Keith Wheeler has carried a huge wooden cross in over 180 nations on all seven continents. He has been arrested, thrown in jail, beaten, and had stones thrown at him. But he has had the opportunity to introduce thousands of people to the man who hung on the cross.
In 1985, on Good Friday, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, Keith Wheeler began carrying a 12-foot, wooden cross. He has now walked over 25,000 miles, through more than 180 countries on all seven continents.
Quotes from Keith Wheeler:
The cross is a reminder of God’s love for all people.
At the foot of the cross is where the best of God meets the worst of humankind.
Evangelism is simply an invitation from the King of kings to sit on the front row to watch what the King is doing.
Questions for Keith Wheeler:
How did you start carrying the cross?
What does the cross mean to you?
Please share some of the miracles you have seen as you have carried the cross?
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Keith Wheeler carries an enormous 12 foot tall wooden cross to nations all over the world. He’s visited over 180 countries carrying the cross, and he has some amazing stories to tell about how Jesus has changed the lives of the people he’s met.
Evangelism Podcast Host (00:22):
Jesus said go into all the world and preach the gospel. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be welcome to the evangelism podcast with Dr. Daniel King we’re Daniel interviews, full-time evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and normal everyday Christians to discover how they share their faith, their powerful testimonies and amazing stories that will inspire you to reach people with the good news. And now here’s your host, missionary and evangelist Daniel King.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:58):
Welcome to the evangelism podcast. I have an amazing guest with me today. Keith Wheeler has carried an enormous wooden cross to over 180 nations on all seven continents. He’s been arrested. He’s been thrown in jail. He’s been beaten. He’s had stones thrown at him, but he’s had the opportunity to introduce thousands of people to the man who hung on the cross 2000 years ago. Keith, thank you so much for being on the evangelism podcast. Thanks.
Keith Wheeler (01:31):
What a, what a privilege and an honor.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:33):
Well, first of all, tell our listeners what this would in cross looks like. Is it a little tiny wooden cross that you put in your pocket or, or what have you been carrying around the world?
Keith Wheeler (01:44):
The, the cross is this is the third cross. The, the first cross is still flying around the world someplace. The second cross is retired after 22 years. It’s it’s in my garage and the third cross is the one that’s that I carry. It’s 12 feet tall, 12 feet tall, six feet wide, six feet wide. And it’s heavy enough to remember if you carry it and it’s light enough not to be a sacrifice.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:10):
Wow. And so you have carried these crosses to nations all over the world. How did you get started carrying across?
Keith Wheeler (02:20):
Gosh, that’s, that’s a long story. That could be our whole program. I was a, a student in seminary at Oral Roberts University. And we had to write a paper on the Holy spirit who he is and what’s his purpose. And I come from a number of denominational backgrounds, some saying that the dispensation of the Holy spirit is passed and the age of miracles is gone. And on the other side those who say that you have to, everybody has to speak in tongues and so loud. And as I studied on this paper, I saw that Jesus said about the Holy spirit. He shall glorify me. He shall testify of me. In other words, the Holy spirit comes as a witness of Jesus. And then I saw that Jesus said you shall receive power. When the Holy spirit comes upon you in acts chapter one, and you shall do the same thing. The Holy spirit does, you shall speak of me. You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Sumeria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. And then I saw Jesus in Luke chapter four, as he’s standing in, in Nazareth, reading from the scroll, he says, the spirit of the Lord is upon me for he’s anointed me to once again, preach good news. Then I read, Jesus says in Mark chapter one, he says, follow me. And I’ll make you fishers of men.
Keith Wheeler (03:50):
And I had this moment, am I following Jesus? Because I’m not witnessing. I’m not evangelizing. I’m not sharing my faith. I’ve I want my life to be a witness, but my words and, and has the Holy spirit really touched my life. And so I remember laying on the floor, just crying out. This is 1984. God, I need more of you more Lord, more. And eventually after four hours, I felt like God said, be quiet. I want you to listen to me. I’m not a stock or a commodity that you can buy or sell or trade. I’m not a part. I’m not a parcel. I’m not a portion. I’m all I ever was. I’m all that I am. All that I ever will be. And when I came to live with you, all I ever was, all I ever will be all that I am came to live with you.
