The following is just a brief snippet of my personal testimony leading up to my decision to enter into ministry as a vocation and picks up later in my life. If you are interested in my full testimony I would be happy to share it with you. I can sum it relatively easily for you though, it goes something like this:
I grew up knowing Jesus, allowed myself to be tainted by the world, walked away from God, walked in darkness for a season, fell in love with Jesus again, began serving with a renewed vigor, learned along the way how to crucify my flesh, still learning, but now I am serving the LORD for the rest of my life. Jesus is my everything. I can’t live without Him. He has delivered me from myself, and from the world. It reminds me a lot of the movie the Matrix. One day I was deceived by the matrix, a puppet for the adversary, the next I was alive and renewed by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The good news is that He wants to deliver you too!
As you get to know me you will soon discover that there is no such thing as “brief snippets” when I write. ;o)
Here are some events that are a part of my testimony leading up to my decision to start a fellowship.
My Sordid Past:Â
Since I was a very young child I have known the LORD. I loved Him from my youth and yet the cares of this world, lack of discipleship and mainly my own sinfulness drove a wedge between me and my Father. It was through the darkness of my own doing that I walked a path apart from the LORD for many years. But it was not always so. Later in my life, the gentle, loving and kind God of salvation was persistent. He showed me so much mercy and spared me from so many hurtful things. And yet His persistence was not readily received by a young man full of pride and arrogance. Still he pursued me, always there, always faithful, always reminding me that I was His. These gentle reminders came in many forms throughout my life. I would unwittingly minister to others and even though I did not realize it, the LORD used my life to bless others and draw them to him. I would hear people telling me that I would one day pastor a church and even though I despised the thought of ever being one of those â€śChurchyâ€ť people. Still I would tuck away these words away in my heart, though still skeptical that I would one day even remotely have the desire to even go to church, much-less become a pastor!
Though I was a rebellious son, and though I let the cares of the world and my own lusts dictate my actions; though I was a liar, and though I was thief, and though I was a fornicator; though I was vocal about my disdain for authority, Jesus was with me ever ministering to me in the midst of my self-sabotaging delusions. In reality, I had been chosen, set apart for a calling which I ran from for most of life. Unlike Jonah, I did not have a care for God or His ways. At least Jonah loved the LORD he was running from. At one time I had loved the LORD but the cares of the world and the pride of life blinded me to the love that I once had for Him.
At one time I had loved the LORD but the cares of the world and the pride of life blinded me to the love that I once had for Him
My past included many sordid details, that I wonâ€™t give credence to by sharing here, but suffice to say, I was a very bad man more capable than I thought of doing wicked things.
In my running and in my rebellion, the LORD kept gently wooing me and calling me, persistent, so persistent. Until one day I broke. I remember the day that I recommitted my life to Him. I was at a little baptist church in Houston, and the pastor was teaching on Spiritual warfare. It was here that I had a vision (I donâ€™t know how else to describe it) but in the vision it was as if the roof of the church was peeled back and I could see a battle taking place in the heavens between Godâ€™s angels and those that had fallen. It suddenly became very real, and I suddenly became very frightened. But I felt the LORD telling me that I was in His hands and not to fear. I just remember weeping; not sad, but joyfully. And as I left the church It felt like for the first time in a long time as if my eyes were clean. I could see the beauty of the creation that had grown so dark to me dimmed by sin.
I wish I could say that the days, weeks, months, and years following were a wonderful story about a young man who, fully surrendered to the LORD, went out and made a difference for the kingdom of God, but that was far from the case. I still had junk that the LORD needed to clean out.
Over the years though, the LORD continued to be faithful to calling me over and over again, more and more persistent as time passed. I had the wonderful privilege of discovering Calvary Chapel about 19 or 20 years ago when the radio station I was listening to changed formats and I heard a program called â€śThe Masters Callâ€ť by a young pastor named Ron Hindt. It was not long after that I began driving the 100+ mile round trip journey to sit under his teaching. It was as if the LORD had used this man to open my mind to the Scriptures like I had never known before. I had long sensed a calling on my life and just knew that if I were ever to teach the Word of God this is how I would do it. So I watched, I learned, I grew in the Word and the LORD continued to faithfully call on me, growing me and molding me into His image through trial after trial. Persistently calling, persistently challenging me.
