At the age of 15 and 16, I found myself addicted to drugs and alcohol.
At least a $300 a day habit on cocaine, drugs. I think the words that
probably best describe or define my earlier days is the cliché
"sex, drugs, and rock and roll" in no certain order, but I just found
myself giving myself over to darkness completely and totally. And really,
what it was was an identity complex. I didn't know who I was. I didn't
meet my dad until the age of 13, and I met him for 10 minutes. He walked
up to me at the age of 13, he showed me his gun and his switchblade, and
he said, "The gun's for blacks and the knife is for Mexicans," and he
didn't necessarily use those adjectives, but that was the dad that I met
at the age of 13 and I never saw him again until my early 20's. During
my early life as a child, I had 5 step-dads, or 5 father figures that
called themselves my dad. So the concept of a father was foreign to me
and was something very unusual and really something that I did not comprehend
at that time.
So, really at the age of 16, I found myself desperately seeking who I
was and desperately seeking to be unique and to stand out of the crowd,
so to speak. So at the age of 16, I found myself heavily steeped in addictions,
abuses, drugs, occult practices and really searching and seeking who I
was and what I was. Somehow in that labyrinth of darkness, I found some
sort of identity with the long hair, the tattoos, the drugs, the rock
and roll, that whole world that I had created for myself and really entered
it with complete abandonment and recklessness and foolishness.
So at the age of 16, I was desperately lost, seeking for identity and
purpose in my life. Of course, with that kind of lifestyle, I didn't obviously
have the means or the money to support that kind of life, and so I found
myself in a criminal lifestyle - robbing and petty thievery, peddling
of drugs and doing whatever I could to have enough money to gratify my
desires. So, quickly, in that state of existence, I found myself in a
At the age of 16, they confined me - or incarcerated me, is probably
a better word - to 90 days in a juvenile institution in Ellensburg, WA
at a group home called Park Creek where I spent my first 3 months as a
as a criminal. Of course, I didn't have any intentions
of changing. I didn't really know how to change. I definitely didn't have
the power to make those changes myself, and so I spiraled into a deeper
and darker pit of desperation and depravity.
My behavior there was unseemly and obviously not tolerable by the staff
and the guards there so they sent myself and a couple of others to a more
higher security facility called Maple Lane which is located in Centralia,
WA. I ended up there and got my taste of the "big time" so to speak and
thought I really was something then. I came out of that place with longer
hair, more tattoos and really more of an attitude and a rebellious state
of mind towards everything in authority. Everything that said they were
right and I was wrong. I somehow wanted to fight against that.
So I got out, and that was the year of 1986. There's an old saying in
prison that either you leave the same, worse or different. If you leave
the same, you end up in the same place. If you leave worse, you end up
in a worse place. If you leave changed or different, you'll never come
back. Well, unfortunately, I left worse and continued my escapades and
spiraled down the criminal ladder and eventually ended up with 15 months
that the judge gave me for numerous burglaries and forgeries that I had
So I found myself again on the chain gang headed back to Maple Lane to
do my time. I instantly went back to what I was familiar with in jail
- dealing drugs, smoking dope - anything to make the time pass as quickly
as was possible. I kind of toed the line for the moment. Got my GED and
they graduated me back to a group home, which is lower security in East
In East Wenatchee, I found myself as desperate and as decadent as when
I first entered the system, if not even worse. One night at a football
game at the high school, we found ourselves intoxicated and they caught
us drinking, which was obviously out of bounds. They threatened, or really,
more than threatened, they were going to put us or send us back to the
institution, and 5 of us escaped that night. We ran from the place in
What's amazing is the chain of events that began to take place. Really,
it was probably the most supernatural events that I've ever experienced
in my personal life - the way that God's grace led me to the cross. The
way that God's grace led me to the heart of his son, Jesus Christ. It's
an amazing chain of events that only can be explained by the miraculous
power of God.
