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Personal Testimony

    Born in Indianapolis, Indiana. My father became a pastor when I was fairly young. I was taught the principles of the Bible throughout my childhood. Going to church was mandatory. It seemed like we were either in church or if there wasn’t church then we would have devotions at home. We moved a lot, I believe I went to 9 different schools. I began using drugs and alcohol around the age of sixteen.

  I moved out on my own as soon as I could. It didn't take long to run of of money and thus moved back in with my parents at age 19. Began attending a small Assembly of God church in Plainfield, Indiana. It was at this church that I met my wife (Angela). I tried to get my life back together. We had only been married a few months when we were put in charge of the youth of this church. At first I was excited about this position but my dedication was not very grounded and I began smoking and a short time later I told the pastor that I no longer wanted this position. We left the church not intending to go back to any church. My wife's parents had moved to Tennessee and we decided to move closer to them so we bought some land in Hartsville, Tennessee. I thought if we could just get away and start over that things would be better and that I could possibly live a fairly clean life. I quit doing drugs and would seldom drink.

  After some time we decided that we needed to start attending a church again. We had two children at this time (Jena and Darcy) and I didn’t like the idea of them being raised without a church background. We went one Sunday morning to a small church in town. The church was in conflict some trying to vote the pastor out others trying to recruit new members to keep him voted in. They tried to get us to join so we could vote to keep their pastor. We didn’t want to vote we needed help. We left deciding that we were not any worse off than they were and would do just as good not attending any church.

  Later that year our lives took a turn for the worse. Our marriage was falling apart and seemed soon to end.

  One evening, my wife picked our children up from her mother and fathers house and on her way home got the truck stuck on a back road. When she didn’t return I decided to walk down the road toward their house. At this time all I could feel was hurt and anger. I felt we had ruined our lives. I kept thinking that maybe they had run off, or maybe they had a wreck, maybe I was better off dead also. Our driveway was close to a mile long and it was really dark outside so I could barley see where to walk. When I got to the end close to the main road I felt a fear come over me and I began looking around because it felt like something was watching me. As I looked around I saw in a tree a bunch of eyes looking at me. Each set of eyes was contained in a black pouch, pear shaped like a punching bag. At first I was really afraid feeling an evil presence, but then an anger rose up in me and I began to curse saying "devil I’m not afraid of you, come and get me if you want to, and then looking up to the sky and telling God I don’t need you either. I don’t need either one of you". From that day on the hurt was still there but the anger was greater and seemed easier to live with. I began to curse God using His name in vain, which I could not or would not do before.  I no longer cared or felt a desire to please God. Needless to say I began drinking again on a regular basis. We were just surviving with no real love in our family. Many years later after I was saved I was listening to an evangelist from Mexico (David Hogan). He was relating about the witch doctors and how they would hang a pouch in a tree where evil spirits would abide waiting to be summoned by the witch doctor. As soon as he began describing this I knew what it was I had seen in the tree. It was more confirmed when he described them as being shaped like punching bags.

  We moved a few times due to my job, which was buying an older house, fixing it up and then reselling. We bought a building in Gordonsville, Tennessee and opened a hardware store. I had a dream of building the store up and then selling out when the equity was large enough for us to retire. We were going into our fifth year of business. The store was going pretty good, we had a nice place to live and rental property, but our lives were in worse shape than ever. At this time all I could think of was getting things in order for my wife and kids, I really didn’t think I would be around very much longer. I started thinking again about where I would spend eternity. I knew God was real but at the same time there was a doubt of His very existence, if there was no God then there would be no hell.

  My children had started going to a church a few months earlier, probably closer to a year, and I didn't think it was right for them to go alone so I once again began attending Church. At this time I had been drinking for about 16 years and was now drinking every day. About 6 months later on Easter Sunday night there was a special speaker, as the alter call was given I felt like going down but held back until people were leaving. For a while I couldn’t leave and I couldn’t go down. Finally I gave in and went to the front. I stopped drinking for about one day and smoking for about 4 hours. I knew this wasn't right but most of the church seemed to think that smoking and drinking wasn't necessarily a good thing but tolerable. The youth pastor, (the pastor’s son) smoked and other men in the church who had been drinking longer than myself, and still were, were given positions such as Sunday school teacher etc.