You would think that I would have caught a clue. That I would have arrived. Here I was sitting under the Houston Texas equivalent (in my opinion at least) of Gamaliel and still I fell into sin, and still I let pride dictate my life. All the while the LORD kept tugging at me convicting me and telling me that I was going to declare His name to many.
The LORD would have his victory over my life through two major trials that would hit me so deeply and wound me so profoundly that I would have no other choice but to see the folly of my sinfulness and get on the path that the LORD had called me to.
The first came in the area of sexual sin. Being single I had jumped from one girl to the next thinking to myself, â€śThis is the one.â€ť I was far from pure in this area of my life having grown up with the whole concept of being, â€śmarried in the LORDâ€™s eyesâ€ť which I later understood to be a cheap way of saying sleep with whomever you choose and try it before you buy it. There was no accountability in my life, and between my flesh and the enemy, I had isolated myself well enough to be an island on my own. This a great strategy that the enemy employs, â€śDivide and conquer.â€ť My distrust of people in general and loner attitude made isolation even more feasible.
There was no accountability in my life, and between my flesh and the enemy, I had isolated myself well enough to be an island on my own.
I was in leadership at our church and working full-time. My job was with a Christian woman that attended our church, and I lived 5 minutes from work and 10 minutes from church. Problem. For convenience sake I was rooming with a girl. And while we had separate rooms we rarely exercised these boundaries. In short, I was living in sin. I praise the LORD now for what happened next. The LORD exposed my sin and as a result I was called to the mat for what I was doing. I was asked to step down from my role in leadership and either marry the woman that I was living with or separate. All at once I felt as if a heavy weight was lifted off of me. I wept not because I had been caught, but because I had been freed from a sin that had plagued me for so long. The LORD not only delivered me from a particular instance but a life-style.
The next few years were exciting for me. The LORD restored me to the former service and leadership and allowed me to do so much more. It was like a Job thing. I was amazed that the LORD would continue to use me the way he had. I know I did not deserve the grace that He had given me. And yet, He actually restored me and improved me and then gave me more than I would have ever expected. I would like to say that now I had finally arrived but…well you know. I took on a new job and had to deal with some pride issues which the LORD quickly resolved. I had to deal with some foolish financial decisions (bought a little too much car…see pride issue above). And during these years I married and had children and all of the exciting challenges that come with that.
The LORD was all the while continuing hard after me; persistent, oh so persistent is the LORD. I knew that He was calling to go out and I knew that it was going to happen some day but I just kept putting it aside. I would tell myself that it was presumptuous to think that I could teach anyone anything or that I could pastor a church. Even now as I write this I am still not thoroughly convinced that I am not being presumptuous. And still, I know the LORD is calling me. And so the LORD tested me again, this time with the ministry. I had put myself in a place where I was involved in just about everything. When the doors were opened I was there. I was in various ministries and felt that I was completely in the LORDâ€™s will. I loved my family, I worked hard at my job and I went to church and served diligently. Ministry was not an idol to me, it was a way of life. Did this mean that I finally â€śarrived?â€ť Ha. Not hardly. I was leading a home fellowship and really loving the bonds that were being formed. I saw the fruit in peoples life and to this day I am still in fellowship with many of the folks that were a part of our life group. But we had one couple that came to our home for Bible studies once in a blue moon that somehow I had offended.
Shortly thereafter, I was at work and got a phone call from the church asking me to have a meeting with the pastors. When I got to the meeting I was asked to step down from leadership again; the charge: I did not have â€śmy house in order.â€ť I was both shocked and heart-broken at the same time. Oh how I cried out to the LORD. Why LORD are You allowing this to happen to me? I am faithful to serve You, I am walking in Your ways, I am living my life for You, I am serving your people. I am…I am…I….? Me. Oh LORD, please forgive me if I am making this all about me. Please search my heart and reveal the truth. Oh I am so ashamed LORD that I have caused this man to stumble and somehow he feels that I am not worthy of the leadership that I have been entrusted with. I am so sorry LORD, what is it that I have done to cause a brother to call me out for something I donâ€™t even know I am doing? The LORD, ever so faithful, assured me that I was indeed faithful in my service that He would vindicate me. My wife and I both wept together and were in shock, but agreed that if our leaders felt that it was a good call to have us step down then we would acquiesce to the authority of their leadership and place the burden on their shoulders to answer to God for this decision.
