Summary: Many people don't believe in Angels, God or the Devil but I would like to share my testimony with you on how I became a believer when I was running from the God I never knew.
My name is Vernon House - I am the pastor of the First Pentecostal Church of Red Bud
Many times ministers are thought to be out of touch with the world around them. That we are just religious, self-righteous, judgmental, or even condescending.
I would like to change your opinion about that and share with you how God changed my life...
I was raised very poor Pentecostal Preacher's Kid in Granite City IL.
From birth to about age 16 we lived at 2145 Benton Street and it was horrible. The violence, the immorality, drugs and alcohol was all around us. In our apartment building they would get strung out on drugs and alcohol and ride their motorcycles up and down their steps, holler, cuss, fight, it was marring.
Because my family was Pentecostal we were persecuted, made fun of, and mocked at. One time my dad had, had enough, he took his Bible and went out into the middle of the street and started preaching to the whole neighborhood. One neighbor came out at him with a hammer and was gonna hit him if he didn’t shut up thence increasing the hatred against us.
My sister was persecuted because of her dresses, and long hair. The neighborhood bully had it out for me - I was often beat up, thrown in sticker bushes, forced to fight and to do drugs at very early age.
Through this persecution and suffering I was tormented, hating the tormentors and even angry at God for allowing it to happen.
The devil knows exactly how to play mental and emotional destructive mind games:
Solomon (riches & women)
Gideon (poor, low self-esteem, beat down)
Jonah (hatred for the Ninevites)
And even Jesus in the wilderness of temptation
We are all in this world and have an enemy who wants to destroy us. We all have sinned, fallen people in a fallen world.
Like the old horror movie ”nightmare on elm street” with Freddie Kruger - over time the nightmares become a reality.
Over time I became very:
I remember being so angry with God
I couldn't understand if there was a God why he would allow me and my family to go through so much pain.
I was very angry with the God I never knew.
Even though I was raised up a Pentecostal kid and seeing many miracles, and supernatural moves of God - I never knew HIM (kinda like Jacob the God of Abraham, Isaac.. (wrestling at Bethel, or Moses, what’s your name?, who are you?)
I became a problem drinker, dependent on alcohol, drugs and all the sinful things that go along with it.
The drugs and alcohol led me to a rock band of which I became their rody and followed the parties.
In junior high school it was frozen vodka and orange juice at the bus stop for breakfast. By the 9th grade I was carrying alcohol in my book bag to school.
I was a regular at smoking dope, opium, mushrooms, and cocaine. Eventually I became a drug dealer and a heavy problem drinker.
Strangely - God’s hand was watching over my life.
Many times - I would be so wasted and driving and the only last thing I would remember would be stopping at a stop sign and opening my door and puking my guts out headed to another tavern
And then I would wake up the next day having no idea how I made it home safe. Many times I experienced alcohol poisoning.
Everywhere I went I felt out of place like I didn't belong I was messes up and I didn't fit in.
A modern day Moses with a secret identity.
I was trapped in Pharaoh's house, influenced by all of Egypt's corruption and chaos - but inside I knew I was different - I was destined to be a Pentecostal Christian, not an Egyptian
Anybody ever felt that way?
Maybe you know exactly what i’m talking about!
You know life has something greater for you...
Me and some buddies went to an ACDC concert and I remember feeling totally weird and out of place - everybody else was having a great time - but I was miserable and tried to hide it with more alcohol and drugs.
I never knew God, but somehow I had a deep spiritual awareness
I would be at certain places and the people knew that there was something different about me - they would tell me that I didn’t belong there.
Even with my Dungeons and Dragon buddies - I never could be an evil character and they would tell me I was different..
Very interestingly though - through my sinful lifestyle I went far enough out into sin and darkness that I bumped into the devil