Church of the Now – Atlanta, GA 3/12/2012by Bishop Jim Swilley (Posted with Permission, All Rights Reserved)
1. I AM NOT YOUR CREATOR: I choose to believe that it was God, not I, who created you in His image (Genesis 1:26), and so I will respect and always try to recognize whatever parts of His DNA are evident in your makeup, whether or not you ever conform to the image of who I think you should or shouldn’t be. Your relationship with Him is something personal…something that is between you and Him alone…and so I not only realize that I will I never fully understand it, I can also rest in the knowledge that I don’t have to. Your relationship with your God is something that I’m not even required to have an opinion about, because God is God, and I completely trust Him as your Creator!
2. I AM NOT YOUR SAVIOR: I choose to always remember that it was Jesus, not I, who chose you in Him before the foundation of the world, that you should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4). I also choose to remember that it was Jesus alone, not I, who died on the cross for you. I took no stripes on my back for you, and so I am unqualified to make a judgment call on your relationship with the One who did. I choose to remember that it is He, not I, who now ever lives to make intercession for you, in order to “save you to the uttermonst” (Hebrews 7:25). Your relationship with Jesus Christ is something personal…something that is between you and Him alone, so I have no choice but to accept it as it is, as you work out your own salvation “with fear and trembling”! (Philippians 2:12)
3. I AM NOT YOUR LORD: If you say that you have confessed Jesus Christ as your Lord, then I have no choice but to believe you, and to accept that as a fact, even if my experience with Him is quite different from yours. You do not have to answer to me for your life, because you did not confess me as Lord over it. And if you never confess Jesus as Lord in this lifetime according to my definition and understanding of it, I still choose to believe that every knee will ultimately bow, and every tongue will, indeed, confess to that fact, and so I believe that that will include you, according to my understanding of it. In the meantime, my only responsibility to you is to love you! (Romans 13:8)
4. I AM NOT YOUR HOLY SPIRIT: I will remember to trust the work of the Spirit in your life, and will recognize that it is He, not I, who began a good work in you, and so it is He who will continue to perform that good work until the Day of the Lord (Philippians 1:6). I have neither the ability nor the responsibility to convict you of what I may perceive to be sin in your life. Whatever needs to be added or taken away from you is strictly in the hands of the The Helper, and I will not be arrogant enough to assume that I could or should do what only He is qualified or supposed to do in you, for you, or through you!
5. I AM NOT YOUR JUDGE: However you interpret the Scriptures is something that I choose to respect, even if your interpretation is quite different from mine. And if you don’t believe the Scriptures, or even acknowledge them, I will still consider it my responsibility to be a “living epistle” before you, regardless of what you do or don’t believe (II Corinthians 3:3). You do not owe me any explanation for your world-view or theology (or lack, thereof), and I will not use certain Scriptures about “exhortation“, or “provoking one another to good works“, or being a “fruit inspector” to impose my opinions on you, manipulate you, or to defend my desire to control you in any way. I will not religiously hide self-serving motives behind certain verses of Scripture taken out of context to defend my desire to mind your business. My only request is that you will give me the same consideration.
6. I AM NOT YOUR PASTOR: I am not your Pastor, unless you tell me that God alone has led you to that conclusion…and if that is, in fact, the case, it must only be because He has placed you in the church “as it has pleased Him” (I Corinthians 12:18), and because my gift makes room for me in your life. And if I am, indeed, your Pastor, I am only a shepherd who works for the Chief Shepherd to lead (not drive) the flock..I will not be a “Lord over God’s heritage” (I Peter 3:5), but will aspire to be one who “rules with liberty”. And if I do ever have a personal “word” for you, it will not come from own opinion of you or of what you do, but from the Holy Spirit…and even then that word should be judged, as should all prophecy. I understand that as your Spiritual Leader I must “give an account for your soul” (Hebrews 13:17), but as a general rule, your personal life is none of my business. Period.
7. I AM NOTHING MORE THAN YOUR FRIEND AND BROTHER: I will not judge you, and will, to the best of my ability, love you unconditionally, as you are conitnually conformed to His image in the way that is unique to you. In so doing, I am making the effort to fulfill the Golen Rule, doing unto you “as I would have you do unto me”. I don’t need for you to be wrong for me to believe that I’m right. Please recognize that God is my Creator, not you….that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord, not you…that the Holy Spirit is working in my life according to His good pleasure, not you…and that only God can judge me, not you. You are not even required to have an opinion about me, or anything that I do or say, and unless you ask me for my opinion, I will not impose mine upon you in any way. I will respect your right to live your life as you see fit, and to interpret the Scriptures as you believe the Holy Spirit leads you to do, without any interruption, intervention, opinion, or commentary from me, whatsoever. I will allow God alone to be God in your life, as you allow Him alone to be God in my life. And even if I am your pastor or leader or teacher or spouse or partner or father or son or fill any other role in your life, I will still only want God’s best for you, and will pray that His will, not mine, will always be done in your life on earth as it is in heaven!
This is my pledge to you…
A Powerful Testimonyby Tremayne Blair (All Rights Reserved)
I HAVE TO SHARE THIS TESTIMONY:: I love sharing my testimonies because I know that there is someone else out there who will read this that may need just that extra spark of encouragement or guidance…..
