Who is this guy and why is he saying all these mean things about my favorite preacher?
My name is Steve Lumbley. I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. This website and the views expressed on it are mine. I represent no particular church, religious group or denomination. I serve no man but the Lord Jesus Christ. I have no interest in drawing away disciples unto myself. I have no interest in starting a church or religious group. My entire purpose in this is to point people to Jesus of Nazareth, the risen Savior.
I do this out of obedience to the call of God. I am called as a watchman according to Ezekiel 33. Just as Ezekiel was called to God’s people, the rebellious house of Israel, I am called to God’s people of today, the rebellious church. I know that most won’t hear me because they won’t hear God. Nevertheless I speak as God gives me utterance. I believe that there is a remnant, a small number of Gods elect still in bondage to the harlot religious system of today. These are those to whom I speak. If you have ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying, you are one of those to whom I am sent. What follows is a brief overview of my life and how I came to this point.
I was raised in religion. Southern Baptists roots run deep on both sides of my family. My forefathers include Southern Baptist pastors, and evangelists. I was born again at the age of 7 during a Vacation Bible School service.
I attended the Baptist Church until around the age of 17. By that time I had become full of rebellion and just stopped going. I went through my college years for the most part without setting foot in a church. I just didn’t see any point in it.
From my years of attending the Baptist church I only understood one thing. You must be born again. Beyond that I thought you just did the best you could in life and in the end you get to go to heaven. I knew nothing of the crucified life, nothing of laying down my life and taking up my cross. I found no value in the application of the Bible to every day life. In fact there seemed to be little taught that a person could actually use in life. Oh, I had some vague idea that you were supposed to live a “Christian life” whatever that meant.
The problem was that the only people I saw trying to live a “Christian Life” weren’t really very good at it. They lived that life when other church people were around but I saw enough of them (and their rebellious children) when they weren’t around other church people that it was obvious that the whole thing was a farce. Even my own parents acted one way around church people and another way at home. This whole thing seemed foolish to me. I didn’t like acting. I didn’t like trying to be something or someone that I was not. I was what I was and if other people didn’t like it then too bad.
Now please don’t misunderstand. I do not blame the Baptist Church, or my parents, or anyone else for this. The truth is that I had a Bible. I knew how to read. I could have opened that Bible for myself and learned the truth. But I didn’t want to. Do you know why?
The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. NKJV
Of course if you had asked me I would have told you that I was saved. You see one Baptist teaching that I did like was once saved always saved. I liked that because it allowed me to justify my sinful life. In fact I actually thought that most people were saved. You see, the Baptist church is real big on altar calls. Every church service I ever attended concluded with an altar call. And most altar calls came and went without anyone responding. Oh, sometimes some kids or teens would respond, like I had when I was 7 years old. About the only time any adults came forward was to join the church by transfer of letter. That meant they had been members of a Baptist church somewhere else and were now, for whatever reason, transferring their membership to this one. The only other time I saw adults respond was when a visiting evangelist was in town for Revival. We held Revival once or twice a year and during these times some adults would respond to the call. It was usually some down-and-outer that one of the church members had brought. Some old guy that didn’t really look like or dress like the rest of us. I don’t think I ever saw one of the regular adult church members respond to an altar call.
From these observations I naturally concluded that most people got saved when they were young and that was that. I was actually in college before I realized that most of the people I was hanging around with weren’t saved at all.
After college I met and married my wife. She came from a somewhat similar background although she had attended the Church of Christ. She didn’t know anything about being born again and I didn’t ask. It was enough for me to know that just like me, her parents had brought her up in church. And like me she had stopped going during her teen years.
Our eldest daughter was born in 1979 and we decided that like us, she should be raised in church. We started looking and attended a couple of local Baptist churches but I tell you they were so dry and boring I just couldn’t stand it. It was during this time we were introduced to the Charismatic movement.
One of my wife’s co-workers invited us to a new church she and her husband were attending. I thank God for this woman although today I can’t even remember her name. She ministered the Gospel to my wife one evening in our living room and my wife accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. We accepted her invitation and visited this new church. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It was a relatively small group, maybe a couple of hundred people meeting in an old warehouse building. The music was upbeat, the crowd was joyful and obviously excited to be there. But what really blew me away was the dynamic, charismatic, on fire for God pastor. His name was Robert Tilton. This was the beginning of our 17 year journey through Charismatic/Faith camp.