Keith Wheeler (04:42):
The question is not you getting more of me. It’s me getting all of you. I didn’t feel different. I didn’t look different and smell different, but I, I got my, I didn’t, I didn’t know how to do it. I had taken classes on evangelism, but the problem was when I, I learned and memorize everything I’m supposed to say, but I’d get out there. They hadn’t learned what they were supposed to say. So I just thought I’m not called. And I thought, okay, where were our last people bars? So I got my study Bible, my Riley study Bible, my gospel, well tracks that were cartoons that basically said why you shouldn’t drink or smoke. And if you do, you’re going to go to hell. And, and I showed up at the bar where everyone drinking and smoking at eight o’clock, nobody was there. I thought, man, Tulsa is Tulsa is a Christian city, but by 10 o’clock, they had started to backslide.
Keith Wheeler (05:40):
And by midnight it was full, full on backside. They were drinking and smoking two o’clock the bars close here. And I still hadn’t spoken to one person because Daniel here was my excuse. I don’t feel led. And at this point in my life I back and I say, what does feeling led? Feel like we use that so often as an excuse. I mean, does it tickle? Does it Shazam? But I hadn’t spoken to one person. It was late. My eyes are sensitive to smoke and, and I’d never been awake that late in my life. So I looked like a glaze donut out there with it, big Bible and cartoon, gospel tracks, and three o’clock. The parking lot was filled full emptied. And I hadn’t spoken to one person and this guy came around the corner. I said, Jesus, if you want me to tell some, but about you bring someone around in the next five minutes, your name, I pray a amen.
Keith Wheeler (06:38):
And the guy came around full of adrenaline, full of fear. I’ve got my Bible, my tracks, my glaze eyes. I look higher than anybody coming out of that place. So if you diary now, you know what you’re going to have, and she’s done a cross. She has blood Rose again is live praise. The Lord saved. And I can’t repeat on your program what he said, but it wasn’t very nice. And he spent on me and I knew I wasn’t called. I got in my car, put the keys in the ignition and a big black SUV blocked my path. The tinted window came down and it was the same guy. And he says, are you that guy that was trying to tell me about Jesus? Yes, sir. You really meant it. Didn’t you can we talk? And we sit down on the curb and we talked till the sun came up and I’d like to tell you his life was changed.
Keith Wheeler (07:28):
And I think it was, but only God knows those things, but I can tell you for sure whose life was changed. It was mine because as I saw that those people in those bars and those nightclubs, the people on the street corners with a sign, the guys underneath the bridges, the guys in Moscow and synagogues and war zones around the world, the guy in the, in the penthouse apartment or the guy on the other side of the fence, they’re not monsters to be feared or creatures to run away from their kidnapped royalty. And I started going on a regular basis talking to people. I started, I became the original Uber. I made cards. If you’re too drunk to drive home, call me. I’m making friends. Then with the bouncers on the front end, I’ve got a captive audience because I’m getting rid of the bouncers problems.
Keith Wheeler (08:15):
I’ve got a captive audience. They have to listen to me preach. It’s great for followup. I know where they live. And if they were too drunk to tell me how to go home, I would smuggle the men into ORU. And, and, and then I started volunteering to clean the restrooms on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. I went, I met the managers and the owners. I said, I’ll clean your restrooms for free. That’s a mess. They said, why Jesus wash people’s feet. And before long, they were having me come in and speak to the people table to table before long, they were having me speak between band sets or they would shut off the the jukebox for awhile have me speak to the people and had given invitation people give their lives to Jesus.
Keith Wheeler (09:01):
I’m seeing people that I’ve never been around. People involved in alcoholism and addiction of all kinds, prostitution and gang life and homelessness. And two of my friends, Homer and Harold, and two homeless guys got in a fight. One night, they were drunk, got in a fight over the bill and they took it outside. And Homer broke his bottle and stabbed Harold in the chest. And I’m 15 yards from him and I’d seen it on television. I’d seen it in the movies, but I’d never, I’d seen people in caskets bad, never had seen somebody die. And it shook me because he’d prayed the prayer, but obviously it was no life change.
Keith Wheeler (09:50):
And, and it shook me. And I said, Jesus, I just speak. Your servant is listening. And I just sat there. Oh God, you know the city I need, I need to do something. People are lost. People are dying. I want them to know you. And I felt like he said, son, I want you to make a 12 foot wooden cross and begin walking through the streets of Tulsa on good Friday. I rebuke you. Satan. Get thee behind me. That was the dumbest idea I thought I ever had. I said, Lord, I’m sorry. I love you speak. I’m listening. And again, it was like, like when you see an animal get branded, it was like fire in my soul. I want you to make a 12 foot wooden cross and begin walking through the streets of Tulsa on good Friday.
