Go in depth with Pastor Samuel Rodriguez as he shares how God opened a door for him to pray at the president’s inauguration, a moment that ministered to him on a personal level. Rodriguez also shares how, at one point, he felt he missed his turn in life.
This experience led him to write his new book, You Are Next. Listen to discover how to never miss your moment again.
Stephen Strang: Can you imagine standing before thousands of people on TV that went national and international and pray for the inauguration of the United States President? Today, my guest, Pastor Samuel Rodriguez had that experience. Can you believe it? I was there. I was one of the faces in the crowd and I was so proud of him. Today, on In-Depth with Stephen Strang, we’re going to go a little bit in-depth with this incredible man whose motto, which I admire so much is, to be wholly healed, healthy, happy, humble, hungry and honoring in his life. As his friend and someone who’s known him for a long time, I can testify that’s true. We’re also going to talk about his new book called You Are Next in which he talks about that.
Stephen Strang: You do a lot of media. In fact, I saw you on Fox and Friends just a few days ago promoting your new book called You Are Next, which I must say I had the privilege of publishing. I finished reading it this morning. I thought it is a fantastic book, and I’m not just saying that. In a way, I need to say that for all the authors that we have. I start reading a book because I think I need to, so that I’m aware of kind of what’s happening. I was just really drawn into the story of the man who is waiting to be healed because he had no one to put him into the pool of Bethesda. So, we’re going to talk about a lot of things today, but let’s start with talking about that because when I visited Jerusalem, I had been to the spot that they say is the pool of Bethesda. It is a fairly well-known story if you spent any time in Sunday school or church. I told my wife I couldn’t believe you wrote a whole book on this one story in the Bible. So, why don’t you tell our listeners the basis that you used to write this incredible book.
- John 5:5-8: “A certain man was there who had an illness for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been in that condition now a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred. But while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’Immediately the man was healed, took up his bed, and walked” (MEV)
Pastor Samuel Rodriguez: It’s the narrative from John chapter 5. There is a man who was paralyzed for 38 years. Now, we’re not privy to how long he was around the pool of Bethesda. We know he was paralyzed for 38 years. This man stated explicitly in John 5:7 that he would see on occasion, heaven come down. So, the story is this: An angel would come down and stir up the waters of the pool. The first person to step into the stirred up, or troubled waters in the King James Version, would receive their healing and miracle, right? So, we will be the first person, only one person at a time. This man literally was at the edge of the pool. He would see other people get their healing miracle, their breakthrough and he would miss it every time. And then he says, why? This is what he states, verse 7: I miss my turn. I miss my turn every time because I am, quote dependent on other people to put me into the pool. So, I wrote this book to confront the issue of paralysis via the conduit of dependency. Many of us are paralyzed because we depend on other people. We depend on people for our joy, our peace, our faith, our family, our finances, our future. When we depend on others more than we depend on God, perpetual paralysis will define us.
So, that right there is the initial silo of the book that really drove me because I’ve been paralyzed. I’ve had moments in my life where I was paralyzed by negative circumstances. I was paralyzed by a bad report. I was paralyzed by self-inflicted wounds or wounds that others inflicted on me. I was paralyzed by lies of men. I was paralyzed by nomenclatures and descriptors that I somehow acquiesced to, a victimization mentality. So, I have been paralyzed. I wrote this book for every single human being out there that wants to end paralysis once and for all. I am believing that when you read this book, not only will you never be paralyzed again, your faith, your family, your future will never be paralyzed again. But I’m believing by faith through Christ that you are next for the breakthrough, next for the harvest, next for the miracle, and next to see the grace, the gift and the glory of God exhibited in you, with you and through you.
