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The Call Of God
The Testimony of John Whiting, Part 1

I'm not sure that I know where to begin. It was about 20 years ago that God did a miracle in my life and saved me. But�let me go back a page.

I had a friend from high school that had come to know the Lord, but in my mind he had finally gone off the deep end, being that he was a hopeless alcoholic. However, I couldn't help but notice that there was something quite different about him. When he tried to share the gospel with me, yes, I was sure of it - he had gone off the deep end. After that I all but lost touch with the him because he moved to a ministry in northern Minnesota.

About 5 or 6 months passed and I was just sitting around my apartment one afternoon, getting high and watching TV, when out of the blue I felt compelled to phone my friend. So I jumped off my couch and started digging through drawers, trying to find the phone number. I was sure he had given it to me in his going on about God and Jesus and how I was a sinner in need of being saved. After a few minutes of looking I came up with it from the bottom of the drawer, a barely legible scrap of paper with his name and number on it. So I gave him a call.

I remember letting the number ring for quite a while and after about 10 or 12 rings I was just getting ready to hang up the phone when someone answered. It was my friend. We exchanged pleasantries and he asked what had made me call him after not hearing from me for so long. I immediately felt uncomfortable with the question and quickly changed the subject by asking him what he was up to. He said that he was moving to Texas. I thought, "well that's cool," and asked him when he was moving. He told me, "we were all packed up and just pulling out of the drive when I realized I left my Bible sitting on the table by the door. When I came in to get it the phone was ringing and when I answered it, it was you." Then he asked me again why I had called. At this point I became extremely uncomfortable saying, "I guess I need to get right with God." So he told me when he got to Texas he would send me a Bible and some scriptures to read. I told him that sounded like a great idea and quickly hung up the phone. I remember thinking, "man, that was really weird," and then tried to forget the whole thing.

About 2 weeks later a Bible and a note with some scriptures came in the mail for me from Texas. As I sat down and started to read the Bible a strange thing started to happen to me, seeing as I was a sexually immoral, foul mouthed drug addict musician given to fits of violence and rage. I noticed that the more I read the Bible, the more those behaviors stopped. I thought that was pretty weird and maybe there was something to this whole God thing. And I decided that I would be a good Christian. So I cut my hair, bought a suit and picked the biggest Baptist church I could find to become a member of. Man, it was a beaut�. It had a radio station, TV show and 3 services every Sunday. It even had an interpreter for the deaf which was perfect because the girl I was dating at that time had a hearing handicap. The one thing that this fine church didn�t provide, much to my dismay, was the power of God's Holy Spirit at work in my life. As I found out in their doctrine, there was no need for the conviction of the Holy Spirit. So�needless to say, all the things that God had delivered me from, the drugs and the sexual immorality, started slowly coming back into my life to the point where I was soon back in the same place only worse than I was before. When I went to the headship of the Baptist church I was attending they signed me up for a few months of "salvation evaluation" classes just to make sure I had been properly saved. Meanwhile, my spiritual condition continued to worsen.

Finally I reached a place where I really felt a need to pray and cry out to the Lord because I knew that He hadn�t set me free from all those sins just to have me fall right back into them. That night I received a phone call from my friend in Texas wondering how I was doing since it had been some time since he had heard from me. I proceeded to explain my situation to him and I was a little surprised because he didn�t seem to be. He told me that the whole congregation in Texas had been praying for me and the pastor had really felt in God to have him give me a call. All of a sudden I started to get that funny feeling I hadn�t felt since the last time my friend and I had spoken. I sat down on the floor and began to weep in the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

My friend told me that the pastor would like to have a word with me. When he came to the phone he asked me if I had any idea why I was in the predicament I was in. I said that I really wasn�t sure but I didn�t believe that this was what God wanted for me. He asked me if I had prayed to see where God wanted me to attend church. I told him no, I hadn�t, and then he asked me how I expected to receive the fullness of what God had for me if I wasn�t in the place that He wanted me to be? At the time I wasn�t really sure I knew exactly what he was talking about but it seemed to make sense to me. As soon as I set my heart to seek the Lord on this matter the pastor said, "there is a brother in your town you might want to go and see." The pastor gave me the name and address of the brother's church and asked if I would pray to see when the Lord would have me go there. When I sought the Lord I really felt an urgency to go to the next available service which was that coming Sunday.

When Sunday rolled around it seem that every possible thing that could go wrong did to keep me from going to that service . I didn�t make it to the service that day and I remember having this horrible feeling after missing it. I wasn�t really sure why until I received a call from my friend's pastor that evening asking how the service had been. I told him that "some things" had come up that kept me from attending the service that day. It was about that time I came to a revelation of what the chastisement of the Lord was. The pastor began to explain to me that it�s not flesh and blood that we wrestle with but against principalities and against powers, against the rulers of darkness and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph 6:12). As I sat there scratching my head, wondering what the heck he was talking about, he started explaining to me how God wanted to set me free from the sin I was in and the bondage of the enemy and to make no mistake about it - there was a very real battle being waged concerning the outcome of my eternity and the placement of my soul therein. Believe me when I tell you that whatever came up that tried to keep me from attending service that next Sunday, and it did, was quickly pushed aside.

