0:04I’ve been asked to give my testimony, and that’s always something of a fearful thing
0:10because with our testimonies we’re prone at times to become self-centered and self-absorbed
0:18and to…even present ourselves in such a way as to appear a victim who was then rescued by Christ
0:26rather than a culprit that was rescued by Christ. I have found out from looking at men, from studying the Scriptures
0:35and from looking in the mirror of my own life that men love to speak about themselves.
0:44So we must always really be careful with regard to our testimonies.
0:52I was raised on a ranch, a farm.
0:58We raised cattle and Quarter Horses so I was kinda raised as something of a farm boy and a cowboy.
1:07My father was an unbeliever. My mother was a believer
1:13but I have a long heritage of people in my family who served the Lord.
1:20My mother was Croatian and my grandmother was a Croatian Christian and because of her faith suffered greatly.
1:31If you are Croatian, you are Catholic. Extremely Catholic.
1:38And my grandmother was converted so in leaving Catholicism it was a sense of also being a traitor to Croatian culture.
1:47But what made matters worse is the only Evangelical church that existed at the time was Serbian
1:57and the Croats and the Serbs have a great war against one another over the centuries
2:03and so for her to become a part of that made it even worse. But through her life my mother was converted at the age of 12 as she saw how her mother suffered for Christ.
2:18My grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side were some of the first Baptist missionaries to the country of Brazil.
2:34Before I was born I was preceded by a brother, my brother, Doug.
2:40And my father literally, as he wrote in one of his letters, worshiped the ground that my brother walked on.
2:50A few years ago I discovered a correspondence from my father and my grandfather.
2:56It was actually a letter from my grandfather and he said this: “Bob”–that was my dad’s name–”I greatly fear for you and I fear for your boy
3:05″for I’ve heard you say that you worship the ground that boy walks on. Our great God will not tolerate idols in the life of any man.”
3:14My brother ran into the street one day and was run over by a car and he was killed. And there is a real sense in which part of my dad died then.
3:22He was everything for my father. And I grew up kinda in the shadow of that. And it was very difficult to be honest with you. It was extremely difficult.
3:30So there on the farm, the ranch, my father was an unbeliever, but there was one gift that he really gave me, he taught me how to work hard.
3:36As a matter of fact when I was 12 years old I was taken to the hospital and I remember the doctor chewing out my father saying: “You are going to kill that boy. I’ve never seen a boy in this kind of condition,
3:42″his back and everything else. You’ve got to stop working him so hard.” But you know in a sense it was really really hard. But in a sense it was one of the greatest gifts.
3:49We went to not a very good preschool or high school, and I wasn’t really a student who applied himself at all.
3:54But I remember when I went to college, my first year, first class, English class, they asked me to write a paragraph.
4:01That was the first assignment. I flunked it. I didn’t know how to write a paragraph.
4:08But at the end of the semester I had an A in the class. Why?
4:13Because the one thing my father had given me was work. You just work until you do it. That’s all there is to it.
4:20And that’s a good lesson also for the parents here today, especially those who homeschool.
4:27I know we want to give our children Latin and calculus and all these different things but the most important thing you can give your child is Christ…and character.
4:37Give them character and they can accomplish anything. They can start at the bottom of the class but they’ll go forward if they’re taught to work.
4:47My father was a person who really pushed me. I was not a very good athlete but I was an athlete
4:55and if I scored 20 points in a game it was: “You could have scored 30.”
5:00If I made a certain score in something “You could have done better and this is how you could have done it.”
5:06And it was always that, the glass always seemed to be half empty. It was really, really difficult.
5:14He was a very angry man, very powerful man, very strong man. He could be frightening.
5:21I saw my dad one time in a situation, six men approached him,
5:26got in an argument with him, and my father looked at all six of them and he went like this, he said:
5:33″You know me, I’ll whip all six of you, at one time, I’ll do it right here.
5:39You know I can do it.” And they backed down. He was really something.
5:46But he was just always angry, always unfulfilled. No matter what happened it just wasn’t good enough.
