I am not a quitter. I don't like the word quit but this is exactly what I did. I quit. I surrendered. I gave up!
I gave up trying to please God. I gave up trying to do the right thing. I quit trying to come to him on my own terms. I quit thinking that I was so great and other Christians were socially retarded. None of that mattered anymore. I had finally found what I was looking for.
In fall of 1991, I met some guys from Campus Crusade for Christ. I was in a bad place.
My parents were back east for my grandpa’s funeral and my dad was resuscitated on the operating room gurney. There was mold on the dishes, I was partying like crazy and these guys wanted to share a four point outline on the New Testament with me.
I said sure. They walked through a booklet that told me four things: God loved me, I was a sinner, I must receive Jesus, and I can do it right now through prayer. When I said I already knew all that and that I believed it, they were happy and asked if I wanted to come to their meetings.
I said no.
The whole Christian thing with people wanting to be friends and stuff wasn't my deal. Somehow, somewhere, in some way, God had me visit this weekly meeting. I honestly do not remember a thing about it. Again without any clear recollection, I signed up for a Christmas Conference to be held in Portland Oregon. As I look back on that decision I have absolutely no clue how or when I came to that decision. All I know is that when the bus came at midnight and my friend asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this I said 'yes.'
The bus was packed with people I didn't know. I had my pillow, my seat in the front and told God it better be good.
There were decent people, decent music and good talks. One talk in particular is what changed everything for me. They described having an 'up and down' Christian experience and I knew that was my talk!
It was in this seminar that I learned about the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.
I didn't have to try to do all the stuff I was trying to do! I didn't have to walk around feeling guilty all the time! All I had to do was Surrender! I was so happy to quit! All I had to do was ask Jesus to take charge of my life, relinquish my need for control and allow him to direct me!!!
All of this hit me like a ton of lead. I knew I was going to need to be alone instead of in a group of 800 college students celebrating New Year’s Eve so I went to my hotel room. I was rooming with some guys from Montana State University (this university is a hated rival of the Montana Grizzlies) and there was NO WAY I wanted them to see me cry. So I did what all clear thinking men would do.
I took a shower.
I prayed and asked God to fill me with His Holy Spirit. I didn't care if I fell over and flopped like a fish, if I spoke in tongues, if I levitated or what. I just wanted the power to live the life he had called me to live.
I heard God answer as though it was audible..."You already have me."
I was completely crushed. To find that all this time I had what I needed and couldn't, wouldn't or didn't access it was too pathetic for words.
I wept as I had never wept before. I was sorry, joyful and determined all in the same moment. As I cried and showed, I rinsed clean of the years of frustration and agony. I was washed clean of the guilt and shame I was carrying. I was washed clean of my pride (although certainly not all of it).
This is also when I received my call to ministry.
I knew that I would spend the rest of my life helping people 'get it.' This walk with Jesus thing was what my entire life would be about for better or for worse, for richer or poorer until death do us part!