same comments and asked the identical questions over and over. When it was my turn we talked about Jesus.

I knew going in that was going to be a difficult road; talking to intoxicated people for the purpose of conveying a message (any message) is generally an act of futility. Nevertheless, there we were sitting on the same bench chatting away—I’m convinced God had orchestrated this meeting and it really wasn’t any of my business to figure out why He had.

I briefly shared my testimony and Rob was genuinely intrigued that God healed me of my addictions–He then confessed that he hated every aspect of his life. I told him God could heal him right then and there if he wanted Him too. Rob told me all about Jesus Christ and sin and salvation. I told him, “Satan knows Jesus too. The difference is that Christians follow Jesus.”

Sadly he chose not to follow Him this day. Rob got up to leave.

I gave him a tract and told him to put it in his pocket and to read it when he could see more clearly.


About an hour later Gene joined me on the bench. At first I thought Gene was a drunk too. He wasn’t. He wheeled his large, green plastic garbage can in front of him and sat down. A mop stuck out from beneath the bungeed lid and I spied a shiny toaster through the breach it created.

“Music sounds good; mind if I sit down?” he asked.

“Thanks. Not at all.” I said.

He told me his name was Gene and that he thought it was no accident that he chose to sit down next to me. “God wanted me to hear this music I guess.” He said.

“Are you a Christian?” I asked.

He said that he was and threw in, “And I’ve been clean for four years August 26th.”

Praise the Lord,” I said. “What happened four years ago that set you straight.”

Gene told me his tragic story, one littered with success, drugs, alcohol, and one relapse after another. One night, about four years ago, he planned on killing himself.

“I had a rock about this big,” he said holding up his thumb and index finger to form a circle, “and I was going to smoke the whole thing. I put out nine candles all around me and sat under a blanket in the middle. I broke off a piece and fired it up. Instantly the room got dark and I felt a big black man leaning over me and pushing me down. I knew it was the devil and smashed the pipe against the cement.”

Gene acted out the scenes as he spoke.

“I’m kinda ashamed to tell you what happened next—I prayed for Jesus to save me and immediately the darkness lifted and I was able to fall asleep. But when I woke up, there was the pipe and the crack, so I did it again. And the same thing happened! So I hid under the blanket and told Jesus, ‘If I see the light coming through this window tomorrow morning, I will give my life to you’. The next morning the sun was shining through the window and that was about four years ago.”

Gene went on to tell me how his life is today and about his church and his pastor. The truth of the matter is Gene’s life is still very, very difficult. While he was talking an older teenager walked over; Gene stood up and gave him a hug. If I were to size him up, I’d say the guy was a drug dealer.

“That’s my nephew,” he said hanging his head a little lower, “I shouldn’t be hanging around guys like that, but he’s family. I share with him what I can and pray for him all the time. He’s in God’s hands now.”

The northbound train was announced; Gene said his goodbyes and walked towards the platform.

“I’m gonna pray for you Gene…how can I pray for you?” I asked.

“The whole thing,” he said, “you can just pray for the whole thing.”

Rob and Gene

I don’t know, my heart breaks for both these guys. By his own admission Rob is rarely sober enough to grasp the reality of his situation, let alone God’s grace and plan for his life. Gene on the other hand is saved and his eternal future is secure, but satan is persistently on his heals trying to drag him to an early death. In the middle there’s me trying to understand why the Lord blessed me with an almost effortless faith. It all doesn’t make much sense right now.

If you remember, would you pray for these guys.

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And our father said, ’Go back and buy us a little food.’ Genesis 44:25
Tuesdays with Davey

For the past few months I have been gathering on Tuesday mornings with some folks at St Paul’s church in Ocean Grove, NJ to discuss Bible-stuff and to pray. While it is a blessed time, it tends to interfere (in a good way) with my personal morning Bible study. And since the essence of what I write about in my daily blog typically revolves around what I have gleaned from my morning devotions, Tuesday’s blogs are oft times affected. Today’s blog will be an expression of that reality.

What I Had For Lunch

Frank’s Deli is a little hole-in-the-wall lunch and breakfast joint in Asbury Park, NJ and it just happens to be there right on Main St on my way home from Ocean Grove. Praise be to God, because they make the best submarine (sub) sandwich known to man—trust me, I know. I have likely eaten (at least) a thousand subs in my life and when you consider all the significant dynamics that go into making a great sandwich, Frank’s creations will always come out on top.

The Four B’s of a Great Sub

We’re talking bread, bulk, bologna, and bullion. First and foremost, Frank’s Deli makes their own bread—need I say more. The loaves are always fresh, always topped with sesame seeds, and always texturally perfect—not too soft, not too crusty.

Bologna is just a ‘B-word’ symbolic reference for cold-cuts. Honestly, I do not know what brand of cold cuts they use (and I suspect that they are of the highest quality), but as I alluded to previously, it is the bread that makes the sub, not necessarily the meat. Whatever the brand, they pile it high!

English: Zombie Hulk on the Boardwalk, Asbury ...

When we’re talking bulk, were talking volume—Frank’s subs are massive. If you purchase a whole sub (I always do), it comes on two separate plates and the waitress will ALWAYS say to you, “Are you sure you want a whole sub…do you KNOW how big our subs are?”

The last factor that goes into determining a great sub is the cost (bullion) involved—how much is this baby gonna set me back? Seven bucks! Where I live, that makes it the 2nd cheapest sub you can buy (the number one place for the cheapest sub is Collingwood Auction, and although theirs is a good sub, I’d place it about 6th on my list of favorites).

What Does Any of This Have to Do With Jesus?

Nothing, although as a father (and as it pertains to Frank’s Deli), I have oft-quoted Genesis 44:25 to my own children.

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