I was born again on April 26, 1997, three days away from turning twenty-nine years old. I did not grow up in the church and did not know any born-again believers in my family. I can look back in the history of both, my father’s and my mother’s family and find not one man of God.
I was born again while serving as a Group Home Supervisor for the Jacksonville Youth Sanctuary. The Executive Director was a mighty man of God by the name of Doug Berrenguer; to this day, I still have a great relationship with him as I consider Doug a great friend and mentor. Doug called me one day just to ask how I was doing; while on the phone with him I started crying. God was already dealing with my heart. Doug prayed for me over the phone and gave me a track “The Four Spiritual Laws.” He also gave me some other information and told me to take a couple of days off from work. For the first time in my life I was excited to read anything about God. On April 26, 1997 at around 6PM in my house on 10560 Beverly Nalle Road in Jacksonville, Florida. I prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” that was recorded on that track and gave my life to the Lord. I felt a fire that did not hurt me; I felt a love that I have never felt before. It was simply amazing.
From there on, the first church I visited after being born-again was First Coast Christian Center, an Assemblies of God Church located on the North Side of the city. That was also Doug’s home church. I guess I went there for him. I was, at the time, the only black person there; but can honestly say that I received nothing but love from that congregation. A few months after that, the Lord moved me to The Father’s House International, a bilingual, nondenominational and multi-cultural church where the Spirit of God was moving mightily. The Pastor was Presbyter Jose Bosque, a former Baptist Minister who was filled with the Holy Ghost and radically changed; to this day he’s still serving the Lord in many ways. It was there that I started growing up as a Christian and it was there that I started hearing about this thing we like to call, revival.
While at The Father’s House I served as a Deacon, later an Elder, Prison Minister, Worship Team member, Young Adult Pastor, etc. After The Father’s House I opened ministries and became the Senior Pastor of a church in Winton, North Carolina where I served for about three years. I still consider myself a young Christian as I was born again just fifteen years ago.
I say all of these things to convey that it is curious to me that I never cared about doing personal studies on revival. I heard about some revivals, some that took place recently, even in Florida; I watched some videos, heard some sermons, but the topic never really burning in my heart until just a couple of days ago. I felt like the Lord directed me to take a look at “The Azusa Street Revival.” My wife had a video with basic information about what took place at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. I know this revival was real; I know it with all of my heart, because of the impact the study of this revival alone is causing in my life.
I believe that from the very beginning of my short life as a Christian, even as the Lord changed many things in my life, even as I love God’s people, as I started reaching out to the lost souls, as I serve God with great excitement, as I started reading the Bible and praying; I started questioning: What is the purpose of coming to church Sunday after Sunday? When I started reading the Word and learning about God’s creative power I could not see how that was being reflected in our gatherings. Even as I was a part of a Pentecostal Church first and then a very charismatic non-denominational church, I was not able to find purpose in doing basically the same thing Sunday after Sunday. Something did not match!
To be Continued….