The Charismatic Faith Years
From my very first exposure to Bob Tilton and the faith message, I was hooked. It was at that first service we attended that Bob was beginning a new teaching series he called Biblical Laws of Success. Wow! This was exactly what I had been looking for. A sermon that was actually relevant to my everyday life. Something I could actually use. I remember thinking ‘why hasn’t anyone told me these things before?’
Actually I had heard some of these things before. Only a few weeks prior to our visit my wife and I had attended a business seminar that focused on things like goal setting and positive thinking. That seminar had been an eye opening experience for me and now Bob was teaching virtually the same thing but from a scriptural basis.
The truth was that what Tilton was teaching was in the Bible. My wife and I were perfect candidates for deception because we had both been raised in religion. We understood some scriptural concepts. I in particular thought I knew the Bible pretty well although I really didn’t.
Jer 17:10 10
I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. NKJV
Well anyway I dove in head first. I began reading everything I could get my hands on. I began to study all the great faith teachers, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Charles Capps, Oral Roberts E.W. Kenyon. I began to apply the ‘faith formulas’ I was learning. My whole outlook on life began to change. And Tilton’s ministry began to grow.
Around 1980, Bob’s church, Word Of Faith, moved into a brand new 5,000 seat facility. It was obvious to all that the faith message was working for him, and we all knew that God was no respecter of persons. If God would bless Bob and Marte Tilton then certainly he would bless us as well. And in truth we did begin to see positive changes in our life and circumstances.
During this time Bob began Word of Faith Bible College. The courses were taught by many of the big faith preachers. The way it worked was by satellite television. People like Copeland and Capps, and Marilyn Hickey, etc. would broadcast a teaching by satellite. That course would be viewed live during the day by the full time students and would be taped for later replay for part time students. I enrolled as a part time student and took courses 2 or 3 nights per week.
By the time our second daughter was born in 1985 we were doing pretty well. I was studying the Bible more and more. My job was going great. I was learning how to live by faith (or so I thought). I remember one experience in particular in which I sought God about a situation with my job and after several days of fasting and prayer God completely changed the situation. In fact I got a major promotion and raise, followed by several more pay raises in the next few months. My wife also had gotten a good job with a large company that included a company car and more money than we had ever made in our lives.
I tell you all this to say that deception can be a subtle thing. The greatest deception consists of 99% truth and 1% lie. Jesus said a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Satan is a deceiver and he’s had at least 6,000 years of dealing with man. He knows how to push our buttons. Actually Satan is just an instrument of God. It was God Himself that was leading us according to the idols in our own hearts – see Ezekiel 14: 3-5.
Now there were some things that bothered me about what we were involved in especially at the very beginning. I remember one of the first things I questioned was the bookstore in the church. Even when we were meeting in that tiny warehouse building there was a bookstore selling Bibles, books from the faith preachers, and all sorts of ‘Christian’ supplies and knick knacks. You may have a bookstore like this in your own church.
I remember thinking at the time ‘didn’t Jesus drive from the temple those that bought and sold?’ I had that thought but I quickly put it out of my mind. I reasoned that this was surely different than what Jesus was talking about. It must be different because Bob Tilton was obviously a man of God and he wouldn’t do anything that was contrary to Jesus teaching.
Do you see what I did? I didn’t seek God over this. I didn’t go to the scripture and study for myself. I reasoned. I assumed. I allowed the judgment of a man to override the clear teaching of scripture. Right there I could have made a choice to follow truth as it is revealed in the Bible but I chose my own way, and God allowed me to do it. He allowed me to believe a lie because I refused to love the truth.
2 Thes 2:10-11
…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
I first began working for Robert Tilton Ministries in 1987. At this point in my life my secular career wasn't going as well as it had been. I had left a good paying, steady job to seek more money. I didn't really seek God over this. It was purely what I wanted.
You see, I was following the teaching that I had been sitting under. Bob had written a book called 'Charting Your Course By The Dream in Your Heart' and that's what I was doing. I was seeking my course, my will, not God's will for me. The covetousness of my heart was leading me away from God's will as I sought to have more of the worlds blessings.
