Jesus Christ is Coming Soon
My Personal Testimony
I am a native of Memphis, TN. I have lived in Memphis most of my life. I am a born again Christian and minister of the gospel. I have been a Christian for fifty years and have been preaching for over forty years. I pastored for six years. I was an associate elder for fifteen years. My ministry now is that of a prophet and teacher. I received Jesus Christ as my savior in the middle sixties at a Pentecostal church here in Memphis, T.N. I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit at an Assemblies of God church in Alton, Illinois.
In 1970 I joined the United States Air Force, after that changes began to occur in my life. I was stationed at Scott A.F.B. in Illinois for three and one half years. The first time that I had heard the voice of the Lord was at Scott. I was reading a lot of black history books at the time that depicted the struggle and the plight of my black ancestors. I began to be angry at white people because of what happened in the past. One day as I was walking to the chow hall, I heard a voice say "Why don't you study race." I immediately responded "I will and if I ever find out that there is such a thing as a black race or a white race, I will never associate with white people again." After I ate I went to the base library and begin to read every book that I could find on the subject of race. Within a few weeks I realized that race as we know it was a lie. There is truly only one race, the human race. This situation was very significant in my life because eight years later The Lord called me to preach at a church where I was the only black male.
The second time I heard the voice of the Lord. My Pastor was coming to St. Louis, Mo. to preach.
Scott was only about 47 miles from St. Louis. I did not have a car at the time but I knew that I could get a ride to go see him. I never did. Later I asked Lord why was I not able to go and see my pastor. He said, " You are caught up in your pastor, you are also caught up in your church, I don't ever want you to be caught up into any preacher or any church again. I just want you to be caught up in me." I said O.K. This is significant because the Lord was telling me that my pastor was number one in my life, my church was number two and he was number three. I did not understand this fully until many years later.
The third time the Lord spoke to me. He said, "You need to check out churches other than your own because I have people in other churches also." God is not tied up in our denominations and buildings, we are.
I have shared these incidents because Jesus Christ is real. He is not a figment of my imagination. He is my creator, my savior and my Lord. It was eight years later before the Lord ever spoke to me again when he called me to be a minister of the gospel. If you are truly a Christian the Lord will speak to you. In St. (John 18:37) Jesus said..."Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice."
The Lord has been dealing with me for many years now regarding the church, ministry and spiritual gifts. One does not have to join a church to be a christian, but you must fellowship. The church that I pastored between 1979 and 1984, not one time did I invite any one to join the church. I only invited those who were not saved to receive Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives, yet the fellowship grew to capacity. The word member in the NewTestament is not talking about joining a church or being a member of a church. It's talking about being a limb, or a literal part of the body of Jesus, 1 Corinthians 12th chapter. You are born again into his body just like a baby is born into this world. You are born again and added to the body of Christ as his member. As his ear, his nose, his foot, or some other body part. We literally become a part of our savior. That's why it is written don't take the members of Christ and make them the members of an harlot
1 Corinthians 6:15. Because when a Christian commits any kind of sin sexual or not. It's almost like Christ committing the sin because we are a part of his body. Even though we may be just an ear. That ear has joined itself with sin. God forbid.
"One who speaks forth or openly, a proclaimer of a divine message;" Vines Dictionary of NewTestament words. Is the ministry of the prophet the same as preaching God's word? No. One who preaches has prepared a message through much study. The prophet speaks spontaneously the mind of God as he is moved upon by the Holy Spirit. That does not mean that he speaks contrary to the scriptures. In Old Testament times, the prophet was called a "seer" (1 Samuel 9:9). He saw in the spirit what is called "similitudes" (natural scenes depicting spiritual realities). The Old Testament prophet was the only ministry in operation from the standpoint of preaching or teaching the people by inspired utterance. That's not true under the New covenant. God has set the 5-fold ministry in the church for the perfecting of the saints.