I cried out to the LORD and asked Him to vindicate me. To reveal the truth to my leaders and give them discernment regarding the matter. â€śLORD let me be found above reproach regarding this matter,â€ť I cried! The LORD answered my prayer, and He did it the very next day. This time my leadership called on me once again; this time it was to restore me. I was broken, so humbled by this and so I called upon the LORD and asked Him what He wanted me to learn from this. He showed me that my service was to done for Him and not me. And He allowed me to make a decision. Looking back now I know I made the right one.
I told my leaders that if this man had the inclination, whether right or wrong that my house was out of order, perhaps I should just step down and focus on my family and building up those relationships. I am so glad that I did. I spent the next year worshipping with my family and growing them and myself in the LORD. I know now the LORD wanted me to make that decision.
And so the LORD purged some areas of my life…some of the last strongholds that I had built for myself. I had finally arrived…NOT!
Several years went by after that, and my wife and I were resolved to serve the LORD in whatever capacity the LORD saw fit. Erin, my wife, sensed His calling on my life and I knew it was very real, but did not want to take a step without the LORD first leading me. I was and am still unclear as to the steps that I would need to take to get â€śpasteurizedâ€ť and sent but now I know that I cannot put it off any longer.
The decision came when the LORD revealed to me that I was being a Jonah with regard to what He was calling me to do. I had my own vision, my own thoughts on what, when and how it should happen. I felt that if this was what I was supposed to do, then the LORD would put it on the hearts of my leaders to say, â€śHey…what about Nick…perhaps he would be a good choice for being a pastor.â€ť I prayed and kept praying for many years this prayer, â€śLord, if you want to use me then tell them to call me.â€ť And even now I am hoping and praying that this would be the case. I feel like Abraham standing over Isaac with blade in hand because I do not want to push the send button on this without knowing for certain that this is the LORD calling. But how can I doubt? I have seen time and time again, over and over, confirmation after confirmation that this is the perfect will of God in this life that He has given me.
The decision came when the LORD revealed to me that I was being a Jonah with regard to what He was calling me to do.
And so now I know He is calling me to go. The when and the where I am not exactly certain about. I am thinking it will be where he planted me, right here in Richmond, Texas and I feel it will be soon. I am not married to the idea of where, because I am going to go wherever God sends me, that will be where He decides the greatest need can be met. I am confident that I will be the perfect man for the job too, because it will be Him that sends me.
Leading Up To Decision:
Pages cannot contain all of what my heart is trying to say…and my memory is even more fragile than the time that constrains it. So I will do my best to describe the events leading up to the straw that finally broke the camels back, if you will.
It was Saturday morning as I sat in the Sanctuary of Calvary Chapel Dallas in Plano, Texas. I had visited that church on many occasions while training for my last job. This time we had been invited to attend the conference by our current Senior Pastor. But before I go any further let me spend a some time recounting the events leading up to the Pastor Leaders Conference.
We had been been serving beside our new pastor now since around August of 2012 (~8 months at that time). Our current Pastor had invited me to come out and lead the students ministry around the middle of that year.
Just prior to accepting the opportunity to serve in the fellowship I took the request to the LORD while in the mountains of Colorado. Talk about a literal mountain-top experience. My family was playing in the river off of one of the exits on the way to visit her sister, and I told my wife I was going to go off and get alone with the LORD for a little while. My wife at this point had no idea that the pastor had made the invitation to meÂ to serve at his church and I so I kept it secret until I could speak the LORD about it. I did not want her to influence me one way or the other until I understood fully or at least in part what God had in mind for me with regard to serving in Katy.