So, while I was struggling in a job that I wasn't really equipped for I decided to work part time in Tiltons prayer ministry center. Bob's television show, 'Success In Life' was really taking off at that time. He had found a great format teaching people to make a 'vow of faith' in order to be blessed by God. The phones were busy 24 hours a day with people calling in to make vows and to ask for prayer. At it's height Bob employed several hundred people both part time and full time to answer phones. This is what I was doing. Taking calls and praying with people for various needs to be met in their lives.
This was great I thought. I was doing a great work for the Lord. I was praying with people for salvation, for healing, for unsaved loved ones, man I was really building up great rewards in heaven! Or so I thought. In reality, it was all a lie.
Bob Tilton preached a false gospel, a powerless gospel that is really no gospel at all. I now know that no man can come to a saving knowledge of the real Jesus Christ by hearing a false gospel. I had become an active participant in the great apostasy. I was guilty of leading people into a false assurance of salvation as they merrily walked the broad path straight in to hell.
Even now, many years later it is difficult for me to write these words, to acknowledge the cesspool of darkness that was my heart. Even more overwhelming though is the weight of Gods grace and mercy upon my life. He opened my eyes and pulled me out of that pit. I didn’t deserve it. I still don’t. I can never be any more than an unprofitable servant to Him.
After about a year of part time work I quit the ministry center and again changed jobs in my secular career. I was still seeking money and the things of this world. It was always just around the corner, over the next hill. The next place was always going to be better. Of course it never was. The covetousness of my heart was actively deceiving me, keeping me in bondage and lack.
By 1989 things had pretty much fallen apart for me in my job. The company that I worked for had gone broke. I had tried several things on my own. Nothing seemed to work out. I decided that God was closing these doors because He wanted me back in ministry full time. I went back to the ministry center, this time as a full time employee.
The pay was minimal. In fact it really wasn’t enough but my wife still had a good job and we decided that if I was doing this unto the Lord, He would provide. I spent the next 6 years working for Robert Tilton ministries.
I started again as a regular prayer minister but after a while I was promoted to be a special assistant to Bob. My job was to speak on Bob’s behalf to partners and others who called and insisted on speaking directly to him.
The way it worked was like this; If you were a personal friend of Tilton’s or if you were another big time preacher you could get through to Bob’s personal secretary and ultimately to Bob himself. If you were just a regular Joe Schmoe partner (you know, the ones who were actually funding Tilton’s lavish lifestyle with their vows of faith) well Bob didn’t have time for those people. Those calls were routed to me. Also some of the thousands of letters the ministry received every day were given to me to call back.
During this time we were also very active in the church. Both of our daughters were attending the church’s private school, Lexington Academy, I was studying the Word daily and even creating and teaching adult Sunday School classes. I felt I had found my life’s calling. I really had no idea what God had planned for me.
We remained in the church until around 1996. This included the time of the A.B.C. investigation into the ministry. It included Bob’s divorce from Marte and his remarriage to Leigh Valentine. It included Bob’s subsequent move to Florida in which he turned the church over to another pastor. We stayed through all of this. We were there near the beginning. We were there when the church reached approximately 8,000 members and was one of the first Charismatic mega-churches and we were there at the end when it was again down to a couple of hundred people.
By that time I was so thoroughly indoctrinated into the Faith message that it took quite a bit for God to even begin to open my eyes. There were some things though that nagged at me. One of these things was the practice called “slain in the spirit”
At some point it began to bother me that I couldn’t find the concept of being slain in the spirit in the Bible. In case you don’t know this is a common practice in many churches today in which the pastor or some other minister lays hands on and prays for a person and that person falls down, usually backwards, as if knocked down by some unseen force. This is explained as the “power of God” or the “power of the Holy Spirit” or the “anointing” or some such. Of course none of these explanations hold water when compared to scripture.
I even remember asking some of the pastors on staff about this and none of them could really answer me from scripture. Some said it was like when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus and when he spoke The words “I AM” they all fell backwards. Well, that wasn’t right because Jesus wasn’t praying for them at the time. Others referred me to 1 Kings 8:11 where it says “So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.” Again, I couldn’t accept that because these priests were not praying for individuals and it says a cloud filled the temple. This was apparently an actual physical cloud or fog. No one today ever seems to claim a physical cloud accompanies this falling over phenomenon.
