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eliyahu
11-01-2008, 05:46 AM
This is my testimony of how there really is a God who has saved me and the Bible is his true word.

I was born into a multi-denominational family. My Father was a Lutheran, my mother was associated with the Assemblies of God, and my grandparents were involved with the Church of God (quite similar to AoG). I was baptised a Lutheran when I was an infant. My mother brought me to her AoG church regularly as a child. I did go to the Lutheran church and my grandparents' church numerous times as well, but not nearly as much as the AoG. I was privileged to attend a private, non denominational Christian school for the first eight years before I chose to go to public schools.

I can not pin a date on when I first came to know the Lord in a real and personal way, as a child. I just always lived my life with the Bible being taught to me at least three days a week either at church 2x or at my grandparent's house with their Christian TV constantly playing. Between the combination of these, I knew the Bible quite. I was taught something called dispensational eschatology, by the time I could read. I prayed regularly through the day as a lifestyle. From my oldest memories I remember grieving over those who did not know Jesus as their Lord and praying for their salvation. I even would regularly share Jesus with my neighbors who did not know the gospel. I had to memorize large portions of scripture in school, in addition to all of the verses that I had etched into memory from years of listening to preaching all day and night long at my grandparents' house. I even remember the preacher coming to visit my great grandmother in her final years before I reached the age of 7. He would preach a whole sermon just to her alone because she was unable to attend services any longer. My grandparents passed on a tradition of strong faith and holiness to me. They told me stories of the wonders of God that they had experienced.

My great grandmother was raised in a family of illegal Moonshine bootleggers and dance "callers" in Oklahoma. This is the old time version of a modern day, underground rave DJ or something similar. She would hear the gospel from her neighbors who had the only telephone she could use. They asked her to sing with them the old song "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus." She was touched by the Holy Spirit and had faith come alive in her heart as she prayed to be forgiven of her sin and submitted herself to Jesus as her new Master. She was mocked by everyone in her large family for her new lifestyle. But, in God's time, her prayers were answered as each one of her family repented of their sins and came to Jesus as their Lord and savior.

My great grandmother was a woman of prayer and holiness. She read the Bible and prayed each night with my great grandfather and their children. They held firm stances of their personal standards of what they deemed to be holiness. It proved to be a fruitful choice. Their hearts were in unison with the Lord's. One time, before my great grandmother was married, her brother grew ill and died while on a boat headed back to the USA from fighting in WW1. She received word that he had died. She was not sure about his salvation before his death. She was praying for God to comfort her or do something. While she was praying, she said that a man dressing in gleaming white, with large folded up wings appeared in the room. He said "Why weepest thou? Why do you seek the living among the dead?" Then he disappeared. She took it to mean that her brother had come to know the Lord before he actually died.

Another time my great grandmother's spirituality was used as a witness to my own parents who were not living close to the Lord at all before I was born. My parents were headed to England for a vacation in the mid 1970s. My great grandmother warned them in the name of the Lord not to go. They regularly went on vacations because my father was a businessman who often won trips from sales competitions. My parents did not listen to her advice and they went anyhow. While they were there, the subway that they planned to use was suddenly closed off by the police. The IRA had bombed it minutes earlier! When my parents returned to the states, my great grandmother asked them where they were at such and such a time. They sheepishly confessed what had happened. She replied, "I knew it because the Lord had me intercede for your lives at that very hour!" She passed away when I was 7 years old.

Before that happened, I had a few life changing experiences of my own. When I was about three years old, I had an experience with an angel. I distinctly remember sitting in my high chair eating Cheerios while my mother was in the room in front of me folding the clean towels on the couch. In the room off to my right, I saw an angel. He was a robed man with long hair, folded up wings and a large two edged sword in his hand. He had what looked like small clouds of darkness floating around him in the dark room. He did not light up the room at all, yet he was a white as a lit light bulb. I was so much at ease with him that I did not even tell my mother to come and see.

Shortly thereafter I had the most wonderful experience one could hope for. I awoke from my sleep to discover that Jesus was standing in my room! I remember him well. He had a big smile on his face and arms wide open as if he wanted to embrace me. He wore Biblical times looking dress. He had a beard. He was shining like the sun. I distinctly remember that the light emanating from him was in many various shades and was in rays that penetrated right through anything in their way. Also, the light did not at all hurt my eyes. I was so startled by this that I pulled the blankets over my head and shouted for my mother to come. Then I remembered the story of the disciples seeing Jesus walking upon the stormy waters of Galilee and Jesus saying "Do not be afraid. I am." I tried not to be afraid. I peeked out and saw him, still standing there with his big smile and open arms. Again, I retreated beneath the blankets and shouted for my mother. When she did not come, I looked one more time. This time, Jesus disappeared right before my eyes! Seconds later, my mothered entered the room and asked what was happening. Apparently the experience was for me alone.