5:54You see, when you don’t have Christ in your life that’s just the way it is.
6:01Nothing will ever satisfy a man except Christ. Our relationship was very, very difficult.
6:08I lived in a great deal of fear. And then, when I was about 16 years old it seemed like things started to change.
6:15My father and I began to have a really…a better relationship. As a boy I was always really small,”the runt of the litter.”
6:24I know I didn’t live up to my older brother. But when I turned 16 it seemed like everything changed.
6:32I think I grew a foot that year, put on some weight and I was more something that my father could be proud of.
6:40So things were going well. And one day we were working on the ranch. I just turned 17 and we were running wire.
6:47Now, here in Rhode Island you may not know what that is, but you take a big roll of barbed wire,
6:53you run a steel pole through it, one man gets on one side and the other gets on the other and you’re running wire to build a fence for horses or cattle.
6:59And we’re talking as we’re walking along, we’re even laughing, we’re having a good time,
7:05and all of a sudden he screamed. And when he screamed I caught him and we both fell to the ground and when I rolled him over he was dead.
7:17He’d died of a massive heart attack. Now, at that point everything in my life changed.
7:25Everything. I wasn’t a Christian but I was kind of known as, well, “a good guy”, you know,
7:33and within a matter of weeks I would come to school drunk.
7:38I ended up getting kicked off the basketball team that I was captain of.
7:43Just all sorts of things. Now, people looked at that and they’d say: “Wow…” and they did.
7:49They looked at that and they said: “This poor kid…” No, not at all.
7:56You see, we’ve been taught to think he’s a victim of his father’s death. That’s not true.
8:02My father’s death gave my wicked flesh the opportunity to do what it has always wanted to do.
8:09There was no authority. I could just live now. I was getting bigger. I was getting stronger. No one tell me what to do.
8:19And so I wasn’t a victim, I was a culprit. And although I appeared to be a good boy I wasn’t a good boy inside.
8:29It’s just I had a very strong authority figure over me. And for you children that are homeschooled, you need to realize something.
8:38It may be your mother and father’s authority and wisdom
8:43and even their relationship with Christ that’s holding your morality in check, or your immorality in check.
8:52Just because you’re homeschooled or this or that doesn’t mean that you are a godly person.
8:57You can fake it and not even know that you’re faking it. And then when that authority figure is moved out of your life you become a wild person.
9:06Well, no, you don’t really become a wild person you just start manifesting what you’ve always been secretly.
9:14So if you see that in yourself this morning–run to Christ.
9:19Run to Christ, you see. So, I graduated from high-school, didn’t know what I was gonna do
9:28and one day I was at the courthouse, for some reason, there in town and my basketball coach or one of the teachers there at school, he looked at me and goes:
9:37″Hey, Washer! You going into the army?” I said: “I don’t know. Why?”
9:43He said: “Because that’s the only place you could go, either there or prison.”
9:49And it made me so mad. He said: “Because you can’t function in outside society.”
9:55It made me so mad that I went and called a student counselor even though I’d already graduated, a really nice lady at our school
10:05and I met with her at her home and I said I wanna go to university somewhere. So I got into a university, a good one, small one but very good.
10:18You know how people will try to glorify in some way… you know, I was a fighter, I was a drinker, I was this, I was that…
10:27I was just the most self-centered, egotistical,
10:33vain jerk of a person you’ve ever met in your life.
10:39It was just all about me. I wanted to make good grades to become a lawyer to make a lot of money.
10:46Lifted weights 3 hours a day because I wanted to be bigger and stronger than all the other guys.
10:52I did whatever I could do to be the center of attention. I just always wanted to be a superhero.
11:01Just vanity. Vanity. And the more you give yourself to that, the more ridiculous you look.
11:11Just, you know, “the emperor has no clothes”. And I just went on with that.
11:16And then, as you do that, you give yourself more and more over to delusion.
11:22And you begin to lie. I was one of the greatest liars you’ve ever met in your life.