But that very night of escape, we found ourselves at a party or really,
a dance hall, and within moments, a police officer pulled up while I was
getting beer from the car. He instantly began to question me and then
arrested me, put me in the back of his car. And I found myself doing something
very unusual at this time, being a satanist and being in the state of
mind that I was in I began to pray, and I began to ask God to help me,
in the back of that cop car. Now you must understand the circumstances
that surrounded me at this very moment. I was on escape, I had run from
a place of incarceration, there was obviously a warrant being issued for
first degree escape as I spoke to this officer. I, of course, gave him
a fake name, but I had no ID and they brought me into the station and
finger printed me and the whole rigmarole, and began to question me.
Again I found myself praying in this holding cell, knowing that humanly
speaking, that I was caught. There was no way to elude the fact that I
was going to be caught this night, very prematurely, I thought, from my
escape. I knew at that moment that there was a power above and beyond
my comprehension that was fighting on my behalf because that police officer
then walked out, opened my jail cell door, and told me that I was released
and free to go and to not to do it again. Astonished and yet extremely
happy, I left the jail house and found my friends, and we preceded to
hitchhike back to Yakima. It's so ironic how criminals always return to
the place of their criminal activity. They always go back to a place of
familiarity. A place where they feel safe and yet in all reality, they're
probably more at risk in their home town or their home than anywhere else.
That's the first place the authorities always go to look.
But, of course, following that instinct, I went back to Yakima, WA and
was very paranoid
living in a state of paranoia, drunk, taking acid,
doing hard drugs - cocaine, heroin, crank - that obviously didn't relieve
me of my paranoia and my fear of being caught or being arrested and going
back to jail for a lengthier time because of my escape. So I found myself
with my friend, Ricky, back in Yakima, desperately trying to find a place
to hide or seek refuge. So we found ourselves going from house to house,
from bed to bed, from alley to alley, from abandoned house to abandoned
house, hoping to make it one more day in the free world.
The best word that defines my heart in Yakima was "desperate". I was
desperately seeking refuge and didn't quite know where to find it. One
night, this seems to be the crescendo of this experience that I'm relating
to you, but one night, while we were hiding out in Yakima, about a week
into this escape, we found ourselves cruising the avenue in Yakima. This
seemed to be another stepping stone towards the breaking point in my life.
About a week into our escape experience, we're on the avenue with hundreds
of other kids and teenagers, people partying and drinking and fighting,
cruising. It seemed like there was every make and model of car that would
come out on the avenue. You'd have the kid with the hot rod. You'd have
the kid with the mom's station wagon. It didn't matter, as long as they
could get out there on 4 wheels and drive and cruise the avenue with their
music and their beer. It seemed like that was the highlight of everyone's
So we found ourselves out there one night, a desperate bunch, in a friend
of mine's car. He was involved in the Mexican Mafia and a drug dealer.
We were in his low rider, cruising up and down the avenue, and we got
into an altercation with some younger kids. We called them "preppies".
We were "stoners". We kind of had this terminology, but we called them
preppies, and we were the cool dudes. We were stoners, man. At least we
thought we were cool.
We ended up in an altercation with them which, we pretended we had a
gun. We acted like we had a gun and threatened their lives. They, of course,
fled up the road, floored it
. Put the pedal to the metal. They got
out of there quick. Within minutes - we parked over at the bank - and
more cop cars than we could count began to converge on this parking lot
bank with shotguns and guns and automatic weapons.
They began to shout at us on this amplified system on their cars. They
told us to get out of the vehicle and put up our hands and "don't look
back". We couldn't even glance in their direction or face a bullet possibly.
So we got out of the car. They put us on the ground and they handcuffed
us. They put us in the car - in the back of their squad car, and the window
was cracked in the squad car; and I heard this ex-girlfriend of mine,
as they interviewed different people about who we were and what was going
on, this girl pointed at me and said, "That's Chad Taylor. He's on escape."
That just took the wind out of me, and I looked at my friend - this drug
dealer, Jessie - and I said, "Jessie, pray man. Pray man. Pray."
In the back of that squad car, me and Mexican Mafia, Jessie, bowed our
heads and began to pray. We didn't pray out loud. I don't think we knew
how, but we just began to pray in whatever way we knew how to pray. And
again, I found something inside me crying out to God. Crying out for His
intervention in a crisis moment - which I obviously deserved - and yet,
I found my heart crying out. Really what it was the Holy Spirit was foreseeing
a day and an hour when I would meet the Master, and I would finally begin
to fulfill my destiny and my purpose on this earth.