So I have been in a season of transformation. And in my fasting and prayer time, I have been been asking God to prepare and make me a man for the one whom I believe God has revealed and shown me t…o be my good thing in courtship, to prepare me and elevate me in my leadership with my group OneVoice and my music ministry to share with God’s people, to be a leading example and outstanding big brother for my sisters, as well as a son that my mother could be proud to say came from her womb…To reach this type of transformation I knew in my prayer time that I was going to have to ask God to pull out and uproot some heartaches, troubles, and issues that had been buried deep within me for years that even I had forgotten about or wasn’t acknowledging until now. So this past weekend I was suppose to be apart of a men’s encounter which a time that you go and do nothing but pray and spend time with God. It’s all God all day and night, and I was so looking forward to it cause “I THOUGHT” thats where my transformation was going to take place. But no matter how hard I tried to get to this encounter it just wasn’t happening, something kept coming up….Well I also had a workshop concert in Greensboro with my great friend Daryl B Florance that was I to be apart of it as went to it….Well that night of the concert the spirit of God was in the place heavy and towards the end of the service it began to consume a number of us as we all began to shout and praise the most high God. Well it caught me real good cause like several I began to get my shoutin dance on!!! Well In the midst of my dance one of the pastors laid his hands on my chest and when he did I attempted to shout out hallelujah, however all that would come out was this wailing, and I could tell it was coming from deep within, I know the older saints know what I’m talking about because it was just a inner most moan, like I couldn’t form any words with my mouth, all I could do was wail…..I became completely slain under God’s awesome power, so slain to the point that I was literally folded over in my chair, didn’t even hit the floor! lol! But as I sat there slain, God began to speak to me, but this is all he said “You are set free”…..”Your are set free”….”You are set free”, it was the most refreshing experience I have ever been apart of. There was a sense of freedom all over me, and just to confirm his word he spoke over me at the end of the service Pastor Florance’s wife was walking up to me to give me a hug and right when she got near me to give me a hug I looked at her and I said “I’ve been set free tonight!” and she almost went up in a praise again because she looked at me and said “Thats exactly what God told me to come and tell you”…….See what God showed me this weekend was that he wasn’t looking for me to make a commitment to a location for the weekend, he was looking for me to make a commitment to HIM for the weekend, but like me and my incredible minster mentor Jermaine Blair talk about, I put a face on where I thought it was going to take place, cause I thought it was going to be at the men’s encouter, but God showed me that it can be anywhere, he just needs me to eliminate my SELF plans and walk with him in faith….This is why for the past 5 days I have urged all of you that if there is something God is speaking to you, something in your heart, or something that has been spoken to you in any of the areas I have mentioned in previous status post, please people please walk it out in faith, and when you walk it out in faith don’t look for a feeling from God which is where a lot people mess up….understand that God is not a feeling, he’s an experience…..if you want that experience, then step out on faith. I can promise you that myself, Mike Morris, Sam Bartlett, Lisa Bigbee Shaw, Topper Greene, Sedric Fulton, Isaac Larrowe, Jermaine Blair, Daryl Florance, Ada Scales, Jill McAllister Burcham, Rachel Rizzuti…. Joyce Meyers, Joel Olsteen, T.D. Jakes, and many many others are living witnesses that FAITH WORKS!!! It may be a a state or position that you don’t feel comfortable being in, but it is the most fulfilling, understand that the first 4 letters in the word Testimony spell TEST!….He’s is speaking to you or has spoke to you for a reason….
by Collette Owens from Anchorage Alaska
I am sitting here in tears as my family sleeps at 7:25am thanking God for bringing me into a life filled with people with the same love I have found in Jesus what was missing in their life. Mannnn I fon’t know how to tell you all how happy I always am when I see so many people loving the words that God gives to me and believes that they are not just my words but the words that He gives to me. I want to share this with you. My relationship was establised with God by His choice not mine. I chose to committ a crime which got me federal time, but instead of being sent where i live God sent me to what seems like the other side of the world where He knew that He would have my undivided attention. I went from Alaska to Fort Worth Texas. I spent 2 months crying and trying to figure out how to take all my medicine so that i could end this night mare of a life, this was in September of 99. I only had 18 months but being so far away from home it seemed like 18 years. As I tried to figure out what time to take these pills i heard someone call my name “Collette” So I looked in the library and asked the woman in there if she called me and then i quickly said never mind because I was a number and not a name in there. I went back to my thoughts of suicide and once again I heard my name i said yes and this time i asked someone in the chapel if they called me and of course they didn’t. I was then drawn to the back pew, were i got on my knees and I began crying uncontrollably and i told God that i don’t know much about you and I don’t know satan and is this what happens when you accept Jesus which I had done August 7, 1999. I told God i do know that I am here with 1200 women and i don’t know any of them. I also told Him that my way isn’t working and asked Him if He can please help me? I can’t tell you how wonderful the feeling was that i felt after i said that but the best way to explain it is to say it felt better then when i saw my babies after birth. From that point on I had a whole new attitude. I was no longer in federal prison but in God’s boot camp, because I learned all that i could and for the last 16 months of my sentence there i spent my time with God from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. In December 20, 1999 a prophet from Kirk Franklins group by the name of Darrell Blair, was ministering the word in praise and worship and I was hungry for all that I could receive. He asked if anyone wants to be baptized in fire and I said yes me and he said for everyone to get up and start praising the Lord out loud and I did. I won’t ever forget my first utterance of my prayer language that i was receiving from God hahahaha, i felt like a little baby learning to speak for the first time so i stopped and it was as if he saw me cuz he said don’t cut it off it may sound like babbling but continue to speak and God will bring it through and God did and now I am crying again because i really only thought that speaking in tongues was rehearsed and taught to people, Praise God He showed me different. i don’t know why God had me share this with you but I have and to spend 16 months with God from the time I got up until i went to bed was best thing that has ever happened with me because i was able to bond with God and Jesus in such away that you all will never know unless allow Him inside and let Him be your number one. He will show you all the things that He has given me spiritually and i want to share it all with you so that you can be blessed like I was also. Jesus said all that I have done you will do also and much more and i took that to heart and I claimed it and it is true God bless all of you for allowing me to share this with you and to be a part of your life.
Ministry in KannayyapetaPastor B. Deniel
Greeting in the precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and our personal Savior. I have been praying for so many days strongly to do ministry in kannayyapeta. Because the people of that area are in idol worshipers. They are very poor and living in poverty. The Monday we arranged a meeting there. I went along with k members in my church to distribute food and Gospel. We get arranged a tent there and we were singing songs . But nobody come for some time. We despaired like anything. Then I remembered your prayers. I Prayed in my heart. I prayed that god to send his spirit from house to house, person to person, place to place. At first a woman came. LATER, SO MANY HEARD THE WORD OF GOD IN THAT TENT WITH interest. God motivated them to repent themselves on my speech of love of Jesus , His sacrifice. They believed Jesus Christ as their savior. Them after we shared the food we brought. God encourages us through the prayers of PUSH MINISTRIES, And your encouraging replies. We believe that God will do some day a great ministry through you in our area. Kindly pray for my wife and her ministry.
Please kindly pray for us. We ask that you remember to lift us up in your kind prayers. Please convey our thanks to all the Push ministries members . I hope that our Lord may give full rewards to you and protect you in your tours and visits. Thank you once again on behalf of our believers and family members.
May His grace and peace be unto you for ever.