11:29I can remember one time lying to a–I went with a friend of mine,
11:35he said: “Man, I don’t want to work tomorrow. It’s gonna be so beautiful.” I said: “No problem. Let’s go talk to our boss”.
11:40So I went in there and I made up the biggest story just right off the cuff.
11:46One of the biggest lies in the world and we walked out and my friend looked at me, my best friend, and he says:
11:51″You know, you are scary. You are scary.” And I said: “What do you mean?”
11:56He goes: “I knew you were lying and I believed you.” And I did that.
12:03But one of the most wonderful things is God did not allow my conscience to be seared.
12:11The deeper I came into my own vanity, the more I hated myself, the darker I saw myself.
12:18And then the working of the Holy Spirit… Just everything in my life was a lie.
12:25I transferred from the school because I decided that I was gonna be an oil and gas lawyer
12:31so I went to the University of Texas and I thought: “This is a new opportunity. I’m gonna be a different person when I go there.”
12:38Well, you know how that went. I was not a different person. It just took a matter of weeks and I was caught in the same lies
12:47and I was having to live something totally fake, just everything.
12:52And I just realized I’m trapped, I can’t change. And sometimes–and I don’t know if you’ve done this
12:58but I would get in the morning to go class and I can remember just going in, you know,
13:04it would be dark, turn on the light of the bathroom, turn on the shower and standing there in the shower and such darkness,
13:12not outside in the room, but in me it was like an absolute hopelessness. “Why–”
13:19it wasn’t a philosophical: “Why am I alive?” It was just darkness.
13:26There is no hope. There’s nothing. There’s absolutely nothing.
13:33And because I loved myself and I wanted to be the center of everyone’s attention,
13:43I lifted weights. I lived to lift weights and I was on steroids.
13:51And I can remember one night, it was 1 in the morning, I couldn’t sleep and I had a bottle of pills in my hand
13:58and I was just looking at them and I said to myself: “I know these wouldn’t kill me if I took them all at one time
14:03but I do wish I had something that would do that–I am so miserable. “
14:08And I kept saying over and over, I remember it was the word: “I am the most miserable human being on this planet.”
14:21You know, outside– for some of you who may be thinking that the world is really a cool thing
14:29I took a big part in that cool stuff. I mean, I was well-known as a guy to hang around with.
14:39You know, I always laugh when I think of– I knew very beautiful people, models and this and that
14:47and I always laugh whenever I see a model on a billboard.
14:52Because I’ll tell young men: “You see that beautiful woman there?” They say: “Yeah.”
14:57I say: “I’d seen her at 4 in the morning with her head in the toilet, throwing up.
15:03I’ve seen her without her make-up.” And, you know, I’ve seen that, I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt and it’s just–
15:13unless God seares your conscience no matter how beautiful that life appears on the outside,
15:22it’s the most disgusting thing in the world on the inside.
15:29I just knew my life was miserable. But I think the worst thing about it is –I knew my life was just a fabrication,
15:35was all a lie. And I knew I was in bondage because someone could ask me a simple question
15:42and I couldn’t tell them the truth. I would just make up something because I knew I could.
15:49One of my friends said: “Man, you gonna make a great lawyer.” And I used to think to myself: “Yeah, I’ll end up in jail
15:58or suicide” you know, I knew I would’ve. And so I was sitting there on the bed and it’s like 1:00, 1:30 in the morning
16:09and there’s a knock at the door. I’m, like: “What…that is?” So I open up the door, it was an apartment complex, university students,
16:17I open up the door and there is this guy there, about this tall, a freshman, and he’s just, like,
16:23shaking. I’m, like, looking at him and he said:
16:29″You’re probably gonna beat me up.” I looked at him and I said: “You know, you’re probably right.”
16:36And he goes: “But I gotta tell you something.” And I’m thinking, man, this guy is–something’s wrong with him, you know.
16:43He goes: “I gotta tell you something.” And I said: “OK” He goes: “I can’t take it anymore.
16:49I’m afraid of you, but I’m more afraid of God and I can’t take it anymore.”