God finally was able to use my skepticism over this practice to open my eyes to the other non biblical teachings that I had been sitting under for 17 years. But most of that was yet to come.
Some time in 1995 my job with Word of Faith/Robert Tilton Ministries was eliminated. The church had dwindled down to a couple of hundred people. Bob had basically given up on resurrecting it and was about to go through a nasty divorce from his second wife Leigh. He would eventually move his ministry operation to Florida. By the time this happened I actually welcomed it. Through many circumstances that I won’t go into now, working for the ministry had become quite oppressive. It was really beating me down emotionally and I was glad to be rid of it when it ended.
I was not out of work long though. I soon got a job as customer service manager for a small regional telecommunications company. With all the years of my faith training still in my head I could clearly see that this job was from God. This job paid more than I had been making and it seemed to have a huge potential upside. Surely this was God rewarding me for my years of faithful service to Him. It didn’t quite work out that way.
After about a year on this job I was asked to resign. I was crushed. I had never been fired from a job in my life. I never even saw it coming although I should have. There were some false allegations against me, some office politics and that sort of thing but the real reason for this was my big mouth and my rebellious heart. I didn’t know it then but God was about to put me in a position to force me to deal with the issues of my heart.
This began probably the most difficult time of my life. To begin with I was out of work for almost a year. My wife had lost her job with the big paycheck and the company car a year earlier (that’s another testimony all by itself). We went through all our savings. We got behind on all our bills. Again I had several ideas for my own business but nothing was working. None of the “faith formulas” we had been using for years were working. The mortgage company even began foreclosure proceedings on our home.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
But something was happening in my life. It was happening in the spirit. God was using this time to turn me from darkness to light. He was using this time to remove much of the false teaching I had been sitting under and replace it with the pure word of God.
Since the time I left the employment of Word of Faith we had not attended any church. Frankly I was burned out on church. For years I had felt like I had to be in church every time the doors were opened. It had become a burden. I was tired of it. What I later discovered was that even my lack of desire to attend church was God! He was calling us out of the harlot religious system we had been a part of all our lives.
I did spend time in prayer and in His word during this time. I mean what else was I going to do. I had no job, no money, no prospects. I needed answers from God and I needed them in a hurry.
It was during this time that God convinced me that the slain in the spirit bit was not from Him. Once I was convinced that this was a false sign or a false religious practice God asked me a question. If slain in the spirit is false, what does that say about the preachers who practice it? Well, I had to admit that regardless of what I thought about any individual minister, it must mean that anyone who practices this is a false teacher or at least is deceived themselves. I decided then and there that I was going to take the exact word of God as the final authority on everything. I told God that I didn’t care what any man said, that if God Himself could not affirm a particular teaching from His word then I would reject that teaching and that preacher. I didn’t know it then but this was a real turning point for me.
I began to see the scriptures in a whole new light. Now understand I was not a novice in the word. I had studied the word of God for years. I knew a lot of the word. I had been a teacher in the church but now it was different. It’s hard to describe but it really was like a veil had been lifted from my eyes. I saw things that I had never seen before. I’m not talking about some kind of “revelation knowledge” that adds supposedly new understanding to it. I’m talking about seeing the words and understanding that they mean exactly what they say.
The other thing that began to happen at this time was that whenever I would listen to some preacher on TV I found myself comparing his words to Gods words. This began to be troublesome because it wasn’t long before I figured out that none of them were preaching the truth. They all were adding to or taking away from the clear meaning of scripture.
A preacher would quote Mark 11:22 …have faith in God. and then say that means to have “the faith of God” or have the “God kind of faith”
And I’d say no it doesn’t. It means exactly what it says, have faith in God not have the faith of God!
Another preacher would reference Romans 4:17 and say that Abraham called things that be not as though they were.
And I’d say no he didn’t. The scripture says GOD called things that be not as though they were. Abraham simply believed God.
Do you see the difference? Again I remind you that deception is subtle. A minor change in meaning can have eternal consequences for each of us. A little leaven leavens the whole lump!
This is part of what I mean by turning me from darkness to light. The other part was that He began to show me my own complicity in the deception that I was a part of.