I remember pulling up in front of the address the pastor had given me that Sunday, wondering if I was at the right place. I didn�t see any large church building or even a parking lot. All I saw was an older looking white house on a corner lot and a sign saying: Sunday services: 10:30 and 7:30. I thought to myself, "I wonder why there weren�t any ending times to the services?" Well, I was about to find out. So I parked my car and went inside.

As I walked up to the door I was greeted by a lady and her son and invited inside. Stepping inside the house I noticed that it was quite modestly furnished and there I met a few more of the congregation. I asked one of the brothers standing in the room if the pastor had arrived yet. He told me the pastor had gotten to the church an hour or two earlier to pray and seek the Lord before the service. This seemed like an odd idea to me because at the Baptist church the pastor was always out front to meet and greet the parishioners. Right around 10:30 I was informed that the service was about to start so I made my way into the service area which was small but nicely decorated and had seating for about 30 or 40 people.

I was just about ready to take my seat when the band kicked in and man, they were really laying it down. Being a musician myself I could appreciate the live band aspect. I remember thinking, "they never had anything like this going on over at the Baptist church." It was about that time the pastor made his entrance having longer curly hair, wearing a multi-colored silk shirt and a pair of designer jeans. Quite a different look than what I was use to, to say the least. For a moment I wasn�t sure if I was at a church service or mic. night at the forum. The distinction was quite clear, however, as I felt the anointing and the Spirit of the Lord flow from the brother as he began to sing and the congregation started to praise the Lord. After about 2 or 3 songs the pastor stopped for a moment saying that God had a special touch for someone and he felt we should sing and worship the Lord. The pastor start to sing a slower worship song and when he did everyone began to lift up their hands and worship God.

As we were worshiping I remember wondering, "who is it that is singing out of key?" when I heard the pastor say, "the Lord has a word for someone and He desires to touch someone in a special way." At this point I wasn�t really sure what to expect but, praise God, I was about to find out. As the pastor made his way down off of the stage into the congregation I could hear him saying in a low voice, "yes Lord, yes Lord," then he spoke up and said there was a prophesy the Lord desired to be brought forth. As he walked passed me I opened my eye slightly to take a peek at who this prophesy might be for, then the pastor reached back touching me on the forehead and WHAAM! God lit me up like a 150 watt bulb.

Now brothers and sisters, I mean to tell you I thought that I had experienced a few things up to that point in my life but I had NEVER felt anything that even came remotely close to what I felt at that moment. When the power of God fell upon me I fell back into the pew and I felt peace and warmth that I can only describe as running through every fiber of my being down to my very soul. What was before an out of key choir now sounded like a choir of angelic harmonies. Over these I heard a voice saying to me, "I have called you to an evangelistic healing ministry and a music ministry. You will play guitar and sing praises unto the Lord. I, yes, even I will raise you up by the power of My Spirit and send you forth unto the nations to preach My Word. For the devil will come against you in people you know, in your friends and family to bring you down but do not fear and look onto Me, for I have called you and I have sealed you by My Spirit. I will finish the work that I have started in you, sayeth the Lord." Praise God. Amen. At that point I remember all I was thinking was "WOW." When I opened my eyes I could still hear whoever it was singing off key again but this time I just really didn�t care because I was so caught up and completely overwhelmed by the Power of God and the peace of the Holy Spirit.

Now I�m not quite sure of how much time passed until the service ended but looking around I noticed that there were only a couple of people left in the service area. One of the brothers came over to me and said "the Lord really blessed you with a Word today, brother." At that point I thought it was one of the biggest understatements ever uttered by man and I replied "yes, praise God, thank you Jesus," with the biggest smile I believe I had ever had up to that point I�m sure.

I believe it was about 12:30 or 1:00pm by the time I left. I thought I�d better get back to the house so my girlfriend wouldn�t worry and the whole way home all I could say was "praise God, thank you Jesus." Come to think of it, that is all I could say when I got home as well. When I walked into the apartment I was thanking God for all He had done and pacing back and forth with my hands lifted up in praise and worship unto the Lord when my girlfriend started in on me about where I had been and what I had been doing. I tried explaining to her that the service had been unlike any service that we had ever gone to and had run a little long, (in between me saying "praise God" and "thank you Jesus" of course,) when she started accusing me of probably finding some girl there and that is why I was late getting home. I told her that wasn�t what had happened and tried to explain how powerfully God had touched me when she said "well, that wasn�t God. You�re just crazy. That was the devil." Now right as she said that I felt something welling up inside of me and I turned and pointed at her and said "that�s a lie. Shut up Satan." She leaped backwards about 6 feet landing curled up in a trembling ball in the chair across the room. I wasn�t quite sure what had just happened but I knew it was directly related to what I had just experienced earlier at the service.

At that time I didn�t realize that it was just the very first glimmer of the miraculous power of God and the workings of the Holy Spirit that I would experience in the days to come. However, it never dawned on me that I would first have to be brought to a place of humility, to become of a broken and contrite heart and to let the Lord, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, purge me from all that was in my life that was not of God's Spirit. (Amen.)

So after these events transpired I gave my friends in Texas a ring telling them all the things that had happened. This was when they invited me to come down to Texas to attend the ministry training school there. I was overjoyed. So I left everything - job of 9 years, my car, my place to live, even my girlfriend, to move to Texas to serve the Lord. Little did I know the breaking would soon begin. But that�s another story!

For "the rest of the story" click here for "The Refiner's Fire."

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