Well, I jumped in my 1965 Chevy van, said goodbye to my family and drove to Juno Beach, FL to live with my grandma Bell while I attended PBA. She graciously gave me a free place to live, my uncle helped me get a job at his friend’s gas station in Lake Worth, and God provided a poor college student everything he needed to follow Him.
I quickly found more than school. In the summer of 1971 God had poured out His Spirit in West Palm and hundreds of high school and college kids were mightily saved and on fire for the Lord Jesus. God was still at work. I found so many people excited and serving Jesus that I was greatly encouraged! And I quickly joined them.
I had no idea what was going on in the country at this time, only that I heard of the Jesus movement in the news. However, I did get a little taste of what was happening before I moved to Florida through the 1972 spring break trip our MCC college campus ministry group experienced in Daytona Beach. There we found tons of students in Christian coffee houses [no coffee, just a name for informal gatherings] of youth sitting on the floors, packed together singing new songs of praise, and giving testimonies of their new found faith.
From California to Florida God was showering His grace upon the young lost souls of my generation. But later I found it was even bigger than that. In October 1971 God also moved at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Saskatoon, SK where the town was rocked and thousands came to Christ in a few weeks. This mighty movement of God swept into Michigan and other places and I would again be connected to God’s wonderful blessing when I returned home.
I got busy with school, work and the One Way House Ministry. I was not on campus much except to attend classes, so I did not get any time to build any real friendships. In fact, I did not have friends until the second semester because I was so isolated from the campus life. This was the first time I was away from home and not use to solo living. I got very lonely.
I fought and prayed much to be faithful to the Lord. When I could I drifted to the Chapel by the Sea to be alone and seek God when I was on campus. I fell back into my old habit and saw a very attractive girl in class, and tried to get to know her. I finally kissed her but from that moment she quickly backed off and stayed away from me. I was again driven by selfish loneliness not love. I was glad God allowed this reminder and I repented of my selfishness and renewed my vow to stay away from the girls.
1973 brought on the second semester and I finally had a few friends and started visiting high schools in the mornings with George Baldwin. We got there before the students arrived to witness and share Jesus, plus invite them to the Saturday night meetings of the One Way House. But something bigger was on the horizon.
God allowed Satan to oppress me, and all I knew at the time was it seemed heaven was closed, I lost my hunger for the Word, and temptations were killing me. I prayed and prayed. I begged God for help. But He was silent.
Spring break was coming and I talked my friend Phil into going with me to Daytona Beach like I did last year. But at the last minute my van broke down and needed major repairs. But Richard Lord invited us to what his dad, Peter Lord, called the Mini-ministerial Students Conference. Which just meant Richard and his buddies from college.
The staff planned to spend the week teaching us ministry and God’s word. About 10 of us went and as soon as we arrived we gathered and a staff member privately told me I could be set free. Not sure what he was talking about, except I had been begging God secretly for the last weeks for victory and freedom from my spiritual struggles and sin. But I had not even said anything, that was spooky.
The last day we had a meeting about spiritual warfare and they offered to privately pray for anyone interested. I had no clue if God wanted me to respond so in my mind I asked the Lord if He did, to have my friend Phil ask me to go up with him. A minute later Phil nudged me and asked if I would. Spooky again, but I went.
We went into a private room from the group, Phil told him he wanted to be free and asked for prayer. The counselor asked me to quietly pray for Phil too. We prayed, he started groaning and struggling like a battle was going on inside him, and after some time he seemed to be free and started really rejoicing and thanking the Lord. Really, really spooky!
Then the counselor turned and said he would pray for me and told me to ask God for help. I was not sure what was going on, and really did not pray much until…
My hands tightened and my fingers contorted in a strange way. I could not move my hands. I looked at them and freaked out, my fingers were bent in an abnormal way. I finally got it, I was being physically oppressed by the enemy and I was afraid.
So I prayed like a man with a mission for God’s protection. That day, God gave me a lesson in the reality of Satan and his servants of wickedness. Never again did I underestimate their power or deception. Within minutes my hands were freed and the palms of my hands tingled for some time.
The man of prayer told me God had more to teach me but no worries just trust God and He would take care of me and sent us home.
I was freaking out for a week. What did that guy mean. Now that the devil was real to me I was alarmed and praying for God to protect me with the blood of Jesus.
It all came to a head the next Saturday. I worked at the gas station and drove back north to Jupiter, to my grandma’s new house on Second Street. I rushed home to shower and change because it was time to go to the One Way House. But then it happened.
When I went to enter the house, the spookiest thing of all happened, the house seemed to be full of all the demons of hell. NO JOKE! I had never experienced such a weird and strange phenomenon before. I was filled with fear. Great fear! In fact, I became overwhelmed with fear.
I quickly finished and ran out of the house and jumped in my van. Then I remembered God’s Word. The disciples always ordered the enemy spirits to depart from people. They were not afraid. I got angry and decided this was nothing but a very real attack from the spirits of darkness.
If I was going to serve the living God and preach His word I must not be afraid of God’s enemies. Great promises are given to all Christians, and our victory was already won at the cross 2000 years ago.
I began driving and screaming for the enemy to depart from me in the name of Jesus. I pressed on and felt the boldness of God inside me instead of fear. And then it felt like a cork popped inside. I know I keep saying “feel” or “felt like”, I do not know how to describe these spiritual experiences. All I know is great JOY, unexplained floods of JOY burst from inside me like a volcanic eruption.
I sang praises to God at the top of my lungs for many minutes until I literally sang myself hoarse. When I got to the One Way House, now where the WPB airport is, I could not talk. I had to wait and tell my friends what happened later.
But, God showed me His mighty power. I no longer only had head knowledge of the reality of my God. I experienced His loving protection and I never need to be afraid. He would even protect me from the invisible enemies that I didn’t even know were around just a couple months before.
The result. Spiritual victory was my daily experience. For the time being, God’s peace was reigning inside me. I was able to trust God, and serve Him with gladness. Which was a good thing because God had a surprise for me.
Shortly after this great experience, I received a letter from Ninth Street Baptist Church in Muskegon Heights, MI. I never heard of the church, but that letter came from home. My next adventure was about to begin!
NEXT: 1973-74 Home Again And Ministry Begins
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