Keith Wheeler (10:40):
And once again, I thought, okay, I’m not going to eat fruity pebbles and pizza together. It has to be indigestion. I opened a window to get fresh air, Lord, I’m sorry. I’m distracted. Speak. And a third time, I, this time I said, Lord, if this is really you, I want you to know something. There was a guy at that time at a local Walmart who carried across. I said, I don’t want to be like another, man. I want to be just like you. Jesus. And I felt like he said, son, that’s the most religious excuse you could ever give me if I called you to preach, but called you to stand on a platform, you would be honored. You wouldn’t say, but you’ve got Billy Graham. You’ve got Reinhard Bunky. You’ve you’ve got all those pastors, all those youth pastors, you just don’t want people to think that you’re weird. And I felt like he said, son, anyone can carry across. Simon carried mine. Anyone can die on a cross. Two thieves died beside me. Thousands of others have died, but only one could die for the sins of the world. And I want you to walk in the highways and the road signs, the places where the, where there are no churches, where there are no meetings. And I want you to lift up the cross. I want you to lift me up and share my love.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (12:02):
That’s awesome. Matthew 16, 24 says, if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. And so you have done that literally, you literally took up a cross and started to, to follow Jesus. And now you’ve gone to over 180 nations around the world. What’s your current count or what are you at?
Keith Wheeler (12:27):
Hi, as you know, there’s a lot of different places you can count nations. The, the low end is 150 for the high end is 313. And so on the ones that most people use, I’ve walked in and carried the cross. And I don’t count the country unless I’ve carried the cross and shared some about Jesus with someone. I think it’s 188 different nations.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (12:50):
Wow. That’s amazing. Including Antarctica. And now you you’ve walked over 25,000 miles, 26,000, 26,000 a day carrying the grace of God. And obviously the, the cross means something significant to you. And, and in ancient Roman times, the cross was a method of execution, horrible way that they, they put criminals to death. But now the cross, often people wear it on a necklace around their neck. They put it on top of their, their building, the, the church building. But what does the cross mean to you? Why, why do you carry that?
Keith Wheeler (13:33):
The cross I carry the cross because Jesus is it. It’s an act of obedience. It’s I’m convinced though, a number of years ago, I felt like God spoke to my heart and said, when I said, why, why am I doing this? You know, this is humbling. In some ways it’s, it’s humiliating all the things that people say or do and things that have happened. And I felt like Jesus said, son, I’m more interested in reaching all of your heart than I am in reaching all of the world. Because when I have someone whose heart is completely mine, I have someone I can reach all the world through. And the cross is a means of him capturing our hearts in whatever means whether it’s us coming to the foot of the cross. Whether, whether it’s it’s us embracing the cross, whether it’s us taking up the cross, you can see this, your, your listeners can’t.
Keith Wheeler (14:36):
But my collarbone has been grooved as from all the years of the way to the cross bearing down on my shoulder would, has done that to me. But the cross shapes us the cross, the way we, we walk, it changes when I walk, the cross is a message of God’s love. And you, you said it well we, we have them for necklaces and ornaments. Many times people will come up to me and they’ll say, what are you doing? And to me, evangelism starts with Jesus. Wouldn’t always give answers. He would answer questions with questions and say, when you see this, what do you think about? And they say, Jesus, as it were you thinking about Jesus before I brought the cross? No. And I’ll laugh. And I’ll say, it’s working. I said, but I didn’t ask you that to trap you. When you see a beautiful lady wearing a cross and it’s gold and silver, do you think about Jesus?
