O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


Conversions: Congregational Church to Charismatic Episcopalian

posted by Jason Boyett

Today’s conversion story comes from David Johndrow, who converted from the Congregational Church to Charismatic Episcopalian (!). David is a programmer and blogger who authors the blog Fire & Grace and contributes weekly to Kingdom Bloggers.

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Bio:

David currently is a software programmer in Boston, where he resides with his wife and three daughters. He has traveled as a short-term missionary in the USA, Brazil and Norway. He has ministered in many denominations over the years, including: Episcopal, Baptist, AG, Full Gospel, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Vineyard Christian Fellowship and a number of independent churches.

It is his passion to see the church of Jesus Christ become one body working together to advance the Kingdom. A lover of a supernatural God and biblical principals in action, David enjoys teaching, the laying on of hands and prophetic ministry. Originally ordained with World Harvest Ministries (The Great Commission), and certified by the Bethel Bible School and both the John Paul Jackson and Dennis Cramer schools of ministry; David enjoys meeting and energizing the body of Christ to do great things for Jesus.

What events led to your conversion?

I was very bored with church! Even after getting saved in 1978 it was an exercise in stand-sit-kneel religion. For a 20-something, it just didn’t ignite any passion. I just remember that once I put away the alcohol and drugs, the burning in my heart for God was even more recognizable. I would close my eyes and I could feel him in there.

I tried a few different churches and I was used to folks being nice to me at church; however, I met a couple with kids my age and they really loved on me. They got to know me, gave me Christmas gifts, had me over for dinner and just regular stuff family stuff. The father took me to AA meetings. They gave me a Bible and I read the New Testament within a couple of days. A few years into our relationship they gave me the book, 9 o’Clock in the Morning by Dennis Bennett. I read the entire book in two days. I was confused about tongues, prophecy, healing, hearing from God and the rest of the supernatural stuff the author talked about. Without telling them I went right to the priest at my local Episcopal church and put the book on his desk. “What do you think of all this I asked?”

He led me in prayer, and I was forever changed just as the disciples were in Acts 2.

Please describe the conversion experience or process:

I had received Christ a few years earlier. It was genuine, and real. Truthfully, I didn’t really know what to do my conversion. I was glad I had it, and i was growing in the word, but it was more like spiritual jewelry. There I sat across from Father Folsom at his desk in the Spring of ’82. I had my NIV Bible and the book, 9 o’Clock in the Morning in my lap. We exchanged the standard greetings. I told him how I had met the Lord a few years before, and how I gotten sober in AA. I couldn’t wait to put the book on his desk; at the first opening I did.

“What do you think of this?” I said, half hoping he would tell me it was hogwash, and at the same time being excited that maybe all that supernatural stuff: tongues, prophecy, healing and hearing from God would be true.

He said slowly and cautiously, “I think it is for today’s church.”

I had a million questions, but all I could blurt out was “Really!”

“Yes.” he said.

Before I could think of another question, he asked me, “is this something that you would like to experience?”

“Yeah!” I said in an excited but very controlled Anglican way.

“Let’s go to the altar and pray.” he motioned as he got up from his desk.

We knelt at the altar and he began to pray in English — all very normal so far. Then he switched to another language — at first I though it must be Latin or something — he was a priest educated at Yale. Had had his hand on my shoulder as we knelt there together on the crimson communion pillows. What seemed like warm water started to pour over me — through me — like nothing I had ever experienced; well not like the tears of joy that I had for nearly a week after I got
saved.

In my heart I felt a bubbling up of peace and some sort of depth that I never knew before. I didn’t really know what to make of it all, but it was wonderful, refreshing, and odd all at once. I didn’t know it was the Holy Spirit.

Hank said, “just speak what’s in your heart.”

Somewhere in my heart (not in my head) I heard something that sound like French to me. And so I mouthed a few salable very quietly. I had a little French in 7th and 8th grade, but this was not that. I quietly, because I was slightly embarrassed, mouthed a few more syllables.

“That’s it.” he said, “that is the language of angels” (1 Cor 13).

I felt so peaceful I didn’t want to talk. I just quietly mouthed these strange sounds.

It was sort of novel the first few evenings and but the sense went away in a few days.

I finally told my friends what happened; they just smiled at me. Their daughter was there that night. She was very sick with bronchitis. I went up to her room where she lay in bed. She could barely make a sound. I asked her if I could pray for her and she gave me a thumbs up.

I gently laid my hand on her forehead and began to use these French sounding syllables. I had never asked God to heal anyone before. I kept thinking about what I read in the book, and all this seemed to be like that. After just a few moments I felt this heat come out of my hand – all very strange by not scary. She sort of made a gulping sound and reached for a glass of water on her night stand.

