Jesse

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Jesse Winley is a man who has been called many things - courageous, stubborn, gentle, firm. He has been sought after, feared, and loved. Through it all he has lived the vibrant life of a conqueror.
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Overview

Jesse Winley is a man who has been called many things - courageous, stubborn, gentle, firm. He has been sought after, feared, and loved. Through it all he has lived the vibrant life of a conqueror.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780883680711
  • Publisher: Whitaker House
  • Publication date: 1/28/1976
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 More Grace 5
Chapter 2 Georgetown, South Carolina 18
Chapter 3 Maria, Marriage and Manhattan 33
Chapter 4 Bright Lights 43
Chapter 5 "Maria, I'm Saved" 57
Chapter 6 414 Michigan Avenue 71
Chapter 7 Sister Comstock 79
Chapter 8 Babies and Miracles 89
Chapter 9 Troubles and Miracles 103
Chapter 10 Temptations 113
Chapter 11 "Winley Is The Man 123
Chapter 12 Tabernacle in -a Warehouse 131
Chapter 13 Joshua Follows Moses 145
Chapter 14 Demons and Deliverance 153
Chapter 15 16 Children Named Winley 165
Chapter 16 "I'm An Addict! 181
Chapter 17 Micky 191
Chapter 18 Mrs. Stern's Boy Robert 203
Chapter 19 Revival 209
Chapter 20 The Promise 217
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First Chapter

Chapter 1 More Grace

Every eye on the block was fastened on me and the group of screaming militants making their way towards me.

As their menacing shouts grew louder, my team members backed away, moving toward the front of the grocery store. They stood there, immobilized by the fear welling up inside of them. I remained alone on the small, wooden platform.

The two cops on the corner stood frozen in silence. They didn't dare move for fear of igniting the already explosive situation. I realized that these men shouting at me were not ordinary street people. They knew how to destroy a meeting... how to whip a crowd into a frenzy ... how to antagonize... and the crowd on 126th Street was beginning to buzz in anger. The situation was out of my control.

As the crowd responded to their shouts, the angry militants moved across the street towards me. I knew they had me surrounded. My back was against the wall. Several of the guys pulled long-blade knives out of fake walking canes. One or two uncovered concealed guns as they walked. I could actually see the demons dancing in their eyes. I could see the anger, the fear, the hatred. My natural instinct was to turn and run, to escape while I still had a chance. But I knew that my only source of help was God. And I continued to preach the love of my God, which I knew, was available to all men, even these coming for my very life. "There's power in the name of Jesus ... there's power in the blood of Jesus ... there's authority in the name of Jesus." I was being completely caught up in God, almost to the point of preaching outside of myself. I knew it was the Holy Spirit preaching through me. The militants were about an arm's length away now. Lionel Bowen, who had moved up behind me, heaved a sigh and began praying heavily. Their hands reached out for me. But God caught me and the power of the Almighty drenched my entire body; His Spirit engulfing me completely. Overwhelming me. I was oblivious to everything around me. The next few minutes I didn't even know what was happening except I was taken up into the very presence of God.

I felt as big as the street. I felt as big as the situation itself. I knew it was God magnifying Himself through me. It was the power of God operating through a man. It was genuine Holy boldness at work. Moments later when I came to myself, I was standing across the street from where I last remembered being. My precious Bible was in my sweaty right hand. God had used that Bible as a shield to drive these tough, hate-inspired militants back across the street. Now, they were backed up against the graffiti-smeared wall in front of me. Grown men, shaking-cowering like a bunch of whipped dogs. Tears were running down their faces. Every eye on the block was glued to the situation. The whole place was as quiet as a tomb. Nobody moved. It seemed as if the world had come to a stop. No one could deny it. They had just seen a miracle performed by the Creator of the universe... Almighty God had just turned back a bloodthirsty rabble and the people from every corner of that block saw Jesus Christ alive on 126th Street, New York City-the very heart of Harlem.

It was no accident that I found myself on that particular corner of Harlem that afternoon. With a busy liquor store and small grocery on the corner plus six rooming houses down the block, 126th Street between Eighth and St. Nicholas was loaded. Thriving. The block had everything going for it. Whatever a person needed could be found on that block for a price-stolen goods, drugs, prostitutes, gambling. If a man even needed a suit of clothes, he walked on that block and got it. All the "hot" stuff was available there.

