The first time I ever went into a Pentecostal church, my mouth dropped to the floor when I saw the congregation standing with hands raised and shouting praises, some were running others were jumping up and down; there was a party going on and it was in church.
Going into a Pentecostal church was so foreign to me. The church I grew up in did not have its own buildings; a few congregations got lucky and bought old buildings for themselves but for the most part we rented rooms and halls. Neither did we use the tradition imagery like crosses, these were pagan symbols.
To be honest any time I went into a church building, it felt like a pagan temple – and even though I would spend 7 years in them, I could never shake that feeling; I just learned to suppress it and moved on. I honestly believed this is where God wanted me to be and with what I have learned since, I still believe He sent me that route to learn what traditional Christianity was all about.
At first I was a major skeptic of all the spiritual manifestations that was going on all around me. Those familiar with the Pentecostals know what I mean; the speaking in tongues, the shaking under the spirit, being slain in the spirit, interpreting tongues etc. & etc.
Then there was this popular preacher out of Florida that came up and preached a revival at our church. The sanctuary sat around 900 and there where people lined up outside along the walls wherever there was a window open. When we got there it was packed out but someone we knew had saved us some seats up on stage in the choir loft.
As this man spoke my right hand began to shake. It embarrassed my wife; we both were new to this. She grabbed my hand to make it stop, we were behind the speaker and all of a sudden he shouted that there was a woman trying to stop her husband’s hand from shaking and she was to quit. My wife’s eyes got big as saucers. After the sermon when many were waiting for prayer and have hands lade on them, we were standing on the stage talking to a friend when one of the ministers turned and touched my forehead with his thumb. And all of a sudden something invisible grabbed both my legs and yanked them out from under me and down I went and I could not move as I felt something flow through me. At that point I became a believer in all that mess.
A few months later I would take an evangelism course and I started teaching at a small retirement home on Sunday mornings to a group of elderly ladies. The first time I stood to teach/preach I knew what my life’s purpose was. I had never done anything like it and something in me knew its calling.
After doing that for a while and a few other small assignments my wife and I began ministerial training. After a year of training I became a licensed minister in the Church of God and we took on an associate pastor’s position in a small church in Chattanooga, TN. My duties at the church were primarily over the young adult ministries; then my wife and I started a children’s ministry as well because no one was doing it. Then on occasion the pastor would have me preach either the morning or evening service for him when needed.
We were there at this small church for 3 years. During this time my mother fell sick with colon cancer. They had removed around a foot of her colon and they thought they had gotten it all but it unknowingly to all had already spread to the lymph nodes in her back. Later we were told that the lymph nodes are like a door way to the rest of the body once the cancer gets to them.
This would become the hardest time of my life. To watch my mom slowly die over a years’ time; I was the big faith preacher now, I had seen many things, so I went to praying for my mother. While she slept I would put my hands on her and pray in tongues with tears, nothing was working. One time I spent a week with her in the hospital and she was growing worse. I went down to the hospital chapel and got on my face with my bible and prayed as hard as I could but nothing was there, no answers were coming.
I stood up and raised the very bible I preached from up into the air and I shouted at God and called him a liar and the that book was nothing but lies – I quoted it, “You shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover” Lies it’s all lies I shouted.
Something in me was never right after that point. I would preach and pray for others but inside I did not believe anymore in all that power. I lived a life of hypocrisy before the church; I preached deliverance but did not believe in it.
At this point my brother who was self-employed let his partner run his business while he went and stayed with mom till the end. He is my younger brother and I asked several times if he needed me to come but he told me that both of us did not need to remember mom in that final state. She had developed 12 tumors in her brain. She could hear but could not communicate. The last time I talked with her she could only moan.
It was Wednesday night, November 1, 2000; I was at church, and we were about to get ready for the service and I had asked for prayers. The church gathered around me and I asked them to ask God to take her if He was not going to heal her. At 7pm Eastern Time the pastor’s daughter came in and said I had a phone call, it was my brother, and he told me that mom had just passed away, she was 51. The tumors in her brain began to burst, they took her voice and her sight before she had passed, her last moments were in horrendous pain that even the morphine could not stop.
Something died in me that night as well, as long as I was in the church I was not the same on the inside, on the outside no one knew.
Time had passed and I continued on the best I could. The pastor set me up with my first computer and I would go online to begin to widen my biblical studies. On Christmas morning 2001 something stirred me out of sleep. In my mind I heard something tell me to research the Messianic Church.
I got up and fired up the computer with its dial up connection and when it loaded I went to Yahoo and typed in the word, Messianic.
From there our life would change again.