Redemption is God taking responsibility for man’s fall. That certainly has been true in my life.
Our “Last” Family Vacation
I grew up in a family that was born again and loved Jesus, but He wasn’t 100% real to us. When I was 6 years old, my mother got sick and the medical doctor’s report came back and said that she would be dead in 6 months. Even though I was too young to really understand, I still remember seeing my mom crying and asking my dad what was wrong. At that time, my dad and mom decided that we would go on our “last” family vacation to California.
When we arrived in California, we met my great uncle and aunt. They started talking about God’s power to heal and what it meant to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. At that same time, Kathryn Kuhlman was holding a meeting in the area and they convinced my parents to go to the meeting. While at the meeting, they sat behind a few rows of blind, deaf, and dumb people. During that meeting, several of the people in front of them were miraculously healed, but my mom was not one of them.
Introducing the Holy Spirit
We finished our vacation and on the way out of town stopped by Uncle Frank and Aunt Martha’s house. They again talked to my parents about God’s healing power and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. My dad said that he wanted the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but he wanted nothing to do with those tongues.
They asked if they could pray for my mom and her response was, “Sure, I believe in prayer”.
So they gathered around her and started to pray. When they laid hands on her, she was instantly healed. She said, “I felt a bolt of lightning come from heaven and I was healed.” Of course, my dad got so excited that he started to pray in tongues! Those tongues mind you that he thought he did not want.
Needless to say, this encounter with God caused a great change in my family’s life and those around us.
Back from Vacation
When we returned from our vacation, the doctors and the church we attended were astonished. There is a lot more to the story that I do not have time to tell, but I will tell you that God gave my mom about 45 more years after that.
As I grew up, I remained hungry for the things of God, but really was pretty ignorant of the Bible. I didn’t know God’s Word and how to access what Jesus did for me.
In my late teenage years, I became the program director of my family’s small Christian AM radio station. I would listen to the broadcasters on the station and they helped me to start to grow up spiritually.
Rhema Bible Training College
Eventually, I heard about Kenneth Hagin and his Bible school called Rhema Bible Training Center located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I decided to attend. I moved a thousand miles away from my family, and while attending Bible school God spoke to me and told me the church I was supposed to attend.
Finding my Church
I had been going to a few different churches, but was miserable. They were all great churches, but it was not where God wanted me.
One Saturday while I was praying and reading my Bible, the Spirit spoke to me and said, “There is a church in Broken Arrow that I want you to go to.” I had no idea about any such church, but the next day someone invited me to “Living Water Teaching Church” in Broken Arrow.
I visited the church the next Sunday, and met Pastor Jerry Zirkle. I walked in the door and they were singing a bunch of songs that I wasn’t sure I liked. A lot of them were written by David Ingles. I knew of his music since I had played some of it when I was the program director at my family’s radio station. But to be honest, I really liked more “soulish” songs that “I thought” were more spiritual.
When Pastor Jerry preached his message that morning, God so ministered to me in that service that I knew this was where God wanted me. Throughout the next year between going to Bible School and watching faith in action in this local church, God totally changed my life.
As I grew up spiritually, those David Ingles songs that I “did not like”, became so alive in me, and really helped me to grow in the Lord.
Staying Faithful in Service
I spent the next 35 years lifting up Pastor Jerry’s hands. I served in the “Ministry of Helps” wherever needed. This included things like maintenance on the church grounds, Pastor Jerry’s radio broadcast, answering mail, writing computer programs, and working with the more than 100 missionaries that we had in several countries around the world. I was happy to be a part of the ministry as we saw hundreds of thousands come to Christ around the world.
As I was faithful to do what God put in my heart, God gave me my wonderful wife, Angie and later two sons that are now grown and serving the Lord.
A few months before Pastor Jerry went to be with the Lord in 2022, God began to speak to me to step out and do more for Him. It is now time to pick up that mantle and continue with the work that the Lord started through him. This next generation must know who they are in Christ Jesus and who God is in them. I am called to minister the Spirit of Life, so now I sing and preach the same message that was imparted into me.
I believe that as the Word goes forth through His Spirit, it will cause a hunger in us that God can fill, and all those that hear will grow up in Him and take their place in the body of Christ.
He’ll Use You Too!
I share these things with you today, to hopefully encourage you in the Lord to do what God’s called you to do. As Pastor Jerry used to say, “If God can use a country bumpkin like me, then He certainly can use you.” That statement is true for all of us.
I want you to know that this website is part of the commission to “Go” and is to be a tool for you and me to connect and grow in His Word and in His Will.
Finally, Let’s remember one thing: We are all jerks without Jesus, but Praise God we are not without Him.