When I was about 8 years old, my sister, who was six years my elder, began to go be quite rebellious. She got involved with the local punk rock scene. It began one night when she met a punk rocker guy at a party. He became her boyfriend immediately. Days earlier, he had done an occultic ritual with a witch in order to get a girlfriend of my sister's description. Apparently it worked. It also brought demonic activities in both mine and my sister's lives. She began to regularly have demonic manifestations terrorize her when she was alone in our house at night. I also had a few horrific experiences to match. Our parents did not believe us. One time, my sister saw a demon in her room. She woke up my mother and told her what happened. Right then, the telephone cord was picked up by an invisible force and began to beat against the table in front of the both of them! My mother told my sister to go to bed. Then she called the pastor's wife to come over that week.

The pastor's wife and another woman came over to my house while my sister and I were at school, unbeknownst to my sister and I. They prayed all through our house and told the demons to get out in Jesus' name. The demons did. I had noticed the change and I even told my mother that the demons were gone. Then she told me how the ladies had a prayer meeting in our house. This only affirmed to me that my life was definitely a battleground between God and the demons in these last days before the rapture. Between these things and all of the teachings about the Antichrist and the rapture teachings that I was continually being fed, I had a very interesting worldview at that age. I was preoccupied with the spirit realm and the end times for a few years there. My sister being caught up with the punk rock/rock n roll scene did not help influence me for the good any either. At the time, I feared that she was an open door for demons to come back into the house at any moment. I knew that her music was mostly ungodly and some of it was even satanic.

At the age of eight I had a dream that defined my life for the remainder of my childhood. In it, I was a medieval warrior in the middle of a battle against demonic creatures (This was the only dream like this I have ever had.). I was armed with a sword, but curiously had no helmet. I had a guide and partner in the fight. He and many of the characters in the dream looked a lot like characters from a popular science fiction movie series (Star Wars) which I did not watch because of their New Age themes. At one point, my partner had to sacrifice his life to save my own in a battle against the demonic hordes. After his death, his voice still spoke to me and told me that I could do anything I wanted to if I would just "believe in myself." I later learned that this is one way that demonic "spirit guides" establish contact with people: through the appearing as a familiar personality in a dream. I had no time to think, just fight. Soon I ran away from the overwhelming number of creatures attacking me and down some stairs into a room.

The room was filled with crushed velvet paintings of demons and animated decaying corpses that were all laughing at me. I turned to leave but the stairs smoothed out and the door closed in front of me. To my side, I saw a long tunnel, molded with ornate gold, going out to a flame lit abyss. My grandfather's brother (who was not saved) was screaming and falling down into this hell. A transparent, animated image of a large and demonic looking person was in the tunnel mocking me. The walls began to close in on me from all sides. The demon told me that I thought that I knew Jesus, but I did not really know him. He told me that I was in the palm of his hand and at the last minute, I would be his: in hell. As the walls began to push me into this tunnel, the demons' laughter climaxed into a frenzied, fevered pitch. Just at the last second, my mother turned my light on and woke me for school. I was so sure that the Lord was telling me to get truly saved. But how, since I already thought I was saved? I still needed the "helmet of salvation" and the Lord had showed me my future fate in hell, or so I thought. Obviously, now I know that this was not a dream from the Lord. It was from the devil. Within a month, my grandfather's brother unexpectedly died without having turned to Jesus for mercy first. This sunk the dream's message deeper into my fears. His funeral was a biiter one for me.

As I entered my teens, I began to drift further and further from the Lord. My parents were not very much on the same page spiritually. They both attended two seperate churches, the Lutheran and the Assembly of God church. My sister had ran away from home for about six months when she was fifteen and I was eleven years old. When she returned, her life was not much different, if at all. The issues that dorve her to this were more of her own personal ones than anything being wrong with my parent's. So, while my family and I were wading through our own dis-functions, I entered puberty.

My father was not exeptionally close to me. Like most boys, I did not have any other godly elders that I was close enough with to be an example to me or mentor me through the challenging early years of teen life. I began to be drawn to two different crowds: the sci-fi geeks and the rocker/rebel types. Eventually, the rockers won me out. The sci-fi geeks were more into getting good grades and playing role playing games than having "real" fun, thrills or getting the chicks. I had a hard enough time adjusting to being a teen and then starting public school at the age of fourteen. I didn't have time to forge an identity with any certain crowd,nor was very capable of this. My grades continually plummeted. I was frustrated with school work and ill-adjusted to social life. I was having to go to family counseling and soon personal counseling. None of it seemed to have helped at all. So when I was 14 and my sister began dating a Neo-Nazi, I was primed and ready for hate to enter my heart.