Now some people have said to me that they can understand how I would be bitter or hurt by what happened at Word Of Faith. Some think that is why I say all these “nasty” things about these preachers. But the truth is I’m not bitter or hurt at all. Would you like to know why?
The reason I’m not bitter is that I had to admit that it was my own fault that I was deceived. That’s right I said it was my fault. It was the idolatry and covetousness in my own heart that kept me in that church for 17 years. I was there because I liked it. I was there because I didn’t want the truth. I wanted to hear lies. And really that’s what most people want, to hear lies.
2 Tim 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for them selves teachers and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside unto fables.
Do you see what Paul is saying . It is we ourselves who heap up these false teachers. I helped raise up Robert Tilton. I helped raise up apostates like Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland. It was my own fault because I wanted teaching according to my own desires, not according to truth.
Once you understand this you’ll understand that you’ve no one to blame but yourself. And that is probably the hardest part of coming out of apostasy, admitting to yourself and to God that you were wrong. The natural tendency of all men is to place blame elsewhere. To lay our own faults and shortcomings at someone else’s feet.
I can tell you this from my own experience. You will never enter the kingdom of God until you acknowledge your own faults. Until you are ready to admit that your own heart is as black as night you will always be in some measure of deception.
In the natural, God continued to allow our situation to deteriorate to the point that I was finally willing to do what He wanted me to do. I finally put down my own ideas and stopped looking to my own ability and said OK to God’s will.
God’s will in this case was probably not what you’d think that it was. It certainly wasn’t what I’d ever thought of as God’s will. What do you think of when you think of God’s will? You probably think God will have you doing some great work like that of foreign missionary or pastor a church or something like that right? Not even close.
I know this may shock you because it did me but God’s will at that time was that I become a car salesman. That’s right. God put me into the car business.
Now let me say right up front that I never wanted to be a car salesman. I mean who does? Does anyone grow up dreaming of selling cars for a living? I sure didn’t. In fact I thought I was too good to sell cars. I thought it was beneath me.
How much pride do you think I had in my heart at that point? Think about it. I had just spent 6 years working for a disgraced T.V. evangelist and I was too good to sell cars! What a prideful arrogant jerk I was. I marvel at how God ever thought He could use me for anything. But God did use me and He used the car business to humble me.
I decided to apply for the job because the dealership offered a salaried training program. I never expected the job to last. I figured I could bring in a small paycheck for a few months while I was looking for something more suitable. God of course had other plans.
I struggled a bit at first. Selling cars is a hard job. You work long hours, nights, weekends, holidays. You must learn to deal with rejection. Even the best car sales people hear the word no more than they hear the word yes. It is really an out doors job. When it’s hot you sweat, when it’s cold you freeze, when it rains you get wet.
After a couple of months, though, I started to see some progress. After six months I started to feel like I might actually be able to do this. After nine months I had made more money than I had made at my previous job for the entire year. At that point I thought, well, maybe this might work out after all.
Finances were still a struggle because we were digging out of the hole we were in but God was faithful. I called our creditors and made payment arrangements on everything we owed. God honored that and we always had enough to make those extra payments. I was discovering that God honors our obedience to Him above anything else. I was also discovering what it meant to trust in God for our daily bread.
I’ve heard people talk about quitting their job to live by faith and I would like to say, before you do that, why don’t you get a job working on straight commission. You’ll learn real quick how to live by faith! Every day you wake up unemployed. Every day you must trust God to bring in buyers, to bring the right people across your path. If you get lazy and quit believing you’ll know it because you’ll go two days, three days, even a week without selling anything. Then you’ll have to repent of your unbelief and obey God. And once again you’ll discover His faithfulness.
After the first year and a half things were going pretty well. We were getting back on our feet financially. I had been the top salesperson of the month several times. I was getting pretty consistent results but I was also getting something else, an enlarged cranium. That old sin of pride was starting to rear its ugly head and God was going to have to humble me one more time.
One Saturday afternoon I was working with a customer and I let the customer leave without following proper procedure. My boss, the department manager called me on it. Well I never had liked him very much. I didn’t like the way he managed. I didn’t like the way he talked to me. I was one of his top guys and I thought he should give me a little more lea way. I decided I had had enough of this guy. I packed my stuff and walked out.