16:54I’m, like: “OK, what?” He goes: “For two weeks God’s been telling me to come over and tell you something
17:00and I’ve been afraid to do it, but I can’t sleep and I’ve gotta tell you.” I’m, like: “This is–You’re really freaking me out.”
17:11And I said: “OK”, just kinda funny I go:”OK, what’s God got to tell me?”
17:18This is what he said: “You are miserable and you are gonna remain miserable until you surrender you life to Jesus Christ.”
17:27And, I mean, it was like he hit me with a truck, because I thought to myself,
17:32you know, when I was thinking I’m the most miserable human I wasn’t saying that out loud. He couldn’t have heard that through the door.
17:38And so until about 4:30 in the morning we just walked around the campus and he would tell me stuff
17:45and I looked at him and I said: “Look, I know the Catholic Church “and I know the Baptist and I know they’re both on, you know, opposite sides.
17:54I know both those groups and I don’t want anything to do with any of them.” And this is what he said,
17:59he said: “That’s fine, “but I’m not talking about the Catholic and I’m not talking about Baptist. “I’m talking about the person of Jesus Christ
18:07and I’m sorry, you can’t escape from this one. What do you gonna do with Him?”
18:12And I really began to think about it. I just thought about it and thought about it.
18:17And my mom had put an old King James Bible in my suitcase and I found it in my apartment somewhere
18:25–looking for it, had it shoved somewhere And I opened up the Bible, it was a few days later, and it said this,
18:35I opened it up to a passage, it says: “Man’s days are like grass “As flower of the field, so he flourishes”
18:40″When the wind has passed over him, he is no more, And the place acknowledges him no more.” And it made me angry because I sat there and I went: “I know this.
18:50This is part of my problem.” Because I remember my father–he was very smart, very powerful, very respected,
18:57yet when he died I remember the funeral, when people came to see that night
19:03I saw a man talking about their business, his best friends, some of them even laughing,
19:08you know, they were sincere but it was like my dad died and everybody’s gone on with their life.
19:14And I thought to myself: “That’s exactly the way it’s going to be with me.
19:19″The way it is with everybody. You’re just grass. You die.”
19:24And so I took the Bible and I just put it back, like that, quickly and just said, basically: “Thanks God for telling me something I already knew”.
19:32But then I picked it back up again after a few minutes, and it said: “But the lovingkindness of the Lord is everlasting on those who fear Him.”
19:42And the “everlasting” is the part that just stood out to me.
19:48And so I would read some and I would listen to this guy some
19:54and I began to kind of understand something about the gospel.
19:59And then one day I’m at the undergraduate library, the University of Texas we’re running off some oil surveys
20:06because we had this team–we competed against other teams there in the university,
20:11you know, this classroom situation in which you’re these mock-up companies and you have to do all the different things from oil surveys to accounting.
20:18And so we’re running off some surveys there and one of the girls, the only girl on our team, comes up to me and she goes:
20:26″Hey, I’m having a party tomorrow night. Why don’t you come?” And I had gone through that stage of partying and everything
20:35but I had gotten to the point were I’m no longer partied I just went to a bar, you know, I mean a bar–old guys, you know,
20:42I just went to a bar, I would sit there and drink myself blind. I could go for 2 weeks without talking to a person. I just didn’t care anymore.
20:51And I don’t even know what drove me to want to get good grades all the time. I guess it was the only reason I had to be alive.
21:00So I looked at her and I said: “No, I’m not going to your party.” And she looked at me and all the guys that knew me were, kinda, looking up
21:07and, kinda, smiling and looking at me while I was talking to her. I said: “I’m not going to your party”.
21:12And she said: “Why?” And honestly before you, what I’m gonna tell you is the truth
21:19I looked at her, it wasn’t premeditated, it wasn’t anything,
21:24I just looked at her and this is what I said, I said: “I’m not going to you party because I believe in Jesus Christ
21:30and I’m going to follow Him”. When I said that, I saw her face
21:37and I saw my friends, acquaintances there in this company with me,
21:45I saw them look at me with the most shocked look on their face like, “What on Earth is he pulling now?’
