Harald Bredesen with Peter Laue in 1976 – please click on Harald’s name to learn more about this man of God.
Two a.m. I was tired that spring night in 1946, so tired that I sat down on the curb alongside the Empire State Building as I waited for the bus. When it finally pulled up, I took the side seat by the door, leaned back against the window, and closed my eyes. Then it came, a voice low but insistent and frightening. It hadn’t come from anyone on the bus but from somewhere inside of me.
I knew it was the Lord, and my stomach turned to jelly at His words. Preach to the people on this bus.
“But, Lord, I can’t. I’m a Lutheran minister and Lutheran ministers don’t preach on buses. It’s unheard of. What would Dad think, if he knew? What would my seminary classmates say?”
I could hear the throaty roar of the exhaust as the bus turned onto Lexington Avenue. I could feel the cold metal of the seat frame as I braced my hand against it. But my mind was reflecting on something that had happened 3,500 years ago, when Moses stood on Mount Pisgah. From it he could see a land flowing with milk and honey. He could see it, but he could not enter it. At one crucial point he had failed God.
Earlier this very night, through one of His servants, God had given me a glimpse of the glorious new life He had in store for me. But now it was as if He was saying, “You’ll never be able to enter in if you deny Me this one act of obedience.”
I thought, “But if I preach, everyone on the bus will think I’m a crazy fanatic.” I wondered if an entire future really could hinge on just one act of obedience. “If I do obey, the worst they can do is kill me.” The thought offered little comfort.
Shaking with fear and with no idea what I would say, I stood up and grabbed the steel post behind me. There were only eight people on the bus, but it seemed like a thousand. All of them were staring at me. “Lord, please don’t ask this of me.”
The Lord didn’t answer. It was as if He was beside me, awaiting my decision. Finally I took my unwilling soul by the scruff of the neck and said, “Yes, Lord.”
I hung onto the steel post for dear life and opened my mouth. He filled it. I found myself speaking with a power I had never known before. Every word was weighted like a pile driver. No one acted as if he might commit mayhem. In fact, everyone sat up and listened. A teenage girl leaned forward, hanging on every word. An old man halfway back began to weep. On my right a large woman was staring at me open-mouthed. I went over to her and asked, “Madam, do you know what I’m talking about?”
“Sure I do. You’re saying we got to be born again.” Her eyes became like two pieces of glass. Two other eyes, wild, cunning and jackal-like, leered out at me. Suddenly I heard myself saying, “You knew what those words meant once. You were a Christian. But then you had to choose between something you wanted and Christ. Now Satan has you bound hand and foot, and you’re demon possessed.”
“What if I am? You get away from me, or I’ll call the police!”
By this time I wouldn’t have cared had she called the whole United States Army. This woman was in the thrall of Satan, and I had to set her free. The question was how? We hadn’t had any courses on casting out demons at Luther Theological Seminary.
When she stood up and pushed past me to the door, I followed her. I was so oblivious to anything except helping her that I didn’t realize I was at my own bus stop. She leaped off the bus and started to run, screaming at the top of her voice, “Police! Police! Police!” When a squad car came zooming up the street, she turned and pointed a finger at me.
Two huge policemen jumped out, grabbed me, pushed me into the front seat of their car, and sat down on either side. I couldn’t believe it was happening. What could I tell them? While preaching on the bus, I saw that this woman was full of demons and I was just casting them out? I spoke very slowly, trying to appear calm and self-possessed. “I am a minister. This woman has fallen away from God, and I am trying to get her to come back.”
“Come on now,” the officer on my right sneered. “What did you really want? A woman?”
I reached into my pocket. “Here’s the key to Calvary Episcopal Church House where I live. If you’ll drive me there, I’ll show you I’m a minister.” The officer behind the wheel snorted, “Sorry, sonny; you’ll have to walk home. We’re parked in front of it.”
The whole thing was such a nightmare that I hadn’t realized till then where I was. Convinced by the key, they finally let me go. I went up to my room, dropped my clothes on a chair, too shaken to hang them up, and fell into bed, knowing beyond a doubt that what had just happened had been the worst experience of my life.
The next morning I was still in such anguish I feigned sleep so my roommate wouldn’t speak to me. It didn’t work. “Harald, did you hear that woman screaming for the police last night? I wonder who was after her?”
“Who knows?” I murmured, my eyes still closed.
After he had gone, I sat on the edge of the bed and buried my head in my hands. “Jesus, You know I wanted to be led by Your Spirit, but look what’s come of it—just terrible embarrassment. I could have ended up in jail, my career ruined.”
The Lord dealt with me in a tender way that morning, to show me that if I was going to be an instrument in His hands, I would be up against not just flesh and blood, but Satan himself. He had given me this glimpse of who the real enemy was so that I might see my desperate need of His power. I wasn’t sure how I would find His power or how I would connect up to it when I did find it, but that night’s experience made me realize I’d better start looking.
Determined, I set out to find it.
We read “YES, Lord” in 1976. As we are reading it again today, some forty years later, it’s like a brand new book that we are reading for the first time. Do read all of it!
Harald Bredesen came into Peter & Rebekah Laue’s life in 1976. He was invited to speak at their church in San Marcos California. At that time it was called “North County Christian Center.” He subsequently became the pastor of the church and became a neighbor of theirs. His book: YES, LORD impacted Peter in dramatic ways.
Peter had just learned the craft of making sandblasted signs and had etched the words of the title of the book into a small piece of granite as shown here. Someone spotted the piece of granite at a craft show and purchased it for five dollars. It was the first five dollars Peter had earned in six years. This sale shot Peter into orbit and the ministry of Crafts for Christ was birthed.
Subsequently Harald Bredesen invited Peter and Rebekah to display their craft in the lobby of his church. There was such a keen interest in the craft that Peter was invited to teach it to members of the church. Sixty people signed up to take the class. A craft book was born which can be viewed and downloaded via this address: Crafts for Christ Handbook.
For the next twenty years Peter & Rebekah made lots of sandblasted signs, predominantly using Scripture. They also traveled, taught the craft to others and shared their testimony.
- THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL -
I, Peter, want to pay tribute to Harald Bredesen by penning these words and suggesting you read his book. It set me free and saved my sanity. When Harald refused to cow-tow to the negative public, religious and even psychiatric community that suggested that speaking or praying in tongues was gibberish, a ton of condemnation dropped from my shoulders.
You see, in 1971 I was taken to General Hospital in Los Angeles in the middle of the night because I was praying in tongues in an hour of great turmoil and distress. As a result, my life was forever changed and redirected. Harald Bredesen writes on page 140 of his book, “It was the blessed release of tongues that saved my sanity.” Years later, my new wife Rebekah and I wrote and published a book chronicling our unusual journey that brought us to Pagosa Springs, Colorado in 1977. The book can be read and or downloaded from this web site: www.stretcherbearers.com. The direct link to the book is: “To Hell and Back.” Or you may just want to click on the cover of the book.