The Prophet, together with the Apostle, helps to make up the foundational ministry to the Church universal (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 12:28). He has a revelation of God's word and an ability to bring forth fresh 'meat " to the church (Ephesians 3:5) (Amos 3:7). In 1948, it was the ministry of prophets which expounded upon the fresh revelation of Body Ministry and Worship. He is used in confirming calls and imparting spiritual gifts, (Acts 15:321); (1 Corinthians 14:29); 1 Timothy 4:14); and Acts 13:13)
There are different ranks or classes in the prophetic office Ezekiel and Isaiah were vision prophets, that saw many visions from God. Yet Hosea and Zechariah were word of the Lord prophets, the Lord simply spoke to them. (Ezekiel 1:1, Zechariah 1:1)
Some people think that a prophets only function is to prophesy to people. That is only a small part of his ministry. a prophet's primary purpose and main ministry is to preach or teach the word. (Luke 4:18) (Matt:4:23). As a prophet, Jesus saw and knew things supernaturally (luke 5:22, John 1:47) However, in his prophetic ministry, Jesus didn't go around prophesying to everyone he met. Agabus signified by the spirit that a drought was coming to Judea, which in turn they prepared for. (Acts 11:27-30). There are so-called prophets today who teach that they can prophesy every time they lay hands on people. They teach that a prophet can stand in faith to minister prophetically to people. That is not only impossible, it is unscriptural. The prophetic office is only in demonstration by the anointing of the spirit of God, as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:11). Many churches want a psychic instead of a prophet. This is called the Balaam syndrome. A certain king wanted Balaam to curse Israel, he wouldn"t in the beginning, but he was later influenced by greed. The king knew that when a prophet speaks under the true anointing of God it will surely come to pass. (Numbers 22:6).
God uses the prophet at certain times to pronounce his judgement:
John the Baptist - Matt 11:9-13
Jeremiah - Jer:28:15-17
Elijah - 1 Kings 17:1
Nathan the prophet- 2 Samuel 12:1-12
Jonah - Jonah 1:1-2
NOTE: For over forty years the Lord has been speaking to me about his church. As noted from my personal testimony the Lord started speaking to me in 1970 in the military at the age of 20. He only shared with me three things at that time. It was eight year later before he ever spoke to me again, when he called me to preach. It was in 92 when he spoke to me about being a prophet. I am not a vision prophet like Ezekiel or Jeremiah. I rarely have visions. I have not seen heaven, hell, angels or demons yet. I am more of a word of the Lord prophet. He will simply speak to me about certain issues regarding his church. The Lord does not speak to me every day or every week about his church. It may be months or years before he tells me something. God deals with each of his prophets as he wills.
My Personal Testimony Part 2
Meeting a man of Faith
In February of 77 I joined a church called Mid-South Charismatic Teaching Center later the name was changed to Trinity Church. As stated in my earlier testimony I was the only black male that attended this church. But I know without a doubt that God sent me there. I was called by the Lord into the ministry in October of 78 as a member of this assembly. Being a member of this fellowship taught me that God is truly faithful. I was a member of this church from February 1977 until the summer of 82 when the pastor with his family decided to move back to Texas. What was so unique about this church and minister was that every Sunday everyone was given a time to share what they believed God had given to them for the body. It was called body ministry. (I Corinthians, chapters 12, 13 and 14). Also what was really unique was that he never took up an offering for his ministry. He never passed an offering plate, never asked for any money period. He never ripped people off in Jesus name. Never used or manipulated people in any manner. That was very impressive to me . I had never seen anything like that before. He had a stool at the entrance of the church, and on that stool was an offering basket with a sign above it that basically stated; that the ministry was supported by freewill offerings ( 2 Corinthians 9:6-7) which says'"But this I say, He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposed in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver."
At that time in the middle and latter 70's I heard a lot of teaching on faith. Many preachers claimed that they were living by faith and that they were trusting God for their finances. But many were lying because their faith was in the people checking and savings accounts instead of God. I saw and heard all type of tricks and manipulations to get people to give. Many preachers would constantly tell the congregations that they were over that he was believing God for a particular amount of money to purchase a new car or a new jet. So who do you think struggled to get him those things? It definitely wasn't God
This pastor only preached on giving to the ministry about twice the entire six years I was involved with the church. He clearly told us that he was trusting God to take care of him and that he thanked us for whatever we gave and he appreciated it, but he said that he would never manipulate us or any one to give. This pastor supported his family, took care of the bills of the church, paid visiting ministers and even supported a mission in India from what we put in that basket. Note: He even went to the mission by faith, he never asked us for a penny to send him there. The day he supposed to have left he was still at church. Many people snickered under their breathes, saying that if God was sending him to India why was he still here. He realized what was happening and told us that God told him that he was going. The very next Sunday the pastor was in India. When he came back he told us how God supernaturally supplied him with the money to go to India and come back home, plus he brought some artifacts from India back with him. That's faith.
The church membership did not exceed beyond about 80 people here in Memphis. Later he also ministered to a little larger fellowship in Jackson, TN. Many people join a church because of the charismatic personality of the preacher or the minister of music. This pastor was not charismatic. He had the demeaner mostly of a prophet. I remember a brother in Christ telling me that he always repent before he comes to church because he don't know what God is showing the pastor.