And that's why I picked that street corner to have a meeting on. It was one of the worst blocks in Harlem. But it was also the comer-just off Harlem's main drag of 125th Street-where the street people congregated. The drug addicts, the winos, the prostitutes, the con men, the junkies. They all hung out around that corner. And in Harlem, the corner is where the real action is. That's where the people in desperate need are. That's where Jesus Christ took his ministry... and that's my idea, too.

I'm Jesse Winley. And I'm pastor of the Soul Saving Station, a church located on 124th Street between St. Nicholas and Eighth Avenues. It's right in the heart of Harlem, a 45-block area known world-wide as the home of some half-million black people. An area that has lost some 30 percent of its population in the last 20 years. It's an area with a staggering crime rate of murders, rapes and robberies. An area with an ever-bulging welfare roll of women-dominated families raising children without fathers. One out of every four persons is on welfare and another one out of every three is unemployed. It's a place with 100,000 confirmed drug addicts surviving daily off a shot of heroin in the veins and scavenging garbage cans for food. A place that pays over $60 million a year in liquor bills that ultimately induces many of Harlem's problems. But there's another Harlem, too. It's a picture completely at odds with the usual impressions of this troubled area. It's a land of elegant-looking brownstone apartments in the Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights areas, resided in by educated blacks who hold responsible positions in corporations all over New York City. It's a land of sleek-looking new apartment buildings in Schomburg Plaza, or the new Lionel Hampton Houses. Not everyone in Harlem is a drug addict. Nor is everyone a prostitute or a wino, or a con man. Harlem is also the home of decent, hard-working people of every size and description. It's also the place of residence for many college educated black people. It has a business area on the corner of 125th Street and Lenox Avenue which has been called "the most important Black comer in the world" by a program officer of the Ford Foundatiom It is a land of promise which has been victimized by many; the unjust politician and the crooked police; the slum lords and the ungodly churches. Even its own black people have robbed Harlem of many opportunities to prosper. And amid all this diversity is an area that's one of the world's greatest mission fields for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In prayer one day, God let me know just how much of a mission field Harlem is. The Lord spoke, calling me by my last name. " Winley, " He said, "there is more grace in Harlem than there is sin..." I knew the Lord was right, and I quietly rejoiced as He spoke. "Go out into the streets to face the forces of evil and darkness and keep before you these words, 'but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.' Regardless to what depth of sin and bondage a person has fallen, it can not be beyond My grace..." My heart was thrilled and blessed through God's words to me. "It matters not how wicked a community might be, because there is just that much more grace to save people out of their wicked situations. The only reason that mankind can be saved is because of My abounding grace. " And with those mighty words ringing in my ears, it was really quite natural for the church to plan a street meeting on the corner of 126th Street and Eighth Avenue. In spite of all the unrest in the country that summer of 1968, and the violent atmosphere in Harlem itself, I knew God's Word would prevail. The rioting, burning and killing in the ghettos simply would not keep me from preaching the Gospel even on the street corners of the nation's most corrupt city. Martin Luther King, a great black leader, might be dead but the Savior of the world-Jesus Christ-was still alive. Robert F. Kennedy, a national hero and a great symbol to the black people, was in his grave, but our living Lord had escaped from His tomb.

So, I believed it was the best of times to proclaim Jesus. Explosive times. But times when men and women see the futility of their lives lived outside a personal relationship with God.