“It’s gone.” she said. I could see that she was expecting her throat to hurt she spoke. “It doesn’t hurt anymore either.” She took a deep breath, “it’s gone.” Then she sat up, “It’s gone!” she exclaimed.

She got up and actually yelled down the stairs. “Mom! Dad! It’s gone. I am not sick anymore!”

She was completely healed!

All this was so exciting that I started going to church every chance I got. I even started to go to another church just because they had a prayer meeting on a different night.

What kind of impact did your conversion have on your friends and family?

It changed everything about me, about my relationship with God, and my understanding of the supernatural realms! It shattered my logical/scientific approach to life. I had been so certain about science and knowledge before this experience. Now that I saw the spiritual realm, I was challenged in many of my beliefs. Even though I was sure there were lots of things I didn’t know, I sensed a completeness in my spirit which gave me peace — amazing peace. The biggest change was that I now felt the relationship with Jesus, and could actually somehow discern his voice.

My relationship with God deepened 100-fold, and I actually found it hard to work as I pondered this new dimension of my life. I just wanted to be with Jesus all the time.

What advice would you give someone going through the same experience or contemplating a similar conversion?

Seek and knock. Forget what you read that is negative, and what you think based on second-hand accounts. It is time to get alone with God and earnestly desire to know him. I wold try out some meetings — God is not going to hurt you.

What are three things you have learned in the process?

1) That God is much deeper than I ever imagined — for every verse that is in my heart, there are 500 more that aren’t.

2) That there are church folks who look at Charismatics from the outside, but miss the opportunity for an amazing intimacy with God because of shallow criticism from others.

3) That I wished that someone had told me the whole truth a long time before I had become bored with religion.

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Thank you, David.

If you’d like to get in touch with David Johndrow, you can find him at Fire & Grace or Kingdom Bloggers, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Previous conversion interviews:

Jeremy Myers: From Senior Pastor to Church Dropout
Mike Wise: Christian to Agnostic to Christian
Jessica Gavin: Universalist to Seventh-Day Adventist
Torie Brown Hunt: From Southern Baptist to Mormon

 



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Ed Cyzewski

posted March 4, 2011 at 8:25 am


Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s stories like these that give me hope that we can experience more of God today. I’ve gone into prisons with my in-laws who have a charismatic background, and this matches many of the experiences I’ve had praying for the inmates and receiving prayer from those inmates in the church there.
What I find interesting about the gifts mentioned in this article is that they can be used powerfully for the benefit of others, but they can be abused, and the abuse is what makes folks suspicious. I’ve always wondered why we can separate abuse of scripture from the good use of scripture, but we are less likely to do so with spiritual gifts.



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David N.

posted March 4, 2011 at 9:35 am


Thanks for sharing, David. You’re right, this is an aspect of Christianity that most of us only know through secondhand accounts (and most of them not positive at that), so it’s good to hear your testimony on this.
I will be frankly honest – I am deeply skeptical about sign gifts and healings. And yet I trust you are telling the truth about your experiences – so I don’t know what to do with that.
What would you say in response to that conundrum?



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David

posted March 4, 2011 at 10:03 am


@David N. – thanks for sharing your honest skepticism. I had the same as you read. I have been doing this many years, and I would hate for lies to be told about Jesus. I tried very hard to tell the story without sensationalizing it. It’s hard to do – it is amazing!
I would love it if you read the Dennis Bennett book. It would be great if you were able to get to a meeting like I described. Many denominations have services in which the charisma gifts are in use at varying levels. I listed them in my bio.
Even my story is a second-hand account. Jesus wants us to have first-hand accounts, however; testimonies are meant to encourage us. In fact I am working on a new book that is three decades of stories from my walk with Jesus. There are some about failures, others are about abuse of the gifts in the church, more of the miracles that I have witnessed, and a lot about my passion for Jesus.
Feel free to join me on Facebook or through my blog. I think you’ll find that I am just a regular guy. It’s my God who is extraordinary.
David



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Matt @ The Church of No People

posted March 4, 2011 at 11:43 am


David, thanks so much for sharing your story. Very encouraging to get a real perspective on the charismatic gifts.



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Charlie's Church of Christ

posted March 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm


maybe I’ll move that book up a little higher in the priority list. I enjoy hearing about this realm, as it is nowhere near my experience with Christianity.