I assumed that the pastor had rich relatives that supported him. He had a chevrolet caprice wagon with a wife and three children when I joined the church in 77. He had the same station wagon, wife and five children when he moved back to Texas. I could have cared less if he had bought a new car. He was not trying to impress us, all he wanted us to truly know was that God is faithful and that Jesus Christ is Lord. This pastor in a sense was my last mentor. It was a blessing to be associated with a true man of faith.
Please Don't call me Reverend
Psalms111:9 "He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name."
Jesus said in Matthew 23:7-12 "that the scribes and Pharisees loved greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethern. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father which is in heaven. neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exhalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
Many years ago I called my neighbor for assistance. My car would not crank up. His wife answered the phone. I said, "Hello may I talk to John Doe"(not his real name). She immediately responded "Reverend". She actually wanted me to say may I speak to reverend John Doe. Her husband is the pastor of a church. So I thought about it for a few seconds and said, "May I talk to Pastor." She handed him the phone.
One of the strongest traditions in the churches are titles from -Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher, Reverend, Right Reverend, Bishop, Doctor, Father, etc. Many preachers are consumed with their exalted titles. Haven't you noticed that we don't call Jesus, Reverend Jesus, Apostle Jesus or Bishop Jesus. We simply say Jesus. But when we talk to or about preachers we say Reverend John, Apostle John, Father John or Pastor John. We exalt other men more than our Lord and Savior. Plus the word reverend actually means in the Hebrew Dictionary "To fear, revere, to frighten, make afraid, dreadful, terrible. Deut 7:21,10:17, 28:58 Psalms 99:3, Fearful, Deut 28:58, Psalms 86:11. all these scriptures refer to God only. When we call a pastor reverend we are actually calling him, "dreadful Jones or terrible Jones, etc. I came upon this revelation in 1975, I had visited a particular church and noticed that everyone, including the ministers called each other brother and sister. I was going to question them about it when I came across (Matthew 23: 1-12). I had my answer.
Webster Dictionary says; Reverend "Worthy of reverence. of or relating to the clergy. Reverent, expressing or characterized by reverance:WORSHIPFUL Revelation 22: 8-9 says Worship God. Many have put preachers on the same level of the Almighty God.
(1 Corinthians 12:28) "And God set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
(1 Corinthians 9:1) "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?"
(Ephesians 4:11-13) " 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: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
First are there apostles today? Yes!!! The ministry gift of the pastor is not the first gift mentioned in Ephesians and Corinthians. The ministry gift of the apostle did not cease with the completion of the scriptures. The word apostle means "one sent forth", one sent by Jesus Christ, not by a church board. He is actually a missionary sent by Jesus Christ. There is a lot involved in the apostolic ministry that I cannot list here
(Revelation 2:2b) " and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: "
(2 Corinthians 11;13-14) "For such are false apostle, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
An apostle is one that is called into this office personally by Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 9:1). This means that the Lord Jesus himself will personally appear to him and call him into this office. There is no other way. One is not an apostle because a prophet prophesied to him, or he heard a voice. The twelve original apostles were chosen and comissioned by Jesus in person, (Luke 6:13-16). Paul was commissioned by the Lord himself, after his ascension, to carry the gospel to the gentiles. (Acts 9: 3-6). Plus there were many other apostles chosen by the lord in the scriptures: Barnabas-(Acts 14:14), Silvanus and Timothy-(1 Thess. 1:1, 2:6), James the Lord' s brother, (Galatians 1:19). I have on record about a half-dozen apostles who stated that the Lord Jesus appeared to them and appointed them into that ministry. Jesus is just as real now as he was when he commissioned these earlier apostles. Yes, many will lie on Jesus and claim a false vision or revelation of him because they crave attention and want to be acknowledged as a man of God.. "By their fruits you shall know them" (Matt. 7:15,20)
The ministry of an apostle is a ministry of suffering, The Lord told Ananias concerning Paul in (Acts 9:16 ) "For I will show him how great things, he must suffer for my names sake." Paul shared many instances of his tribulations in (2 Cor. 11:23-33). Apostles not only establish churches. Apostles are foundation layers of the gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 3:10-11), that's why they must have a deep personal revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul established probably hundreds of churches in his lifetime. He would go to an area, preach the gospel with signs following. He would stay in that area from three months, (Acts 20:2-3) to over two years, (Acts 19: 10) before he came back to Jerusalem. One apostle stated that there are over 16,000 areas in the world that has not even heard the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Paul stated in (Romans 15:20-21), "Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand." Many apostles state that they go into areas of the world that seems to be one to two thousand years back in time. The houses have no electricity, which means no air or heating systems, no TV, computers, refrigerators, no phones, no modern toilet facilities etc. And their food is not palatable to their western taste. Evil spirits opposing them from every angle, howling in their ears all night telling them to leave. Seeing apperitions. Buddists, Hindus, Muslims, Witches and other ungodly and demonic religions dominating those areas. Only the office of an apostle can break down those strongholds. Many times these apostles lives have been threatened. As well as those who are converted. Very few men want to go to an area without modern conveniences and stay for any length of time and establish a work. They will go to the edge of these communities and have the people walk for miles to hear them preach. That's an evangelist not an apostle. And when they finish preaching and laying hands on people they are going to get in their private plane or off road vehicle and go right back to civilization. They are not going to stay with them and mentor them, the suffering and sacrifice is too great. Many of them will go to the surburbs and start a church. These preachers want a big comfortable church, lots of money and a title. The original apostles that Jesus Christ chose in person died martyrs, John died on a prison island called Patmos. Even Paul gave his life for the gospel. So to be an apostle is almost a death sentence, even today.
