Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? James 3:11
I am the worst when it comes to keeping up with a blog. But I mostly use it to get out my frustrations, or thoughts, that are bigger than social media. Or I just don’t want to cast my pearls before… swine. Life has a funny way of speeding you up and slowing you down. And sometimes, when you think you’ve attained a certain mountain, you’re kicked all the way down the mountain to the deepest pit you can imagine. Sounds great huh. So much for positive thinking! 🙂 Anyway, I decided that I was going to write a blog about this past year. Well, what has happened since the last time I posted in JANUARY OF 2019! The worst, I told you. If you don’t like reading, then you probably should skip over this post.
Around March of 2018, my wife bought an ancestry DNA kit. It came in the mail, and she was very excited. She spit in the tube (kinda weird) and sent it off. After what seemed like an eternity, she was able to see the results of who her father is (VERY long story behind that, but I will save that for another time). We finally received the results and it was exactly who (through other family members) thought it was. It wasn’t who she thought prior was her father, but this was the second option. She was able to get into contact with the man listed as her father, and began building a relationship with him via phone. Other people from her family knew this man prior to my wife being born, so we went forward with their great opinion of his reputation and decided to move to where he lived. One, we didn’t like where we lived (Southern Illinois) and two, she had always longed for a dad, and the man she thought was her dad died when she was 2, so I wasn’t going to stand in the way. We went carefully, prayerfully, and moved to Panama City, Florida, in May of 2018.
I have been raised in and around church my whole life. I am Apostolic from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. I guess I either missed something along the way or didn’t get taught it, but it did lead to major heartbreak and bitterness. I told some friends at the church we were attending that we would be moving to Florida soon, we just didn’t have a date yet. One of the friends asked if I had asked our pastor if it were okay to move. I responded with, “ask?” He informed me that there are people that don’t even buy a house before they ask him. This was the first time I had ever heard of this. I have moved, I have talked about with my pastor before, but I never knew to ask for permission. I told the friend that I hadn’t said anything to him yet because we didn’t know a date, and even in one day, things can change. So, with that conversation in the back of my mind, I messaged my pastor (we will call him PW) and told him that we were making plans to move. He said “are you kidding me?” I responded with “no.” His response was “give me a call when you get time.” I had time right then and called him. He asked me why were wanted to move. That was the only question. There wasn’t a “when” or a “where?” When I told him the reason, I became silent and listened to him rip me up one side and the other for 30 minutes and it ended with him hanging up on me. I never said a word. I listened.
The next day, I messaged him and said that I didn’t want to leave on bad terms or with him mad at me. He then immediately called me and asked me if I thought he was tough on me. I responded with yes. He then informed me that he wasn’t even mad, to which I said “I’d really hate to see you mad.” After he hung up on me, I felt horrible. I didn’t really understand what was even going on. He told me that I didn’t need his permission, but I should have talked to him about it. I agreed and told him that I was going to once we had a plan, because we weren’t even sure if we could do it. Anyway, back to the second call. I had asked him if he would recommend a church where we were going and he told me he would not. He asked me “what would I tell the man of God there? I don’t have anything good to say about you.” This was a hard blow. I was involved in the church, paid my tithes, went to everything I could, went to PEAK conference as a chaperone, prayed, went to extra events and services at other churches, and I didn’t understand why he had no good thing to say about me. Until this point, this man acted like he was my best friend. He would call me and talk to me on the phone for over an hour at a time, pouring into me scripture and encouragement. This second call didn’t end with that low blow. No, he went on to tell me that my wife was rebellious, and she is rebellious because of me. (Us moving was apparently rebellion.) My wife had missed quite a bit of church because we had an infant, and lived 35 minutes from the church. Wednesday night church started at 7:30 and would be out after 9, sometimes 9:30 and we had to drive 40 minutes home, and Sunday started at 6 but would get out at 9 or so and it was too much for our infant. Long story short, we were both rebellious and he told us that if Jesus comes back, we won’t be going, and that this move will end in disaster (keep that fresh in your mind.) He never asked when or anything. He was done. So off we went to Florida.
Fast forward to October of 2018. We woke up one Monday with the idea that there may be a tropical storm brewing in the gulf. We lived less than half a mile from St. Andrew’s Bay in Panama City, and as this storm started developing we decided that we needed to evacuate because we had a 2 year old and didn’t want to chance anything at all, and it would give us a chance to see family that we hadn’t seen since May, which was way too long for me. We left on Monday night, with the intention of coming back on Friday. I called my work and told them and they didn’t even know a hurricane was coming.