  A few months later I accepted the job as one of the deacons. I told the pastor that I didn't really need to take the job because my life wasn't where it should be with God. He said this job would help me grow in the Lord, instead my drinking got worse. Each night I would go to sleep knowing that if I were to die that I would spend eternity in hell. I wanted to be saved not for my love for Jesus but for me. The fear of hell was more real to me than the reality of God. I tried to convince myself that God understood why I drank and smoked and that I wasn’t hurting anybody but myself.

  Not to long after accepting the job as deacon, this would have been about June of 1995 at about 2:00 in the morning I woke up feeling a presence in the room. It felt as if my body was coming apart or disintegrating, all my strength was leaving. I tried to wake my wife up but couldn't move or talk. I kept trying to at least move my hand, finger, or foot enough to nudge her but I could not move. I couldn't even make a sound come out of my mouth to wake her. I figured I would just be dead when she woke up. I was thinking man I'm going to die and go to hell and can't even ask for forgiveness. At this time I was not sure whether this presence was good or evil all I knew was that what ever it was had a hold of and complete control of me, it was a presence that could take my life at will and I felt had every right to. There wasn't anything I had that I could offer in place of being judged, I was guilty and I knew it. This is really hard to explain other than that I felt helpless with no defender. Then a bright light appeared, it was pure white not like any white I had seen before. We had block walls with no windows; there is no way this light could have come from a natural source outside. The light was concentrated in a round form yet it's presence still filled the room. I can't describe the intensity other than it was a penetrating light full of life. After a time it left. I woke my wife up and told her. I believe she thought I was losing my mind, and I probably was but I knew what I had felt and saw. After this experience there was an overwhelming conviction of living in sin and calling myself a part of the church. I could no longer convince myself that the way I was living was even close to a Christian life, while at the same time trying to convince myself that nothing really happened.

  Awhile later on a Sunday morning while getting ready for church I was feeling conviction again and in my mind was thinking, well God if You really wanted me to stop some things I was doing then to tell me what these things were. For some reason I flipped the television on just in time to hear Miss. Copeland giving a list of sins. I was thinking man that’s a coincidence, she was giving them in what seemed to be the order of importance to me, then she came to the last two drinking and smoking, I shut the television off and tried to ignore it ever happened. I told God that I wasn't ready yet, I really enjoyed drinking, it kept my mind off my problems and that I wasn't hurting anyone but myself. From that time on I can't remember a night that I didn't remember my decision, I was stuck in a place that I saw no way out of. Each night I would tell God no I'm not ready yet please leave me alone, I can't do it I've tried it before. I would cry feeling so empty inside but not being able or willing to do anything about it. My drinking increased and I was smoking 3-1\2 to 4 packs of cigarettes a day. I was giving up on life at this time and didn't see the purpose in going on. I was trying to get things in order for my family because I knew that I wasn't going to be around for them. There were many rock bluffs on the roads where we lived and as I would drive from place to place I would hold onto the steering wheel with both hands, it was very had to keep from driving off the road and into the bluff thinking this would be an easy way out.

  Around July of 1996 I received a call from my father who lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. He told me about a Revival in Florida that had been going on for about a year and that he would like for me to go down with him. I thought man this has got to be the most ignorant thing I could think of. To drive all the way to Florida just to go to church didn't seem to make a lot of sense. I agreed to go but brought my wife because I didn't think I could make it without drinking and knew I could not go without smoking. I figured at least she would be with my father, and it would give us both a chance to get away from our business, maybe just getting away would somehow make things a little better.

    On the way down, I began to feel a sense of expectation or hope. I had nothing to loose. As we arrived at the church on Tuesday we checked at the office and they told us that for the first time in a year they were taking a break and that services would begin again on Friday, we were scheduled to return home Friday. The hope I sensed on the way down was gone, I was now back to the attitude of how ignorant this trip was. They told us about their prayer meeting that night. I didn't really want to go because I felt we would be intruding, after all this was only a prayer meeting. As we entered the church I felt a peace that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I couldn't believe how the people entered in. A young boy caught my eye as he worshipped God. I was thinking, something’s got to be going on here to get a young kid to pray like that. You could tell that he was not praying out of duty but out of compassion and love.