One of the great things about the car business is job security. No matter what you’ve done or not done you can always get a job at another dealership. I was simply going to make a couple of calls on Monday morning and I’d have another job by Monday afternoon. You’ve probably guessed by now that God wasn’t going to let me get away with that.
I came home and told my wife what had happened. She was supportive of me. My wife has always been supportive of me even when I was wrong. We made plans to go out for the evening but before we could leave, the phone rang. It was the dealership General Manager. He told me he heard what had happened and before I did anything he wanted to see me first thing Monday morning. This call only served to strengthen by rebellion. I was vindicated. I was so good that there was no way they were going to let me leave!
As I thought about things over the weekend I did decide that when I talked to the General Manager I should be at least somewhat conciliatory. I had failed to follow proper procedures and I decided that I would at least admit to that. I also decided though that I would let him know how I felt about my manager.
The meeting went exactly like I expected. I admitted that I failed to follow procedure. I also let him know that I really didn’t appreciate the way my boss treated me. The General Manager liked me and he knew that the manager was a bit of a tyrant so he offered me the choice of transferring to the Used Tuck Department or to the Fleet Sales Department. I chose Fleet Sales. I thought I was vindicated but God was setting me up for one more wilderness experience.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
You probably think the above verse applies to nations and rulers and you’d be correct about that but did you also know it applies to your boss. It says all power is ordained of God. Even the guy you work for. Even if he is the biggest heathen on the face of the earth. Even if he is the biggest jerk you ever had the displeasure to meet. The fact is that he is in his position because God put him there and you are working for him because God put you there. When you disobey your boss it is the same thing as disobeying God. Here’s how I learned that lesson
I went into fleet sales fully expecting to continue the success I had been having in my previous department. In fact I was sure I’d do better because I didn’t have that idiot manager breathing down my neck and I would have more freedom to do things the way I wanted to do them. Well it didn’t quite work out that way
After six months in fleet sales I was about to starve to death. Nothing was working. I couldn’t find customers and when I did find them we didn’t have what they wanted. Everything was falling apart again. I couldn’t sell ice water in hell!
In the natural this should have been the perfect place for me but I was soon seeing what was happening in the Spirit. God was showing me very clearly that all my success was due to Him, not to me. He was showing me that he could shut off the pipeline just as easily as He had opened it. And that was exactly what He was doing. Because of my rebellion and disobedience God was putting me back to the very place I had been before.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Did you know that God chastens and scourges us to bring us to correction? Do you understand that this is a good thing? That the reason He does this is because He loves us? Many people today have an improper view of God and how he deals with us. A new theology has arisen in the church in recent years. It is a false view of God. It is a theology that says good things come from God and bad things come from the devil. Is this what you believe? Do you start fighting the devil every time something bad happens in your life? If you do, you will never see Gods attempts at correction and you will never repent of your wickedness.
After six months of misery I finally decided I’d had enough. I repented before God and of course He had me do something I didn’t want to do. I also had to repent before man. I had to go back to my old boss in my old department and tell him I was sorry about what I had done and that I would like to come back to work for him if he would allow it. Let me tell you that will absolutely rip the pride and arrogance out of your heart in a hurry. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do but I knew I had to do it.
The end result was that I was allowed to return to my old department. Because of my obedience God once again began to prosper me. It wasn’t always easy. In fact my manger didn’t change at all. He was still a tyrant but I changed my approach. I still didn’t like the way he dealt with me but somehow I managed to bite my tongue and do what he asked.
After almost three years of selling cars God moved me into a management position. This was an answer to prayer. I was getting tired of selling and I was getting tired of dealing with my manager. I was doing it but it wasn’t fun. I prayed that God would allow me to do something else or go to work somewhere else but I always added that I was willing to do Gods will even if it meant staying in that position forever. I was determined that I was not going to make the same mistakes again that I had made before. I was not going to go out seeking my will. I was not going to be rebellious. I was going to wait on God if it killed me. At times I thought it would. But ultimately God was faithful.
I spent four years as Internet Sales Manager. This was a new position at the time but God had already showed me how to do the job before it even existed. I remember thinking while I was still a salesman about how we as a dealership could use the internet to sell more cars. God arranged for me to have the opportunity to put those plans into effect.
Because of this I had a great deal of success in this position. We actually became one of the top internet sales departments of any dealership in the country. I made good money and got some recognition for my efforts.