We got to Illinois on Tuesday morning. Wednesday, October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made land fall. We watched the hurricane on FOX News, only to see coverage of Panama City Beach, not of Panama City. We thought this strange, especially since we lived in the City side. Come to find out, the reason that there was no coverage of the city was that they were hit so bad that they couldn’t get any signals or anything to go out of the storm. Over the next couple days we were told that our town house was gone and we had nothing to return to. So we started making plans to stay.
Through the grape vine, I got wind that the unnamed pastor that told us we weren’t rapture ready was telling everyone that his prophecy of our Florida move ending in disaster had came true. And also, that my wife is my pastor. He tells people that apparently on a regular basis.
When we left for Florida, up until now, not one person has asked about us or called or anything. Which is fine, I don’t really care, and it makes it easier, but my thought is they know why we left, like so many others leave.
I haven’t named the pastor, and some people, if anyone reads this, can figure out who the pastor is and what church. That’s fine if you do, fine if you don’t. So many Pentecostals will jump at the opportunity to say to not speak poorly of the anointed. I’m not going to go there with anyone. As much scripture there is for not speaking against God’s anointed (and in this case, that term is used very loosely) there is also as many scriptures about not ruling over God’s heritage and marking those that cause division. That is a debate that I don’t really feel is applicable here. Now that that is out of the way.
I don’t believe in going around and telling people’s business or gossiping, but this entire post is about this event happening in my life. I am still Apostolic, and I know that just because someone is a pastor they aren’t perfect. I know many good people who have been hurt by unbiblical teaching and dictatorship. By the way, when a pastor says they aren’t a dictator, usually that means they really are in the form of narcissism.
The above encounter left me very bitter and confused. This man had shown interest in helping me grow my ministry. This man poured into me on a number of occasions. This man put me behind his pulpit to exhort. This man asked me to be in certain things. My respect for him was one I hadn’t really personally given a man of God, and I think the reason that I revered him so much was because he took time for me and acted like he was my friend. This was no small church. 200 or so members, and 100 additional children were bussed in on Sunday mornings. The services were hot, God moved in ways I haven’t experienced anywhere else. There was drama, of course, but I wasn’t there for that. My wife and I had visited OFTEN on a regular basis for 2 years prior to going there because they had people our age, married, that we could hang out with, as our other church didn’t. After the 2 phone conversations, I had told my brother in law, who was my previous pastor, and is now currently my pastor, what happened only to find out horrendous things.
I received a phone call from the aforementioned pastor (PW) randomly one day. He was informing me that he had talked to my brother in law (PM) about another person that was bouncing between the two churches. He said that I had been brought up in the conversation and was talked about pretty harshly. After the proverbial lashing had happened, my brother in law told me how that conversation really went down. For the sake of my energy and time, it wasn’t good. It was more damage, and wood added to the fire.
To The Bones
I had put so much faith and hope in this man, that when he failed, I was left wondering if God really was in Apostolic preachers anymore. I know that Apostolic doctrine is right, so I wasn’t interested in going to another kind of church, I just didn’t know if I could trust anyone else again. I questioned my ministry and my calling. I questioned if I was a reprobate or if God could even hear me. I was very wounded. And then came the question of how to get rid of the bitterness and distrust. I knew the scripture is against bitterness.
But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Proverbs 5:4
I had tried so hard and put so much effort into doing what was right only to be let down. How could I trust anyone.
Well, to their demise, they lost a lot of good people from their church. I had taken a friend to church that wasn’t Apostolic. He had went with me quite a few times and the Lord was moving on him. The pastors (PW) daughter thought he was good looking and wanted to get in contact with him. Well I knew better and I didn’t get her in contact with him but since he was tagged in some things on social media, it wasn’t too hard to get his info. She did. And she sent him vial snaps on Snapchat, things a Christian should never send. Later, she was a part of almost ruining a new converts marriage after being caught making out with the husband during our Easter drama practices. The pastor never did anything about it, tried to cover it up, and literally lost every minister on his platform except for two young ministers. I say that to say: don’t be a hypocrite!
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7
I don’t glory in the fact that this happened on any end. But I did come out stronger. I came out stronger in who I am in Christ, what the Bible says regarding abuse of power, and knowing that the Lord can keep you even when you are confused and groping in the darkness. My confidence in the ministry is being restored, with caution. But I will say this, no one under the sun can ever tell any human that they are going to hell. Yes, the word says certain things will send you there, but no one is allowed to tell me that my soul will be in hell for moving to another town. No body has that authority and scripture never gives anyone the authority to send someone to hell.
Bitterness held me bound. Bound to doubt. Bound to pain. Bound to hopelessness. But God got me through it. If you are struggling with bitterness from a church hurt or any other thing, God can get you through it. It seems it isn’t overnight, but it will happen and He will restore to you the joy of your salvation!