Testimony of Chad Taylor
"Your testimony will burst
the seams of today's conventionality and break off the razor-edge between common
and radical. May the passionate pursuits and prophetic fire in you spread
across the hays of our young generation today and tomorrow..." (Anonymous)
I just ask the Lord, in the name of Jesus, to anoint these words; and Father, that ultimately, that they can influence, Father, men and women, children, young people and old people alike, God, to come to you. To know you, to touch you, Father, and to be touched by you. We thank you, Lord, that your word says, "Draw nigh to God and you will draw nigh to us." If we draw near to you, God, in our hearts, itís in you we move and having our beingÖ.
God if we draw near to you, youíre even as close as our breath. The air we breathe, God, if weíll confess you with our mouth and believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is alive, we shall be saved, God, the simplicity of Christ. Father, I thank you that the testimonies of your children, Lord, the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony is, Father, really the definition of that simplicity. It defines the simplicity of Jesus Christ, and Lord, we just pray that that simplicity, Father, would pierce even the hardest heart and even encourage, Father, the downcast, Lord, the Christian thatís warred and is wearied and is weathered and beaten.
We pray, God, that this would have the possibility to lift their head. And, Father, to encourage their heart that God is able and God is willing to help them, to strengthen them, Lord, to under gird them and give them the vision and the strength that they need. So, Lord, we just pray right now for the power of your Holy Spirit, Lord, to transcend the limitations of words and rhetoric and vocabulary, God, and communicate a message of hope and grace and power to save. In Jesusí mighty name. Amen and Amen.
Well, I know this, that at the age of 14, I was desperate. I was in desperate need of divine intervention. At the age of 14, I already found myself removed from schools and dismissed from work programs and job corps for participating in sťances, worshipping the devil, carrying the satanic bible, preaching - really - darkness, and filled with confusion and strife in my heart. So at the age of 14, I already found myself steeped in witchcraft and satanism, and really, foolishness. Really when anyone ever testifies of how deep their sin was, all theyíre doing is confessing how foolish they were and how ignorant they were, and how easily duped they were. So if this is anything, it is a testimony of how foolish Chad Taylor was, but we thank God that He has chosen the foolish to confound the wise. So, Lord, we just thank you for that. Amen.
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 clichť "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 didnít know who I was. I didnít 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 didnít 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 20ís. 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 didnít 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 jail cell.
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 juvenile delinquentÖas a criminal. Of course, I didnít have any intentions of changing. I didnít really know how to change. I definitely didnít 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. Thereís 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, youíll 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 committed.
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 Wenatchee.
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 East Wenatchee.
Whatís amazing is the chain of events that began to take place. Really, it was probably the most supernatural events that Iíve ever experienced in my personal life - the way that Godís grace led me to the cross. The way that Godís grace led me to the heart of his son, Jesus Christ. Itís 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. Itís 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, theyíre probably more at risk in their home town or their home than anywhere else. Thatís the first place the authorities always go to look.
But, of course, following that instinct, I went back to Yakima, WA and was very paranoidÖliving in a state of paranoia, drunk, taking acid, doing hard drugs - cocaine, heroin, crank - that obviously didnít 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 didnít quite know where to find it. One night, this seems to be the crescendo of this experience that Iím 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, weíre 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. Youíd have the kid with the hot rod. Youíd have the kid with the momís station wagon. It didnít 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 everyoneís summer.
So we found ourselves out there one night, a desperate bunch, in a friend of mineís 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 itÖ. 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 "donít look back". We couldnít 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, "Thatís Chad Taylor. Heís 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 didnít pray out loud. I donít 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 didnít matter. They already had a report of who I was and this was my home town, and Iím 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. Donít let me catch you doing it again."
I didnít 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, whereís 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 wasnít 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 ever imagined.
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 oíclock 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 oíclock into this night, suddenly a feeling - I donít think thereís 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 didnít 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, Iíve got to get out of here, man. Iíve got to get out of here, man." Jessie looked at me - I donít know what he saw in my face, and I donít 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 didnít 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, youíve got to understand, my grandpa wasnít 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". Unconditional love.
I want to encourage you today, if youíre reading this or listening to this, I want to encourage you today that Godís love never fails, and if Godís loveís in your heart and youíre 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 donít 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. Thatís the love of God, and if thereís anything that God is restoring in this hour, itís the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. That we donít give up so easily on the people that we love. That we donít 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 faÁade 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 didnít 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 donít want to wear makeup around grandma. That could be a realÖÖa real embarrassing thing to a grandson Ö. and a grandma probably. So I was trying to clean up. It must have been 3 or 4 oíclock 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 Iíll never forget.
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 couldnít understand - I could not comprehend or grasp - how they could love me with such intensity.
But that intensity, my friend, began to shatter my defenses. I stumbled from there and ate their hot food. Iím 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 didnítí 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 Iíd 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 Iíll 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 youíre changed. You canít hold this in. You have to tell somebody. Youíre a preacher. Youíve got to tell someone youíre 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, "Iím changed. Iím changed. Iím changed."
Later on that evening, my grandpa woke me up, about 3:00 in the morning. He shook me awake and he couldnít sleep. He asked me, "Chad, what do you mean, youíre changed? What does that mean?"
I looked at my grandpa from my bed and I said, "Grandpa, Iím saved. Iím 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 50ís. It was my motherís when she went to the Baptist church. I opened up that bible and I just randomly opened it up. I hadnít 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 Heís anointed you to preach. Heís 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 theyíve heard? How can they hear without a preacher? How can they preach unless theyíre 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 theyíll listen to me down where I used to deal drugs. Maybe theyíll listen to me where I used to pedal my VCRís and my stolen watches and rings and buy my cocaine and heroin and crank. Maybe theyíll 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 wasnít a safe place. It was a dangerous place.
But at that moment in my life, I was foolish enough to go there. It didnít 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 thatís in me than he thatís in the world." It didnít matter how dangerous it was. It didnít 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 didnít know what to expect. He just knew that something was coming and something was being given to him. He didnít 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 didnít 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. Iíve 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. Youíve 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. Thatís 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 life.
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, Iím sending you back for there is a work for you to do there. Thereís 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 wasnít the same person that they had remembered. My hair was cut and I carried that white bible with a zipper in my hand. They didnít 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 didnít know any better.
Let me tell you something, the church is returning to that innocence. That we donít 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 Ė 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.
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 Iíve called my people to do. This is what Iíve called them to be, is a people that are after my own heart."
I learned at an early age, thereís only one qualification of a prophet, and that was to be a man or a woman after Godís 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 Fatherís heart beat. Thatís 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. Thatís what will define them today, are people that are after Godís 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 Jesusí mighty name.