It was a typical July day in Harlem. Hot. Humid. Temperature hovering in the 90's The sun was up early that day and it was bright. Fire hydrants were gushing water onto the sidewalk and spilling over into the streets. Portable showers from the city had been set up on the block and kids were running in and out of the water in bathing suits. Some were even playing naked to the amusement of others. Guys and gals were sitting around on the steps of faded, brownstone apartment buildings talking about the day's action. A bottle of wine in a small paper sack was being passed. A joint of marijuana was offered. A couple moved off the steps and swaggered down the sidewalk noticeably high on drugs. A man was moving among the people taking bets for Harlem's favorite kind of gambling-playing the numbers. Back in an alley, a dice game was going. Fire trucks buzzed down the street with sirens whining as people momentarily pushed aside limp curtains to peer outside. Motors idled heavily and tires screeched as hustlers and pimps cruised the street in their "baby carriage" decorated Lincolns and Cadillacs looking for some action or a sucker to hustle. Everything was alive on the corner of 126th Street and Eighth Avenue, just ripe for the Gospel. Two blocks away on 124th Street, some 75 to 100 people from the Soul Saving Station were assembling for the street rally. Marching in parade fashion, the group walked down Eighth Avenue past the greasy spoon diners with the list of "soul food" specialties in the windows ... past the gaudy pawn shops hidden behind heavy iron gates and burglar bars ... past the "hip" dress shops with glass-encased mannequins dressed in "hustler" clothes and surly grins looking ready to "rip off" a white-dominated world. People were carrying hand-painted banners and waving to friends as they passed. The signs were colorful and the messages straight-forward. "Jesus is my hang up." "I'm hooked on Jesus." "Jesus is my main stick." "Jesus is my main man." People just looked at the signs. Some scratched their heads. Others laughed. Some even followed curiously along to see what the street meeting was all about. Church workers were already positioned on street corners around 126th and Eighth Avenue passing out tracts and telling passers-by about the meeting. On the corner of 125th Street, they stood side-by-side with a Black Muslim passing out his hate literature. By the time I had walked from the church to the corner, my light cotton shirt was already soaked with sweat from the hot sun. The microphone, speaker's platform and musical instruments had already been positioned by the advance team and the meeting was in readiness. Right away, I could see the block was loaded with addicts, winos and prostitutes-the folks who made their livelihood off the street. People were walking to and from the corner trying to figure out what the meeting was all about. The smell of wine and marijuana was heavy on the limp air. The gutter was strewn with broken bottles of Swiss-Up and Richard's Wild Irish Rose Wine. Everybody was standing around talking. Some were cursing and swearing at each other. Most were talking the "lingo" of the street. The "jive" talk. Con men were ducking in and out of the crowd exchanging stolen goods.

Two policemen had already closed off the block from all cars. And some of the street people were hassling the cops about stopping traffic. But in case of trouble, I knew the cops would be of no help to us. They're already bought off in New York. On the "take." Their silence is paid for.

"Pastor Winley, can I see you a minute a voice interrupted my thoughts as I looked down 126th Street studying the bleakness of the six-story rooming houses and watching heat fumes rise from the asphalt-patched brick street. The voice belonged to Richard Watkins, one of the advance team members responsible for setting up equipment for the street services. "What's the problem?" I asked as we walked over to the curb. Val Melendez and Timothy Birkett, two other church workers, followed Watkins over to where we were standing. Watkins looked a little worried. "When we came up today, some of the street people threatened us," he answered. "They said you're not goin' to have a street service out here today. Of course, we didn't listen to them and went on settin' up the stuff." "Good, that's usin' your faith," I said, patting him on the back. Melendez and Birkett "amened" my answer. "But there's a real air of fear and suspicion out here today," Melendez said questionably, "isn't there?" He looked at the crowd of street people and then back at me. Nodding my head, I smiled. "I know it, brothers, but God is faithful." Lionel Bowen, a tall, thin deacon in the church, began leading the choir in several inspirational songs. His broad, toothy smile and easy manner began to slowly settle the street people's anxieties about the meeting. Then, some of the people who'd been delivered from drugs or alcohol or gang fights stood individually and began testifying of their miraculous experiences with God. People all over the street corner, who'd known some of these men and women before, were shaking their heads in agreement. "That's right," one bleary-eyed guy started saying, "I remember that guy when he was a doper." Another slickly-dressed girl punched a friend. "Don't you see that girl," she said, pointing to one of the church's ex-junkies, "she used to be on the street just like us." The testimonies had been dynamic and it looked as if the meeting was really moving along. But across the street, I noticed seven or eight guys leaning up against a car. They were real militants. Tough guys. They were wearing the new "afro" hairstyle which readily set them off from the street people. They were the pacesetters. I knew they represented trouble. But so far they'd said nothing. That is until I started preaching. They had lounged around watching us almost disinterestedly as we went through the motions of the meeting. But when I began to talk about Jesus, they began to stir and mumble to one another. Somehow, they thought I was going to talk about politics or the injustice of the white man towards the black. But here I was, a black man, talking about Jesus Christ whom they considered to be a "blonde, blue-eyed devil." It was unheard of to come on the streets of Harlem and preach what they called "the white man's religion." As I continued talking about Jesus, their chatter grew louder. "Man, these people are turned around," one of the big guys who seemed to be their leader said. "They're the ones who need the help."

