My Ministry Bio can be divided into two sections: The Atheist Period and the Messianic Judaism Period.
The Atheist Period:
From the time that I was five years old until I finished the eighth grade in grade school I was taught for two hours a day, five days a week, 10 1/2 months a year for a total of eight years the Bible and church history. One hour for the Bible was taught, and one hour of church history. When I was 11 years old I had already outlined the entire Bible. In 1967, I used the G.I. Bill to prepare to study for the ministry. I was going to be a Lutheran Missouri Synod Minister.
A major tragedy happen in my life in 1969. My cousin, who was as close to me as my sister, and her five-year-old son, Michael, died in a fire. Their bodies were burned so badly that they were buried together in one coffin. At the funeral, Pauline's older brother asked me a question: "Why would God take the life of a five-year-old kid?" I could not answer him. This became a turning point in my life and I realized, much to my anger that I had been lied to about the resurrection. This turned me into an atheist.
My wife did not know the change in me, and I used it to purposely try to destroy her faith in God. It was not only a frontal attack, it was guerrilla warfare. I attacked her faith through questions that I knew she could not answer. It took her a while to figure out what I was doing, and at that point she stopped discussing her faith with me to protect herself.
This did not stop me from going after other people's faith. Remember, I knew church history, and I knew a lot about the major doctrines of the Bible. When someone would start talking to me about their faith, not knowing I was an atheist, I would not attack them “head on”. I would ask them one question: "What denomination are you?" That was all I needed.
I would take their Bible, knowing their doctrines, and start shooting holes in them. My purpose was to throw doubts into their faith, if not destroy it. Most people can explain what they believe, but very few can explain why they believe it. The “what” covers the knowledge, but the “why” covers their purpose. My questions were designed to attack the “why” of their faith and I kept at it for 10 years.
On Resurrection Sunday morning in 1979. Little did I know that God was going to step into my life through a radio program and change my life forever. Allow me to explain.
I had always told my wife that I would take her to church on Easter and Christmas. For the rest of the year leave me alone. This was early Easter morning so I was not "a happy camper". We have just moved down to Florida from Illinois. The first week we had just moved into our apartment and most of the things we owned were still boxed up. I did, however, hook up the stereo the night before but found that the string had broken that controlled the tuner so we were stuck on only one station. At 5 o'clock that resurrection Sunday morning, I turned on the radio to what was a station called "WAJL". – “We Acclaim Jesus Lord”. The presenter on the radio stated that he was going to prove legally that Jesus rose from the dead. I lost it!
What happened for the next 25 minutes you would not believe if you were standing there. I started screaming questions at the radio. The radio would repeat my question exactly the way I said it and proceed to answer it legally as if he was in a court of law, not scientifically or traditionally. This process continued for a full 25 minutes before I realized I was arguing with the radio. At the end of the program the radio said something that I never forgot.
"Today the scepter is in your hand you have the right to choose. What are you going to do with Jesus? Tomorrow that's scepter will be in his hands and the question will be asked, "What will I do with you?" Today the choice is yours. The choice you choose God will honor. Tomorrow there will be no choice. What do you choose?”
I have just had all my questions answered on the Resurrection. I realized that for ten years I had been wrong about everything. I also realized what I did to the faith of other people, including my wife, during those ten years. I made my choice, I repented and made up my mind to follow God until the day I die.
Point: Believe it or not - I tried to find out who was on that radio, but was unable. The station put the tape on to cover the time and then destroyed it. They no longer needed it. I was arguing with a tape made over three weeks ago!!!!
Major problem: my wife did not believe I changed. It took her over a year to accept it.
The Messianic Judaism Period:
When my wife got back from Israel in November 1991, she started doing those "Jewish things". As a person trained in Lutheran theology, it struck against every fiber of my being. A “holy jihad” hit our house and I led the charge. This lasted the full year of 1992 going into April 1993. In April, we met a married couple in a grocery store. The woman was wearing a shirt with the picture of the lion of Judah. The woman and my wife connected almost instantly. They were members of a Messianic Jewish congregation and they invited us to come to their services. of course, my wife accepted. To keep peace I agreed to go.
My atheist mindset came back and I was determined to destroy this "new doctrine". The more I attacked the Rabbi with questions, the more the problems in Scripture disappeared. He was answering them from a Jewish context. I still could not handle those "Jewish things" that my wife was doing. I started to make plans to divorce her. The lease was signed on an apartment, I had another woman for a roommate, and I was going to leave her on November 1, 1993.
The last week of October was the anniversary of this Messianic synagogue. It was going to be celebrated in Daytona Beach. Because I knew what I was going to do on November 1, I agreed to go with my wife to this celebration. It was to be our last act together. Again, God moved to stop me, but not in a normal way.
My wife wanted us to go through baptism, so on October 31, 1993, in order to please my wife, I agreed. A major thing happened coming up out of that water. At the beginning of this bio I mentioned the training I was given on the Bible. I could quote entire chapters and books before this “watershed experience”. When I came up from the water I could not quote John 3:16. I still had the church history in my head, but all my Bible study and knowledge had disappeared - GONE! I went into a state of panic. I could not explain why it happened; but I wanted it back.
Question: When you are reading a book where do you start? Answer: At the beginning. That is just what I did. I started to re-study the word of God with a passion. I read the first five books in Scripture non-stop. I re-read the first five books in Scripture for the second time. I then developed an outline on what I read. For the third time I re-read the first five books, checking the outline, and then the rest of the Tanakh (Old Testament).
Again I re-read the first five books and the Tanakh (Old Testament), then I started reading the Brit Hadashah (New Testament). My mind exploded! Everything I was reading was making sense from what I read in the Old Testament. But it had a Jewish context. I started studying the ancient Jewish customs, culture and history. In this context I could see a great deal of differences in a number of church doctrines.
I never divorced my wife. We are still together and love each other very much. I canceled the lease, took the financial loss, and told the woman that was going to live with me goodbye.
I have been in the Messianic Movement ever since as a God-fearing Gentile, and God has been moving in my life.
In 2002, I was the spiritual leader of a Messianic congregation (B’nai Adonai). This lasted for two years. During this time, I wrote a Passover Messianic Jewish Haggadah. Since that time, this Haggadah has been used by at least 11 congregations for their Passover Seders. It is also used when I teach the Passover Seder in churches.
On June 26, 2004, B’nai Adonai became one of three congregations to join together in one night and formed a new congregation called “Gesher Shalom”: (Bridge of Peace) under Rabbi Charles Kluge.
I have taught in the synagogue the "New to Messianic Judaism" class and the teens for over 11 years. In 2006, I started to produce a weekly free newsletter called "The Scribes Journal", taking the weekly Jewish reading from the Torah, called a “Parasha”, and placed the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) in it. It is still being sent out today. In 2007, I published a book called “The Ladder of Trust”. It is on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
It is written in Isaiah 43:19 "Behold I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
In 2013, we became a "road in the wilderness" by opening up the internet highway to teach the concepts of Messianic Judaism to, at this time, 59 pastors and home study group leaders via interactive live video on Thursday nights.
In 2014, we became the "rivers in the desert". There is no greater human desert than a prison. We are currently, with the help of another ministry, sending the "Scribe's Journal" in 38 prisons in seven states. (Florida, South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, and Texas).
God is Moving in this Ministry