I was 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. It seemed like we were either in church or if there wasnt church then we would have devotions at home. Beginning my teenage years I found it difficult to uphold any standard of Christianity. It was easier for me if nobody knew that I was a preachers kid. Drugs and alcohol soon followed.
I moved out on my own as soon as I could. As I ran out of money and my mind twisted with drug withdraws I moved back in with my parents at age 19 and began attending church again. I could not stay with my parents without going to church. It was at this church that I met my wife. 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. I felt that I had failed God and was no use to the church. We moved to Tennessee and bought a couple hundred acres of land on Carter Branch Road. I thought if we could just get away from people and that here 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 somewhere, we had 2 children at this time and I didnt 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 just to be a vote. We didnt 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 drastic turn for the worse. Our marriage, as it was 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 didnt 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. It was really dark outside I could barley see the road. I felt a fear come over me and I began looking around because I could feel something 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, shaped like a punching bag. At first I was really afraid, but then an anger rose up in me and I began to curse them saying to the devil Im not afraid of you, come and get me if you want to, and then looking up to the sky and telling God I dont need you either. I dont 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.
Getting back to before I was saved. 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 5th 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 didnt 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.
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 by theirselve 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 couldnt leave and I couldnt 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 pastors 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 and so on.
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 wasnt 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 none of me would 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 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, at the same time trying to convince myself that nothing really happened.
A few months 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 thats 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 bluffs of rock 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 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 Pensacola 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, there was 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 morning because we had rented a car and needed to get it back. 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 hadnt 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, somethings got to be going on here to get a young kids 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 Ferry Pass, 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 Brownsville Church and I began reading it which was unusual for me since I never had any interest in reading anything before but for some reason I couldnt but it down. I felt a sense of hope coming back. As we got to the 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. Its not that I didnt want to change or want help at this time but I just really didnt 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. 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 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, 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 when 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. 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. Then I began telling Jesus that I was sorry if I was out of line 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 around 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. I could not tell at this point whether I was still in my body or not. 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.
January of 97 we moved to Florida to
attend Bible College. We had our business auctioned off 2 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.
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 the Lord 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 like 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 Gods 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 refered to as order in the Chruch that are missing the intimacy Christ desires.