John was an eighteen year old, ordained "minister" of an atheist, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist group then called "The Church of the Creator" (Now it is splintered into various smaller factions of different names. This original group was under the leadership of the late Ben Klassen). It was a form of Nazi-ism, repackaged for white people around the world of our modern times. It was contained a world view that essentially placed all of the evils of the world at the feet of the Jewish people. It taught that Jews were inherantly evil by reason of their genetic heritage. Hearing John and my sister's preaching long enough, the spirit of hate began to seep into my soul.

At the age of sixteen, I began to think like a Neo-Nazi myself. Soon I saw all of the problems in my life as somehow being the fault of the Jewish people and all of the non-white ethnic groups that the Jews "manipulate" to serve their own purposes: namely, to enslave and use the "supreme white race" which they fear and hate (or so I thought at the time). When some minorities killed one of my sister's friends, and I was having great difficulties with frustrations with minority students at school myself, the dry timbers within my soul were soon blazing with a living hate. I began to believe in all sorts of conspiracy theories abou the US government (the "ZOG" as we called it, the "Zionist occupied government"), the Illuminati, Fremasonry, etc. Most Christians do not realize that all, yes all, of the various conspiracy theories out there are really ani-semitic libels that have been slightly repackaged and "baptised" into Christanese language in order to make them more palatable for Christians. Conspiracy theories all start in the mind of the devil. Beware of any unfounded rumors about our nation's leaders or about the Jewish people.

Soon I had formed a ragtag group of guys from my school into a racial activist gang of sorts. I converted most of them into hate mongers similar to myself. We distributed hate literature (The White Man's Bible, a racist manual of hate, not a Bible), terrorized minorities, made graffiti, and proudly shouted racial slogans in the hearing of other students. It is only the mercy of God that I was not severely hurt or killed for all that I did. I even attempted to kill two people on two occasions. After we realized that the police were secretly monitoring us, some of the guys began to loose the passion. The District Attorney and the Police department had meetings with me (for my own safety). The school staff knew us well since we were constantly pressuring them to change the dress code to allow "white pride" T-shirts, not to mention all the other ruckus we roused in school and the streets.

By this time I had two different groups of friends, the punk rockers and the Neo-Nazis. On January 17, 1995, I was smoking pot and doing pills with my punk rocker friends. All of the sudden, in the middle of my taking a hit off of a marijuana pipe, I literally felt the racial hate just leave my soul. I even mentioned it to my friends there with me. They were not racist, so they did not really pay much attention. I believe that my grandmother's prayers were at work in this. I quickly stopped talking to my racist friends and then I dropped out of High School. The next school year I went back to school at the local alternative High School. That proved to be not much more that an opportunity to meet more drug users and punk rockers to hang out with. Soon I was doing guitar and vocals for hard core punk bands. I was smoking pot most every day. I began to drink almost every night. I used certain other drugs whenever I had the opportunity. I was especially fascinated with tripping on LSD because it seemed so spiritual. Drinking parties were just about all that us punk rockers did together besides go to see punk rock bands play and party with them afterward. Many of us prided ourselves in how outrageous and debased we could possibly be. During this season, I struggled with planning to commit suicide often. I frequently cut myself and burned myself with cigarettes and Marijuana pipes. I was carrying the looming fear that my "prophetic" dream was about to be fulfilled. I had no hope.

About this time I also began to date a beautiful young black woman. No one could say that I was a bigot any longer after that became public information. We never got too serious. But this was more than enough reason to infuriate the Neo-Nazis who were regrouping into a bigger and more dangerous gang, the Oi Boyz. I became considered worse than a Jew, to them, for becoming a "race-traitor." One night, I had a premonition that something bad was going to happen at a party we were driving to. My ride refused to listen to my warnings not to go and instead brought us there anyhow. The skinheads showed up and cornered me in the basement. They began aggressively confronting me. I figured that I was going to get injured no matter what so I got belligerent with them. Keep in mind that I was 6'4" and only 160 lbs. The skinheads worked out all the time. One of them punched me in the nose, hard. My black girlfriend gave me a t-shirt to stop the bleeding. I fled the party immediately, just before the cops raided it. They arrested and roughed up four or five of the punk rockers, and the Neo-Nazis all ran away Scott free. I had premonitions like that three times. Each time I was right. I don't try to figure that stuff out. The point is, it was spiritual warfare going on.