21:53And it was like– have you seen those cartoons where this light bulb just goes “click”
22:00Literally it went– I can still remember the very moment– it went…
22:08It was just… and I looked at her and she looked at me and I said: “That’s exactly what I’m gonna do.
22:14″I’m gonna walk out of this building right now and I’m going to follow Jesus Christ. I love Jesus Christ and I’m gonna follow Jesus Christ”.
22:23And I turned away from them, I gathered up my stuff and I started walking out of that library
22:29and, literally, it was like someone was carrying me.
22:34All I knew is that I was loved by God and all my sins were gone.
22:40That’s all I knew. And that’s when I’m dealing with souls you have to be very careful–
22:45I’m gonna make a little theological statement here now, you gotta be very very careful
22:51because we are saved by repentance and by faith but at the initial stages of conversion that always does not manifest itself the same way.
23:02For example, I was a wicked, wicked person but I wasn’t sitting there at that moment thinking how wicked I was,
23:07this wasn’t a perfect Puritan demonstration of repentance, I wasn’t thinking about that.
23:13All I knew was God loved me and I was reconciled. And I couldn’t even use that word but that’s what I knew.
23:18Now, you say: “Well, there was no repentance.” Yes, there was. It started manifesting itself, I mean,
23:25everyday I would see more of how wicked I was and it would break my heart more and more.
23:31So when you’re dealing with souls you have to be very very cautious because I’ve seen people who find very little assurance because they supposedly haven’t had
23:40that perfect Puritan, reformed conversion experience–but neither did Johnathan Edwards.
23:49But in the end what happens: repentance starts, faiths starts. I was so happy and I went towards the library door
23:56and I opened it up and there was a girl coming in that later I found out had been praying for me for 6 months,
24:02her and several others that were in the same apartment complex with me, and when I opened the door she said: “Paul?!”
24:11And I said: “Yeah?” She goes: “What happened to you?!” I said: “What do you mean what happened to me?”
24:18She goes: “Your face. You’re just–What happened to you?”
24:23And I said: “I don’t know.” And I remember I got scared.
24:29I knew I was a different human being. I was a different man.
24:34And I just walked, ran– I would run when no one would see me and walk when people were passing me by,
24:40I had to get back and I found that guy who was in my apartment. And I said: “Mike, I’m scared!”
24:47He said: “What’s wrong?” I go: “I’m not me anymore. I’m not me.”
24:55And so he took me down to this guy who discipled him, who was the resident, you know, overseer, who was a Christian,
25:04Mike Martin, big Texan. And so I knock on the door and Mike goes: “What’s up?”
25:11Mikes said: “Tell him what’s up” They were both named Mike. And I said to him: “I don’t know.
25:19I believe in Jesus and I’m not the same person that I was just an hour ago.”
25:27And he goes, slaps me on the back, you know, big Texan, he goes: “Buddy, you’ve been born again!”
25:35That’s what he said. And I said: “What is that?!” You know, “What does that mean?”
25:42So for about month and a half it was just glorious. All I could think about was Jesus.
25:47I remember the very next day they bought me a Ryrie Study Bible. I had that New American Standard Ryrie Study Bible, I took it to class.
25:57And my friends were looking at me again, like, “What are you pulling, Washer?” I said: “No, I’ve been born again. I’m not the same person.”
26:05I remember walking back the second day from class and there’s a big crowd out on the student mall
26:11and this guy is sitting there, kinda preaching, but he wasn’t preaching he was talking about humanism and free sex
26:21and all this different stuff and there is no morality and I didn’t know anything
26:26but I got so angry, I knew he was a liar. And so I just went through the crowd,
26:33it’s like something just picked me up and just pushed me, and I got right up to where he is and I said: “Sir,”
26:38–in a very loud voice– “You are a liar and you’re a deceiver and you’re deceiving all these people.”