Stephen Strang: That’s very well put, and I’m looking at the book now it says, destroy what has paralyzed you and never miss your moment again. You’re talking about yourself and I want to drill down into that in just a minute, but I’ll just tell you my own story. I’ve been saved a lot longer than you’ve been alive. I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve seen it done it, heard it. But I was really ministered to in this because even though I have a very, very blessed life, in many ways, there are things that hold me back. And even at this stage of my career, which I like to say is the ninth inning, I realize that there’s so much more than I need to believe God for. So, your book really ministered to me personally. These are the kinds of books we want to publish. We don’t want to just do books that are just pablum for Christians. You really encourage the reader. I told my wife that I found your book very encouraging, even as you explained what you just did about what happened at the pool of Bethesda and the idea that the man could not pick up his own mat, until Jesus came by and Jesus told him to pick it up. But also, how you wove in stories about your family and Pennsylvania and your wife and your kids. A lot of them were cute, and I felt they were appropriate. I remember one little example you used is right before the kids would maybe jump off the back of the sofa or get some cake off the counter when they weren’t supposed to, Eva, your lovely wife, would say now you know if you do that you’re going to get a consequence. I thought, I should have said that to my boys when they were young. That’s a great way to teach, and then they can decide not to do it. So, anyway, you use that to make a point and that just kind of stuck in my mind is just an example. As I was going through it, I would say, this is great. A lot of times pastors, especially pastors, because they’re used to using sermon illustrations, will weave in stuff in books and sometimes it works. Often it doesn’t, but you really made it work.
Pastor Samuel Rodriguez: I lived it out. One of the most compelling stories that was difficult for me to write into the book is a moment where I thought I missed my turn. It was arguably one of the most challenging moments for various reasons. I referenced it in the book in detail. There was a major publication, and I’m not going to mention the name, but it’s a major secular publication that committed to doing an article … they came to me, I didn’t come to them obviously … that in light of our, by the grace of God, we know it’s the grace of God alone, advising three different presidents on different occasions, there was a commitment to profile us on the cover of a magazine. All of a sudden, because of our advisory component, because of our storage, pro-life, pro-biblical values component, they basically, after they made a promise when the publication was published, they highlighted people that I recommended. And, they totally ditched us, even after sending like a crew, a photo group, they profiled my family, and it was a major publication. I was silly enough that what I did was, because I thought that their word was their word. I told friends and family members to be on the lookout. So, they picked up this magazine, and they found other people, other things. I think it was a moment where God dealt more with my pride, where God said, alright Sam, what are you gonna do next? And because I do sacrifice our biblical values, because I refused to say the things they wanted me to say about certain things that you and I hold near and dear, including life, the sanctity of life and so forth. Well, I thought I missed my turn. Then all of a sudden, I saw God’s reward for not sacrificing truth on the altar of political expediency. I was able to pray in front of 1.1 billion people and lift up the name of Jesus Christ across the world. That shows me that God is faithful to His promises.
Stephen Strang: Amen. I was so proud of you and your prayer was almost a reading of the scriptures. You prayed in Jesus name, which, you know, in a lot of settings, people try to be politically correct and leave Jesus out of it, lest they offend somebody. But, you did it boldly, as did a couple of other people that prayed. In fact, it said that Donald Trump had more prayers at his inauguration than any other president, which I thought was pretty interesting.
Pastor Samuel Rodriguez: We mentioned Jesus. Yes, it was the first time Jesus was mentioned on that stage in 11 years. And Steve, I was told not to mention Jesus. I was told not to, not by the President or his team, but by people outside the administration who are friends of mine. I was told by even a media personality, or a media person better yet, don’t say it, Sam, if you say it, you’re going to alienate half the country. Half the country is not going to like you. You’re liked by both Democrats and Republicans because of your whole Lamb’s Agenda thing. Half of that group is going to dislike you or even possibly hate you if you go one route. I was told, I was pressured not to say it. But man, I’m driven by the Holy Spirit. I will never be silent about the most powerful transformative name in all of the universe, the name of Jesus.