eliyahu
11-01-2008, 05:46 AM
Around that time, when I was finishing High School, some occultists tried to recruit me to their group. The ex-mayor of my town was my English teacher. He invited a "Psychic" to speak one day. He was unaware that she was really a drug dealing leader to a large group of young occultists, who had made her house into a center for drugs and witchcraft/spirit-ism. I spent a few evenings with the group as they tried to win my heart. I wanted to tell them about Jesus, since they had a certain amount of respect for me and my so called "spiritual abilities" that they wanted me to hone with them. One morning, as I was lying in bed thinking about telling them about the gospel, a spirit came up and grabbed my head and squeezed it! I knew it was a warning to not speak about Jesus to those people. A week later, I visited them and they gave me all the highly potent marijuana I could possibly smoke by myself out of a water bong. This will get you higher than anything. I had to give the bong back after a three or four pipes full, since I was so high. They pressured me into feeling very guilty if I did not let them read their Tarot cards to me. I gave in and let them do it. The reading was all wrong. But the head woman (the older psychic lady) interrupted and said that the "universe told her" that I had been psychically attacked recently because of them. I asked her why. She said that I might be of some good to their group if I were to get more involved with them. I knew that she knew better.

The next time I came there, I came to buy drugs. My friend and I were together with the old woman in her bedroom as she was digging out her drugs and scale from a hiding spot. There was some sort of 1980s heavy metal playing really loud in the other room. I thought it was so funny that these people had this, of all music, playing. Just then, right behind us, I heard a very loud, gravely, raspy, beastly sounding voice shout "Satan!" I thought that someone had come into the room and was kidding around about the music. When I turned around, no one was there! Neither my friend not the woman heard it either, and we had not done any drugs yet. These people did not believe in Satan. I knew that the devil was trying to warn me to stay away from them.

Moments later, as we were dividing up the drugs in her kitchen, the woman's infamous, demon possessed son came into the room. We heard many rumors about how he had some totally split personalities. He started talking about the "spiritual forces" that he served and how the world would be if he was in charge. He had a lot of talismans and such around his neck. My buddy said "Yup. There are forces of good and forces of evil." The man said "Well I serve the powers that I do." Very creepy. Huge guy. I tried to avoid going into that house from that point on.

About that time, my sister and her Neo-Nazi husband actually became Christians! What happened was that she grew tired of the Nazi lifestyle. People getting shot and killed, cops spying on you, getting shot at through your window. It all took its toll on this young mother of their four year old boy. My own mother taught their oldest son to pray. One day, her husband John caught my sister and their son saying their prayers at bedtime. He normally would have immediately stopped this. He even had had a debate at my house with my mother's church's youth pastor over Jesus. He said "Just hearing about that b$#^* Jew, Jesus, makes me sick to my stomach!" Now, he was not so venomous. Prayers of grandmother's and parents' were working.

My sister packed her things and was moving out when her husband arrived home one day from work. She said "I am leaving you and White Supremacism. I am going to live with my mother and be a Christian." He surprisingly said "What if I become a Christian too?" He confessed that a man at work had been witnessing to him. He secretly went to church and prayed with the pastor to be saved. Not until my sister threatened to move out did he realize how serious that decision was. The man who witnessed to him was a smoking, cussing, drinking, cheating, lying, thieving, compulsive gambler. John didn't understand this. God has always has a way. My sister and her husband changed for the better and began to be a part of a church. They filled up a whole mini dumpster with all of the hate literature that they threw away that week. Praise Jesus! Now I felt really bad to be around them since they saw me at my worst, when I brought a bunch of wasted punks to their house to party in the past.

Shortly after this, I had a dream that I believe was from the Holy Spirit. It was about the return of Jesus. It was like a cinematic demonstration of Mat 24:30 "Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Without going into the dream, I awoke from it with my hands lifted up as I was singing to Jesus. I was not saved yet, but this dream really convinced me even more that the end was near and I better be ready. At drinking parties, I would be working the tapper and drinking as much as possible and I would inevitably begin talking about Jesus coming back, in a house full of punk rockers and other drunk, misled youth. It was a riot! I would notice that soon, most of the people were talking about Jesus and the end of the world. "27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God." 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.

One afternoon at a friend's house, I drank a bottle of Tequila and a bunch of cheap beer. I was so out of hand that they kicked me out of the house. I just sat in my car and began to cry for the first time in years. My buddy Eric came over and saw me crying my my car. We were best friends and he had not seen me in weeks. I had dragged him into the Neo-Nazi thing and then, when I abandoned that and fully embraced the punk rock lifestyle, he followed the pattern all the way or more so. He soon gained a reputation for being a wild and grough, motorcycle riding punk rocker. He drove me out to the train tracks were we had a party spot by the river underneath. I had planned to let a train hit me there but Eric would not allow it. He took my Tequila away and I pulled out a beer bottle. He took that away and drank the rest. I just pulled out another. He laughed at me, always being prepared, as we drank the rest of my stash of alchohol together. I just began venting out all of my problems, thinking that it would make me stop crying. It did not. Eric, whose mother had becom a charismatic a few years earlier, asked if he could pray for me. I felt like demons were arising in me. I wanted to say "No!" But I found myself saying "OK." He put his hands on me and said "Jesus, just take away the pain." I immediately stopped crying as though a faucet was turned off. I wish I could say I got saved that night, but I did not. I was just seriously shocked that Jesus would do anything good for me at all, knowing my sinful condition.