Love In My Heart, Right from the Startby Kathleen Wilson
This past week has been extremely busy! A team from the Woodlands arrived on Monday, which consisted of two adults, four college students, and six seniors in high school. It has very hectic to say the least! The kids are always so thrilled when new visitors arrive, but things get super crazy in the evenings when everyone is playing with the children in the living room! The team arrived and had plans to run a dental clinic on site for two days then at the IDP camp for two days. As many of the team members were students, none were licensed dentists. Instead, the team coordinator had worked with Christine here in Kenya to hire two dentists from the area to come and perform the work for the clinic. A few days prior to the teams’ arrival, Christine had posted flyers about around the area to inform the villagers about the clinic. When Tuesday morning came there was a line of people waiting outside of IAA’s gates to be seen by the dentists. Unfortunately with the large number of expected patients, the dentists were only instructed to pull teeth. The dental hygiene of most of the villagers is very poor, therefore a simple teeth cleaning most likely wouldn’t suffice. Many already have so many rotten teeth that can’t be fixed, so the solution here is to pull them.
The team provided all the necessary funds to run the clinic such as, paying for the dentists, supplies, toothbrushes and toothpaste for all the patients, and of course medicine. In Kenya you don’t need prescriptions; anyone with the proper amount of money can buy any medicine they so choose. On day one of clinic, I helped Posey and several girls on the team fill prescriptions. After a patient was done getting their teeth pulled, they would come to the window and hand Posey their yellow card that had their prescription and dose listed. We would then fill those prescriptions and give them a brand new toothbrush and toothpaste. It was sad to see all the patients walking to the pharmacy with swollen, numb cheeks, but they were all so grateful to be given the care, medicine, and new toothbrushes.
The staff and children at IAA were also taking part in receiving the dental care. Luckily, the majority of the children didn’t have to get teeth pulled. Ruthie however, was not so lucky and she had to get two pulled. I felt terrible for her because she was the first to be taken in and as soon as they were giving her the numbing shots you could hear her screaming from a mile away. A few of the staff members also got a few of their own pulled as well. All the other children at IAA have been here for most of their lives, so their dental hygiene has been good enough for quite some time. Poor Ruthie just has bad hereditary conditions with her teeth.
In total, 250 people from the village received free dental care in just two days. It was pretty remarkable to see the number of people who took advantage of the opportunity to get their teeth pulled! They were also so kind and thankful of the free care and medicine they had received.
On Thursday the team had anticipated on going out to the IDP camp to run a similar clinic there. However, things in Kenya do not always seem to go as planned. The pastor there had called Christine to reschedule. The team didn’t have many other options though, since their trip in Kenya was only a week long and they had to leave for safari on Sunday. Luckily, Pastor Moses was flexible and informed the team that they could go to the IDP school that day and provide lunch to all the children, and then on Saturday they could go to the IDP camp for a few hours and get a tour. Elissa and I decided to go with the team on Saturday to tour the IDP camp.
The long term volunteer April had told us that visiting the camp was a pretty emotional experience for her. I knew of the conditions to expect, but once we arrived there I was completely taken back. IDP stands for Internally Displaced People. The camp currently houses 522 families, of which there is an additional 100 persons who are extended family. The families arrived at this place a few years ago during the political uprisings and violence that broke out in the Rift Valley. The Kikuyu tribe was forced out of their homes and left with absolutely nothing. Many had to abandon all their personal belongings and homes. With no possessions, no place to live, and no money to support themselves, they were directed to what is now known as the IDP camp.
Seeing this amount of extreme poverty was definitely one of the most difficult things I have ever witnessed. Never in my life could I imagine living my everyday life the way the people at the IDP camp do. It is difficult for me to explain the living conditions these people face each and every day. The words unsanitary, cramped, filthy, and unbearable come to mind. There are about twenty rows of huts made out of log that are covered with tarps. Each “home” is 13×13 feet in dimension and has a “kitchen” and “bedroom.” I say “kitchen” because there is literally a hole in the ground for firewood to be placed in where they then place a pot over in order to cook food. The “bedroom” area fits one twin-sized bed and is to be slept in by all members of the family. The walkways in between each of the huts and throughout the site are made up of feces and mud. On our day of visiting the camp, it started to rain. Pastor Moses gave us a tour of the camp and we got to see how much the rain affects the homes there. The walkways became slip’ in slides and the tarps in many of the homes had holes in them, which didn’t provide much protection against the rain. We were invited into many of the homes throughout our tour and we got to see first hand the leaking water drip from the tarps into these tiny cramped spaces.
Despite the poor living conditions, I was truly blown away by the people. Their generosity and excitement brought pure joy to my heart. All the children followed us around everywhere we went. They loved introducing themselves and talking with us. One little boy in particular, named Brian, walked close to us the entire time we were there and never left our sides. Many of the older girls loved touching my hair and playing with it as we walked through the camp. The kids loved having their pictures taken and would continuously pose for us. The men and women were welcoming us into their homes and were so thrilled to have visitors. They enjoyed showing us their homes and exchanging a few words, which usually had to be translated by Pastor Moses. I met several people, but one family melted my heart. A woman in here 80s and her daughter probably in her 50s were living together in their hut. They were sitting next to their tiny fire and asked us to sit down, even though there was very little space for us to even stand. The two women were happy to show us around their home and were so excited to have visitors. We prayed with them and then told them thank you for sharing their lives with us.
During our tour Pastor Moses informed us that they continuously have shortages of food and clothing. Many only eat one meal each day and their biggest issue with having shortages is that they do not have the land or tools to start growing their own crops. Every day is a struggle for them. It broke my heart to hear and see first hand what these people go through on a daily basis.
I reflected back to last year when I visited the Masai Village and compared the two types of living conditions. While they are both very similar, I quickly realized that the Masai people have chosen to live that way. The people at IDP however, were forced out of the homes they once had. The men and women knew what it was like to have possessions and a nice home for their families. How they still have so much joy, love, and compassion for one another amazed me. It truly made me realize that true happiness isn’t about money, fame, fortune, or any sort of material things… happiness comes from within. Happiness stems from having a loving family that will continuously try their best to provide for one another. This isn’t to say that these families are completely happy where they are now, because I know that is definitely not the case. But it is to say that these people create happiness out of the love and devotion they have within their families. I have seen many things on television about poverty, but going to a place like this and seeing first hand the conditions these people are living in really hit home. I am so very blessed to be where I am, to have a roof over my head, to have nice clothes, to have food to eat everyday, and to have all the incredible things my parents have given me over the years. I am reminded however to not just be thankful for the material things in life, but to also remember how powerful love, family, and relationships are.
Women from Elissa’s church made 175 baby hats that she decided to take with us to the camp. Pastor Moses was very excited to receive them, but informed us that they also needed more baby socks. Without hesitation, Elissa and I both decided we would be than happy to purchase more socks. He then told us that he would love for us to come back the following Sunday for church and that he would inform the women to bring their babies for us to personally give them each a new hat and a pair of socks. We talked with Christine and she has agreed to take us back to do just that.