26:45So that was my first sermon. Not a whole lot has changed since then.
26:51And for about a month everything was really going well because at times when God saves a person he’ll literally immerse them in grace to protect them.
27:02And then a guy walks up to me and he goes, and I told him I’m a Christian,
27:08he goes: “When did you pray the prayer?” And I said: “What?” He goes: “When did you pray the prayer?”
27:15I said: “What prayer?” He goes: “The prayer.” And so he said down with me and explained to me how you have to pray and ask Jesus to come into your heart.
27:24So I’m, like: “I didn’t do that…” And then, for the next couple of months, at least six weeks, all the misery came back.
27:36Every day I would go and say: “If I didn’t pray this correctly, if I didn’t pray this right…”
27:43and prayed it again and again…and one day I just realized this is idiotic. I am a new creature.
27:49I became a new creature that day in the library. But here’s what happened:
27:55When I was converted, I mean, like, I had a foul mouth,
28:01I mean, a foul mouth and it stopped just like that.
28:06The drinking stopped, the other thing stopped, What did not stop was…lying and exaggerating.
28:16You say: “Well, then you weren’t saved because liars don’t inherit the Kingdom.” Well, no, there was a big difference.
28:23I could tell a lie that big and it was like God drove a spear through my heart
28:32every time I would do it. And I would have to go back, it’s the most humbling thing in the world,
28:38and go to my friend and say: “I lied to you” or “I exaggerated this.”
28:44I mean, it was like daggers. It was horrible. It’s like someone stuck a knife in your throat
28:51and just ripped down through your entire body every time. Again, God takes away certain things from our lives the moment we’re converted.
29:03He allows other things to stay until He works through them progressively
29:10and it causes us to walk in humility, causes us not to leap and judge others.
29:15We know that sanctification is a process. Well, I almost knew–
29:22This is really gonna be kinda hard to explain, but I almost knew the moment I was converted that I was also going to preach.
29:29And the reason why I knew that is because when I was a little boy, 14, 15 years old, 13, 12…
29:36I would have dreams at night and I could always see myself standing in front of a red curtain,
29:43a simple red curtain and simple wooden pulpit and I was preaching and I used to wake up crying and say: “God” –because I hated the idea of being a preacher–
29:54I said: “I’ll do anything. I’ll get saved” –I used to say that– “if you’ll just promise me I don’t have to preach
30:02because I don’t want to do that.” So I kind of knew that this was something…
30:14And it was. It was just something that started coming and I felt like I had to witness to people.
30:20I can remember standing out on campus handing out tracts and, you know, girls would come by,
30:26the girls that used to, you know, I guess, think I was something, I hand them tracts and they take them, laugh and crumple them up in my face
30:35and throw them on the ground. My friends would come to me and they pull me aside and they go: “What how you done?
30:41″You joined a cult? What on Earth are you doing? “You’re standing out here in the middle of the campus, people think you’re out of your mind.”
30:49And I remember, I asked them one time, three of them got me, and I said: “Do you believe that Jesus died?”
30:55And they said: “Well, of course we do. You know, everybody knows that. He did that. I go to church, yeah.”
31:00And I go: “He died!” They said: “Yes.” I said: “What else can I do? I’m a prisoner now. I don’t have any options.
31:11I’m His.” And there were a lot of struggles and things that went on, but…something that’s really–
31:22I wanna share with you is– About 2 years ago, 3 years ago a person was talking with me and they said: “Brother Paul,
31:34″we don’t want to exalt you or anything like that, but we just want to share with you– “We thank you for two things:
31:40″One, your bravery–that you will stand up and say the things you say even though men hate you.
31:47And two: that you tell the truth.” They told me that and I didn’t think much about it then I got in my car
31:54and I was driving back to the church where I was attending and I got out of the car and all of a sudden what they said hit me.
32:01And I began to weep uncontrollably. I had to go into the church and get in my office.
32:08The reason why, I thought: “Look what they’re saying
32:14…courage and truth.” Before I was a believer, even though I was strong, a lot of things, I was so intimidated by everybody.