  We were told that a church down the road was having special services so we decided to go. I got a book called Feast of Fire by John Kilpatrick pastor of the Church we had come to visit. I began reading it which was unusual for me since I had only read one book before (The Cross and Switchblade by David Wilkerson) but for some reason I couldn’t but it down. I felt a sense of hope coming back. As we got to Ferry Pass Church I believe there sign said they were in their 14th week or so, I thought man that's a long time something must be happening. As soon as the service began I could not believe the intensity of the worship, the people were really excited. The speaker, John Davis gave an altar call so I snuck out to the bathroom. It’s not that I didn’t want to change or want help at this time but I just really didn’t know what a prayer from someone else would help or if God could or would still help after refusing to commit to Him so many times. The second night I went up. John Davis prayed for me and I fell down. Later I kept thinking I just did what is sometimes referred to as a courtesy fall, even though I would not do that. Obviously something happened because the next day, Friday we decided to stay for the Brownsville service and drive home afterward which would be an all night drive. I was determined not to smoke that day, and hadn't had anything to drink since before we left home.

  We arrived at the Brownsville church and as soon as we walked in side I felt an even greater sense of hope. I was thinking please God don't let me leave the way I came. My mind was racing, wishing I hadn't slipped so far away from God, I wished I hadn't said no so many times. As we were sitting down and the pastor, John Kilpatrick was speaking. I felt a ball of fire rest on my neck and shoulder. I wasn't really sure what was happening it was just a round ball of fire. I don't know how I could see it to tell it's shape but I could. I had a two-year-old neck injury that was beginning to cause a lot of pain, at times it would send a jolt through my body as if I were being shocked. When the fire left the pain in my neck left. A few minutes later John Kilpatrick announced that if anyone felt fire that it was healing. This really helped me because just before he made this announcement something kept telling me that nothing really happened and that the pain would come back. Not only did the pain not come back but I also had a problem with one of my toes making it hard to wear shoes and making me limp, it was also healed.

  At the end of the service Steve Hill gave an altar call. I started to go forward but didn't because the night before at Ferry Pass as I was lying on the floor I told Jesus that I was sorry for the way I had been living and if there was any way He could take me back I would do everything I could to serve Him. The altar call was over and they were talking and praying for those that went forward. I was somewhat regretting not going up. I knew I needed more. I thought they were done and we turned to each other getting ready to leave when the announcement was made that now they were going to pray for anyone else that wanted prayer. I got down as quick as I could, for the first time in my life I didn't hesitate answering the call. My wife was standing next to me, I guess she didn't hesitate either. I saw John Kilpatrick the pastor of the church coming toward us and thought, well I'd better get ready. I was afraid to have someone pray for me thinking I may not react right or something. I saw his hand coming toward my wife who was standing to the left of me - the next thing I knew I was on the floor. I don't remember him touching me, or falling, I was just on the floor. Nothing could convince me that I had fallen on purpose. As I was lying there, Steve Hill the evangelist, was yelling, ‘More Lord’ it felt as if he was praying directly at me but in reality he was walking around praying for others. Each time he would yell this I would feel something deep in my stomach and I would double over. I wasn't able to get up and really didn't want to, I knew I needed something else, and I had never felt anything like this before.