As much of an emotional experience visiting the camp was, I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to see what I saw. It was truly an experience I will never forget. I am full of prayers for those people. I hope that one day they will be able to move past such extreme poverty and create a better life for themselves. Through all the pain and suffering, I saw so much love, compassion, and joy. When I start to have a bad day, I really hope to think back on this experience and realize that God has blessed me with so much. I want my love, compassion, and joy for life and for others to always shine through whatever it might be that I am going through.
Healing IndiaPastor. B. Deniel
Greetings to you in the name of Lord Jesus. We are praying for your good health and for your safe journey. We thank you specially by the Lord. GOD is doing miracles in Samalkot and vetlapalem in India region due to your prayers. We are also praying for you and Rev. Straw bridge . In very of your prayers to be opened doors unwarr us. Those word strengthening me in Lord. God gives me the people who are in sin and doing image worshippers . Thank you. You are also praying for those people. GOD Has given burden to those people also. So many people getting healings. A person got blood vomtings whole the day who is kameswara rao. We took him to hospital. They send him to house on third day with little life he was unabled to take breath. Some reple told me that I went to see to him. On reaching there your words made me remember that doors to be opened and did prayers for am hour. At end of the prayers he moved aside them opened eyes. All are wondered. So many praised God for his miracle . GOD has shown grace on him to be recover completely . Due to the miracles did by God their family get baptized . Through their witness so may people get faith and delivered from images. Your prayers are providing blessings to the people of India. Your prayers are opening our doors. Your prayers are shelter and pentection to us. And our prayers are blessings to you. You are praying for us. Our prayers helping to so many people to get miracles by relieving from evils and to get healings.
My Daddyby Jennifer Vass
I lost my daddy on November 27th. I have never felt that amount of pain as I felt and still feel today. I lost a peice of me that day a part of me died right along with him. I miss him everyday and not a day goes by I don’t think about him. I have the comfort of knowing that he is in heaven with Jesus! My daddy was a preacher, sawyer, loving husband, daddy, and a good friend to many. I never knew that one person could touch as many lives as he did. He is one of my role models in life. I love him and I can’t wait till the day that we meet again and never have to leave each other again.
Since then I feel like I have had many storms in my life. I love where I volunteer but there was a time that I lost my joy in doing that. I feel that I let satan in and I almost gave up volunteering…. I prayed about it and talked to some great friends about how I was feeling as well as family and God showed me that I was still needed there. Since then I have been happy and finding that joy that I thought that I had lost forever! I also had to face another battle when I lost a friendship that I thought was going to be a lasting one. It really hurt me bad and I had to seek God for help to understanding why this was happening? I don’t think that God ever gave me an answer but he did give me peace about it!
Back in 07 Mark and I lost our baby that we wanted so desperately…. I didn’t understand why. Why God did you give us a baby and then take it from us????? I was hurt and angry and bitter! I prayed then also for God to give me that peace and understanding that only he can give us. God NEVER fails EVER! He not only gave me the peace and understanding he also comforted me. I miss our baby but now whenever I think about him or her I smile and thank God that we have a perfect baby in heaven just waiting on us to get there!
I also lost my precious scrapper a few years back (she was my cat) she was a part of my family. I miss her alot too.
So I guess you are wondering why this note it titled rainbows???? Well here is why….. I have been feeling down and depressed about my daddy and it was getting to the point where I was angry at God for letting it happen why my daddy he had so much left to do he was only 53 I still needed him in my life!!!!
Mark and I were walking last Sunday and it had been storming earlier in the day. It was still alittle rainy and dark looking outside but we walked anyway. On our way back home the sun was shining and we looked up and there was one of the most beautiful rainbows I had seen in a long time. Mark helped me realize what I’m about to tell you all reading this…. We all have storms in our life I have shared a few of mine with you sometimes we feel like God has left us… but on that day he gave me his promise that he never leaves us. We may leave him but he never leaves us…. It is hard going through those trials and storms and sometimes we lose our faith. Just remember that we can’t have rainbows unless we endure the rain first. I hope that I can through my losses help and be there for others who are going through things. I feel like God has let these things happen to me to mold me into the person he wants me to be. Even though these things hurt I love God with all my heart! 2 songs I feel led to mention are The potter knows the clay by The Perrys and the other Blessings by Laura Story.
Prayers Being Answered In Indiaby Pastor B. Deniel
Greetings to you in Jesus name. Our congregation and family are safe with the grace of God. We are praying for you regularly. We are praising God that He is doing miracles wherever you go. You are the vessel selected by God. You are praying for us. And you did prayer for my house. The miraculous and wonderful God did a great help to build our house. The house dedication was celebrated greatly. So many pastors came and prayed. The entire congregation participated. All the relatives and friends were attended. The wonderful thing is on that day 4th June there was no rain. I told it is to be held on 22nd but postponed to 4th. We are very happy. In the every of your letter you speak sweetly. You said in the previous letter that the doors will be opened. That is true. We are very happy in the new house. God listens your graceful prayer towards us. I hope you would see some day my ministry with the grace of God. I am praying for your good health, for your ministry. My family and I am praying for you daily. I will sending some photos ( mobile photos ). We take camera shoots but camera man not given the photographs. So I will send them later. We are praying for you and tour family and your ministries. Our congregation and family conveying you greetings. We are waiting for your kind reply.
May GOD continue to strengthen and keep you.
May HIS love shine upon you .
Pastor B. Deniel, Andhra Pradesh, India
The Smell of Brimstone and the Sight of a Praying Motherby Mary Bobbitt with Deborah Slate Ginder, All Rights Reserved
Tax season was hyperactive on April 7, 2006, and my “ to do” list as a small-town CPA in Hillsville, Virginia, was pushing hard. Early mornings. Imaginary lunches. Late evenings–no, make that nights, and you’ll get the picture that there was little time for things that weren’t really important. The 3:00 phone call that afternoon was. Dr. Shaffer wanted to see us.
I hadn’t seen the itinerant emergency room physician since the stormy night almost four weeks earlier when he had attended my son, Eric DeHaven, with urgent perseverance. Kaleidoscopic images and emotions tumbled through my mind and heart as I remembered. . .
Eric, at age thirty-one, was out of control, and the turmoil in his wake was all but wrecking me. I dreaded going to town each morning. Would Eric’s truck be at his apartment? Or was he lying dead somewhere? Would he show up for work at my office? And if he did, could I bear another day of hearing how much he hated the job–though he never looked for another one? How many more arguments? How much more anger?