Stephen Strang: Amen. And you mentioned praying at the inauguration, but you’ve also had occasion to be in an advisory role, to some extent, with three different presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now, of course, Donald Trump. It’s interesting that I sort of know you well enough to know where you land politically, but you’ve been very careful to be nonpartisan and to say that it’s not about the donkey, which is, you know, the symbol of the Democratic Party or the elephant, which is the symbol of the Republican Party. But instead of the donkey or the elephant, you say it’s the Lamb’s Agenda because our agenda really needs to be about the lamb, Jesus, and about biblical values.
Pastor Samuel Rodriguez: Pro-life, 100 percent life, religious liberty and doing biblical justice. And it begins with the premise that every single person is created in the image of God. every single person is created the image of God. So, the Lamb’s Agenda is one of life, religious liberty and biblical justice in the name of Jesus, wherever it stands. So, even when I was working with the Obama Administration, I advocated for life. Maybe your audience is not privy to this, but I was part of an abortion-reduction task force even during the Obama administration. He established an abortion-reduction task force that lasted for a couple of months. The pro-abortion groups then hijacked the agenda and were basically, in essence, in my words, threatening the president not to support him for his re-election. So, my point to that I’m steady on my convictions. I have to be, that’s called integrity. So, it’s 100 percent pro-life, the sanctity of life in and out of the womb. It’s protecting religious liberty so the gospel can be preached for generations to come. And, it’s do we biblical justice. Not social justice, biblical justice in the name of Jesus. That’s the Lamb’s Agenda, reconciling Billy Graham’s message with Dr. King’s March.
Stephen Strang: I’ve heard you articulate that having to do with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which you started. Full disclosure, I’m one of your board members. So, I’m 100 percent behind you, but the Lord has really given you a platform with this thing that you started. If I’m correct, you actually started it in the period that I’ve known you because I’ve known you since around 2000. When did you start the NHCLC?
Pastor Samuel Rodriguez: Technically, our first connection, you and I, 1997. I was in my 20s. I was in my mid-20s when we first connected, and that started right after just a handful of years post facto. It started because I wanted to reckon … I really felt the calling when I was 14 years old. I attended an Assemblies of God church in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The pastor, wonderful pastor, an unbelievable pastor, my spiritual father indeed. I was 14 years old and I received the call into ministry. Part of that calling was to reconcile Billy Graham’s message to Dr. King’s March. So, I started it because I was going to live out my calling. He we are, all these years later, the organization by the grace of God now is 42,000-plus certified member churches. That’s only in America. Globally, we have thousands of churches that are affiliated to us. I do mean globally, not just in Latin America now. So, it’s a wonderful thing. Think about this. All these churches are committed to life, religious liberty, and doing biblical justice in the name of Jesus advancing the Lamb’s Agenda. So, it’s beautiful because we see in countries that these churches come together, and they support political candidates that are life, religious liberty, and committed to doing biblical justice. So, it’s not just a political movement. More importantly, it’s a prophetic movement, committed to advancing an agenda of righteousness and justice.
Stephen Strang: Hello again. I have a very special offer that I talked about at the top of the podcast. It is to give you a copy of Sam Rodriguez’s book called You Are Next, and a one-year subscription to Charisma magazine for only $24.97. The book itself is $24. So, this is like getting a year of Charisma for only basically $1. All you have to do is go to this website. It is called next.charismamag.com. The good thing about a podcast is you can rewind it and write it down again. But here it is next.charismamag.com. As I said in the podcast, I just finished reading this book. It is powerful. In some ways, it is life changing. I felt that I grew as a result of reading this book. I think Sam Rodriguez did a great job. I’m proud to be the publisher. I’m happy to give the listeners of In-Depth with Stephen Strang this special offer that we’re not making anywhere else. Please respond today. I know that you’ll be blessed by Charisma coming to your home every month. And, you’ll be blessed by this fantastic book by Samuel Rodriguez called You Are Next.
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