Keith Wheeler (15:39):
No. I either think it’s a decoration or I think about the lady before someone bats in baseball or kicks a goal in football, what do they do? They make the sign of the cross. Do you think about Jesus? No. He wants to. When you drive by a cemetery and you see hundreds of crosses, what do you see? Or what do you think? I think about the people who went before me, not Jesus. Right? You drive by a building with stained glass and a cross on top. Do you think about Jesus now? I think about the preachers or I think about sadly sometimes they’ll answer money or politics. I said, but the cross is a message that God loves you so much, that he was willing to go to any cost, pay the greatest cost so that you could come home and be his child.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (16:30):
I think one of the quotes on your website, it says at the foot of the cross is where the best of God meets the worst of humankind. And so it’s because of the cross that we can be forgiven of our sins, preach to me a little bit about the cross and what it means in God’s great plan of redemption for humankind,
Keith Wheeler (16:55):
You and Daniel. I’m a storyteller. And I’ll tell you two stories as quick as I can. And actually both of them took place in Uganda. I was carrying the cross in the Southern part of Uganda late one night. I didn’t know where I was going to sleep and walking down the road. And it’s a, it’s a dusty road and there’s not much shoulder. The cars are zipping by and they’re flashing their bright lights when they combine. So they won’t hit me. And some big trucks just bomb, blow the diesel dust out, back in the dust. I closed my eyes. I’m blinded a little bit because the light and I took my next step, but the ground wasn’t there and I was falling. I fell about 15 feet and thankfully it was soft, but unfortunately it was soft because it was human waste. I fell into a pit that was about just my waist, deep with raw human sewage.
Keith Wheeler (17:54):
As soon as I hit it, that stinks. It did. I’m pumped. As soon as I hit it, I did. I looked like a cat. You know, one of these funny cat videos, I jumped up on the wall and to get out in all my effort, I am thrashing, but the, the harder I try, the slimy or I get, and the more difficult, because the walls are crumbling. It’s, it’s red, dirt, red clay. Nobody can hear my voice. I’m yelling at the top of my voice. And then I got an idea when it fell, Anna fell in with the cross.
Keith Wheeler (18:31):
I use the cross as a ladder to get me out of that pit. And I thought, what a picture, what an incredible picture of what God did with the cross is he came in and we’re trying in every way to get out of, you know, people try everything to bring comfort, to bring hope, to bring peace, to bring meaning to their life. And it was when we use the cross. When we come to the cross, that’s what gets us out of the pit. Probably another great example. Two short ones. This is, I was in Naru, a little Island nation in the Pacific, and this guy just kept getting closer and closer. He’s an old man. And finally says, can I touch you? I said, yeah, can I in tears, start running down his face. Can I touch your cross? Absolutely. I said, what’s going on?
Keith Wheeler (19:20):
I put my arm around him and he just begins to sob. He was, I just want my sins to go away. And somehow he knew that if I come to the cross, not, not the physical cross. And I was able to explain, it’s not the physical cross that forgives us, that I just carry wood, but it’s a symbol that yes, your sins can go away. And then the last one is just beautiful. I was in Nairobi, came into the city of Nairobi from out in the countryside, been walking across that nation and I could hardly walk. I mean thousands and thousands shut down traffic in the buses. Couldn’t, couldn’t pass. There’s so many people and we would lift up the cross and I would preach invite people to come to Jesus. Then I would walk a little bit further and do the same thing.
Keith Wheeler (20:10):
And I could barely walk myself because so many people were coming. The crowd was recycling and, and that’s actually down in Uruguay. I was in the same spot for three days on this one little street corner, because so many people kept coming. There was a little hut. They would let me sleep in. But day and night, I was just preaching and speaking, because so many people were coming. So here I am in, in Kenya Nairobi, and then the crowd split, and there were two men leading a blind man. He had his cane, they had him by the elbows and they brought him to the, and the crowd just parted for him.
Keith Wheeler (20:51):
And I said, what, what can I do for you? And I, you would think he says, I want to be healed. I want to see, but what he said, I want to see the cross. I heard you had a real cross and it’ll make me cry. Just thinking about it. That man held out his hands and put my hands to his. I put them on the cross who would’ve thought that that man saw the finest treasure in the world. He every little tiny millimeter, he touched it. He touched it twice. And then he held out and his tears were just running down his face. He says, now I’ve seen a cross. And I think so often for us, we’ve just would pass by the cross. We’ve become so familiar with the cross, with the message of the cross, with, with the Jesus of the cross and that no longer do we see him no longer do we see the cross? And, and even as, as speakers, as missionaries, as evangelist, we, we have to create new and inventive ways to share the message of the one who needs nothing. All he needs is he said, if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me. And that’s been my greatest privileges. I tell people I don’t have a ministry. Jesus does. It’s his ministry in my life to my life. And I pray through my life because for me, ministry is simply the overflow of a life lived in love with him.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (22:30):
I love your ministry and how you have used the cross as a conversation opener to, to just start conversations with people, talking to them about God, share with me. So some more stories of some of the conversations that you’ve had in the different countries as you’ve, you’ve traveled. I’m sure you’ve seen great miracles and tremendous testimonies of people that have been impacted as you’ve traveled around them.