I recognized that the anointing of God was upon me and I preached with power and authority. "If the Son will set you free, you will be free indeed. But freedom comes only through Jesus Christ," I proclaimed, "not by riotin' burnin', and lootin'!" The more I preached, the louder their shouting grew. "You're brainwashin' these people!" they screamed. "Don't believe that stuff," they shouted, pointing at me. "Jesus loves you," I said. They chorused back, "We don't want that Jesus stuff." "Jesus died for you," I preached. "What did he ever do for the black man?" they scoffed. "Jesus cares for you," I pleaded. Now, they were no longer leaning casually against the car. Instead, they were shouting and cursing and waving their hands at me. "Whitey's done brainwashed you," they screamed. "He's kept us blind all these years with that religion junk. But not any more." They began walking towards me. It was as though they were possessed by an anger that was out of their control. And I knew it was out of mine. It was then that the power of the Almighty engulfed me. Although I could never explain exactly what happened, I knew that God, in His faithfulness and love, had caught me to Himself and rescued me from the evil grips of the men who were about to kill me. And so I stood before them with my Bible raised as my shield and the Spirit of God surrounding me with His love.

The militants were a helpless, confused bunch now. All they could do was ask for forgiveness. "Rev . . .we're sorry. We just thought you was jivin.' We didn't know this thing was for real. Rev . . . forgive us, huh?"

Slowly the choir and the others began to move.They recognized the great miracle that God had done. He had let the street people, the die-hard unbelievers see His power.

I turned my back on the militants and began walking back to the platform. Guns and knives dropped to the sidewalk as I moved away. "Come on now," I said pleadingly, "let me pray for you people." The choir began singing -What a Friend We Have in Jesus" as these once-tough militants walked across 126th Street with tears filling their eyes. They knelt around the platform as I prayed for each to accept Christ as his Savior. Members of the church team began fanning out in the crowd to lead others to Christ or to counsel and pray with those in deep need. It was a long day for the church. But that night, a service was held to thank God for His delivering power. The headman for that block of 126th Street came to church. He's the one man who controls all the activity on the block, the drugs, the prostitution, the gambling. All the crime comes under his personal control.

He was a hulk of a man. Probably six-foot-six in height and very broad-shouldered. His hands were massive, almost like ham hocks in size. He was a real "brick" in street lingo. He walked into church that night, got down on his knees and gave his heart to Jesus. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he told the congregation, "There's truth in what Pastor Winley's preachin'. Out of all the people in Harlem reachin' different things today, I know Pastor Winley's preachin' the real thing."

There wasn't a dry eye in the house when one of the street hustlers told the church about his life. "I've never worked a day in my life," he said, gesturing lamely with his hands. "I don’t even know how to work. I've been a con man all my life."

One of his favorite con jobs was to take a pencil and pad, put on a clean white shirt and go down to one of Macy's warehouses just like he was an important buyer. He'd have a phony transport truck parked nearby. He would write up the orders and have the Macy's people load it. Experienced business people didn't even know the difference... that this guy was a slick con man. He'd made a living all his life with that same scheme.

That's the kind of people God touched on 126th Street that hot July day when His glory came upon me. God demonstrated His resurrection power. I had been wrestled from the nasty jaws of certain death. God had delivered me. And He did it with several hundred people looking on.

He had proven the reality of Jesus Christ to people who thought the whole idea was from some white man's imagination. These black militants had decided that if what they'd seen in most white churches was Christianity, then the whole idea was a fraud. So God had to disprove all that and let them know the message of Jesus Christ is for every man regardless of color. For I preach that a white man and a black man that are washed in the blood of Jesus are more "soul brothers" than two black men that are not washed. That July street service was just a small part of the revival that God is bringing to Harlem. And somehow, the Lord has allowed Jesse Winley to be part of His revival for Harlem. He's brought me, a small town boy from South Carolina, to the nation's largest and most corrupt city. And He's placed me in charge of a soul winning church that thrives in the midst of crime and violence in the ghetto.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2000

    A Spiritual Guide For Every Believer

    I was priviledged to be a member of Pastor Winley's church Soul Saving Station for Every Nation in Harlem, New York. Though I never met him his testimonial life witnessed throughout the sanctuary. This book is a must read for all true believers who are commissioned by God. It rejuvenated the fire within me and it's annointed message lit the most Holy call upon my life.

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