That winter Jerry, a friend who lived with me invited me to to see a preacher. My room mate's boss was an ex-satanist, Benny, who went to jail for stabbing someone (not killing them.). He came to Jesus in jail. Now a "revival" was happening at his church and he wanted us to go. I went. "Maybe I'll get saved." I thought. As the service began, I prayed for the first time in years (aside when I went to jail and then I did not ask to be saved). "God," I prayed "I have seen you, but I want to feel your power these Pentecostals claim to have." Then the preacher began. As he preached I increasingly felt the tangible presence of God all over my body. It was becoming too much to bear. God was wanting to come inside of me. I felt as though every eye in that place could see every sin I had ever committed. I was so ashamed and scared. I felt that the preacher had literally been sneaking around, peaking in my windows, and watching my whole entire, wretched life transpire.

Then the preaching ended and the preacher invited all who wanted to seek the Lord to come down to the front. Everyone but myself, my roommate and another kid in the back (the preachers lost son) stayed in our seats. I thought, "If I go down there and he puts his hand on me, I will pass out into another realm." I could just feel this so very strongly that I could hardly sit there without being overwhelmed. Just then, as I was in the process of thinking those thoughts, the preacher gave a word in tongues and interpreted. "There is someone out there that God is speaking this to. He is telling them that they need to come down here now." I was not about to humiliate myself! As if I was not already humbled. Then I thought "If I go down there and her even faces in my direction, I will pass out. Power is coming out of him!" Immediately, as though in direct conversation with me, he spoke out in tongues again and then said, "God is saying that if you come down here, I do not have to put my hands on you. No one has to pray for you. God will touch you right where you are by yourself. Just trust Jesus." Now I was really getting freaked out. I thought, "If I even stand up to get out of this pew, I will pass out!" As if on Q, the preacher blurted out in tongues and then went on to say "That person out there whom God is telling to come down here, God will not give you another chance to come to the altar and be saved. Come now." Now I was really scared. I just bucked and would not move. The feeling subsided. The service ended and I went home.

I brought another friend to the service the next week. I was expecting the whole thing to happen the same way again. I expected my other friend to get saved, along with me. Nothing happened. But a lot of other people were getting touched by the Lord and even healed. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I feared that the Lord had handed me over to a reprobate mind forever. I remembered the preachers prophecy from the last week's service. I was scared of going to hell now.

Within a month or so, I came to a decision point. My band had just broke up. I had no real girlfriend anymore. There were no looming obstacles between me and Jesus exept that I needed to repent. On Christmas Eve of 1996, I knew that I was never going to drink with my friends again. The next day I prayed "You win Jesus. I must give my life to you." I heard the Lord respond "Go and pick up your friend Eric, gather up all of your ungodly possessions and go burn them all. He will do it also. I will take care of the rest." I stole my mother's car and picked up Eric on that snowy, cold morning. He had hatched a plan for another drinking party for that night, before we arrived back at my house. But when we arrived, I began to shove most of my possessions into garbage bags. "What are you doing Adam?" He asked. "I am going to burn all of this stuff. I am not a punk anymore, Eric." I said. "I am going to be a born again Christian. You can help me and start throwing all my ungodly stuff into these bags if you want." "Really?" He replied. "Let's go to my house and do it too, before I change my mind."

We did just that. It took all day into the evening to burn all of our things. We burned my expensive comic book and toy collection, drug paraphernalia, porn, all my music, certain clothes, anything I cold think of. He burned similar things including his authentic punk rock record collection that was worth a lot of money too. We tallied it all up to be up to three thousand dolloars worth of what we then knew to be trash. We felt such a peace and release, burning all our earthly treasures. Ha! Take that, devil!

Immediately we went to the cafe where many homosexuals and witches hung out. We wanted to preach the gospel to them. Lo and behold, our close friend Todd was there! He was not gay or a witch. He was even sitting there playing cards with the star of the old movie "Angus!" We shared what had happened that day and they were uncomfortable with it all. Our friend was very convicted because he promised that if I ever got saved, than he would certainly join me. He has gone through a lot with drugs and with God too since then. Pray for him. The other people there were not very welcoming, but it was just so awesome to finally be so free.

