“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty”. (Rev. 1:8)
Several weeks after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior he revealed himself to me and I knew that he was, in fact, LORD. He made it clear that everything that happened in my life, down to the minutest detail, had been according to his will. And by this revelation he also showed that in all matters in Heaven and Earth power and dominion had been given unto him. Up until this amazing moment, I believed that I was smarter than most folks and that I had dominion….thank God that this illusion was among the first to be dashed on the Rock.
This was not the first time the Lord had revealed himself to me, but this was awesome, and Jesus, knowing that I like awesome, gave me this understanding that I might surrender completely to his will and purpose for my life. I now hope to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified… because, as it turns out, this is all that ever really mattered anyway.
The first time Jesus revealed himself to me was several weeks earlier. I was taking a lot of pills for tendon problems that had developed while I built my home…but that’s not the whole story…
As a young teenager in Connecticut I was introduced to the world of drugs and alcohol by an aging homosexual. Because my father died when I was 9, I’d have done most anything for male attention and I enjoyed the drugs and the company. I became addicted to drugs and alcohol and my lifestyle was nothing but sin, sex and self-centeredness. Even then the Lord protected me from drugs that I might not have walked away from. I could never get heroin. It was all around, but I could never get it. One time I tried to get it and was almost killed…thank God. I really liked narcotics like Demerol, morphine, and percodan so I would have loved heroin…loved it to death. By the time I was in my late teens I was drunk constantly, I smoked weed daily, and took any pills I could get. Toward the end of this period I periodically shot cocaine and dilaudid -the mixture that killed John Bellushi known as “speedball”. I met my wife Gail and like all my early gifts from God I did not recognize her as coming from him then. She had three boys and her husband had committed suicide the year before. (This is how my dad died, and as I now know, God loves to demonstrate his power over situations that are naturally impossible, so he put Gail and I together…we are both saved now, but were two peas in a pod back then) I knew I had two choices: get straight and get with this women or continue as I had and die, maybe next week, maybe next month or next year. Because of the bounty of his love God, even before I knew his name, led me to chose life.
I got into a 12 step program and I had what program people called a “spiritual experience.” Today as his bond-servant I know now that God stepped into my life then with Power. I always hated work and tried to cook up scams to avoid having to follow directions or earn money. But 1 week after I got out of de-tox I miraculously got a job making optical components, (lenses and mirrors) and it was cool. I had an “uncanny” knack for this high precision work and I now know that the spirit of God empowers me in this field because this is exactly where he wanted me. Today it allows me and a few other believers extraordinary freedom to serve him. He has established me in this and by his provision the work pays the bills.
By the time I was 24 my “sponsor,” Wolfie, a Pentecostal, was trying to introduce me to Jesus but I wanted nothing to do with that guy!!! At that point I believed he was the God of the weak-minded. My God was the creator of the big bang or some other science fiction star or super hero, but Jesus…no way. I held to an occultic belief system that was based on demonic influences. I knew there was a God and I thought it was me…not Jesus. But in spite of this, Wolfie did manage to teach me some spiritual principles that helped me stay sober. He also taught me about unconditional love -which I now know was in him because he believed God and knew Jesus.
Gail and I finally got married in 1989 and moved to New Hampshire in 1991. I was 34. Gail had nightmares and was in a panic about staying in Connecticut because of the sorry state the world was in. We agreed we would move even though my work was going well. We hoped to disappear and hide out in the woods while society destroyed itself…something we both thought would happen sooner rather than later. The very last thing on my mind was that I would end up being held up by the mainstream media for my infamous political notions. God had other ideas.
Somehow (I think it had to do with public schools) I got interested in the John Birch Society, the grandfather of all conspiracy theory groups. We went to a meeting and met these two guys that were really weird…they were Christians. They told us all kinds of apocalyptic, end of the world tales about the new world order and other sinister stuff. It was obvious to me that the world was going to hell in a hand-cart, so I believed most of this. Knowing nothing of Gods Word, which gives us spiritual wisdom so that we might rightly understand all matters, it seemed plausible that men had planned to take over the world and were conspiring to create a one-world-government. I began to research historical information on the Constitution, The Militia, and civil freedom generally. Within a few weeks I was phoning radio programs and writing editorials explaining that the Constitution had been over thrown and that the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Bank, and the Rothschilds were working with the Freemasons to take over the world. Within a year I was among the most well known “Patriot/Militia” leaders in the northeast. By the time the Oklahoma City Bombing occurred I was being investigated by the FBI and was doing regular television and radio specials about the Militia. Fortunately, in the interim, my research had revealed that much of the Patriot propaganda was as phoney as what the press was telling folks. I also began to find evidence that those men who made American history knew Jesus and called him Lord.