As I climbed the mountain alone, I was quite nervous actually. I am no longer as athletic as I used to be and I was wearing tennis shoes and so my footing was not very secure. Still, I pressed on and began to climb up what looked like a wash out where water may have flowed down the mountain during rains. There were shear cliff walls on either side of me and loose rocks everywhere so I carefully climbed remembering something I had heard somewhere about always keeping three points of contact when climbing and staying as close to the rock as possible. To be quite frank, the three points of contact I was interested in keeping were: Father, Son and Spirit, and the Rock I wanted to get close to was Jesus!
To be quite frank, the three points of contact I was interested in keeping were: Father, Son and Spirit, and the Rock I wanted to get close to was Jesus!
As I climbed my mind began to create scenarios (as I the proclivity to do often) of the â€śWhat If’sâ€ť and I really began to think…what if a wild animal like a mountain lion were to decide to make lunch of me? Or what if I put my hand on a rock where a viper was sunning? Or what if the rocks slipped out from under me and I were to plummet to my death? All of these â€śwhat-if’sâ€ť started to get to me. What am I thinking?!?! So what…if…this…that…or the other happens?!?! Is not God faithful. Does He not guide my steps? Is not in control of my fate? Am I not in His hands?
Of course I am! And so now with renewed confidence I began to bound more aggressively, albeit, still as slowly as a fat hippie can climb.Â Well…that is until I saw a sight I will never forget.
I had just hit a plateau where I could walk flat for about 15 feet without having to hold on to anything. And I looked down on the ground and saw what looked like the remains of mountain goat. Something had torn into it some time ago as the sun bleached bones were strewn around and the dried, shriveled carcass (or what was left of it anyways) laid there like a leathery kite. And I thought to myself, here is an animal that belonged here in this environment…what am I doing here?Â A sure footed creature that God had created and endowed with the ability to move about these very rocks with skill andÂ purpose. The dexterity and agility these animals must have to evade predators and find food to eat. From birth the creatures gain footing and then begin to learn how to move on a mountain. Me…I do good to tie my shoes.
And here lay one of these agile creatures who did not learn quite as well as the others. Whether this particular animal lost its footing and fell to its death, the LORD knows. Perhaps it was the victim of its adversary, or even of its own carelessness. I cannot say. But what I do know is that it was there without life. I climbed past the remains.
Going about as high as I dare go and with the shade of a bush to shelter me from the sun for a minute or so I began to pray. I had been praying all along…but it was at this point that I made it â€śformalâ€ť (I chuckle now as I read this…how â€śholyâ€ť I try to make things only to get in my own way…lol) and called upon the LORD to seek His wisdom. And I believe the LORD spoke to me saying…. â€śI just showed you the wisdom I have for you. Take a look again at the carcass below you.â€ť
I believed God gave me a warning. I believe that He showed me that I could go anywhere I wanted to go, regardless of how difficult the climb, but that I was to watch my step. He revealed to me that I should count the cost. I would have to move my family and that I could very well lose my footing, or one of my children or my wife could lose theirs and end up dead. Now I don’t believe the LORD was referring to physical death at all (and pray with me that is not the case), but rather, spiritual death. Was I willing to risk my life and the life of my family spiritually to follow after Jesus and what I believe He has called me to do for a long time? Was this the preparation that I had prayed about for so long. Many pastors that I know were first youth pastors, even both of my most recent pastors. Lord thank You!
Was I willing to risk my life and the life of my family spiritually to follow after Jesus and what I believe He has called me to do for a long time?
The Lord had answered me. My step was light and I traversed quite easily back down to the point where I had looked upon the carcass of the dead mountain goat. Now I climbed to the right of where the carcass lay and found more of its bones higher up in what looked almost like a natural cave just large enough to get out of the rain if need be. Perhaps this is where the goat had made its abode? Maybe this is where a mountain lion enjoyed a nice meal… I don’t know? But either way, I was no longer frightened by my imaginations but careful rather to mind my footing.
Now from that vantage point, I found myself in a place where I could see down into the valley below. My wife and children looked like mere specs playing in river below, which may as well have been the run-off from a water hose into the gutter on our street in comparison because of how high up I was. From my vantage point I could see the world below; I was pretty high up there. And below me were my sheep. I understood that the LORD had called me for a purpose and that I was to go back and make my intentions to serve in this new church quite clear.