The reason I am writing this is because there are a lot of men and women claiming this gift but are not actually apostles. Normally they will have a big sign in front of their church that says Apostle______, Pastor. When you enter into their building, and if that building have a glass door you may see Apostle _______on the door. When you pass by his office you will see Apostle_______ on his office door. When you enter into the main sanctuary someone will hand you a church program and you will see Apostle _______ on the program. If you join his church you must go through a new members class and you will be given a booklet about their beliefs and doctrines with the name of the church and Apostle______ on the front cover. This person is caught up in the title of Apostle. This person is not an apostle. The gift of an apostle is not a title, it is a gift from the Lord. If someone gave you a gift, would you take that gift and but the gift in front of your name? Of course not, that is nonsense.. (1Corinthians 12:28) lists seven of the spiritual gifts in their priority. First apostles, second prophets, third teachers, fourth miracles, fifth gifts of healing, six helps, seven governments, and eight diversities of tongues.There are people in the body of Christ with those gifts. Should we call the brother with the gift of healing, gift of healing glover, or helps glover or miracles glover? What about mercy glover or giving glover listed in (Romans 12:8)?. You cannot find Apostle Paul, Apostle Peter, Apostle James or Apostle John in the bible. Read Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, James 1:1,. 1 Peter 1:1. Jesus opposed his apostles using titles. (Matt. 23:1-12.) I confronted this apostolic situation first in 1974. I joined a certain church in Memphis in 1968, joined the choir and later became a deacon in January 1970. Unfortunately, I entered into the military in the middle of January because of the draft. Four years later I was released from the military, came back to my church and resumed my duties as a deacon in this church. But after four years something had changed, the pastor of this church was no longer pastor but an apostle now. So I began to do research on what was an apostle, his calling, and responsibilities. He did not come up to par, plus he took advantage of the people financially so I left in November of 74. Over these many years I have been aware of many who have claimed this gift, but truly do not have the calling. Many are pastors with the title apostle. Pray for and support the true apostles that have taken up the cross of suffering in Jesus name. And pray that the false one's will repent. Check out this site below. God Bless.
POIMEN, a shepherd, one who tends herds or flocks (not merely one who feeds them), is used metaphorically of Christian "pastors," (Eph. 4:11). Pastors guide as well as feed the flock; cp. so also in (1 Peter 5: 1-2), "tend the flock...exercising the oversight," R.V.; this involves tender care and vigilant superintendence. See Shepherd. W.E. Vine Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
In the spring or summer of 2003, I went to my garage to look for some books to help me in my annual study on the ministry gifts. As I was selecting different books by various preachers, yet in my head I was thinking I'm reading all these books and things are still not coming together in my head as they need to. I had done this annual study at this time for 29 years. Suddenly I heard the Lord saying to me; " Your problem is you are reading what these preachers are saying regarding my ministry gifts. You just need to study my word and let my word speak to you regarding my ministry gifts." So I put all the books back in the book shelf. Went back into the house and got my bible and opened it up. Then I realized if I needed to locate certain words quickly and understand their meaning I needed my Strong's Concordance. I got a piece of paper and wrote down apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. And listed the names of every minister associated with these gifts. Yet when I looked up the pastors names I only came up with one name, Jesus. The word pastor is only found one time in the King James bible. It is also translated shepherd. Then I realized that when a letter is written to a church in our day and time, it is written to the pastor of the church. So I looked at the beginning of every epistle in the New Testament. The apostles wrote the epistles directly to the saints not one pastor was mentioned.