32:24I think it was the reason why I lifted weights so much, I mean, I wouldn’t even want to go into a Walmart and return something, you know,
32:30I just was afraid someone would be angry or something.
32:35And then I looked back and thought: “If there was one thing that set me apart in my life before Christ is, I was a liar.”
32:43I would lie more than any human being I’ve ever known. And I sit there and go: “Now I am known as being courageous and telling the truth
32:55when I was the biggest coward and the biggest liar.”
33:00Do you see that? Isn’t that amazing? And I would still be today the biggest coward and the biggest liar if it were not for the grace of God.
33:12And I find it amazing–that when I read the story “The Life of George Muller”,
33:18you know, he handled millions of dollars, died basically with nothing but the suit he had on his back,
33:26took care of tens of thousands of orphans, his reputation was his stewardship of finances,
33:33and yet, before he was converted he was a thief who stole money from his own father,
33:39was thrown in jail for ripping people off and not paying his debts. Isn’t that amazing?
33:45God takes that which is not and makes it so that it is.
33:51That means that it is all the grace of God. Sometimes I’ll look at my children and I say:
33:57″Do you believe that I’m a good dad and that I love your mom?” And they will say: “Yes dad.”
34:04And I’ll go: “The only reason you can say that is because of what God did for your dad,
34:11″because your dad would’ve never been able to marry, have a marriage, would’ve never been able to care for children,
34:20″because he was in bondage to his own vanity and sin. So anything good that you’re receiving from this man
34:28is the recreating work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
34:33And after I was saved, I was very, very fortunate to go to a church, it was just an Independent Baptist church,
34:40but independent, not as a denomination, it was just a Baptist church. And the pastor there was one of the most unusual men that I ever met.
34:49He wasn’t reformed, he wasn’t anything like that–
34:56I’ve never seen to this day a man preach with more power.
35:01I’ve never seen a man so filled with the Holy Ghost. And while I was there an old man by the name of brother Pittman put some books in my hand:
35:11″Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret”, “The Autobiography of George Muller”, Leonard Ravenhill’s “Why Revival Tarries”
35:20and these books about men who prayed, not just prayed, prayed hours and hours and hours a day.
35:27And seeing a living example of the power of the Holy Spirit in front of me every Sunday
35:36and in these books made me realize something: Christianity, although it has to do with doctrine, and doctrine is foundational,
35:43it is, it is only that doctrine is foundational, it is about life and power.
35:51It is–the power to live–Paul says: “the power that works mightily within me.” And I tell you this testimony because it is absolutely–
36:01I cannot understand my life apart from it. For some reason after a few years in my Christianity
36:08God began to work in me a prayer life that I have never been able to duplicate since.
36:14It started out an hour a day, then two hours a day, sometimes three hours a day…
36:22Almost crazy. I worked at a cafeteria in order to support myself through school
36:28as soon as I get back from there I go to the library, get home from the library at 11 o’clock at night
36:33I would pray till 1, 2, 3 in the morning then get up in the morning at seven, go back to classes…
36:40just…it went on for months and months. I know this sounds almost crazy to you
36:48but I decided I would either know God or die. I was a Christian, I knew God, I was born again, but there was this thing that I could know Him
36:57and that His power could be a reality in my life. And I said: “I’m gonna go in this closet and I’m not coming out until either God meets with me
37:06–I didn’t even know what that meant– God meets with me or I die. I fell asleep 15 minutes later and all my roommates came home about 3 hours later
37:14and found me asleep in the closet. They thought I had totally lost my mind. So I began to set an alarm clock every 15 minutes because I have until today–
37:23because I work hard, sometimes when I pray I fall asleep
37:28and so the alarm would go off, it’d wake me back up, I’d start praying, I’d set it again and for months all I prayed was this:
37:38″Lord, it’s been 47 days now…
37:45″and you still have not come. You said if I sought you, I would find you.”
37:53And then: “Lord, it’s been 93 days.” And all I would do for hours is sit there
38:02and go: “I’m waiting, I am not leaving.