I listened to satellite and shortwave radio all the time and came across a group that broadcasted out of North field Falls, Vermont. They were The Fishermen Ministry, and at first they struck me like Branch Davidian North. I’ll never forget meeting Reverend Richard Eutsler Sr. He talked about Jesus and he talked about the Bible and he talked about the Apostles and healing and the power of God; then he talked about angels and he just wouldn’t stop talking about Jesus. It drove me nuts. Somehow I ended up broadcasting a radio program out of their studio and every time I went to the place I liked the people there more. Ten or twelve of them; all ages; young and old; under amazing pressure to run the station 24 hours-a-day; but always warm and generous and happy…no, joyous is more like it. Richard prophesied from behind his thick glasses that I would one day be apart of the Ministry and I laughed and laughed. It took over seven years but Jesus and his Ministers got the last laugh.
My study of history (along with numerous current events) finally led me to conclude that Satan and/or other demonic, spiritual influences ruled the earth. I now know that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12). But even then I knew that there was simply no way that men could have conspired to screw things up so well without some unseen help. I believed completely in Satan before I believed Jesus. But I knew if the dark, worldly powers were Satanic, that the powers of light and life must be somewhere. So I started to read and study the Bible with the help of a Minister that had more degrees than a thermometer. Bruce knew Greek and Hebrew and ancient history and he testified of the power of God. I was looking for the “true church,” or more simply, the truth. No modern church that I ever encountered had it right. Many of their traditions and teachings could be traced back to some false doctrine of men. I read several books on church history and “cults” that included the Seventh Day Adventists, The Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormonism. Bruce was a good teacher but when he self-righteously demanded that I make changes in my life that included burning my books and CD’s so that I could receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit I got angry. I told him I knew the Spirit and he did not have it (this was not entirely true but close). If I knew more of God’s word and less history I would have pointed Bruce to Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 10 verses 25 through 29; the some total of which is “for why is my liberty judged of another mans conscience?” All the time I was looking for Jesus, but did not believe on him because the men that taught about him turned out to be liars. “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
Because of this disappointing encounter with this “teacher,” I began to doubt if there was an absolute truth. I spent the next 18 months building my house. It was a grueling task that I might not do again if I had the choice. But like Moses who forgot all the knowledge of Egypt herding sheep, I needed to be properly broken and my mind purged of worldly “knowledge” if I was to be any use to God; and he saw to it. I was beaten down and exhausted when I was finishing up the house. I was taking pain pills to keep going and I was not too interested in hearing about God. But all the while, Steve Atherton, Rick Baldwin, and all the rest of the Ministers and workers of the Fishermen Ministry would come to the house and preach on occasion. We’d have a cookout and visit and there was always that amazing joy that they all seemed to have. Now I know, according to Paul’s letter to the Galatians, that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” etc. I knew a little of the Word and it stuck in my head that the Bible said “Wherefore by their fruits shall ye know them” (Matthew 7:20). Up to this point I was unimpressed by Rev. Richard Eutsler Sr., the Spiritual Father of The Fishermen Ministry, but his children in the Spirit, his fruit, were exactly what the Word would call The Faithful. So God led me to say “O.K.” and the Bible study at Cornish, New Hampshire commenced in December of 1999.
And that brings me back to the beginning. My first encounter with the Lord had to do with my using pills. Other folks use pills because they need ‘em. I needed ‘em but I liked them too. Steve had taught that a worldly thing could be a blessing to one man and it could be a curse to another. That it was the heart of a man that the Lord was concerned with (Mark 7:19, Matthew 15:17), not what he ate or consumed. He also taught that ours was a jealous God that expected us to love him above all else. He taught that loving God is a matter of one’s free choice and preference. If we prefer something more than God he can not bless us. So if we take a drug because it’s necessary God will bless that; if we take a drug because we prefer the spirit that drug provides over the Spirit of God, God cannot bless that. So one night the Lord appeared to me as I was whining about my shoulder and my legs and all the other pain I had and showed me his arm as it was being nailed to the cross. And he asked “Does it hurt this much?” And he said “I have things for you to attend to and I need your mind straight.” That was the last time I had any interest in taking pills for minor pain.
The Lord has revealed his power by his Spirit and has confirmed that their is in fact a timeless Church of which he is the Head. He has shown that his Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers are established in His Power and in His stead, at His good pleasure; and that the Church, The Body of Christ, is to stand by Faith in that Power, as a light unto the world. (Matthew 5:14) I am grateful beyond my wildest dreams that I should have been clearly called and numbered among the least of his servants.