(Ephesians 4:11-12) "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:"
It took weeks of study to realize that the local churches (assemblies) were not headed by a single pastor, but by multiple elders. Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament words says, for Elder; "Presbuteros-in the Christian churches, those who, being raised up and qualified by the work of the Holy Spirit, were appointed to have the spiritual care of, and to exercise oversight over, the churches.....The divine arrangement seen throughout the N.T. was for a plurality of these to be appointed in each church, (Acts 14:23; 20:17); (Phil 1:1); (I Tim. 5:17); (Tit. 1:5).
So how did the church stop being headed by elders and changed to single pastor rule. The answer had to be in history. So I went to my book shelf and found a book called "The Early Church Fathers" and I found my answer, the culprit was Ignatius of Antioch (35-107). Ignatius was the first figure in church history to take the initial step down the slippery slope toward a single leader in the church. We can trace the origin of the modern Pastor and church hierarchy to him. Ignatius elevated one of the elders above all the others. The elevated elder was now called "the bishop." All the responsibilities that belonged to the elders were exercised by the bishop.
In A.D. 107 Ignatius wrote a series of letters when on his way to be martyred in Rome. Six out of seven of these letters strike the same chord. They are filled with an exaggerated exaltation of the authority and importance of the bishop's office. According to Ignatius, the bishop has ultimate power and should be obeyed absolutely. Consider the following excerpts from his letters: "All of you follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father...No one is to do any church business without the bishop...Whenever the bishop appears, there let the people be...You must never act independently of your bishop and clergy. You should look on your bishop as a type of the Father...Whatever he approves, that is pleasing to God." For Ignatius, the bishop stood in the place of God while the presbyters (elders) stood in the place of the twelve apostles. It fell to the bishop alone to celebrate the Lord's Supper, conduct baptisms, give counsel, discipline church members, approve marriages, and preach sermons. He started that tradition over 1700 years ago, and it has been passed down from one generation to another to this very day. No wonder the pastor is so powerful, he actually stands in the place of Jesus Christ to the congregation. Very few people realize that headship in the bible is very simple. God, Jesus and Husband. (1 Corinthians 11:3) Says that God is the head of Jesus; Jesus is the head of the husband; and the husband is the head of the wife. (Ephesians 5:23) repeats, that the husband is the head of the wife. Jesus is mentioned three times in (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23) that he is the head of his church. Twice in (Colossians, 1:18; 2:19). The only other references of the head is talking about the natural head on your body. Weather you have noticed it or not many pastors are constantly telling the congregation that they are over, that they are the head. They will use statements like when God blesses the church he will start blessing from the head (himself) down. There is no reference in the bible anywhere where any preacher is called the head. That makes four heads; God, Jesus, Pastor and Husband. By putting a man as the head of another man, the fellowship is allowing the pastor to take up a position that only Jesus should occupy. "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ;" (1 Cor.11:3a) The only headship God calls us to grow into is the headship of Jesus Christ. And don't dare question him you might get (1 Chronicles 16:22) that says; 'Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm " or "I am the shepherd and you are the sheep." Also pastors are not spiritual fathers. This concept came from (1Corinthians 4:15-16) where Paul was talking to believers that was born again under his ministry. Paul was not their spiritual daddy the rest of their life. Paul started numerous churches in his lifetime and was constantly on the move. (Matthew 23:9) says;" call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father which is in heaven." The father concept came from Roman Catholism, it is false doctrine.
If you noticed from my testimony I pastored a little over five years, between 1979 thru 84. I told the church from the beginning that I would only oversee them temporarily. I was holding a bible study with them earlier, later their pastor left them. Everybody was gone except the believers I held the bible study with. I told them I would stay with them until the church grew. The church was full when I left in the summer of 84. If a pastor is not careful, he can develop a Moses complex, because of receiving so much attention and flattery. Flattery has ruined many preachers. God Bless.
NOTE: Back in the late 70s on a Wednesday night bible study. The pastor of the church I attended brought out a lot of his books and references and showed us what he used in his studies. Then he said; "If you really want to know what the bible is really saying all you need is four things. A good Bible, a Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, a Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words and a Illustrated Bible Dictionary." He said, "If you have and use these four things no preacher will be able to pull the wool over your eyes." As the years went by I realized what he said was true, but only if you use them.