Right away, we found a church, were baptized and became involved. I stopped all drugs and alcohol immediately. It took a while to forge a new identity apart from the punk rocker one I left behind. But I did fine. I just wore plain jeans with inside out old punk rock T-shirts. I began to regularly go with others out on the streets to evangelize. I acquired more passion for the Bible than I once had for all the comic book and vampire novel stuff that repulsed my mother so much. She would always say "I wish you would love the Bible as much as you do those demonic books you buy all the time." Be careful what you wish for, Mother! I read the Bible so much that I practically memorized much of it, down to the various translations. Now I literally do not have the time to read like I once did. I am so glad that I utilized the opportunity that God gave me then. Within a few months I was gloriously baptized in the Holy Spirit. This dramatically changed my relationship with God and just put me on a path that was dynamically different than before. I encourage everyone to seek Jesus for this promise. It was amazing to experience going from a steady diet of dark, aggressive and nihilistic music to Sandy Patty records and my new Brownville Revival worship CD! I did not care what style the music was. If I could worship Jesus with it, it was the greatest thing to me.

One thing that happened when I began to read the Bible constantly was that God placed a deep awareness in me of His covenant based love for His Jewish people. I began to intuit the fact that He had a very special plan for them. I was seeing God's heart for the salvation of the remnant of Israel everywhere I looked in the Bible, even in places that, on the surface, weren't even addressing that issue. It was a work of the Holy Spirit in my heart. I began to fast and pray for the salvation of the Jewish people regularly.

One time, a group of friends and I spent the weekend at a touristy area in Wisconsin called Wisconsin Dells. The whole event seemed so insignificant to me, when viewed in light of eternity. So I prayed out loud with a friend. "God, send us some Hebrew speaking Jews from Israel." The next day, we went to the downtown, tourist shopping area. Sure enough, a large group of Hebrew speaking, Jewish young people from Israel were shopping there too! They were orthodox Jews, complete with the Kippas and locks. I approached one young man and began speaking all the Hebrew I knew from teaching myself. He was happy to tell me that my pronounciation was pretty good. Then I said "Yeshua Hamashiach." That means "Jesus is the Messiah." He began to visibly tremble. His friend pulled on his shirt, urging him to leave me alone. He looked away and said "I don' t want to talk about that name." I said "Did I pronounce it correctly?" He said "Yes..." And with that he walked away.

eliyahu
11-01-2008, 05:47 AM
Later on, I read a book called Our Hands Are Stained With Blood, The Tragic Story of the "Church" and the Jewish People, by Michael L Brown (a phenomenal author, teacher, preacher and theologian). In it, I learned of the bloody and terrible history of persecution that the "church" has heaped upon the Jewish people for two thousand years. Only in this last fifty years or so has this trend began to significantly abate and even reverse. Now I have more empathy with those Jewish people whose idea of Jesus is that of a pagan god of antisemitism and debauchery. The name "Yeshua" means something totally different and caricatured to many Jews who know the pages of history that most of us Christian Gentiles tear out of our history books or just apathetically ignore. The church needs to take personal responsibility for its past, regardless of our denominational allegiances. Only then can real healing begin.

I eventually went to Bible school in 1998 and graduated with an AA in Practical Ministry. I was very privileged to be a part of the Brownsville revival, which the school was an extension of, in Pensacola Fl. During that time, I learned so much about past moves of God, ministry, missions, street preaching and the Bible. The best part was being able to experience a genuine move of God first hand. Over time, I witnessed hundreds of people genuinely get saved or have their lives transformed by the gospel, through the revival. Most of the people in my church today and many of my friends today were all either saved or changed by that revival back then. The fruits of that revival are still being harvested today, not only through touched lives and new missionaries in many nations, but here in lives of those in my church and other churches all over this nation and the world.

I had an experience when I felt that I needed to repent to her for all my anti-semitism I had once released into the world. It was not enough to pray for Israel, to be submitted to a Jewish president and Jewish dean of students, to fast for the Jews, or even to awaken others to God's heart for his covenant people. I had to personally repent to an actual Jewish person who would genuinely receive it for what it truly was. That day came at school, when I was privileged to be able to befriend a certain older Jewish woman from Israel. One day, in a Theological Controversies class session, she spoke about the Old Testament feasts of the Lord. Afterwards, I approached her to talk with her about my racist past. I was so emotional that I could not speak. She just embraced me and started praying for me. We immediately became friends. It was a real healing moment in my life. She was very blessed to have a young man turn from such hate to loving the Jewish Messiah and the Jewish people. She was thrilled that this American Gentile boy could speak about Yeshua in her language (to an extent). The way we originally met was funny. She mentioned being Jewish (her name gave her away) to someone else standing by me in the school lunch line. I said "So, you are a Jewish Christian!" She retorted: "No I am not! I am a Complete Jew, not a Christian. A Christian is a Gentile who believes in Yeshua. I am am Jew and will always be one!" "Oh." I said. That was a learning experience.