So in the back of this police car we began to pray, and they carted us
off down to the county jail in Yakima, put us in this tiny holding cell,
asked us our names and for other personal information that they have to
do. I, of course, gave them a false name, but that didn't matter. They
already had a report of who I was and this was my home town, and I'm on
the lam and have a first degree escape warrant for my arrest. About 30
minutes passed and that same officer walked out and put his key in the
lock and we heard the lock click open, and that door opened up - that
gate - and he said, "You guys are free to go. Get out of here. Don't let
me catch you doing it again."
I didn't really take time to look at Jessie. I just, in sort of state
of shock, we just got up from that jail cell and we walked out of there.
The first thing I thought about was, "My gosh, where's the beer." I just
thought it was a real miracle that I could go and finish the case of beer
that we bought, that our money wasn't wasted. But above and beyond what
I knew, was a God that was working out destiny and was working out calling
and election. And there was more in play at that moment than I could have
So we got back in his low rider and drove back to his house and parked
it in the alley which seemed like a safer place than out in the street
with all the police officers. We parked the car back there, and we just
began to smoke our weed and drink our beer and laugh about the night.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, around 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning,
because we had no place to go and no place to really run, so we were probably
going to sleep in his car. At about 3 o'clock into this night, suddenly
a feeling - I don't think there's any better word to describe what I felt,
maybe a premonition or a overwhelming emotion - but a feeling came over
me that was a feeling of death. I knew at that moment, if I didn't leave
that car at that very second, that I was going to die. That something
tragic and something devastating was about to take place in my life. That
I had reached the end of my rope and I had come to the edge of any more
possibility of reprieve.
At that moment, I looked over at Jessie and I said, "Jessie, I've got
to get out of here, man. I've got to get out of here, man." Jessie looked
at me - I don't know what he saw in my face, and I don't know what he
felt - but he looked at me and he said, "Chad, if God wants you to go,
you better go." This drug dealer, Mafia, looked at me and said, "If God
wants you to go, you better go." His words struck something in my heart
that I didn't even know existed, and I stumbled from that low rider and
I went to the grocery store across the street on 3rd Avenue and Nob Hill
in Yakima, and I called the only human being on this planet that would
have come and got me. It was my grandpa. Now, you've got to understand,
my grandpa wasn't a usual human being. Most humans have a limit on their
love and a limit on their mercy and a limit on their grace, but this man
knew no limit. God had given him a gift, and the gift was called "love".
I want to encourage you today, if you're reading this or listening to
this, I want to encourage you today that God's love never fails, and if
God's love's in your heart and you're expressing that love to another
human being, let me tell you something, that love will never fail. That
love will never grow old. That love will never return void. If you love
somebody the way that God desires to love them and he uses your heart
as a catalyst of that love, let me tell you something friend, that person
will never be the same. I don't care what it takes - jailhouses and ghettos
and alleys and beer and bongs, that person will be saved. That person
will be set free because the love of Jesus will never fail.
You know, one of the greatest things that the Lord expressed at the end
of his life here on earth, in John 17, one of the greatest things that
he expressed, the greatest things that he could thank God for was that
he did not loose anyone that the Father had given him. He had lost not
even one. And let me tell you something, the love of God will not lose
one, rather the love of God will leave the 99 and seek the one that is
lost until it is found. That is the love of Jesus. It will sweep underneath
the table, it will look in every corner, it will go to every ledge and
mountain and valley and thorn bush, and it will find that sheep that is
lost. That's the love of God, and if there's anything that God is restoring
in this hour, it's the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. That we don't
give up so easily on the people that we love. That we don't let them go
so quickly, but we pursue them with the love that is relentless and is
abandoned to the mercy of God, and we will never, ever give up until that
person is saved.