There were still issues I had to deal with. After my first year in this position we got a new General Manager who was not as easy for me to work with as the previous one. We butted heads over several things. That may sound like I was in rebellion again but let me explain. I never felt like submission to authority meant I always had to agree with everything my boss wanted to do. In fact I felt like it was my job as a manager to express my opinion especially when I thought a decision was bad for my department or for the company. Even though I would express my opinion, sometimes in a strenuous or intense way, I always made it a point to add that I would ultimately abide by the decision of management. And that’s what I did.
Do you know that because I did that, because I humbled myself to that authority God made peace between me and my boss. I don’t mean we became the best of buddies because we didn’t. But we did develop a working relationship that allowed both of us to do our jobs. In fact God arranged it so that he eventually pretty much left me alone and let me do my job which I thought was perfectly fine.
There is much more I could say about the things God did during this time but the most important thing He was doing was preparing me for the work He now has me doing. It was during this time that God showed me that he had called me as a watchman. He began to prepare my heart for that purpose. He did that by continually exposing things in my heart that were not pleasing to Him. I can tell you that it still isn’t pleasant but once you’ve been through some of the things I’ve been through you get to where you recognize the dealings of God sooner than you did before. You get to where you will quickly repent of these things so that they don’t hinder you in your walk.
I am in no way saying that I have reached perfection. Far from it. But I do know that I am a long way from where I was seven or eight years ago. I am amazed at how many people get saved and then immediately launch out into ministry. No training, no seasoning, just go right out and start a church or become an evangelist or some such. Many of the big faith preachers started out just that way. Saved and called to the ministry all at the same time.
I ‘m not saying that you need a seminary degree to preach the gospel, although that in itself is not a bad thing. I’m not saying that there aren’t some people who realize a call on their life very early on. But I do think that what many people see as a “call to ministry” is simply the call that each of us has to share the gospel in the natural course of our Christian walk.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
You see each and every one of us is called to the work of the ministry. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are given to bring us to the point where we do the work of the ministry. It was never meant to be up to them.
The church in our age is set up all wrong. It was never meant to be a one man show. God never intended for us to hire a man to take care of the spiritual side of our lives. But that’s what we’ve done. We expect the professionals to do the work of the ministry. We expect to sit back and be entertained and carried along by them. This is wrong.
I think that many people when they get saved have an innate understanding that they are supposed to be involved in ministry but the only way they see that they can do it is by getting “into the ministry” as a full time profession. This is why many people launch out before they are ready.
Moses spent 40 years on the backside of the desert before God brought him forth to lead Israel. The disciples spent 3 years of intense training with Jesus before they were ready to do the work of the ministry. Even Paul who was a Pharisee and was trained in the scriptures spent time learning the gospel directly from the Lord before his ministry came fully into being.
In December of 2005 I left my last position in the car business. For the next nine months we had no money and no means of support .During this time we went through a sometimes painful process of actually laying down the things of the world. We sold our house and as many of our material possessions as we were able. In August 2006 we completed the sale of our house and the Lord moved us to a smaller rental house only a few blocks away from where we had been living. Also during this time my youngest daughter gave birth to our first grandchild who she named Genesis. The Lord showed me that he had given her that name because it was a time of new beginnings for us as well as our daughter.
So today after many years of training, many years of rebellion and repentance here’s where I am. We have laid down our lives, as much as we know how, to follow Jesus. I have set aside all my ambition, all my plans to do His will on a daily basis. God has brought me out of the harlot religious system and the harlot commercial – economic system that enslaved us for years. We depend daily on Gods provision and He has never once failed us. We seek daily to do Gods will.
This ministry has become much more of a full time endeavor that I ever imagined it would be. We manage the website and write articles for our own website and others. I deliver two live bible study teachings every week. We produce and mail audio recordings of our teachings to people all over the world every week at no charge. In addition we minister to as many people as God leads to us by phone and in person when possible. We do all of this by faith, without ever asking for financial support, the Lord supplying our daily bread.
I hope this testimony has been a blessing to you. I will be happy to answer questions about anything I have written or about anything you might be facing in life. You might not always like what I have to say but I will always endeavor to answer you by the Spirit of God.
You may reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org I will answer as God directs.