God has radically changed my life, before I really started to run with the Lord my life was a waste, all I did was spend my time chasing after girls so that my insecurities would be fed, I lead a life of radicle impurity and compromise. I had a job so I could get money, I got money so I could get booze, I got booze so I could get girls and try and drown the shame of my most recent sin. The hearts I stepped on bruised and broke in the name of me feeling good is countless. My identity was in how the world around me saw me. Ya, I sti
ll went to Church, but it was a farce, lipstick on a pig, a large loud swelling orchestra of a lie to the world and myself that said my fake life makes all my sin, dirt and shame ok. It wasn't. I was broken and I knew I needed to get out of my little world I had made for myself. But my hypocrisy didn't end at church, it extended into my poetry, striving for holiness but living broken, every last poem condemned the way I was living. I was in the wrong and I knew it. Everything in me wanted to get out of the cycle but I could quit the sin, I was stuck.
But there is always hope, even when it is faint and far. After my shows we would always go to Denny's, So I asked my friend to come with us. On one condition would my friend and his fiancee come, if I would go to Hawaii and do a DTS, specifically the one he was staffing, Xtreme places. I said yes and we shook hands. Friends, Family and co workers found out about where I could go on outreach. Central Asia, "We want you to go, just not there. You could die." I was already dead on the inside, I knew Jesus would be in Hawaii, and I knew that he would bring me back to life. What concern does a dead man have for dyeing? None.
How would I pay for it? How would I get there? What would it be like? I didn't care, I just had to go. Go I went. I got of the plane, dreadlocks down to my butt, chubby from beer, wearing a tie dye V-neck, unsure of the next six months. I met my staff, my two friends ran to greet me shaking with excitement because they knew what God was about to do. That f
irst weekend, we told our stories. In a class of 10
guys and one girl with our 11 staff, I told the most delightful, surface level story of how I got there. Yes I grew up in a christian home, yes I struggled with Porn just like most other men in America, but God set me free its all good. Fake. And then my classmates began to break down weeping confessing the gross ugly reality of there lives, the drugs, the alcohol the sex, all of it . Broken honesty flowed like a river, and the deep well of insecurity in my heart began to boil over. "What if they find out the truth of how black my heart is? What if they know about the deeds of darkness? They will hate me and throw me out! I have to leave now! I'll reject them before I get rejected!" What a bunch of ridiculous lies to avoid the truth, I was black with sin, covered in dirt, filthy, grimy, despicable, I deserved death for what I had done and no amount of good works would ever change it. I was going to run. I was literally planing on getting my bags and hitchhiking back to the airport, I don't know what I would do when I got there but I would get away from the island and the confrontation with my sin. If I stayed I would have to die. And die I did.
I decided to let it all out and see if they would Love me. I let it all out, everything. All my sin from when I was a kid being introduced to sexuality at 5 or 6 and then to porn later, to all the girls, all the alcohol and all the emptiness. It was out in the open, the windows to my heart the doors the roof everything was open, the darkness came out in a massive confession.
And then the light could come in.
Then I was baptized for the second time, I gave my life to Jesus, I said your the boss from now on, I cant run my life any longer. I got a fresh revelation of his Lordship. When I asked him to be my Lord and Savior, I gave up the right to my life, my comfort, my preferences, I gave up my right to me. Because I gave me to him.
It was a new day, LIGHT! Glorious light from His love streamed in. He started to tell me over and over that he loved me. Until I got upset and asked, "Why wont you tell me something else?"
"Because I want you to know and believe that I Love You."
I Cut my Dreads, giving up the identity in how everyone saw me, and taking the identity he had for me. Son.
I went to Pakistan and got so sick that I at one point weighed 140 pounds, but got radically encountered with real lasting relationship. I learned to hear his voice in the mountains of a muslim nation because there was no one else to talk to at times.
But I was not yet done living in the community and was planning on coming back to Kona. He told me one day about the rest of the year as I bathed my feet in a mountain stream. Lecture phase for DTS, was marriage between us, Outreach in Pakistan was the honeymoon, the next lecture I would be pregnant, the next outreach, I would give birth.
The language was odd, but I trusted and he continued to show me what he meant. I went home for a month. I hated it, and decided then and there I would never return
to Seattle long term. I was a missionary based out of Hawaii. I was back with my best friends and I was going to China, I fell more in love with the Man that freed me from me, I grew deeper with my friends. Something was growing inside me, I felt a tug in my heart back to Seattle, a desire to see a city of darkness turn into a city of light.
China. Getting there was a miracle of financial breakthrough, but what happened there directed the course of my life for the next few years. My friend Alyssa was speaking at a conference on prayer and worship that we as a team were putting on and she said, "When we pray for our cities it changes the atmosphere." Instantly I got a picture of a map of Seattle cover with glowing dots, the dots were houses of prayer, and the Glory of God was coming down on the dots and spreading out until they all were connected and the city was covered in the Glory of the Lord. And Seattle went from a city of darkness to a city of light. "Do It."
The rest of the trip I got the frame work for what The Seattle House of Prayer would look like. This vision in my heart became the SHOP. A more in depth look at that later.
I spent another year in Hawaii, growing in my relationship with Jesus, ever pretense, all my baggage, my fears, the little insecurities all were confronted and dealt with in some level. I haven't arrived, but I'm farther. He's real. He took me to London for my best friends wedding, he Rescued me from an airport before that, He showed me America, He taught me to make music and. And He became my best friend.
Jesus is not some character in the Bible, he is not some supernatural force. He is not a cosmic ATM where I pray and He makes me feel better. He is a man, He is alive, He is real, I have met him.
He changed everything about my life, I have purpose I have life, and that wasn't even the point. He did it cause he loves me. No strings attached he just does. I'm not saying that everyone needs to do a DTS to experience this, though DTS is a great place for it.
Even in my walk I have changed, at the beginning of DTS my walk was about what God could do in my life, how he could make it better. Thats not what christianity is even about, its about following the Man named Jesus, is about the lamb that was slain receiving the reward for his suffering Rev 5:12. It was never about us its always been about him.
Jesus, thank you so much for taking me out of my sinful selfish me centered worthless life. Giving me a new life binding up my broken heart releasing me from darkness, Isaiah 61:1. taking my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh Ezekiel 36:26. You are worthy of it all! Holy Spirit let my life and this story be a testimony of what you can do when some one says yes. Im not any better than any one else, as has been made plain and clear, I haven't arrived. Often times I can still be a jerk to people and to God, but he continues to make me new.
The point of the story is this, Long ago in a garden The God of the universe got dirty and made a man, He didn't need to. He already was in perfect community with himself as Father Son and Spirit. He had no needs, but he wanted to create, and create he did. He brought us into community, we rebelled and since that day he has been making strides to get us back into community. Do we deserve it? No. We deserve death for rebelling against perfect love, we were jerks when we said "perfect unity with The God of the universe The God who is Love, 1 John 4:8, is just not enough for us" But when we deserved death he made a way for us to live.
Thats my story. Its a story of redemption, Its a story about a man that loves perfectly because he is perfect love, and a man that just wants to love that man back.