Well, let me tell you some thing, friend, my grandpa had that love, and
he picked me up that night. You have to understand how I looked. I had
the hair past my waist and I had a Black Sabbath shirt on. It was ripped
up and holes, shoestrings holding my pants together, black eye liner on
underneath my eyes, reeking of beer and alcohol. It must have been a terrible
sight to see, but again, love has an ability to see beyond the façade
of the outward appearance and it looks at the heart. You see, man looks
at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. God knew deep down
there was a young man crying out for mercy. A young man crying out for
the possibility of grace and salvation, and he just didn't even know that
it existed, to the point that it could reach him yet.
My grandpa picked me up and he brought me home. I went in the bathroom,
and I figured I would at least get the makeup off and look halfway decent
for grandma, you know. You don't want to wear makeup around grandma. That
could be a real
a real embarrassing thing to a grandson
and a grandma probably. So I was trying to clean up. It must have been
3 or 4 o'clock in the morning by now, and I was in the bathroom trying
to wipe this eyeliner off and sober myself up a little bit. I heard my
grandma in there making me a sandwich. My grandpa said something that
began to crack the hardness of my heart. He made a comment that I'll never
My grandpa says - to my grandma, "No, honey. No, honey. Make him something
hot to eat." My grandpa and grandma cared if I had something hot to eat
at 4:00 in the morning. A man that had stolen everything of value from
their house, who cussed at them and hated them, rebelled against them,
rejected them; and yet, these were the people at 4:00 in the morning that
cared if I had something hot to eat. Something began to break in my heart,
and that hardness and that rebellion and that pride and that arrogance
began to break. It began to melt, and I began to weep in that bathroom.
I began to cry out for help and for mercy. I couldn't understand - I could
not comprehend or grasp - how they could love me with such intensity.
that intensity, my friend, began to shatter my defenses. I stumbled from
there and ate their hot food. I'm not sure what they made, but I went
to bed. The following days was a wild chain of events as they tried to
talk me into cutting my hair and turning myself in and getting my life
straight, that they would support me, and they would write me and they
would send me money, but "just go back and get this over with".
Everyone in my family, every single person in my family, was expressing
their adamant desire that I would leave that house. They were afraid of
what I might do to my grandparents. What I might steal next, what I might
lie and manipulate and take from them. No one would come over. None of
the kids were allowed there. None of my cousins could come over there,
just for the influence that I was, of their fear or an apprehension of
what influence I might have.
Let me tell you something, I didn't' have the power in me to make those
decisions. The things that they said, sounded good. They were meaningful
and worthwhile, but I did not have the power inside of me to make those
decisions. So my only thoughts and schemes and plots were - what I could
do next to elude the police and stay out of trouble. Where could I get
a few bucks? Who could I manipulate and who could I manipulate and who
could I use? Who could I take advantage of? Who could I lie to? - to continue
my escapade of escape.
About a week into this, it came to the very breaking point where something
had to happen. Either I had to leave or I had to turn myself in. On the
eve of the next day when I had to make a critical decision in my future,
and obviously I was just trying to plan and figure out where I'd go next.
One evening, I was sitting in front of the TV in the den and my grandparents
were in the living room in another part of the house. I was waiting for
a return phone call about a keg, a party of a friend named Doug. I was
sitting on the couch and flipping through the channels, just tying to
waste time and waiting for that phone call.
As I came across a certain channel, I saw a lady that just grabbed my
attention! Just her looks and her attire. The way she talked, and probably
what she was talking about. Her name was Jan Crouch. I found myself on
the TBN station. Her and her husband were intensely interviewing a missionary
named T.L. Osborne. This missionary was speaking and testifying and sharing
whatever he was sharing that evening. I paused at the station long enough
just to hear a few words. I was about to turn that channel and flip that
remote control when suddenly this woman just loudly and emotionally interrupted
the program. She began to frantically say, "Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. The
Holy Spirit has just spoke to me. The Holy Spirit has just spoke to me."
Every head turned to her and her husband said, "What, Jan? What did He
speak to you?" She stared intently at the camera and she pointed her finger
to that camera, and she said to that camera, on nation, international,
world-wide television, she said, "A young man has just turned this channel
on. All I know, and all the Holy Spirit is telling me, is that this young
man has long hair. A young man just turned this channel on, and all the
Holy Spirit has shown me is that young man, you have long hair and God
is calling you to preach. God is calling you to preach. Young man with
long hair, God is calling you to preach."