Keith Wheeler (23:00):
You know, I, yeah. Let, let me start with, with one though, that has nothing to do with the cross, except I was there to carry the cross. I arrived in Lagos, Nigeria midnight found a place to stay, left everything there, to stay and went down the street. I was in a Kagia in Legos, and I thought surely something will be open. Street was still busy. It was almost one o’clock now. And I found a KFC in the middle of the night that was open. I thought, okay, I’m going in. You ordered downstairs and you eat upstairs. And there’s a big plate glass window. And you overlook the busy street. There’s two lanes coming, two lanes going, there’s a S a concrete median in between. And as I finish eating my chicken and I’m licking my fingers, like the Colonel says, you’re supposed to do. I have my iPad with my Bible.
Keith Wheeler (23:57):
And I’m just reading it. And I, I sense that somebody is standing near me and I look up and there’s a man dressed in white. He’s been to Mecca is a Muslim man. Who’s been to Mecca. And he said, I’ve been watching you all night from the other side of the road, two lanes coming, two lanes going concrete median. And he said, there’s a Holy light. That’s shining around you. And he says, our teachings are Hadith is what he said, or how these teaches us that those who have the Holy light are Holy prophet sent from a law that can teach us the way and the truth. It had nothing to do with me. And the reason I share that is because so often we think we have to do something. Ahmed give, gave his life to Jesus. He became my interpreter introduced me to other people while I was there.
Keith Wheeler (24:56):
He’s, he’s still loving and following Jesus. And, and I think so often we feel like it’s gotta be in our strength. I was, I was carrying the cross in Djibouti, which is Eastern most nation that in Somalia. And I felt like God said, next, I want you to go to Argentina. Okay. But for some reason it didn’t work out that I could go to Argentina four months later. I’m, I’m still feeling I’m supposed to go to Argentina, but it’s not working out. And I’ve shared with you before. I don’t, I don’t set things up. I don’t know anybody. I just, Mr. Magoo and I, I go there and show up, just go. I just go. And I don’t, I don’t know anybody there. I don’t have anything set up. I don’t know where I’m going to sleep. And I’ll, I’ll share that in just a moment.
Keith Wheeler (25:46):
But so it didn’t somehow it wasn’t working. And I said, Lord, I think you’ve called me to go to Argentina. And that was when the great revival was going on. And I had assumed in my heart, that’s where I was supposed to go. And I felt like God said, son, you didn’t ask me where you’re supposed to go, or when you’re supposed to go or what you’re supposed to do. Okay. Who, what, when, where, why [inaudible] at the end of November, I had to look up a schwa on a map. It’s the tip of Antarctica. And there will be a boat waiting for you. And I want you to get on that boat and take the cross to Antarctica. So I fly to when a Cyrus fly to a schwag, go to the port with my cross. Sure enough, there was a boat, the disco D I S K O.
Keith Wheeler (26:37):
It was a national geographic expedition going to Antarctica, but they couldn’t set because it was a Danish ship. And because Denmark is a Christian nation, they had to have a chaplain on board. They needed a chaplain. I needed a boat. It was a match, literally made in heaven. We volunteer, I even brought my own crowds. They had, they saw the cross. They said, you’ll do, I didn’t even have to ask. And so I know more about penguins than anybody you’ve ever met yet. And, and so I get to Antarctica and the continent, because we, we went to the Falklands or the Malvinas. We went to the Stanley islands South Georgia Island other islands, and then made it to the continent of Antarctica. And in Antarctica, there are military bases. There are scientific research stations, the there’s, some of them quite large.
Keith Wheeler (27:43):
They have hospitals there. They have schools, post offices. So the first place we went, the Polish scientific research station was, was there. And we, we were the first boat of the season to come in. And the two Polish guys, we get on a Zodiac off the boat. We go to the actual continent set foot on, and I put the cross together. I put it on my shoulder. And these two Polish scientists said, what is this? But is a meaning of cease. We saw you 1987, Lisa Zs cross in crack of Poland. Now’s, he’s cross follows us to the ends of the earth. You must explain. And the first two people I meet in Antarctica say they want to follow Jesus. They want to know it. Wow. Praise God. And so literally the ends of the earth, and, and there were other groups stories there.
