I do not recall exactly how it started or when the decisive moment was. I do not know how I got to the point of being so deeply entrenched in apostasy and deception. I cannot definitively point to one moment and declare it was the one in which the deception began and my destructive course was charted. I simply do not know. What I do know is that I was convinced. I was convinced of my being on the right path. I was one of God’s chosen, His elite, His enlightened ones. “Get into the River” was our mantra and our manifesto.
In my home church they called us the River People, and I was hopelessly immersed. Those that loved me enough had tried to warn me. However, I did not want to listen to those I perceived as being beneath me spiritually. They simply did not understand the river’s flow, I reasoned. No, I was happy being adrift.
In the beginning, I was deeply involved in a large Pentecostal church in town. I sang on the worship team and also sang for a small Vineyard church in the same city. There was whisperings at that time of a movement in Toronto, a “blessing” of epic proportion; or so I thought.Toronto was only a few hours drive from my city and so it began. We would pile into cars like hungry pilgrims and make the frequent trek to Toronto. In the winter we would brace against the cold in our heavy coats not complaining about the long lines and torturous waiting. There was always someone who we knew, going. There was always someone we knew coming back. The returning pilgrims would laugh, jerk, and shout. They seemed only too eager to impart their “fresh fire” to anyone who would stand still long enough to have hands laid on them. Those that did not understand we scoffed at. They did not want the things of God as we did. We were special.
Things began to change in my church. A split began to form. They called us the, “River People” we called them religious zealots who refused to let loose of the old wine skins. There was long ministry times at the altar at every service complete with violent jerking, animal sounds, shouting, laughing and vibrating. Then there were those long periods of “soaking” which we fondly referred to as, “carpet time.”
The old wine-skins of our church did not like the constant emphasis on the supernatural. However, we felt above reproach never realizing that sliding underneath it all with stealth precision was a hyper-grace message that was now running unchecked through the church. Scandal ensued and the ministry team split.
I remember the first time I read anything from Rick Joyner. I was in a church pew and my pastor’s wife handed me a dog-eared, photocopied chapter from Rick Joyner’s, “The Hoards of Hell are Marching”. She was enchanted by it. “It is the most wonderful, most anointed, most inspired thing you will ever read,” she gushed. Far from the most anointed thing I had ever read, I regarded it as the ranting of a lunatic. However, it had soon circulated the church and had won the hearts and captured the attention of those I deeply respected. They thought this man was a true prophet.
The chaotic crumbling of a once mighty church disturbed me beyond words. The church was in its death throes and the sounds of her slow and arduous death rattle had replaced the raucous party atmosphere we had grown to depend on. I needed the fix that the “river” provided and I knew I would have to go where I felt it might be moving. I packed a small suitcase and hitched a ride with a friend who happened to be going to Charlotte, North Carolina. This was to begin a dizzying spiral decent into darkness and deception. Deception so sly and insidious it would take well over 15 long years to recover and find the truth.
In Charlotte, my faith was sorely tested. I was a Canadian with no legal right to work in the United States and nowhere to live. I found out very quickly that I could not rent an apartment or get a bank account without an American job, license, or social security number. I had left Canada with only a small suitcase. The friend I was with had been born in the States and was able to get a job and secure an apartment for us. I slept on the hardwood floor in her living room, and she on the floor in her bedroom. I had a thin cotton sheet to cover myself with but rarely slept. I was frightened and worried. Even though our apartment was nice, we did not realize that we were in a bad part of town. We heard gunshots at night, and heard horrific screams the night our upstairs neighbor got her throat slit. It seemed so surreal – like a nightmare I could not wake up from. I did not know then, but my money supply was soon to be exhausted. I would be there six long months, living from a small suitcase, sleeping on the floor, before I would obtain a U.S.work visa. FINDING MORNINGSTAR
I had only been in Charlotte short while before tracking down and attending MorningStar. I will never forget it. When I got to the entrance door I started to shake. I was trembling from head to foot and could not talk. I remember one of the greeters asking me if I was alright. I tried to talk but could not. “It’s the Glory,” one of the church members cooed, firmly pushing me through the doors. The church was in a warehouse off Pressley Road in Charlotte. There were chairs set up and also round tables lining the walls off to the side. People milled about in the back drinking coffee and browsing the bookstore. They were mostly young people in wrinkled, unkempt clothing. It had a hippie, modern grunge feel. It was evident that many of them had not washed for the occasion, or for any occasion in a very long while. Strangely enough, it did not seem odd that there were barely sober homeless people lolling on the floor in the back drinking coffee. They seemed to blend and homogenize themselves into the atmosphere there. It almost seemed normal, like what you would expect to see there. I was both appalled and intrigued by it all. The commotion and carnival atmosphere was like a train wreck that I could not for the life of me, pull my eyes from. I had the feeling I had entered through the looking-glass and nothing would ever be the same again.
Noise and confusion were everywhere. It was before service and the place was literally in an uproar. People rushed to and fro, running and throwing things and laughing. Some sat at tables trying desperately to talk above the din while others had food spread out enjoying a meal before service. When the music started it was reminiscent of an outdoor rock concert. No one sang but the performers. Many had arms raised, their hands snaking through the air like Indian belly dancers, eyes closed in complete abandoned ecstasy. I was uncomfortable.
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