There was such potential for good in Eric–tender heart, ready wit, contagious laughter. He was bright, blessed with an aptitude for math and a keen interest in science. But somewhere along the way, something went wrong. Eric dropped out of college, preferring partying to studying. And tripping over his inability to believe something he couldn’t explain, Eric declared himself an atheist.
I felt helpless, and almost hopeless. Like a supreme failure as a parent. Part of me wanted to tell Eric to get out of my life. Maybe that would cause him to evaluate his course and make some changes. But what if something dreadful happened to him? Perhaps, I told myself, if I kept seeing him every day, I could somehow get through to him and bring change. But the only things that seemed to be changing were the rising level of tension between us and the increasing number of bad choices Eric was making. A crisis was surely coming.
When a woman phoned me around 7:45 on the evening of March 13, I assumed she wanted me to do her taxes. Instead, she said something about an accident. I wondered what that had to do with me. Slowly I began to comprehend that Eric had been in an auto crash and was trapped in the vehicle. Rescue personnel, who were cutting him out of the wreckage as we spoke, planned an airlift to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, a teaching hospital about ninety-minutes from our home. I knew that wasn’t a good sign.
Eric was conscious enough, the caller said, to explain he had reached down to get something out of the floor while he was driving. He apparently lost control of the truck, which ran off the road, struck some mail boxes, then shot across the lane and smashed head-on into another vehicle. The occupants of that vehicle didn’t appear to be seriously injured, but the description of Eric’s condition was chilling: “It’s bad, Mary. You need to get here as soon as you can.”
By the time my husband, Victor, and I reached the scene, Eric was gone. Strong winds made helicopter transport to Baptist impossible, so somewhere in the night, an ambulance was screaming its way toward our small local hospital, carrying my wandering son. We followed, praying he was still alive.
I made calls while Victor drove. One call was to activate the church’s prayer chain. I’d received those calls many times myself, but I was never sure my petitions made a difference. I am a follower of Jesus, but did God really respond to my voice, to my cries for help? Despite my uncertainty, I prayed passionately as we traveled. My son’s life was at stake.
In the emergency room waiting area, I clutched a Bible as Victor and I continued to pray. That’s what we were doing when a nurse and Dr. Shaffer came to tell us the news. Their faces spoke first, and it was plainly not good. Eric’s injuries were very, very serious, they said. Very serious. The nurse hugged me and said she was sorry. Both Victor and I heard clearly the words they didn’t say: Eric was dying.
It all seemed so unreal. So impossible. This was not the way Eric’s story was supposed to end! “This can’t be happening,” I declared. “We’ll keep praying!”
And we did. Prayers for Eric…the doctors…the nurses.
Sometime later, Dr. Shaffer returned. Eric was being transferred to Baptist Hospital. The physician spoke directly to me. “Whatever you’re doing, “ he said, “keep doing it. It’s working.”
That sounded like hope to me. . . until the ER doctor at Baptist gently summarized Eric’s condition for us. A dire situation, he said. I must prepare for the worst. If family was not on the way, call them. He was sorry, so very sorry. Would I like to see the chaplain? The unsaid was said again: Eric was dying.
Yes, the chaplain. She came. She prayed. She stayed.
The doctor reappeared. Eric’s heart had stopped beating again, he told us, but this time for only 10 seconds. This time? ONLY ten seconds? Yes. It had stopped 5 times in the local hospital ER, once in the ambulance on the way to Baptist, and now a seventh time. I struggled to breathe. Even if Eric survived, the doctor continued, there was the likelihood of brain damage due to possible oxygen deprivation after twenty minutes of CPR and seven cardiac arrests. Long pause. Eric’s pupils were no longer responding to light. . .would I like to be in the room with him?
The litany of sorrow continued as I stood by the bedside of my unconscious son. There are no words for the anguish. Eric was there somewhere. He had to be. Under the labyrinth of noisy machines and bloody tubes. Lungs not working. One completely collapsed. Both severely bruised and soaked with blood, like sponges soaked with water, said the doc. Respirator loudly breathing for him. Body swollen from head to toe. Sternum broken in multiple places. Ribs on each side fractured at several points. Shoulder and leg possibly broken. Large laceration on his left knee. Vile, yawning chasm in his chest.
Human hope was gone now. Someone led us to a quiet room so we could wait together for the end. But a power greater than myself–the very God whose existence Eric denied–led me to pray for the impossible.
“My son, dear God! My son!” I prayed non-stop, family and friends joining in or quietly waiting and listening, Once, as I stood and walked across the room, a good feeling swept through me like a wave. Was it wishful thinking, or was God telling me He would save Eric?
I dared not believe I had heard from God. But morning came, and Eric was still alive. Another morning, still alive. I’m not sure when the miracle actually happened, but it was on that day, March 15, that a doctor first said the word to me. She had been in the ER when Eric was brought in. “This is a miracle,” she declared.
Each day brought amazing improvement. Respirator gone. Tubes removed. Machines turned off. Eric asked for a chocolate milkshake and a burger. He talked so lucidly about March Madness and basketball brackets, the doc said we could stop worrying about brain damage. And on March 23, ten days after the accident, Eric kissed my hand and said he loved me. He planned to stop drinking and start going to church. God exists, he declared. Yes, a miracle!
Eric came home on March 27, and his remarkable recovery continued. So did his struggle with faith. This time it wasn’t about the existence of God; it was about relationship with Him. To intellectually believe in God was one thing; to actively follow Jesus was another. That issue was still unresolved for Eric on April 7, when Dr. Shaffer asked to see us.
“I’m glad to see you!” Dr. Shaffer hugged Eric with tears in his eyes. “You’re a miracle!”
We listened with unwavering attention as Dr. Shaffer told the story from his perspective. Eric’s injuries, he said, were so severe that it seemed almost pointless to try and save him. To complicate matters further, his trachea was torn; his esophagus, crushed. Inserting a breathing tube would be almost impossible.
Dr. Shaffer continued. Knowing Eric’s survival was highly unlikely, he asked Eric if he knew Jesus. Eric said no. Dr. Shaffer told Eric things didn’t look good. Eric said he couldn’t breathe. The anesthesiologist put Eric to sleep.
Then, Dr. Shaffer said, a most extraordinary thing happened–he smelled the unmistakable odor of brimstone, strongly sulfuric and totally unexplainable in their context. It was, he told us, a message to him: if he lost Eric, Eric was lost eternally. The urgency of that realization compelled Dr. Shaffer to persist in his efforts to save Eric’s life. Praying as hard as he could, he and the anesthesiologist finally got the breathing tube inserted.
