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Dear Brother and Beloved,
I am 34 years old and I live with my wife and children in Independence, MO. I was born Sepember 29, 1969 in Kansas City, Mo. I have 6 children ranging in age from 15 years down to 3 years old. I am a manager by trade and a youth pastor and out reach minister by calling.
My families religious roots trace back to Methodism. My great, great, Grandparents on my Mother's side were Methodist's. They were extreme holiness people as Methodists. It is said of my Great, Great, Grandmother Amy Ann that when she walked into the room the hair would stand up on your arm- because she walked so close to God. Maybe it was just conviction of sin that they felt because she was salt and light in the world. Her granchildren tell that they never saw her ankles or her wrists all the time they were children.
She (Grandma Amy Ann) was a street corner preacher in Cole Camp Missouri. Before she died she called certian family members into the room to pray for them and some were saved before they died. I am told that out of curiosity they attended a Pentecostal meeting at the Union Church in Cole Camp Missouri in the 1930's and eventually became Pentecostal. The "fire" fell and there was revival on a limited scale. For some reason the next generation began to teach "holiness" in a fashion of life that tried to emulate the likes of my Grandma Amy Ann. In an atmosphere of desiring to get close to God you can do that. But when you try to make the "holiness teachings" a means to the end it will not work and did not work. You see, I don't watch TV so I can appear holy and impress people; I do it so that I can get closer to God and I can hear His voice. If I have something the people are looking for and desire then I can tell them how I got there. If I don't have the salt and light that attracts the people- they will hear nothing but rules.
I have to preach on genuine sin and let God deal with the people. Oh, I point out the pitfalls of TV. But, to condemn people when they are cold and hard over TV and such things will bring a revolt and is merely a symptom of a larger problem anyway. If I preach a Gospel that none can live then I have done God an extreme disservice. I believe this happens when repentance preaching is taken to the people week after week after week. Soon they get so cleaned up that you have to start measuring skirts and splitting hairs. This is not the object of revival in God's sight- it is so we will live as Christ in our behavior. A lot is said about holiness and victory over sin-- but who is teaching us how to get there and have victory over strongholds? If we can't put those boots on the ground all of our theologies are in vain. What can we put into action? Lets be perfect and be as Christ and love; but lets show people how to get there.
Maybe Grandma Amy Ann's children may have thought; if we teach our kids to do what Grandma Amy Ann did they will be anointed like her. Seems reasonable right? But, all the kids did was rebel and by the time we extend out two more generations there was about 1 in 5 of the kids serving God. Holiness became a list of the commandments of men and did nothing to make the kids like Jesus Christ. That is true holiness by the way. Nothing more and nothing less. because when the convictions of men become the doctrines of men it is not long and they become the commandments of men. What do I look for to see Spirituality, I look for love for God and for our neighbor. That is the end of all we are doing. When I was first back to God I desired to hear "rip it up" sermons and sometimes they are a necessity; where I would err was when I began to glory in the way people would hand their head in the service as if it were a victory. God Forgive me for that. God have mercy on me. We need tough preaching and we need to balance it with love for God and our neighbor. Otherwise our ministry is just "reactionary" to what else is happening. Joel Osteen says that his Dad wanted to preach a positive message to counter the holiness, hell fire preaching in that day. Now he is out of balance on the other end because his ministry is a "reaction" to what once was. Many of those men backslid and we ought to really concern ourselves with why that was. I have and I do.
My Father's side was a mix of things- that eventually resulted in my grandparents becoming Pentecostal. My dad turned from God and God delivered him of 25+ years of alcoholism. He is now a dedicated deacon of the church to God be the glory! His story contains many cases where he can show where teachings of "holiness" and the like turned him of to God in a bad way when young.
You see, beloved, when the kids see their Mom or Grandma praying and crying before God and then they get right up and grab a green switch and tear your legs up with it- because you picked an apple off the apple tree to eat when hungry it sends a profaned message. That is not love. That is what was happening and the like in certain KEY areas of the family (not as this on my dads side). That was the picture of holiness that much of my family saw and it was a contradiction. People then began to confuse stoicism with holiness and a generation went by without hardly telling their kids they loved them. I speak for my experience only.
My heart's cry is for God to bring us into balance in revival, as it comes, so that we can preach deep repentance as needed and get people truly born again; and then go on to perfection not laying that foundation over and over. What has happened in my family and in my limited circles of friends and associates, especially in the generation that would land people to be about 70+ years old right now, is that they were taught "holiness" that was not Jesus Christ. This is where I think the error has been with revivals in the past in our part of this country.
I was sent by my mother and dad to Church on the van from a very early age. I cannot remember a time when I did not know God or call upon Him in prayer. As a teen I strayed from God in some key areas that left my life almost in ruin. He protected me totally from alcohol and drugs; but I had vices in my life that were just as bad. They caught up to me eventually.
On Easter Sunday 1991, I came home to the fathers house. I had been gone fow about 2 years or so depending on how you look at it. From the time I was a child I studied the scriptures out of fear of the rapture and prayed out of fear of my father; but now I was baptized in the Spirit and it was an unquenchable hunger and thirst.
Too many details to tell all; but my favorite subjects are reaching the lost, Nursing Home ministry, revival, Jewish roots, and apologetics (strange mix?). I want to see the saints walk in love AND victory over their sins and have made the bulk of my studies to that end. I studied theology on my own over the years and attended the Messianic Jewish Institute of KC to complete my Church History Studies and to get back to the roots of the early church. If I am anything I am HIS workmanship and everything I am NOT has been my own doing. My life belongs to God. I am His servant. As far as reaching the Jews...That is what this thread is about. I pray someone can use it to familiarize themselves with the issues.
To God Be the Glory.