I waited a couple of days before telling my wife what the LORD had revealed to me and about the invitation to move. My wife was very supportive and eager to get the show on the road. Even though we were established with friends and ministry opportunities in our current church. We had the home of our dreams and we loved it where we were. We were quite comfortable. I had already set the tone to serve the first half of my day in ministry and the other half I had been dedicating to running my â€śtent-makingâ€ť business. The LORD was blessing me with new clients and I loved my time serving at the church on the stage and lighting ministry, the mens ministry, and the prayer ministry. I had been serving with the leader of lighting and stage ministry for over a year and received confirmation from him of the calling that I had been hiding in my heart to one day pastor a church for Jesus somewhere. I had been serving in the church in various capacities and ministries for as long as I could remember having lead aÂ ministry on building godly relationships , served as a home fellowship leader, Mens bible study leader assistant and just loving on people in various other ministries wherever help was needed. I know it was really me that was being ministered to (as any minister will recognize if they are honest with themselves). I was loving my life, but hungry still. God had given me a hunger that would not be satiated and so I was ready to go, but still did not know how I was going to do it.
God had given me a hunger that would not be satiated and so I was ready to go, but still did not know how I was going to do it.
So my wife and I prayed earnestly and I gave our new Senior PastorÂ my answer. I asked him to confirm it with my current Pastor, and then I sat with my old Pastor to get his blessing. I was a little disappointed how he seemed almost too eager to get rid of me! But after 18 or so years under his skin…enough is enough I suppose. God bless you brother! I love you and thank you for putting up with me…you were like a father in Christ to me!
And so every Sunday and Wednesday for the first couple of months we got up and drove the 45 minute trip to our new church from our beautiful home that we loved so dearly. How are we going to get rid of our house? If we are to truly serve a church we need to be there. This long-distance stuff does not work well for us. Not that we mind the inconvenience of traveling…that was not the issue, we wanted to be more accessible to those we were serving but getting 7 people (now eight with the addition of our precious daughter Dimitria) to church so far away was going to be a chore.
So I get a phone call out of the blue (ha…as if that ever really happens…divine appointments are so awesome!) from a friend of my wife and I. My wifeÂ used to nanny for this couple who became awesome friends of ours. The husband, Troy, had been offered a lucrative deal to work for a firm in New York and so he needed a short-term lease. And…well we needed a renter or buyer! God delivered.
We spent many days looking for a home near our new church but the houses that we found, though they were available, we simply could not get into! It was not that we could not afford them, nor was it anything to do with our credit, the leasing agents just seemed to not want to process our applications (although they sure did not mind taking our money for the application fees!) The excuses were, â€śThe home owner is out of the countryâ€ť or â€śWe have not got an answer yet from the land-lord.â€ť Quite frankly, it was just bizarre! I was getting a little put out by the lack of communication and customer service! The LORD reminded us that he was in control of the situation.
Our new tenant was moving in on the first of the month and it was rapidly approaching. We were about to be homeless. The one house that we had neglected, because the price seemed so low that we thought it would be either 1) Located in the ghetto or 2) so dilapidated that we would not want to let our kids walk barefoot on the carpet, was starting to look like our last option.Â We reluctantly scheduled to meet our agent at the address. When we got there…we fell in love with the house. It seemed perfect for us. We waited on pins and needles to get the answer as we had the moving truck ready. We were literally going to drive to the church in a U-Haul and pray for the graciousness of our receiving church to be there so we would not have to sleep in the parking lot outside of the church!
As we began to get ready to leave we got the call and discovered we were approved. Praise the LORD! It was so awesome to see the God of the 11th hour proceed to amaze us yet again with his perfect timing. These exercises of faith have been steadily coming as long as I can remember, but none so nail-biting for us as this. Personally, I have to admit that I was secure knowing that the LORD would supply. My wife….well…she has faith, but I don’t think at this point she was leaning on it. Bless her and pray for her…the LORD is continuously doing a work in her life too and so I do enjoy seeing her grow although sometimes it annoys me to no end to keep having to say…but babe…LOOK WHAT THE LORD HAS ALREADY DONE! She knows this but it is a hard thing to overcome…time and seasons of trust grow this kind of faith as the LORD sees fit to give it.