Dr. Shaffer left the room long enough to come with a nurse to the waiting area. He saw me holding the Bible and praying. That sight, he said, convinced him he must try even harder to save Eric. “He has a praying mother,” he’d told himself. “I can’t give up.”
The situation darkened. In addition to massive bleeding, the medical team was also confronted by the series of five cardiac arrests. Dr. Shaffer persevered, despite some of his colleagues telling him it was time to quit trying. He did everything he knew to do, he said, praying all the while, driven by the smell of brimstone and the sight of a praying mother.
When Eric’s condition seemed slightly better, Dr. Shaffer called Baptist hospital. “I’m sending you a train wreck,” he told the doctor there. After hearing all Dr. Shaffer had done, the physician at Baptist asked the reason for such extreme effort. The answer: “He has a praying mother.”
The trauma doctor at Baptist did what he could for Eric, then phoned Dr. Shaffer. “Why,” he asked, “did you bother to send this man? His lungs are like hamburger. We don’t think he’ll make it, and if he does, there will probably be brain damage.” Dr. Shaffer responded, “I sent him because his mother is a prayer warrior, and you’d better watch out!” The trauma doctor laughed at him. . .
Dr. Shaffer ended his narrative and addressed Eric directly. “You were saved, Eric, because of your mother’s prayers. Not because of what I, or any other doctor, did. In twenty-five years as a physician, I’ve seen a few miracles, usually in children, and the fact that you’re alive is definitely a miracle. Never before have I smelled brimstone while working on a patient. God has given you a second chance, and I don’t believe you’ll get another one. Go and tell what God has done for you.”
That’s when I realized my prayers had really made a difference! God had indeed heard my petitions, my cries for help! Never again would I regard prayer lightly.
And Eric? He isn’t wasting his second chance. He soon committed to follow Jesus, and often shares the miracle story to bless others and honor God. Alcohol has no place in his life, but his wife of three years, his daughter and step-son surely do. They bought a home recently, Eric finished his bachelor’s degree, and he’s working on a graduate degree from a Christian college. Every business day, he comes to work at my office, lighting the place with his smile. And sometimes, he even kisses my hand and says he loves me.
Kenya Praise Reportfrom Donna Campbell
My arrival back to Kenya started out with a bombshell. When I got off the flight in Kenya I was told I could no longer come in with a tourist visa. They gave me a month to get my self squared away. I was there with five trunks of things for the site and had no choice but to enter any way I could. I arrived on site on May 17th and Christine left that very afternoon to head to Nairobi for surgery to remove some fibroids (cystic fibroses). I think she had a Hysterectomy but am not positive. The doctor told her the recovery would be at least five weeks. She had her surgery on May 26th and has been staying with her brothers family in Nairobi.
I began my almost daily trek to Nairobi for immigration as my current visa would expire on June 15th. Finally on June 11th I was granted a 2 month extension. that would at least keep me here until Christine came home. I now have to return to the US on August 12th. I have moved up my surgery to September 8th , Of course I will be working on my entry visa to return while I am home this time.
The kids are great as usual. Right now I am “kind of ” in charge. I say that because I know that the staff is in touch with Christine almost everyday and she is really the boss. But things are going well.
We have a new fill in person named Miriam and she does all jobs well. She fills in for Mum Jane and Mum Posy on their days off. Miriam is quiet but firm and the kids love her. She takes them into their room after dinner and talks and plays with them while she folds clothes. Then they have a snack ( usually fruit), brush their teeth and I read them a story before lala time. No fuss no muss.
The boys under Salome’s care are doing great. They clean and straighten their rooms before departing for school and do home work in the evening. The girls, Lydiah and Teresia and Lucy, are doing really great. They too are cleaning their room before school and doing home work in the evening. Everyone’s grades went up significantly this term. I am so proud of them.
I started a library check out program for them in my room. I have a shelf of new books and new study books. After they finish their homework they can sign them out and then sign them back in. That seems to be the key. It also allows everyone to know who is reading and studying what. I am asking everyone that comes to bring a few books for my library. They do not have to be new. Books for the 4th-6th grade level that are a little difficult are the ones they like the best. They have all the classics, so don’t send those. Lydiah would like the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. She has read the first one. I would like to have Johnny Tremain for Josephat. They are the two most avid readers . The kids also check out the “revision study books” and do homework pages for additional homework. I also keep in my library the toddler books to select from for story time. Right now their favorite is Where the Wild Things Are and also Corduroy.
The children who use the Library the most are: Josephat, Moses, Newton, Johnny, Lydiah, Lucy and Solomon. I must say they are the better students and can carry on really interesting conversations. Josephat, Moses and Lydiah are in class 6. Newton is in class 4. Johnny is in class 3. Lucy and Solomon are in class 1.
It seems that the new Kitchen project will start soon. The old kitchen was planned for demolition but Samuel, one of our new staff, said it that would be bad because then it would be gone and useless. So he hired 40 men and they dug under the kitchen and CARRIED IT TO ANOTHER AREA ON SITE. It was moved all in one piece and then was restored and is in use while the old site is cleared and made ready for the new kitchen/dining/study hall. Lots of trees were cut down and were split into lumber and the rest are also drying into firewood.. The space looks really bare but I am sure when the new kitchen is finished it will look fabulous.
Work on the wall has stopped for awhile. It is complete in one section in front all the way from the gate to the corner away from the gate house. It is lovely to look at the two iron work sections completed with the names of God.
I was afraid I wouldn’t see the High School kids this time, but they did come home during Mid Term in June. I had told Kennedy I would honk three times every time I passed his school, which is right down the road from us. It would stand for I LOVE YOU. He said he heard the beeps and a friend of his said, “I saw your car and it beeped at me”. Kennedy said he just smiled. Grace came in on Saturday. She is tall and slender and very pretty. She has a surprising quiet sense of humor. Then in the middle of a rain storm in walks Francis soaking wet. What a wonderful surprise. it reminded me of the old coffee commercials they used to show at Christmas time on TV . Remember them? They always made me teary eyed. Caren came in a week earlier, so they didn’t get to see each other. She is still reading every chance she gets. Very quiet and elegant are two descriptive words I could use for her. Eunice opted to go to sports day with her school so I may not see her before I return. Nelson also did not come home this time. He opted to stay in school and catch up. I hope to see him before going home. It has been a very long time without seeing his smiling face.