Keith Wheeler (28:39):
But, and you really, you name the country and I’ll say, Oh, we, yeah, I’ve got a story there while you’re just telling me about Hong Kong and okay. There were lots of protestors to tell me some of that stuff. I went to Hong Kong last year, I had just had a bicycle accident, broke your ribs, three in front, one in back punctured. My lungs broke my hand and tore ligament in my hand. And the doctor told me not to fly for a long time because my lung could collapse. And a few days later, I felt like God said, I want you to take the cross to Hong Kong. That flight is 17 and a half hours. So we arrived. I, a friend of mine born in Hong Kong had given his life to Jesus years before flew up from New Zealand to walk with me. And we just walked around the first day.
Keith Wheeler (29:38):
I could barely walk. I’m holding my side and I’m thinking, how can I put the cross on my shoulder? And Matt says, Keith, what’s your plan B. I said, it’s the same as plan Z. It’s God doesn’t change. It’s always referred to plan a because God didn’t give me another plan. He told me to carry the cross. He’ll give me grace. We walked that first day or this that second day with a cross. I walked about seven miles, extremely painful. This news crew came up and began to talk to us. They said, we want to do a, an article, but we have to get permission by our supervisor. They called back and they said, sorry, we can’t do it. But good news. Our supervisor is sending over their 18 and they want to meet you at 10:00 AM at the place you’re staying. And we want to follow you around with cameras.
Keith Wheeler (30:37):
This particular news outlet has 43 million monthly subscribers to their video newscast. And so they, they delayed it. They got back about they said, well, we can’t be there until noon. Okay. I I’ve committed to them, but I know that because of the protests that I’m on the other side of the Bay, I have to get over to the other side, either by subway or by very boat. And I’m thinking that if those shut down the taxis probably won’t take us either. Sure enough. I was, I was correct. So there’s no way to get over there. Except these guys find a sketchy van. It looked like a Scooby-Doo van, but we put the cross in it and they take us over there. But because it’s also not just protests and streets are shut down. It’s there’s a typhoon level three. So we are eight miles away from where I wanted to start.
Keith Wheeler (31:38):
And we’re five hours later than what I wanted to start. And we’re under this underpass because the rain is falling so hard. I put the cross together. I laid down in prey, stand up. People have gathered around. Many of them give their life to Jesus, I think, okay, what a, what a great start. And then everybody runs to the street. I mean, it’s, it’s hundreds, maybe a thousand people or so. And I can’t see what’s what’s happening. So I go out into the rain at the street corner and there’s a protest March of 1.7 million people starting right there and they see me. So they stop. They were just starting. I could not have planned it better. Five hours later, eight miles away, a man’s heart plans, his ways the Bible says, but the Lord directs his steps, Proverbs 16, nine, and I’m standing there and they look at me and they see the cross, they stop.
Keith Wheeler (32:33):
And they said, you lead us. I said, I don’t know where we’re going. They said, that’s all right, lead us. First of all, that’s, what’s wrong with a lot of leadership. You have leaders that don’t know where they’re going, leading lots of people. But more importantly, more importantly was the media. All of a sudden came around. There were over 70 media outlets from all around the world. So they start the March. And I I’m, I’m there with the media for an hour and a half answering all questions about Jesus things, as simple as why the cross, what does the cross mean? Questions? Just like you’re asking. And it’s going out around the world, especially across China, but this one particular media kept following me. And eventually I joined the people and I was stopped five other times that day for more media interviews, different media outlets.
Keith Wheeler (33:27):
People say, what’s it like to walk with 1.7 million people? It’s about like walking with 200 people because you can’t see the front. You can’t see the back. It it’s forever, but the people are there. And all day long people walking, coming to the cross, crying, not understanding, but being drawn and saying, I want to give my life to Jesus. After I would explain who he is, why he came, what he did, how you can know him, that report, that, that media did. They aired it on their website. It’s been viewed 2 billion times. Wow. That’s amazing. How much money would you have to pay? And, and it’s, I mean, it’s not an evangelistic video, but it’s a video about the cross that Jesus died on a cross because of he shed his blood. There can be peace. It was pretty amazing video that, and it was a seven minute video, six minute video.