It was so awesome to see the God of the 11thÂ hour proceed to amaze us yet again with his perfect timing.
So here we are in our new church. Our Senior Pastor asks us if we want to go to this Pastor Leaders Conference in Plano. I was like, â€śKewl…I wouldnâ€™t mind going to see what they are all about. I knew that it would be segregated by Senior Pastors and then everybody else, but I was okay with that… I was certain that there would be good food (bacon)and good teaching (bacon)…and I might even get to see some old friends (bacon)! Did I mention I am out of shape….lol (bacon).
Problem…I was a little short on cash, our family dog had just died mysteriously, my aunt who was instrumental in my surrender to Christ had just passed away that week leading up to the conference, and my dear friend lost his grandma and his family would likely desire my support (I was asked to be a pall-bearer), and then there were all of the regular logistical concerns with what to do with the kids, the food, hotel, arrangements, etc…. All of this about to drop on the weekend of the conference. In fact down to the very day before! How could I commit to going now! Then on top of it, our Senior Pastor asks me if I was not planning on attending, would I mind helping him with his business while he was away (deposit checks, stuff like that). Then to top it off, the night before, my whole family comes down with a stomach bug!
LORD are you telling me that you don’t want us to go? Good….cuz at this point I want to stay home. You just landed two new deals in my lap, I can bless my pastor by freeing his plate a little so he won’t have to worry about his business while he is at the conference, I can get ready for the funeral on Saturday at 2:00 in Lufkin, Texas, spend time with my family and then get ready to head out to another funeral on Tuesday in San Antonio, and then another youth camp meeting the following weekend which is in Austin, Texas city…GO…GO…GO…Yeah…NO…..I would rather stay home!
No! Watch your footing! I have prepared your steps the LORD reminded me. I had an overwhelming sense that the LORD wanted me to be there. The next morning came earlier than any others that week!
I had an overwhelming sense that the LORD wanted me to be there.
And so we arrived in Dallas. Awesome conference! I wept, I laughed, I rejoiced, I praised, and I saw what I knew the LORD wanted me to see.
And so Saturday morning…the last day of the conference and many of the â€śimportantâ€ť pastors had already left (suckers missed out on a great breakfast and great message!) and I think only one of them really had a valid excuse (don’t know what he was doing there to begin with…It is amazing but so his his wife…we love you Kym!). And so we are sitting there having breakfast and another pastor and his wife, whom I had never met before came and sat down beside us and we began to enjoy fellowship. We talked for what seemed like an hour and I sat there fascinated by the story of how the Pastor came to know Jesus, and how his journey brought him to his wife and his ministry.
As the time drew near for us to begin the last session I told him that I admired his life and how I had always felt the LORD calling me to ministry since I was young. I joked about how when I was a very little boy how I used to stand on the vacuum cleaner and use the handle as a microphone to preach…lol.Â I did not go into any details about my life other than that I came to know Jesus at an early age…I could not remember exactly when…but I started living my life for Him after hearing my old pastor on the radio maybe the first month of his radio broadcast and how I watched the church really grow and bless people over the course of the 18 or so years I had been a part of that fellowship. I spoke of my admiration of former pastor and how he had ministered to me in my life. And I praised the Lord for my new pastor and the way the LORD has used him to minister to me and my family these few short months that we have been a part of this fellowship.
Next thing I know this Pastor I had just met says that he wants to pray for me….I was like… awesome… love prayer. No better time than the present…I think he was thinking later….lol, but he commenced to pray for me none the less.
I was expecting him to ask the LORD to bless our fellowship and our service, but no…I did not get what I expected. I felt like this guy has been spying on me since I was little. It was as if he knew my deepest desire, the struggles that I faced with ministry and my desire that the LORD would send a confirmationÂ through Calvary leadership and not let me move until then! I think I was shaking…and then like that he bolted!
It was as if he knew my deepest desire, the struggles that I faced with ministry and my desire that the LORD would send a confirmationÂ through Calvary leadership and not let me move until then!