August will be a tremendously busy month. all the kids will be on vacation and we will be having our first VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL. I will have gone home by them but will be counting on all of your prayers.
There have been some exciting things happening in the Livestock and Agricultural area on site. One of our staff has been gathering and selling eggs from our 100 plus chickens. It has been very profitable. Mama Jane said she would have a T-shirt made for Lydiah (one of our staff) to wear as the designated egg selling person. So I think you all should enter the shirt contest for the slogan on the shirt. Just send your entries to Mama Jane at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall see how creative you can be.
Please stay in prayer for: all the children, the staff members , the country of Kenya, the schools the children attend and for Christine and her recovery. That ought to keep you all busy for quite awhile.
Auntie Donna / IAA Kenya volunteer
For more information and updates from IAA, visit our Blog at http://intoabbasarms.blogspot.com
Jane Hollingshead Gravis
Into Abba’s Arms Foundation
PO Box 130846
Spring, TX 77393
832 928 1298
“And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16
A Birthday Wish To Giveby A Local Mother
A couple of months before her birthday, my daughter asked me if it would be okay if the people invited to her birthday party could bring food items instead of presents. She wanted to give the food to P.U.S.H. Ministries that operate out of the Galax Free Clinic. What do you say to that? I told her that was a great idea! We attended church that Sunday and the pastor shared her story with the congregation. She received a check from her Sunday school teacher to put toward her goal. When her birthday arrived she had a box full of nonperishable food items and around $100. We went shopping at the grocery store and my daughter picked out what she thought was good choices. She picked foods that everyone would like and would go a long way such as beans, pasta, rice, and much more. She put allot of thought into this and we are proud of her.
Mind Control Sermonby Travis Melton http://www.breakthroughthewall.webs.com
Last night I had a very interesting and thought provoking conversation with a Catholic friend of mine. We were having a Bible study on discipleship & listening to Jeremy Camp, Kutless…etc and the subject of drinking came up, whether or not Christians should or shouldn’t drink. Now I believe that Christians shouldn’t, it is a drink like many drugs that can affect the natural balance of now only our physical but mental and spiritual states. It is a control substance that more than less controls you and opens your mind up to do things normally not thought of. My friend however believes one beer or a glass of wine at night is nothing wrong and it comes back to moderation and control. He believes it is an individual’s responsibility to weigh their own moral conduct and not to get drunk – on this we both agree! To get drunk and/or intoxicated to a point of destructiveness is frowned upon by both of us.
We went into the scriptures and found several instances where it said ‘not to get drunk’ (Proverbs 20:1, Isaiah 5:11, Luke 21:34) but my friend asked the question on whether the Bible actually said to abstain from drink altogether? I studied on this for several hours and talked to several other ministers and could not find a particular scripture saying not to drink at all except for certain instances where God directed an individual to abstain to receive a future blessing (Aaron – Lev 10:8 – 10, Numbers 6:3, Judges 13:4, Luke 1:15). We both had clear views on the subject and neither of us ‘converted’ to the other belief but held on to what we thought was right and presented quite an intelligent argument.
After returning home, the Holy Spirit started dealing with my heart and I started thinking that this is not just a ‘drinking’ problem but a lifestyle problem. I will continue to study on drink but as for me and my belief, I do not feel that drinking should be done but this is my personal belief and what I choose to do. A single glass of wine may not hurt you as far as getting drunk or becoming destructive but it can become addictive and lead towards that direction but couldn’t the same be said for anything?
I can drive a car at the speed limit without breaking the law but just a hint of temptation and the right foot pressure could take us into an unlawful situation and cause death if abused.
I can eat a cheesburger and all would be fine but if I continued to eat them on a constant basis I could fall into obesity and a potential heart condition.
I can watch TV or movies that may have none too little cursing or sexual situations but it’s easier said than not to find the next movie with more and more until it turns from PG to R rated.
I could surf the internet and see the wondrous works of God but this could lead to the downloading of Pornographic images lusting.
I could find a girl to be attractive as one of God’s creation and this could intern lead to sexual thoughts and possible even an adulterous affair.
Drugs, sex, greed, money…etc – all can be abused!
The point of all this being that anything withough moderation can lead to sin. I have recently deleted my personal ‘Facebook’ account because I found myself consumed by it. I would spend hours upon hours chatting with people and playing games when I could be studying my Bible or spending time with my wife. There was nothing sinful about being on ‘Facebook’, in fact for the majority of my stay on here I talked about God and the scriptures but I had become an addict, I couldn’t wake up without getting online, I couldn’t go to bed without getting online, I had my phone set up to where I got every little thing that was posted up on here. I could not enjoy a meal or a Bible study or time with my wife and family without it going off and disrupting everything. If I couldn’t get my ‘Facebook’ high on every day I would actually feel like my life wasn’t worth it.
As Christians we need to learn to control our activities and hobbies before they become gods themselves to us other the One True God!
Hello there. My name is Debbie. Reading, writing, enjoying the outdoors, and good movies are some of my passions in life. Without question, my family and true friends are extremely important to me. I am a fifty-four-year-old white divorced mother of two beautiful daughters and grandmother,(Nana), to my three precious grandchildren. The challenges of the responsibilities of being a mom and Nana, have enhanced my importance of being a witness for Jesus. Children are truly like sponges, listening and absorbing everything. I have expressed this importance of our accountability, to parents and grandparents. How we personify ourselves to these impressionable little minds, and those whom we touch in our lives are in fact a testimony. I have never had a soul mate in my married life. Having been twelve years divorced now, in my heart I believe that, there is a Christian gentleman who walks the talk for me somewhere. If it is God’s will, there is a life’s partner with whom I can share my remaining days. Still I would prefer to die in Christ without a husband, rather than marry an unbeliever again. The bible speak of being unevenly yoked. I know the dangers to a believer’s walk and testimony in Christ when living with a nonbeliever. Thankfully I am close to my daughters, seven siblings, and some friends who are spiritual believers like me. My parents have gone to heaven many years now. Having suffered the loss of cherished love ones, I am keenly aware of the importance of knowing that they are in heaven. This is the only solace in death. When I reflect upon my life, I am reminded that, at my age, I have already lived most of my life and am accountable to God in all I say and do.
Know that everyone of us is a gift from God. God created most of us with intelligence and talents. Many Christians, I feel, are also blessed with spiritual gifts. My spiritual gift is words. Since the tender age of twelve I have been writing poetry and lyrics. I made a pact with my Lord that if I was ever fortunate enough to be published that, I would never publish anything my Lord would not want to read. I haven’t! When one can generate feelings in others through words, one cannot help but feel blessed. This has been my dream, showing others through words, and acknowledging the importance of living a Christian walk in Christ.