Let me tell you something, the power of the Holy Spirit filled that room.
Let me tell you something, I want to express something for moment, before
the Holy Spirit filled the early church in the upper room on the day of
Pentecost, before the Holy Spirit filled their hearts, first the Holy
Spirit filled the room. First there was the sound of a rushing wind, and
that wind and that sound and that Spirit and that Presence and that Anointing
filled the room that they sat in, and then invaded their hearts.
And the power of the Holy Spirit filled that room that I was sitting
in, and I knew that there was a God and He was real, and He was standing
in His presence right beside me. And what that woman was saying about
a young man with long hair who had just turned this channel on, was speaking
to me; And what she was saying was true. And what the devil took 17 years
to build, the Lord undid in a matter of seconds.
Suddenly, the missionary, T.L. Osborne, jumped into the conversation.
He began to vehemently express my need for salvation. He could clearly
see the young man with long hair who needed Jesus. "Yes, the devil had
you around the neck, young man, and God is calling you to preach. You
have an anointing to preach the gospel of Jesus. You need to get on your
knees right now and ask Jesus Christ into your heart."
And I'll tell you, my friends, I was on my knees. I was on my knees.
This drug addict, this broken orphan, this rebel with no cause, suddenly
realized that there was more to life than running scared in the vicious
cycle of drugs and crime. And I got on my knees and I expressed my need
for Jesus. I asked Jesus Christ into my heart. And T.L. Osborne said something
that changed my life. He said, "Son, you have to tell someone you're changed.
You can't hold this in. You have to tell somebody. You're a preacher.
You've got to tell someone you're changed."
Well, I stumbled into the living room where my grandparents were sitting,
and the only thing I could say through tears and sobs was, "I'm changed.
I'm changed. I'm changed."
Later on that evening, my grandpa woke me up, about 3:00 in the morning.
He shook me awake and he couldn't sleep. He asked me, "Chad, what do you
mean, you're changed? What does that mean?"
I looked at my grandpa from my bed and I said, "Grandpa, I'm saved. I'm
born again. I asked Jesus Christ into my life." That night, after that
experience took place, after I was born again, I opened up an old white
bible I found in the roll-top desk, and I took that white bible out and
I unzipped it. It was dated sometime in the 50's. It was my mother's when
she went to the Baptist church. I opened up that bible and I just randomly
opened it up. I hadn't opened the bible up for years, when I was baptized
at 12 years old in the Mormon church. I opened up that bible, and the
first thing I opened up to, the very first thing this young preacher read
was Isaiah 61:1, "For the Spirit of the Lord God is upon you. For the
Spirit of the Lord God is upon you for He's anointed you to preach. He's
anointed you to bind up the broken hearted, to set the captives free.
To open the prison to them that are bound. To preach the acceptable year
of the Lord. The day of vengeance of our God."
That scripture pierced my heart that day. I opened up the bible again,
somewhere in the New Testament and I found Romans 10. The second thing
this young man read was, "How can they believe unless they've heard? How
can they hear without a preacher? How can they preach unless they're sent?
How beautiful are the feet of those that preach the gospel of Jesus Christ."
The very next day that I woke up, I took that white bible and I went
around the block. I knocked on every door and I asked them if I could
tell them about Jesus. Of course, the neighborhood that I was in, more
of an upper-class neighborhood, the people looked at me strangely, and
said, "No," and closed their doors.
So I said to myself, "Well, maybe they'll listen to me down where I used
to deal drugs. Maybe they'll listen to me where I used to pedal my VCR's
and my stolen watches and rings and buy my cocaine and heroin and crank.
Maybe they'll listen to me down there." I went down to the area in Yakima
- they called it "the hole" - it was very appropriately named. It was
a hole. It was a pit. A hedge. It was a hi-way. It was a bi-way. It was
somewhere where the common Christian did not want to venture out into.
It wasn't a safe place. It was a dangerous place.
