“I was baptized as a baby, grew up in a strong Christ-centered family, my parents were leaders at the church I grew up in. I went to Sunday school, VBS, confirmation, youth group, and attended church nearly every weekend. I say attended church loosely because while I was physically standing there, I did not engage in worship and I was missing the key thing in a personal, daily, relationship with God. Needless to say, I fell in with the wrong crowd and had bouts of drinking, drugs, sex before marriage, thoughts of suicide, pornography, and gambling. Toward the end, I kept feeling a quiet voice inside telling me “You were meant for more than this”. I didn’t know it then but now know that was the Holy Spirit. After one truly terrible weekend, I was laying in bed hungover, having lost over a thousand dollars gambling that weekend, not sure if I even wanted to go on. Again I heard “You were meant for more than this” and I threw my hands up in bed and said God help me, I don’t know why you would want me, but if you’ll have me, I’m yours. Nothing life altering happened that night but over the next year, I found myself being drawn in more and more.
For me, everything started with tithes and offerings. I would watch church shows on TV and in the beginning it seemed no matter what that every single one I would put on had to do with tithing, I struggled a lot with it, especially because I was in debt, but finally I started doing it and trusted that 90% that was blessed would go further than 100% that is not. I came to know that all of the possessions we have come from God so really we are returning to Him a portion of what is His to begin with. Since then I found myself always having more than enough.
After that, the revival and renewing of my mind really took off. I started listening to worship music on Pandora, regularly attending church services online, and growing in Christ. On one of those online church services, they encouraged people to find a local church to attend in person. I had briefly attended Celebrate Recovery many years ago at a different church but felt that God was telling me to start new. My family had mentioned that they thought The Vineyard would be a good church to attend. I prayed about it and felt God drawing me to start attending there. There was a fire lit in me that ignited a hunger for more and more of God. He led me to become a member of the Vineyard and started doing things and leading me to things that I finally got to the point where I said: “Okay, you are in control, if you lead, I will follow”. He had me start taking an online course at Bethel Church in California and the first section was on believing what God says about himself. As I started the course, I watched testimonies about healing and remember believing but not really believing that God is a healer. But the more I watched the more I thought “Wow, maybe God does really heal right now on earth”.
On Ash Wednesday, I felt an overwhelming peace all day and during the service when they asked you to write what you were going to give up for Lent. I asked God and He said, “leave it blank; all things made new”. I was confused but obeyed. Later that week for the class we were making declarations and have to write testimonies of the good God is doing in your life. I asked God “What should I write” and it was like he was saying “I will show you”. For years I have had severe pressure in my ears and terrible ringing causing sometimes unbearable discomfort and pain. It was like a feeling of being 25 feet underwater at all times but with an added high pitched squealing. I had been praying for God to heal my ears for years and nothing ever changed. But I felt like I was supposed to keep praying for it. That Saturday I was watching TV and instantly the ringing stopped. I thanked God & praised him but was a little unsettled that the massive pressure part remained. Before church the next day I felt like God was telling me he wanted to heal my eyes. I went to church Sunday morning and Unchained later that night without my glasses in hopeful expectancy that my eyes would be healed and he would finish healing my ears. I was sad and discouraged when it didn’t happen and the ringing came back in my ears, and now I had to drive home in a snowstorm without my glasses.
That evening I had a vision of angels doing things to my eyes but when I opened them my physical vision was unchanged. I spent that week quite confused. That morning I was getting ready for Church and my ears were really bugging me and I asked God if I should go up at the end to pray for healing, and I had a vision and I saw a guys face who is on the Vineyard ministry team. So when the service that weekend was about healing I thought this can’t just be a coincidence. I got up when they asked people to come around you to pray but wasn’t healed. Then at the end during ministry time they said if you feel God isn’t quite done come up for prayer. I closed my eyes and prayed if he wanted me to go up for healing to let me know. When I opened my eyes that guy was standing up there front and center. I went up, I let go, we prayed, and the Holy Spirit showed up! He said things about freedom, letting go of the past, that God is making all things new, and that God is doing something new in my life. The pressure was gone and my ears were completely and undeniably healed. We prayed some more, several other prophetic things were said including Him telling me He was proud of me saying “you are my son, with whom I am well pleased”. I went home in utter amazement at the power and glory of God and that he is Good. It felt so good to have my ears healed. I felt better than I had in years.
That Sunday afternoon I was filled with the Spirit and wanted to learn more about healing and was watching an online healing service at Bethel. They were prophetically calling out things that God wanted to heal telling people to stand up if they had different things that needed healing, one person said “an aortic aneurysm and heart attack” and the Holy Spirit rushed over me as if saying I needed to stand up. I stood up and they prayed and I had a vision of me doing heart surgery clipping an aneurysm and taking a heart out of a chest and shaking it until all of the plaque had fallen out, and putting it back. I was shaken and told God “well thank you if you just healed me from something else, something I didn’t even know about”, He said “Tomorrow” I went to bed confused and thankful, thinking he saved me from dying tomorrow. The next day at work I found out that one of our employees had a heart attack that Sunday afternoon. Around the same time as my vision and had been rushed down from Ely. That evening I took a nap and woke up tossing and turning and very clearly felt that I should go visit her. I have never witnessed to anyone before but wanted to obey so I went. When I got there she was perfectly fine sitting up in the family room. I asked how she was and she said that that Sunday afternoon she felt like she was having a heart attack and needed to be rushed to Duluth, but by the time she got to Duluth and had tests ran they found absolutely nothing wrong with her. I shared my story with her about the vision and hopefully planted the seed.
That night I asked God what that was with my restlessness during the nap fighting and trying to keep me from going to visit her at the hospital. I feel like He said “rebellious soul”. I prayed that night for him to take my rebellious soul away.
The following Sunday morning, as I was in the shower getting ready for church God gave me the word “Bethesda”, I googled it and didn’t think anything of it at the time. Later that morning I felt that God was asking me to kneel down. I did it at home and I felt like he said “Do it openly in public” again. When I went to church that morning I saw they were doing baptisms. I wanted to obey what God told me earlier so I kneeled on the floor in between the seats. During the message, I remember having an inner argument with God about whether or not I needed to be baptized again. I honestly thought when I dumped a cup of water over my head at home during an online worship service several months prior that counted. When they started the baptisms and asked if anyone else spontaneously wanted to be baptized, I didn’t go up, but at the end felt like I maybe should have.
I went to the restroom and prayed “God if I am wrong about the cup of water & being baptized please have them tell me”. Afterwards, I was standing in the lobby waiting to tell one of the pastors my ear healing story and a woman on the ministry team can up to me and started talking to me. I told her my story and she said: “the Holy Spirit will let you know if he wants it or not”.
I took a form for Story Of Hope to share my healing and left. As I was walking to my car and the further I got away from church/baptism the more my ears started to hurt again, I turned around and the closer I got to church the better they felt. I came back inside, told them I think I was wrong and need to be baptized today, and was baptized at the next service. As I walked out my ears felt great and I heard God say “All things made new!” God Is Good!”