I remember that I would be jumping, dancing and just loving on Jesus and rejoicing in him at our revival and school services and I would often remember the old, drunk, punk rock days. I wished so much that my old punker friends could see me then and join me. They have absolutely no idea what they are really missing without Jesus. Since then, a few of them have actually gotten saved. Most have not. Some have died. But it is not over with yet. God has "treasures in the darkness," Isa 45:3.

During that time I was privileged to go on missions trips to Greece, Uganda and Kenya. In Africa, we experienced a number of miracles and salvations. The preacher who shook me up so much before I was saved had became a close friend of mine. He took me and groups of others to Africa, Israel and Jordan with him and his newly saved son. His son was radically saved at the Brownsville Revival from being an aggressive pot-head in trouble with the law. He soon after had became a close friend of mine. I was able to assist others in coming to the Lord for the first time. They took me in almost as a son until I moved away and went to Bible school across the country. They shared a lifetime of ministry and missions stories with me, which built up so much faith in me. I have had my share of struggles, failures and difficult seasons. But through it all, it was well worth the decision to repent and get to know this infinite and fascinating Jesus.

A little over year after I graduated, I entered a season thru which I found my self eventually being immersed into Art Katz's writings myself. I had recently had a breakthrough through fasting and prayer. My whole paradigm of God, the church and the age to come was being challenged, fleshed out and etched into my soul in ways that I would not have been able to come into without God's direct intervention. I went thru a season of fasting and praying: "God! Ruin my theology and give my your theology!" I had such a burden to pray this thru. I had no idea why I felt to pray this. But something in the deep part of me was praying this. "26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Rom 8:26. It was after this that many of the things that I was always taught and took for granted to be true were challenged, tweaked and re-arranged. The Bible really became much deeper and more alive than it ever had before. I still find it to be an infinite well of revelation that can never be fully grasped by any one man. The more we see God, the more we are humbled and awed see just how eternal and infinite He really is, in so many ways.

Now I am married to a beautiful little woman whom I met in Bible school. We met one night when she was randomly placed on my street evangelism team one saturday night. I took her on a few "dates" to some local, traditional synagogue services before we finally made things official on Purim of '01. We married in January of '02. She got pregnant on the honeymoon and gave us four children since then. Not one person ever guesses that she is actually a 30 year old mother. She looks to be in her early twenties at best. Often, she is slighted for being a teenaged, unmarried mother. I love her. We have been given our four small children to sharpen like arrows in the Lord's quiver. We hope to be involved with missions and revival one day. We have a heart for Israel and the nations. Our vision is currently to find God's kingdom in divine tangle of the busyness of family life and church life. We all wrestle to maintain our church life through edifying relationships rather than only going thru the motions, which is so difficult to avoid. We see, more and more, that God's kingdom is expressed in the mundane realities of life as well as in the mountaintop experiences in ministry, prayer and worship.

My wife and I had read The Holocaust, Where Was God by Art Katz, on our honeymoon. I had never read such a deep and sober look at the judgments of God ever in my life. Then I read The Mystery of Israel and the Church, By Art Katz. God had already prepared me to receive the heavy and radical messages of Art and other's of his ilk. It was truly a case of a wineskin having been oiled down in prep for some fresh wine. If God had not done some deep dealings with me, I don't know that I would have ever moved much further ahead with God or his calling on my life.

It was interesting to discover that, with each new insight I would come into, I would quickly find that other older saints whom I knew and respected, who were more spiritual than I, had the same views and even more in depth than I thought I already had! I had been so wrong about various things which I had always assumed to be gospel truth. How could I ever again be so proud as to assume that I am right about so much, when God had shown me what was so plain in front of me the whole time? God had broken in and revealed His word to me from a fresh, deeper vantage point. As soon as one thing began to become evident to me, God would send people into my life (like Art Katz and others) who would beautifully put the pieces together a little more harmoneously. The Bible had become alive and life giving in a way I had not experienced ever before.

This not only served to keep humility fresh in my heart, but to take very seriously the fact that God has indeed truly sent certain people to his church as gifts. "11 And He gave some to be Emissaries, some as prophets, some as heralds, and some as shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of service, for building up the body of Messiah, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful plans. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Messiah, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." Eph 4:11-16.