Keith Wheeler (34:22):
So I never know exactly what, what God is doing. You know, I go a lot of times to war zones, I read in Jesus’ words, blessed are the peacemakers, not the peace lovers, not the peace waters, not the peacekeepers peacemakers. I went into Iraq when, and I became the guest of Saddam Hussein. Wow. That’s a story. I couldn’t. I tried for two years to get a visa. Couldn’t get a visa. Every door was closed. And, and again, I hear Christians so often say, Oh, the doors are close. Daniel. Where’s that in the Bible. So you keep knocking. Yeah. Jesus said, he said, behold, I’ve said an open door before you, he says he is the door that’s end. He said, go into all the world and preach the gospel. Not just the parts that are friendly, but all the world and preach the gospel. And he says in Psalms that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.
Keith Wheeler (35:22):
So he owns it. He said, go into all of it. I’m just trying to obey. So if there’s a war and Iraq was about to have a big war, they’d come out of Gulf war one, number one. So there’s an embargo worldwide against Iraq. The only open border was Jordan. So I flew to a month after I got this idea. That’s where they get all their supplies. So I flew to a Mon Jordan. The first guy I meet, I explained what the cross is. He says, I think it’s my destiny from a lot to help you get the cross into Iraq. He said, I was born there. I’ve made the trip over a hundred times. We show up at the border and I’m leaving out a whole lot of details, but I leaned across there’s. There’s a tall statue of Saddam Hussein, as far as you can see to the right and the left there’s barbed wire, 20 feet high with razor wire, five feet on top of that at the bottom of the statue.
Keith Wheeler (36:19):
There’s two tollbooths. If you have your proper paperwork documentation, the arm goes up, go in. The only documentation I have is God’s word that says, go into all the world and preach the gospel. And so I come up there and before they can do anything, I lean the top part above the crossbeam. So two and a half feet above. Have I leaned that over? And that is now in to Iraq before they can do anything. I laid down so that my waist up I’m laying on the ground. That much of yeah. Is in Iraq. And I began to pray. God blessed them. May they know the things that make for peace. May they know that your son is more than a prophet. May they know him that he’s not just the son of God, that he’s God in the flesh at prayed the blessings of God on these kids and the war, the soldiers.
Keith Wheeler (37:12):
And I notice as I’m praying boots, so soldiers are gathering and I was thinking, I’ll pray longer. They’ll get tired, more boots. So I think I better stand up. I stand up, dust myself off and they’ve got weapons. They’re pointing at me. What are you doing? Why are you here? What is the meaning of this said, Oh, praise the Lord. Thanks for coming in and welcoming me. And I’ve got these little stickers that say, God loves you. And I’m putting them on all the soldiers. Hey, you need one on the back. End of your gun case, you die. And it’s got a cross in the middle. And I said, that’s good to remember that God loves you so much. He died on that cross. My friend is giving them sugar daddies. They can’t talk. Their mouths are kind of that they’re liking them.
Keith Wheeler (37:55):
I share who Jesus is. Yes, he’s a prophet, but he’s more than a prophet son of God. But more than that, Emmanuel God with us died on a cross. So we can be forgiven risen so we can know him. Two of them start crying. They said just a minute, they go back and get on the radio and they come back and they say, good news. You are the most honored guests of Saddam Hussein. Wow. We walked into Libya a few years ago during the, the Arab uprisings in the Arab spring. When Qaddafi was falling the day before, I’d nearly had my head cut off by one of the well-known groups that we talk about the world and a knife to my neck, they urinated on me. And that’s a whole other story. I ended up spending the night with them. They brought me back the next day, the general of the Egyptian army carried my cross to the border.
Keith Wheeler (38:51):
We walked through no man’s land. And now we’re, we’re walking in there’s tanks pointed at us. There’s gunman pointed at us and my friend, his name is David. He said, Keith, what do you feel? I said, David, I feel the glory of God. We’re walking into the arms of Jesus. And really Daniel. When I talk about evangelism, I’m really talking about Jesus, because if we’re not careful, we can, we can love evangelism more than we love Jesus. We can love ministry more than we love Jesus. And for me, evangelism is simply an invitation from the King of Kings to sit on the front row center stage people worldwide pay high dollar to sit on front row center stage, whether it’s at a football stadium at a basketball event at a, at, at a music event. And, and they will stand, pay all kinds of money to sit there and watch.