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StuartB

posted March 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm


David – What you describes sounds wonderful, and something I earnestly sought for many years, but God has led me to the conclusion that an experience like this is something that only he can give and can not be sought. It tears up many people inside to hear these stories and earnestly seek such an experience and affirmation from God, and yet none is forecoming unless you are willing to fake it until it truly happens.
Your experience was your own, and no one can take that from you. But I can see no Biblical basis for a second work of grace or whatever term a group chooses to use. At this point, something like this is not something I can seek or even desire anymore.
And I worry that it will be a dividing line between believers in the future, those who have had this experience, and those who have not. Under Christ, there is only one type of believer who is also a disciple; there are no sub-Christians.



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Ashley

posted March 5, 2011 at 10:49 am


That was cool (the whole story).
I’ve been struggling with whether or not those things are real (for today) – tongues, healing, prophesy, etc.
I attend a non-denominational, fairly charismatic church. Many of them talk often of those things. Honestly, it scares, but also excites me.
I have not experienced most of that first-hand, but have seen a little of it.
I don’t want to put God in a box, I’ve said about this. I think He can do those things, but it’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around, I guess. I am also very scientific minded (heck, my college major is in the sciences).
I am still very skeptical about a lot of it though, but at the same time I trust my friends who have experienced it. It’s true there is just so much abuse of it…
I agree with Stuart though. I fear there will be a division among those who have experienced these things and those who haven’t. I think God can choose to give us these experiences or not, and that is NOT a sign of our salvation or love for Him or anything of that sort. Doesn’t the Bible say tongues was for bringing people to the Lord? If it isn’t necessarily going to bring me closer to Him, then why would I need that? *shrugs*



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Larry Hughes

posted March 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm


I have been following David J. for the last two years. My first experience reading his works hit a nerve in my quest for a place in the kingdom. The one thing that stood out was I felt led divinely to read his work. I had been un filled and also bored with the conventional church. Reading of his experiences in the charismatic movement opened up my eyes to what I had been missing.
Now I openly desire a more intimate relationship with God and search for a church that embraces the charismatic movement. Sadly many churches do not share my interest.



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Tom

posted March 8, 2011 at 5:32 am


A Prayer From Jesus
Jesus I brought this prayer to your people and they rejected it. So I added a comment on the importance of this prayer and your plan of Salvation, again no responses. Finally with fire and brimstone, mentioned their destination, it was as if they could not even hear.
Jesus am I to be a profit as unto Jeremiah or like unto Jonah. I fell like Jonah, no matter what I want to do, You all ways command me to do this small task, deliver Your prayer. Except the results are as unto Jermiah. When not one obeyed when You said, they will find safety out of the city.
Jesus, you created me as neither but one of power, in Jesus NAME. Devil in the NAME of JESUS I bind you in Jesus name. Release your hold on those who will be called, son’s of Jesus. I command you in JESUS NAME to be gone from all who read this post, in Jesus Name. For the glory is yours alone Jesus. I lift your Name up in Praise now, Lord Jesus. Open my eyes in Jesus Name and let me receive from You, this very hour in JESUS NAME.
.
– A PRAYER FROM JESUS –
This prayer is from Jesus that we may hear from Him, that He may speak to our hearts. It only consist of three simple steps.
1, We need to read one scripture. This will focus us in the word that brings everlasting life.
2, Since this prayer is from Jesus we need to direct our prayer to Him personally. Too often Christian focuses they’re prayer’s to G_D or Father. Scripture proclaims, that Jesus should be the focus of our prayer.
3, The simplest part of this Prayer is to ask Jesus one question. Please, all that is required for this question is that it should be simple. Let Jesus Himself finish the question when He gives you that understanding through this prayer.
The PRAYER
A) The scripture that is the focus of this prayer is “ACTS 2:38″. It’s not necessary to do any study into this scripture. Jesus will give you the understanding that will resonate in your heart. Just read Acts 2:38, keep it in your heart and take this one scripture to prayer
B) The most important part of this prayer is that we need to direct our prayer directly to Jesus. If you normally would say Father in your prayer, change your focus from the Father to Jesus, by lifting Jesus name up every time you would normally use Father in your prayer.
C) Maybe the hardest part of this prayer is the question that we need to ask Jesus. For man is always trying to understand the question, instead of listening to the answer. The simplest question is all that is required.
Simply ask Jesus, ‘WHY’?
For those who are obedient
Tsquare777(at)gmail.com



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Pastor Kris

posted April 14, 2011 at 3:30 am


It’s been said that God does nothing in the affairs of men except they pray. Prayer is the catalyst for worldwide transformation. Prayer incites the angels, restrains darkness, and releases nations into their destiny.



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