But at that moment in my life, I was foolish enough to go there. It didn't
matter to me. I knew that there was a God that was greater than any power
of the devil. I comprehended the scripture literally, "Greater is he that's
in me than he that's in the world." It didn't matter how dangerous it
was. It didn't matter what a risk it might be to my life. I went there
with the love and the power of Jesus. I went there with the same love
that my grandpa showed to me when I was a dangerous, decadent individual.
I went there with the same love, that love of Jesus, and I began to express
into those people in the streets. And low and behold, 30 or 40 people
began to gather in a crowd in the street - the drug addict, the Hispanic,
the run-away, the welfare mother with her children in tow - began to gather
around. The Indian, the black man, the white man, the Asian with the gun
in his pants - they began to gather around me and focused in on the message
that I was speaking.
It seemed to me to be like the man that laid at the gate Beautiful that
intently looked at Peter and John and expected something from them. He
didn't know what to expect. He just knew that something was coming and
something was being given to him. He didn't know if it was silver or gold
or what it might be, but he knew that these two men had something that
he needed. And he gave all of his attention to Peter and John, and they
looked at him and said, "Silver and gold have I none, but what I have,
I give to you. Rise up and walk, in the name of Jesus."
And I began to express the love of Jesus to these people in the streets,
and my God, one after the other, like dominoes, began to fall under the
power of God. And the love of Jesus was expressed in their hearts as well.
Instantly, it was like Paul in the book of Acts, that he immediately began
to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I didn't have any other choice.
A necessity was laid upon me. Woe is me if I preach not the gospel. I
knew that this was what I was made to do, and I began to preach everywhere
and anywhere that I went.
Everywhere I went, every street corner, every parking lot, every mall,
every public place, I saw the power of Jesus expressed. I've seen grown
men fall on their knees in the streets of Seattle, weeping and mourning
and wailing for their need and desperate cry for Jesus Christ. Little
children would group around and beg for us to read the bible to them.
Then after we read the bible, they would beg for us to give them a bible
so that they could go and give it to their mom and their mom could read
it to them.
At a week old in the Lord, I began to see what people call "revival".
I began to understand what, later I would read, from hundreds of years
ago when the power of the Holy Spirit would fall upon people. I comprehended
something in my early days of Christianity, that revival is always within
our grasp. The same as salvation is within our grasp - a breath away,
a prayer away, a motion or an action away - revival is as close as salvation
to the believer. If we will just reach out and step out into the highways
and byways and, God knows, they will be compelled to come into His kingdom.
I started to see the power of Jesus expressed. You've got to understand
something. This first month of my salvation, as I walked the streets of
Yakima, I was still on escape from jail. I was still a fugitive from justice.
I was still running from the law. I might have been running from the law,
friend, but I was not running from God anymore. That's what mattered to
my heart at that moment. I was not running from my creator any more. He
had arrested me. He had apprehended me. He had taken the reigns of my
About a month into this experience, my grandpa called me on the phone
at the place where I was at, and he said, "Chad, the police were just
here. They were going to arrest me for harboring a fugitive. You gotta
do something, Chad."
I remember calling some Christians from the Foursquare church that I
was attending in Yakima, and I told them for the first time, many of them,
they had no idea I was even on escape. All they knew was this young man
got saved and was filled with the power of the Lord, Jesus Christ. They
encouraged me to pray and seek the Lord on what I should do.
I remember going down to the basement of the building I was at. I went
down to the basement and I cried out to God. I said, "Oh, God, what should
I do now? Oh, God, what should I do now, Lord? What should I do now? Do
I have to go back to that God awful place? That God forsaken place? Do
I have to go back, Lord, to that place that I hated the most," - that
I had escaped from, that I had run from? "Lord, what should I do?"
And I heard the Holy Spirit so clearly. He said, "Chad, I'm sending you
back for there is a work for you to do there. There's a work for you to
do there." I got up from my knees with tears coming down my face, and
I called my Uncle Skip, and I told him what I needed to do. He dropped
me off at the police station at 3:00 in the morning, that evening.
The police came down and I wasn't the same person that they had remembered.
My hair was cut and I carried that white bible with a zipper in my hand.