I have learned the rich treasure of obeying Rom 15:7. "Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." We truly need to receive one another in this hour. We need to receive those (few and rare souls) whom God has annointed and sent as gifts to the body in the roles of, to one level or another, Apostles, Prophets, Teachers and not just those whom we deem to be Evangelsists and Pastors. That being said, there is no need to have fear and categorically reject all of those who are in any way recognized to function in those roles on some level, due to the fact that each one does have their own weakneses and even failures at times. "9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Cor 13:9-10, 12. God does not give everything to any one person exept Jesus alone. This understanding would safeguard people from any cult or denominational, sectarian type mentality. Jesus expresses his various mininstries through various human vessels. We need every ministry that Jesus gives us, not just the ones we can manage and be more comfortable with. The church is unquestionably called to maturity in Messiah, but we are not called to seeking large numbers in our church membership or in our evangelistic crusade tallies. May the Jesus we express to the world be the full and real Jesus, not a partial Jesus or a caricature.

May we all find ourselves humbled before God in the dust. May we all have the vision to see Messiah in "the least of these," his brothers. May we not be "tossed by" any "winds of any doctrine," but instead be growing through divine love into the head of the Body on the earth, Jesus. May Jesus' body be more than a doctrine! May God's kingdom truly break into this dark world and overcome all obstacles. "21 To Him be glory in the church and in the Messiah, Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Eph 3:21.

We have also been privileged to be a part of a church plant for the last seven years. It is officially titled The Tent of David Fellowship. Our church started out as a vision birthed in the heart of our pastor. The vision is to grow and multiply as a local church with community/eschatology/Israel qualities, while carrying the holiness/prayer/missions/revival spirit that we were touched by at Brownsville. Dr. Michael Brown was praying over Bryan and his wife when he summed up their calling as our church's main leaders with these, succinct words: "They have been called to an apostolic work in terms of church planting and preaching the Gospel, but also as emissaries of revival and awakening in the Church."

Bryan, was once a revivalist in the truest sense of the word. He was so serious and passionate that he would even rebuke you if your were seriously seeking out eschatology, theology or anything else besides saving souls, holiness and prayer. Then he had his whole view of God turned inside out when he encountered a man named Art Katz. Some reputable friends of his had given him one of Art's books, Apostolic Foundations, to read earlier that year. That book really troubled Bryan before it blessed him. Art's message about Israel was so dynamic that Bryan was faced with either accepting it as true or altogether ignoring it. It was a very demanding message that called you to respond. Bryan still is a revivalist. But now he carries a much more mature and prophetical role along with it.

Bryan was led by the Spirit to come down to Florida in late 2001 to assemble a team to shake his hometown, Kansas City, Mo for the gospel. He had it all planned out to get the most revivalist oriented people there and take them back to his city when God spoke to him. "Do not ask anyone to join you." He thankfully obeyed and simply visited.

Art Katz happened to be in town speaking at the evening school service. He happened to come on the one time in three years that Art Katz was there to speak for four nights. In Bryan's own words: "It was when Art was exhorting a small crowd of people at the end that I saw light emanating from his body and was touched by the fear of the Lord." He knew that God was definitely wanting him to pay attention. That was a turning point that took Bryan on a life altering journey that continues on to this very day, with our church. In fact, many of us were so moved by Art's book, True Fellowship, that we had our whole paradigm of who we are and what we are called to as a church in general.

Our church began as a leap of faith of seven people. A man named Jason had talked with Bryan about Bryan's vision for his hometown. Jason felt faith rise in his heart. He asked if he could move across the country to be a part of Bryan's vision. Bryan felt good about this. Jason told the members of his house church. The hosts were two young newlyweds who happend to be my new next door neighbors. I visited their house church twice and found a kinship immediately. Jason told me about Bryan's vision and I thought that God may have my pregnant wife and join in with them. I met Bryan by talking with him on the phone a few times and we knew that we were in the same vein with God's call on our lives and the church at that time. I prayerfully gave my wife my idea. She was very hesitant to move to a place we had never been to and begin a work with people we have never talked to in person. God opened her heart within weeks. The five of us rented a U-Haul and moved across the country to Kansas City, Mo. My wife and I, along with Jason, moved in with Bryan, his wife and three small children. We lived in community in that house for about a year before we had a baby and were able to get a place of our own.

Now we all still live here in Kansas City. Our numbers have increased, some seasons with many, sometimes not as many. But the original seven have never left. We all are married and have many small children that were born since we began. We just recently began meeting in a church building nearby some our houses. We are currently seeking to see the glory of God in the church light Israel and the nations with the fire of God.


Most of the names in this account have been changed to protect the innocent. Numerous less essential things have been left out of this for brevity's sake.

Rose
11-01-2008, 06:44 PM
Hi Eliyahu,

That was quite a testimony, and I'm sure it was probably the condensed version :rolleyes:.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

God bless,

Rose