I took off after him (not wanting to miss worship) thinking…or really not knowing what to think….I was probably shaking I was so excited…I left my bag, my computer, my jaw… back in the fellowship hall! So I ran back and got it and then sprinted back to the Sanctuary for worship.Â So there I am listening to this awesome worship, thinking and praying to the LORD. And I asked Him, â€śLord, if this is You telling me that You want to send me please confirm it with this Pastor again after service…he said he wanted to pray with me again and I just need to know if this is truly what YOU want from me and not just me looking for what I want to hear and getting caught up in the moment. But LORD….will You also confirm it with me before we meet after service…..and so worship continued.
And wouldn’t you know…I had another flashback…no…. not one that was triggered by my BC lifestyle drugs of choice either…But as the song played I was taken back to a little town in Lometa, Texas to a wooden pew in a small Pentecostal church where my Granny attended. And just like, that the LORD gave me the mind toÂ remember the moment that I had given my life to Jesus for the first time (March of 1981). It had eluded me up until that point. I knew that I had received the LORD at a very young age, but I could not remember exactly when. I did rememberÂ that it was not until many years later that the LORD called me out of my backslidden ways to follow Him. I got this call while attending at a small Baptist churchÂ in some obscure place, and then to hear Him again to come and be taught by an amazing pastor, who I will always consider to be a giant in the faith . And so it was from that little church in Lometa where an old song stuck in my head for life that the LORD chose to confirm to me that He was calling me. And so I know now that I must prepare for where He is calling me. I have waited my life for the when. I have that answer, but now I need the where. Not that where I am now is merely a stepping stone by any means…no… I know it is where God has called me to prepare me now for what is to come.
And so as I sat there in my family, tears of pure joy, mingled with amazement streaming down my face, I sang an uncanny song for us Calvary folk, but I sang with a new heart, â€śI’ll fly away oh glory, I’ll fly away….when I die Hallelujah by and by….I’ll fly away!â€ť It was the same song that caused my heart to leap for Jesus the first time I fell in love with Him so many many years before there in that little church in Lometa Texas where I gave my life to Jesus for the first time.
After an amazing message. I went to get coffee and my wife had gone off to take care of some business. It was at this point that I ran into the pastor again. This time the Pastor and his wife both prayed for me. The pastors wife told me that even though they did not know me, they saw something different about me from the moment they laid eyes on me. She prayed and said that the LORD had his eyes on me as well. That He was watching me. That she sensed the LORD was calling me. It reminded me of what Pastor Eric Coburn had taught on earlier in the conference about 1 in 1000. The pastor then prayed for me and said that he too sensed the calling on my life that now is the time even if the where is in the air [paraphrased]. At this point…I am so choked up my eyes are steaming with tears and I can’t even compute what is going on. And before I knew I was on my wayÂ home.
Oh…and then the enemy confirmed it for me too! I won’t go into all of the sordid details butÂ the ride home went from one of wonder and amazement to a full blown battle royale…. wife flying offÂ the handle, family losing their flipping minds and me losing my temper and reign on my tongue! Oh it was horrible…I felt like…. what a joke…this guy does not know what the heck he is talking about…I am no way worthy of the calling the LORD had spoken to me and confirmed to me….LIAR.
Oh…and then the enemy confirmed it for me too!
And God gently reminded me
There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it unto the Day of the Lord. He that is you is greater than he that is in the World. If God be for you who can stand against you. My sheep hear My voice. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called He also justified; those he justified he also glorified.
And my heart was broken before the LORD and I wept and repented as I drove
Isa 6:5 NKJV – So I said: “Woe [is] me, for I am undone! Because I [am] a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”
Isa 6:6 NKJV – Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal [which] he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
Isa 6:7 NKJV – And he touched my mouth [with it], and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
Isa 6:8 NKJV – Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here [am] I! Send me.”
Lord forgive me, a wretched sinner. If you see fit to use me then I am here to be used by you. For the longest time I condemned myself and believed the lie that my punishment for my sins, the consequences for those things I have done against you were enough to preclude me from the calling you placed on me from an early age. But LORD it was my punishment for my sins that You made Yours and nailed to the cross! Praise YOU LORD! And so here I am….where then shall I go?