They didn't even handcuff me. The change was so profound. They even checked
to see if it was really me. When they finally found out that it was, they
arrested me and shipped me back to the institution. When I went back to
that institution in Centralia, Maple Lane, there was no chaplain. There
was no chapel service. It was absolute darkness. The chaplain had been
fired months prior to this. There was absolutely no witness of Jesus.
There was no church service for these kids.
Out of a group of 150 kids that were residents of this institution, not
one church service, not one chapel service, not one bible study, not one
prayer meeting. When I went back to the institution, sent by God, after
I turned myself in, with the Holy Spirit and with His witness of what
He had done in my life, with that white bible in my hand, that never,
by the way, left my hand for the next 10 or 11 months of incarceration.
Within 10 months, my friend, 135 out of 150 were saved. God swept that
place. Healings and miracles happened every day. We didn't know any better.
Let me tell you something, the church is returning to that innocence.
That we don't know any better. All we know is that God will do what He
said He would do. That He would confirm the word with signs following.
That the power of the Holy Spirit would work with us. Not a gospel simply,
but a gospel with power. A gospel with anointing to set the captive free.
God swept that place. The guards would sneak into our cells in the middle
of the night and ask for prayer. They would ask for prayer for their loved
ones, for their wives, for their children. They would sneak in our cell
in the middle of the night, open up our prison door, and ask us to pray
for them. They saw and witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit.
I must testify of one thing, God is so sovereign to set your foot or
your feet on the course that He has predestined for your life. For the
calling, for the election. You see, when God commanded Jeremiah to begin
his ministry or begin to speak, his ministry or his calling - in other
words it did not begin when God said, "Begin to speak." His calling
began in the womb. His calling began before he was born. God had ordained
him and predestined him to be a voice to the nations.
that little jail cell at the age of 17 years old, I began to read Leonard
Ravenhill, Charles Finney, C.H. Spurgeon. Some lady from a local church
heard about the revival that was taking place in Maple Lane and she donated
a box of books. I've never met her to this day, and the assistant principal
of Maple Lane who was a Christian, Mr. Carlson, he brought this box of
books and gave them to me. There were a number of books by Leonard Ravenhill
and music by Keith Green. God set my feet on a course that it's never
really altered from. A Prophetic, evangelistic course and path for my
Later on, years later in 1990 at the age of 20, I went and visited with
Leonard Ravenhill in his home in Lindale, TX. I began corresponding with
him immediately when I was a young teenager. He would write back to me,
and I would call him on the phone. He was an early mentor and teacher
in my life, through his books and through his example and through his
letters and his phone calls God imparted something into me. It was an
ability never to be satisfied with what I saw. To know that there was
a God that was greater than what I saw around me. That there was a God
that was not confined by our religious traditions, but a God that desired
to express himself in revival power every single day of our lives.
I pray today that this story, that this testimony, will have the power
to compel you - farther, deeper - into the heart of Jesus Christ. The
Lord has told me over and over since I was born again, "Chad, all I ask
you to do is to know my heart. In a room full of my closest friends, only
one man knew my heart. The rest of them had to motion to John and ask
him to inquire of my intents and my motive. But Chad, I want my church
to be leaning on my breast and know my heart and know my heartbeat and
to be ready at any given moment to do my bidding and to do my will. This
is what I've called my people to do. This is what I've called them to
be, is a people that are after my own heart."
I learned at an early age, there's only one qualification of a prophet,
and that was to be a man or a woman after God's own heart. The only qualification
that transcended young David from a common shepherd boy to a prophet and
king, was his intense desire to know the heart of God. His immediate response
to the Father's heart beat. That's what catapulted him out of normalcy
into the supernatural world that he walked in. That will be what defines
the men and women of God and the leaders, the prophets, the apostles,
the evangelists and the pastors and the teachers. That's what will define
them today, are people that are after God's own heart.
I thank the Lord that I can speak this today. I thank the Lord that you
can read this today. It is by the grace of God. I am what I am by the
grace of God. As Paul said so long ago, "I am what I am by the grace of
God." Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening, and may the Lord
bless you and keep you and shine his face upon you and be the health of
your countenance in Jesus' mighty name.