Early in our life’s many of us think ourselves invincible, especially during the teenage to young adult years. I see this in my nieces, nephews, and other young ones. I believe that as my grandchildren, if the Lord doesn’t come first, grow they too will emit this trait of invincibility. With age, this invincible attitude disappears. The importance of living life in ways that reflect Christ and his teachings will ensure that my family and friends will rest assured that my soul dwells in heaven. Always and forever we are answerable to God; we must never lose sight of this. Finally, in Faith through God’s Grace and Believing in Jesus and the word, I am a child of God. It is my fervent prayer that I, like all true born again believers, listen to the Holy Spirit that dwells in us through salvation. I hope this is only the beginning of sharing faith and love with you.
Yes Miracles Still Happen
God isn’t done with Danny here on earth yet. Thank you Jesus! And yes, this made the biker believe!
Does God still perform miracles? Yes he does! Here is my story:
Our younger son works for a cement company and is a driver. July ’09 on a Saturday, the traffic wasn’t busy at that time of the morning. Danny was going the speed limit when all of a sudden he felt the truck shimmy and shake so he got down to 55mph when one of the tires blew. He was on a highway and slid, hit and flipped over the median, (center wall), into oncoming traffic and PTL none there at the time. he skid quite a ways on other side as well. one man who was a hard core biker saw and went over to him knowing he was dead. when he looked into the truck, Danny’s seat belt was off, not broken, (had it on), and he was hovering 6″- 8″ above the seat in the air! Can we say the hands of God or His Angels? This man couldn’t believe it, Danny said this guy’s mouth dropped!! He helped Danny out. The EMT’s, Fireman, and Police got there at the scene around the same time. They all knew the driver was dead. They had all seen accidents like that before, the one before Danny, the driver’s head was a 100 yards from the truck, torso was around 50 yards, and waist down was still in the seat belt sitting down in the truck. When Danny and this that helped heard them they looked at each other. Then one of the EMT’s asked if either of them knew where the driver was. Danny said it was him and the other guy pointed at Danny. They told them it wasn’t a joke and the situation was serious. Danny and his biker said it was true. They were amazed and one told Danny he needed to thank the Lord and Danny said he already did. Danny was still shaken. And it took three huge tow trucks to stand the cement truck back up which took a few hours.
My Testimony of LOVEby Travis Melton http://www.breakthroughthewall.webs.com
“Love never fails.” Those three words started it all for me, inspired by 1st Corinthians 13:8, and spoken by Evangelist Mike Jenkins on March 23, 1998 at Grayson County High School. That was the day I began the most incredible journey of my life, a journey that would lead to Heaven.
In 1998 I started feeling signs of depression and experienced suicidal tendencies, I felt like an outsider or a longer to my peers. I convinced myself that no one cared for me and love impossible. The mental anguish I felt was almost too much to take and I began self-mutilation as an outlet. It may not make sense to most the physical pain seemed to over shadow my mental state and that, to me, was far better than facing my real battle.
After a long struggle of cutting with razor blades, shoving needles into the gums of my mouth and scrapping my arms with knives I attempted suicide one night in my parents’ bedroom. I remember getting my dad’s gun and putting it in my mouth. I was counting down in my head from 10 to 1 and at 1 I was going to pull the trigger. At number 4 the phone rang and it was a miracle I did not pull the trigger because I jumped straight up in the air, the gun still in my mouth, in fear. I set there trembling as the phone rang and rang, finally the answering machine picked up and it was a member of our youth group saying she missed me at church (At that time I had not gone to church in months) and felt led to call and say that God loved me. I put the gun away but still could not find myself in seeking Christ as my Savior.
A few days after our school had a guest speaker and we all gathered into the auditorium to hear him, a man named Mike Jenkins. I don’t remember the details that led Mike to our school that day but I do remember what he said to us. He talked about growing up in a troubled home; a home where his mother was beaten and raped by his dad; a home where he was beat and rapped by his step dad. He talked about doing/selling drugs and embezzling from the post office but what got to me the most was when he talked about trying to commit suicide after a mining accident that nearly took his foot. I was all ears and soaked everything he said in and afterwards I got a chance to talk to him. Mike saw something in me and he asked me to come back that night and hear him speak to the public and I did just that. That night he told the same story as he did in school but this time he spoke of God and how it was Jesus Christ who turned his life around and saved him from all his troubles. The conviction fell hard and I made my way to a man made altar and Mike was praying the prayer of Salvation with me and I was Saved!
A year later (to the date) I was able to be at another service with Mike where I received my calling to preach, but it would take a long time to come to that point of service and many ups and downs. I served God faithfully for years even starting up a music ministry for about two years with Stacy Aiken and Jesse Cline called ‘T-bone Ministries’ where we did concerts with local Christian rock bands “Hiz, Shadowed & Redeemed” but then I started drifting away allowing sexual pleasures to take His place until finally I was away from Him, the church, the ministry and wanted nothing to do with God. In 2004 I got into some trouble with the law and found myself facing Jail time. It was the hardest few months of my life as the court system decided my fate but it was also exactly what I need to find myself to Jesus feet again. I rededicated my life to Christ at my uncle farm one evening waiting of my punishment and God blessed me greatly. I was charged with 2 convictions of ‘Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor’, a $500 fine and 2 years of probation but was let off after only a year. That was in the summer of 2004 and by January of 2005 I had married a wonderful woman named Sarah Patrick from Florida and started another ministry called ‘Like Matthias Ministries’ teaming back up with Stacy Aiken and Redeemed along with some new bands/speakers, Cor13, Eden’s Way, Steve Carpenter, Steve Dunford & Godkind. We had a successful three year run until the church that had backed up financially and spiritually learned of my past and that of Steve Dunford who had served several years in prison himself before finding Christ and cast judgment on us and asked us to leave. My wife and I was really church hurt and made the decision to stop the ministry and secluded ourselves at home for nearly two years without stepping into the doors of the church. We never quite serving God, in fact we held services at our house in those years but we were scared to attend church anywhere.
It was December of 2010 when we finally made it to church again and it was at a little one in Galax Virginia where the Holy Spirit fell upon me and God reminded me of my calling to preach. Two weeks after that I began my preaching ministry and God has allowed me to preach in several local churches the past year, we held another concert with Eden’s Way and Cor13 and my online ministry has grown beyond anything I could have expected. We do not know exactly where God is leading us but we do know as long as we have Him then He will take us in right direction.