  I began crying out to see Jesus, I was asking to see His face. I don't know why I was asking this I just knew that I needed more help. I heard and could somehow see what I thought was the whole church circling around me praying. I was kneeling down and around me there was one circle of people, and behind them another, then another circle as far as I could see. I thought this is really strange why are they doing this for me, why do they care about me. I could feel prayers coming from every direction. I was telling Jesus that I would try to do better and not drink and smoke. Please understand, drinking and smoking was not the problem, It was a lack on commitment or relationship with God, drinking and smoking was only a by product of this lack of relationship. I was crying or moaning in my spirit reminding God that He knew me and I knew deep down that I was not yet free from the hold that was on my life. I promised Him that I would not be a hypocrite anymore, that if I could not change I would leave the church alone. Suddenly I felt a presence similar to the one I had felt in my bedroom about a year earlier except this time with much more intensity. I then began telling Jesus that I was sorry for asking to see His face, I really thought God had decided to go ahead and kill me. I was very scared but I knew I deserved anything that might happen to me. My body felt as if it was coming apart from the inside out. There wasn't a part of me that didn't feel like it was coming apart, or best described, I felt as if I was going back to dust. Then I began to feel a very strong presence and peace surround me. I really don't know how to describe it and this description does not give it justice but it was like a bunch of wings flapping all around me. Then I heard a voice call out "HERE I AM", this voice seemed to come from a central point while at the same time coming from everywhere. I looked to the right and it is very hard to describe what I saw, felt, and was a part of. It was like a rolling cloud, as far vertically and horizontally as I could see, literally a tidal wave of the purest white, and a mixture of other colors swirling together, but not colors as we know them. This wasn't an ordinary cloud it was alive with more life than I can describe, and as it came toward me and flooded over me it consumed everything. The feeling at this time was not fear but a definite connection with something that had more knowledge and power than anything I could ever imagine, but the greatest feeling was a feeling of warmth and love. I heard the voice again "I'M OVER HERE" I looked straight ahead and it flooded me again, and then again I heard "OVER HERE" Turning to the left the flood of what I believe to be the Glory of God came over me again. I believe if God had revealed himself any more that I would not have been able to live through it. I got up knowing that I was changed and that my old life and sinful way of thinking had ended.

  Two things that were embedded into my spirit was an overwhelming desire, and honor to pray and read God's word. I began reading constantly stopping only to wait on customers that would come into our store, and then going to the church every evening to pray. Many times taking off during the day also to go to the church to pray. I almost got upset when customers would come in because I did not want to quit reading the Bible. I first read the King James Version from cover to cover than I read the NIV version. Than I began reading books of men and women of God that made history living for God. This actually caused a conflict with the leaders of the church, including the pastor because could not understand why we wanted to pray so much or why our commitment to holiness was so intense.

  In January of ‘97’ we moved to Florida to attend Bible College. We had our business auctioned off two weeks after we moved. We left a lot of our belongings but God supplied just what we had to leave behind. I will try to write more about this adventure later.

  Around November or December of '97' I began to feel in my spirit a new revelation of what I had experienced over a year earlier. I could see the Glory of God coming at the church, touching not just one part but covering it all like a blanket. This is a visible, tangible glory. This Glory will create a division between or separate the clean from the unclean. The urgency about this began to grow. January of '98' I was asking God for a reassurance of what I was feeling was really right. Within the same week on a Sunday morning I was listening to Benny Hinn when he began to describe a vision God had showed him unlike any he had ever seen before. I believe he related that this vision was given to him back in November of '97'. He described standing and looking at a hill or the base of a mountain, his body feeling as if it were coming apart or going back to dust. He saw a cloud, but not an ordinary cloud this cloud had life to it and it was revealed to be the Glory of God and it was coming at the church and it would soon hit the church in such a force unlike we have never known.

  Lately I have had an overwhelming feeling just knowing that many of those that are crying out for the Glory of God are not ready for the judgment or holiness that abides with or precedes the Glory. Even the smallest amount of sin will surface nothing can be hidden. This will be a time of separation. Anyone trying to hold onto even a bit of sin will not be allowed to abide in or be sheltered by the Glory. God's people will either be on fire or extinguished. There is no in-between with God, it's either on or off. You are either in the will of God or out of His will. Hot or Cold. Like in the days of Noah all will be baptized but only a few will survive the submersion. There will be those that will reject completely, those that will not endure to the end, and those that will choose to only accept a part of God's fullness living in a lukewarm state and will be spit out of God’s mouth. The judgment on the lukewarm being greater, (like Ananias and Sapphira) than those being cold. The name Christian will once again uphold the fear, love and holiness of the Lord.

Matthew 11:23  And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

  Today God is pouring out His Spirit like never before but many of our Churches are not answering the call. They feel the power of God but are so stuck in tradition and what is now referred to as order in the Church, but are missing the intimacy Christ desires.