Throughout the Old Testament, Israel was commanded to remember its history. As I will soon be entering my thirty-fourth year of life and twenty-fifth year of walking with Jesus, I felt compelled by the Lord to re-write and restructure my written testimony and my history with God up to this point. I wrote my testimony last year during a pivotal transition in my spiritual life, and since that time, the Lord has clarified my journey and how things can be categorized as seasons, side roads, and surprises. As you read my journey with the Lord, I pray that you will begin to recognize your seasons, side roads, and surprises. Like me, you may be surprised how God would classify certain events in your life.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS
I was born prematurely with a heart condition and walk with a limp. This, of course, dashed all possibility of being an athlete but set me on a lifelong practice of studying the Word of God. When I was eight years old, I came across Pastor Rod Parsley shouting on television. It was a little after 3:30 in the afternoon, and I had just gotten my after-school snack. That became my routine throughout my school years, getting a snack and watching Breakthrough with Rod Parsley. I memorized Isaiah 58:12 simply because I heard him quote it all the time. From Rod Parsley, I saw passionate preaching modeled before me; I saw a love for the Savior and learned that the most significant thing I could ever do in life was win souls for Jesus Christ. The first Christian book I ever read was No Dry Season by Rod Parsley; I’ve had to get another copy because I wore the original out.
Through the ministry of Rod Parsley, I was introduced to Kenneth Copeland, and through Kenneth Copeland, I began listening to Jerry Savelle. I was ten by this time (I think). Brother Jerry preached out of a parallel Bible (which I thought was awesome), and he dressed so coolly, wearing slacks and Hawian shirts (yep, I’ve been an old guy since I was a kid). The ministries of these three men introduced me to the Word of God and ignited a passion in my heart for Jesus and the Scripture. I remember watching all the Believer’s Conventions online, my multiple Bibles (thanks, Sister Copeland) and notebook in hand. I had and still have a voracious appetite for the Word of God because of the foundation that was laid for me in the ministries of Pastor Rod Parsley, Kenneth Copeland, and Jerry Savelle.
I will always be thankful for those formative years. But, as I look back on them, it is primarily what I gained from listening to and seeing how Brother Savelle carried himself that made the most significant impact on my life; some of that impact I only began to realize in the last few days. While I wouldn’t be who I am without all of their influence, I believe it is helpful to be able to recognize the central components of different seasons.
REFORMED AND WESLEYAN THEOLOGIES
Growing up in the Assembly of God and listening to the word of faith, traditional systematic theology was not part of my upbringing. I believe God had me take two particular side roads; three years in a reformed-charismatic church and three years in the Church of the Nazarene. These six years gave me a crash course in Christian theology. In the reformed years, I learned about the sovereignty of God and who Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon were.
In the Nazarene years, I learned the theology of John Wesley and received training for ministry. In addition, my Nazarene years connected me with a great pastor who encouraged me in my calling as no other man has. To this day, I carry a deep conviction of the sovereignty of God and the importance of personal holiness because of these years.
CONFUSION THROUGHOUT THE JOURNEY
I have been blessed to be a part of various churches and attend different conferences. Even though this is a great blessing, the enemy has also used it against me by causing me to feel the need to fit a specific theological box. I am charismatic but not charismatic enough. I questioned certain moves of the Holy Spirit, which meant I didn’t believe. I could never be Wesleyan or Reformed enough. I never seemed to fit anywhere. The one thing I did discover early on was that I had a gift in the area of deliverance. Two years after high school, I began training under Don Dickerman Ministries. I could tell the Lord had a purpose for my life in the ministry of deliverance; this is something the enemy continually discouraged in my life.
THE SURPRISE OF A LIFETIME
Early in my life, I came across the ministry of Pastor Larry Huch. He and his teaching on the Jewish roots would resurface occasionally, but I always looked at it as something weird. That all changed in March of 2014 when a friend invited me to a spiritual warfare conference at the Global Spheres Center. He asked me to attend the Passover conference three weeks later, which I didn’t want to go to because Passover had nothing to do with me as a Christian (or so I thought). But I went to the Passover conference, and during a break, I walked up to the prayer tower and saw a large menorah, and the Lord spoke to me and said, “learn what this means.” I didn’t even know what a menorah was at the time. So I went to the bookstore, not knowing what to look for, but I found a book titled, The Messianic Church Arising by Robert Heidler; it had a menorah on the cover, so I bought it. This led me to more books, attending a Pentecost and Tabernacles conference that same year, and finding Pastor Larry Huch again.
A CONTINUAL BATTLE
The enemy has fought me in two significant areas; they just so happen to be deliverance and the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. In the fall of 2019, as things in the charismatic movement began to unravel, the Lord started clearing up some questions I had for several years concerning certain things within the charismatic movement. As the Holy Spirit revealed truths, I found ministries I agreed with who saw the same problems with aspects of the word of faith. The problem arose as it had before, questioning the Jewish roots of the faith and particular understandings of deliverance.
There were certain areas of deliverance I had always classified as weird, and I was trained under a baptist minister, so my approach was biblical and balanced. The most extensive warfare was over my embracing the Jewish roots. That day in the prayer tower, God birthed in me a love for the Jewish people, the land of Israel, and the discovery of the Jewish roots of my faith. As I began receiving clarity over certain things about the charismatic movement, the enemy seized the opportunity to use my rekindled love of the gospel against what the Lord had shown me about the roots of my faith. The enemy won, and I laid down the roots of my faith.
GOD ALWAYS HAS THE LAST WORD
The thing the enemy didn’t count on is my love for the Word. Growing up listening to Jerry Savelle and Kenneth Copeland taught me to put the Word of God first place in my life and make it final authority. The Lord ignited a love in my heart for the Jewish roots, and no onslaught of the enemy could destroy those roots in my heart and praise God; the enemy can’t destroy those roots in the church either. God is waking the church up to the roots of her faith. God is waking us up to the fact we have been grafted into the olive tree; we are waking up to a Judeo-Christianity!
A NEW SEASON AND A CONTINUAL SEASON
A few weeks ago, the Lord had me revisit old Journals. As I read, I discovered that in 2018 the Lord had me spend a year reconnecting to Rod Parsley. In 2019, I reconnected with Kenneth Copeland and Jerry Savelle, and 2020 was a year of theology for me. 2021 was marked by confusion and displacement. And now, in 2022, I see that God was using those years as a way for me to review my walk with Him.
The enemy will always try to bring about confusion, while God brings clarity. God has used all of the seasons and side roads to shape who I’ve become, but ultimately I am a guy who loves Jesus and endeavors to follow the Word of God as the potter’s hands shape me. I am thankful for everything I have learned. I’m thankful for growing up listening to who I did. I’m grateful I can put certain aspects of theology in their rightful place, but most of all, I’m thankful for the grace of God that led me every step of the way.
So who am I? I’m a son and servant of the Lord and His Word. I want to see people set free from bondage and walk in truth. What is the truth? The Word of God, Old and New Testaments, and that through Jesus, Jew, and Gentile are one new man, worshipping the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.
This post was originally published with different content in April of 2021. In April of 2022, the Holy Spirit impressed me to rewrite and restructure my testimony. The Lord will continually provide light on our paths and allow us to see things in a new light. Since Purim of 2022, the Lord has shown me what He has been doing in my life since 2018 to reorient me spiritually. The Lord wants His people free of confusion, missteps, going around the mountain, and being bound by the fear and expectation of men. It is no surprise I have rewritten my testimony leading into Passover in a decade of crossing over.