38:11I’m not leaving” and I would just sit there.
38:17Everybody went on a youth retreat, some kind of college retreat in the spring, I’ll never forget that.
38:22And I knew that the Lord wanted me to go out into the Hill Country of West Texas,
38:28I went out there, 3-3,5 days and if someone had seen me, they would have called the authorities.
38:35I’m up on top of a hill–I got the point I’m gabbing rocks
38:40and I’m throwing them as high as I can into the sky saying: “Did that hit the door? Did that hit the gate?
38:46″Did you hear me?! “I’m still here!
38:52Where are you? Where is the Lord, God of Elijah?”
39:01I went back to school. One night I was crying out to God…
39:08I didn’t really know anything about prayer, I’d still been a Christian for only about a year or so–
39:13crying out to God: “I’m still here.” Wait there 3 hours just saying: “Still here.
39:21Here I am. Still here.”
39:26And all of a sudden I just cried out: “Father…please….”
39:35Now, some of you are going to disagree with me and I don’t care,
39:40but at that moment, God came into that place in such a way
39:46that I was thrown down to the ground and I lay there in a fetal position
39:52covering my head with my arms, thinking that I had somehow either blasphemed
39:58or He was sick and tired of what I was doing– I was so afraid, I lay there, I couldn’t control my body.
40:06I don’t know how long it went. I was convinced that there were firetrucks and police and everything
40:14outside of my apartment complex because there was probably some fire coming down from heaven.
40:22Then I don’t know after how many hours but I was filled with such joy.
40:31My mouth shot open, and it’s like Proverbs and Psalms came out, and no–don’t be afraid I didn’t speak in tongues.
40:41But for hours I just went to speaking great things about God, magnificent things about God.
40:49Now, whatever you want to say, I can tell you, my preaching on the streets, everything changed.
40:57Do I still struggle with sin? Yes. Do I carry revival around in my pocket?
41:04Absolutely not. But the presence of the living God is more real to me in this building right now, than the presence of all of you put together.
41:17And the whole thing I was wanting to tell you is that our Lord God is more than a propositional truth.
41:25And you will never be able to tell me that the Old Testament saints were privy to more of the presence of God
41:33than those of us in the New Testament to whom the fulfillment of all things has come.
41:42That God is a supernatural God, that in prayer a man can meet with God and that God can draw near to a man or a woman to such an extent that they cannot even–
42:00I understand Apocalyptic language now– That one of the reasons why a prophet is writing in such strange language is because he is on the border of that which is madness.
42:11He’s looking at things that not even our mind can comprehend. His language could not explain because he could not comprehend.
42:22What I try to communicate to my children through each doctrine–
42:28We want them to understand the confessions. We want them to understand the principles and proverbs and so many other things,
42:36but what I want you to see is this, our God is a living God.
42:41And as Leonard Ravenhill used to say: “Everybody wants to give a new definition of Christianity,
42:49but the world is waiting for is a new demonstration of Christianity.”
42:56Those have been things that have been fundamental to the rest of my life.
43:01so we will a–we will end in here. But let me tell you this. When we talk about this, seeking after God and experiences,
43:12no two lives are the same, what happens to one believer does not have to happen to another.
43:19We shouldn’t seek experiences, but we should seek God in Christ.
43:26But what we should come away with is this: There is a Christianity out there, there is a God out there that is waiting to be called upon.
43:37And to be boldly pursued. And out of such boldness He takes a great deal of delight.
43:47It’s just like, sometimes it’s almost like He looks down at the angels and says: “Here comes the wild man again.”
43:55Such a wildness. God delights in that.
44:01One of my favorite poems is: “There is a joy in the journey, “a light we can love on the way.
44:07There is a wonder and wildness to life, and freedom for those who obey.”
44:12Let me pray.
44:22Please visit our website at heartcrymissionary.com there you will find information about the ministry, our purpose, beliefs and methodologies
44:31and extensive information about the missionaries we are privileged to serve