When I was an atheist and someone came up to me trying to talk about Jesus I would sigh and enjoy telling them how brainwashed they were for believing in something invisible and completely made up. I would argue and spit in the face of those who were religious. Those were interesting times in my life; times of getting high everyday and living how “I” wanted to live. Then one day, an old friend knocked on my door.
I thought to myself, Whoa its Doug” It’s been years! “What is he doing here? After catching up for a bit, he apologized for being a bad witness when we were kids, wanted to be friends again and asked if he could have the chance to show me what God is really like. He then presented an invitation for me to go to a conference with him the very next month. On the day of the conference, Doug called me two hours before the event and asked me if I wanted to go or not. After thinking for a bit, I said, “Eh, sure”. Little did I know, that reluctant affirmation was the first step towards my encounter.
A couple hours later, just as I walked through the conference doors to my left, was a friend who I hadn’t seen in a couple of months. I remembered him being a drug dealer in my area. However he was not how I remembered him. With a bible in his hands, a nice shirt and pants on, he said, “Hey Dan, good to see you! How have you been?” Not knowing what to think, I stammered “Uh, OK man. How about you?” His response was “Jesus changed my life, bro.” I replied, “Cool” but in reality I was thinking, Wow, I can’t believe they got another one.
Soon I found myself sitting down listening to worship music. I almost ripped all of my hair out of my head because it was so annoying. Then someone with tattoos all over his body named Todd Bentley came out really excited and asked God to open up the heavens and poor down his presence into the room. I’d say about ten seconds afterwards I felt a sensation of heaviness all over my body. It took me by total surprise and my mind raced for possible explanations; Are they pumping some air borne hallucinogen into the room? Did I consume something I shouldn’t have? Nothing I could think of fit with what I was feeling. About a minute or so into feeling the sensation, my chest hurt. It felt like pressure from a battle commencing inside me. After they finished worshiping and Todd gave his testimony and sermon, he invited everyone to stand side by side. He then went around, laid hands on everyone and prayed for them. Just before he got around to me, I said to myself, “OK, Jesus. If you’re there I want to know you. Reveal yourself to me.” He most definitely answered. Todd touched my chest, almost like he was putting something into it and said, “FIRE!” I shook uncontrollably. I took six or seven steps back, got down on my knees, and covered my face. I sat there in utter shock. Doug’s step mom, Alice, calmly came up to me and asked if I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior. I said, “I don’t know.” She asked me if I would like too. I said, “Yes.” So I recited the prayer she told me. I accepted Jesus into my heart and just as I said, “Amen”, I felt as if I could float away like a feather without a worry in the world. No mind-altering substance I had ever done could come close to what I was feeling. That was the beginning of my new life in Christ.
About two weeks after my encounter with Jesus, God spoke truth to me about the pain that was a daily burden on my life. This pain was the constant reality that my brothers were not here with me and that I was blaming any god figure that everyone held so high for their deaths. Born 3 months premature and weighing at only 1 pound 12 ounces, I am the sole survivor of triplets, and should have died against all odds. God said to me that it was not his intent to let my brothers go, but that He intended for me to live, and that there is a calling for my life so unique and set aside from all others. Hearing those words allowed me to finally let go of the pain, give it to God, and let him replace it with something much better. Ever since that time, life has been an exciting journey. God has truly done some heart surgery and transformed me completely. He has used me to further his kingdom on more occasions than I can count and works through me to change lives on a daily basis.
Through Todd Bentley, God gave me the proof I needed to believe in Him; which led me to allow him to trade my hurt for his peace. Now I get up each day with true purpose, fulfillment and meaning to my life. I am living the way I was intended to, how everyone is intended to. I’m not filling a God-shaped hole in my life with all the wrong things anymore. I’m not going back again and again because it’s never enough. I am truly getting fulfillment, love, life and peace from the one and only Jesus Christ.
“And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away ““ look, what is new has come! And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Paul the Apostle, 2nd Corinthians 5:15-18