Keith Wheeler (39:53):
And the King of the universe, the King of all Kings has said, come and sit and watch me. And it’s us. The Bible tells us we’re co-laborers together with him. That’s why I say, it’s not my ministry. I say, how can, how can I describe the feeling of going to another country and not knowing anybody except Jesus? I don’t know. Who’s going to interpret for me area, if anybody’s even going to speak my language except Jesus. The only one who knows for sure, where I’m going to sleep is Jesus. And sometimes he wants me to meet somebody. He might want me to share about him. So they invite me into their home. I stay in the first home that invites me. I preach in the church first church that invites me. I’ve got a whole lot of funny stories about that. Sometimes he wants me to meet the prime minister or the King and share with them about him. But sometimes he gives me a bus stop or a park bench. Sometimes it gives me it’s raining and I’ll find a park where children play and I’ll hide under the slide. And I have shelter. Sometimes he’ll give me a bridge to sleep under sometimes.
Keith Wheeler (41:11):
And how do you describe this? In those moments? Some nights, he doesn’t want me to have a place to sleep because he wants to visit with me. And so I get to walk all night long, all through the night and talk with him. How do you describe that? How do you describe when you’re in a prison cell with who knows how many people and it’s a tiny little cell and the can for the toilet is overflowing long before I ever got there. And waste is all over the floor and you don’t lean against you. Don’t lean against the wall because same thing’s happening upstairs. And it’s leaking through, how did he describe the presence of Jesus in those moments?
Keith Wheeler (41:56):
I think there’s only one ways. It’s, I’m walking into the glory of God. I’m walking into the arms of Jesus. I, I do what I do because I believe that Jesus is crying. How can he not 3 billion people nearly in our world. Who’ve never, ever, ever heard his name. I’ve walked into villages. I remember one village I walked into and I said, they’re all there. Forgive me for, I won’t tell you the place, but it’s their language sounded to me like one little moment, a moment, a wall. And through the interpreter, he said, they want to know what you’re doing. I said, ask them what they think. I’m doing Lehman, a woman in one room. We know he’s a sportsman like LeBron, James or Michael Jordan, all the while they’re drinking their Cokes. They know those men, they other Cokes. I said, there’s a lot of ways. I’m not like those guys.
Keith Wheeler (42:54):
I said, if they ever heard of Jesus this time among themselves, and they run to all the little houses, all the little stores and they come back out of breath. No, sir, nobody by that name has ever been here. Nobody by that name has ever visited this place. How can he not cry? When those people who don’t know him, can’t come to him. But how can he not cry for those of us who do know him, who won’t come to him? I want to wipe away the tears from his eyes. I want to put a smile on his face. Daniel. I think I’ve heard there’s. My favorite verse in the Bible is John 1323. It says there was leaning on Jesus’ chest. The disciple that he loves when you lean your head on someone’s chest, you hear their heartbeat. But I don’t think I’ve heard his heart go. Bump, bump, bump, bump. I think his heart goes people, people, people, and it’s heartbreaking.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (43:52):
Keith, thank you so much for joining me on the evangelism podcast today. I so love your passion for God. I can see that you really love Jesus. I do. And you really love taking his story to people all over the world. And it’s just so beautiful to see what God has done through your ministry. Thanks. If you’re listening and you want to know more about Keith Wheeler, you can visit his website, K w.org and see all the pictures. There’s lots of pictures there of all the different countries, the beautiful faces of the people that he’s been
Keith Wheeler (44:32):
Able to, to minister to. And so brother, Keith, thank you so much for being on the program. Thanks for the honor. And thanks for the way that you lift up Jesus. I’m very honored to be a part of you, including me in this. God bless you.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (44:50):
Thank you so much for listening today. I love the stories of Keith Wheeler and I’d like to ask you, who’s listening to do me a favor, go to Apple iTunes and find the evangelism podcast and leave us a review. This will help other people who are interested in evangelism to find this podcast. Thank you so much. And God bless you
Evangelism Podcast Host (45:15):
More information about how to share your faith or to financially support our worldwide evangelistic outreaches. Visit King ministries.com. Again, that’s King ministries.com.