While attempting Navy SEAL training with class 234 (the Discovery Channel class) in Coronado, California, I didn’t know it at the time but for me another kind of training had already begun. Only this other kind was not physical. It was spiritual. Before New Year’s I had met a real man of God who happened to be an x-navy diver with the bomb squad (EOD). We became good friends and shared a loft for one year in the gas-lamp district of downtown San Diego, back in 2000.
This man had so much joy and peace on him that I wanted it. I didn’t realize “it” was an anointing from the Holy Spirit. And if anyone had told me that back then, I would have thought they were crazy. But every so often, in the late afternoon or early evening (before the party spirit took over and the crowds came), this anointed man of God and I would go to a local pub down the street to have a beer. He’d only have one. This man of faith didn’t try to act holier-than-thou or pretend to be super religious. In casual conversations he just shared with me different spiritual principles and truths from the Bible. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was sneaky preaching. All this spiritual truth and candid talk about God was feeding my faith!
At the time, I was 25 years old. I was very proud, ambitious and selfish. In spite of my own plans and pursuits, despite living for myself for so many years, God started becoming real to me. And then something novel happened.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard from God. I didn’t hear a voice or anything, but it was supernatural. I knew in my spirit that He was speaking to me. What’d He say? He told me that when another person and I both arrive at the same place at the same time that I should let the other person go first. I immediately remembered times that I had gotten to the entrance of a building and just went on through ahead of everybody else. After hearing this word, I thought to myself, “That’s great, I can do that.” But after about a week I realized that God was telling me to do this for the rest of my life! This was just the first of many things that I would learn.
My next move took me overseas. After washing out of BUD/s, the navy offered me military police instead. So I took it. I got stationed in Europe and the Middle East. I served in the US Navy for a total of 8 years. After which, I returned to the states to get discipled by the very same man who had led me to the Lord years earlier.
I felt a little like Luke Skywalker returning to find master Yoda so that he could complete his training to become a Jedi. This time we shared a condo on the water in South Florida. My spiritual father, Greg Mullins, had started a school called Full Grown Ministry. I thought I’d be there for only a few weeks. I ended up staying for 15 years.
Unlike a traditional church there was no place to hide, so I couldn’t get away with anything. It was good for me. You could think of it as a kind of Bible Bootcamp or Faith Academy. But this was not merely academic. As a disciple I was not only studying the Bible. I was putting it into practice. One of the most important things my teacher taught me — Let the Word of God be final authority in your life.
I had gone through training with a lot of different schools in the military. Some of them were pretty hard. But this was training of another kind. In some ways, it was much harder too. And in other ways, it was easier. I had a help that I didn’t have before. This help in a time of need was the grace of God. It was favor and blessing and support and a spiritual strength that I didn’t have before when I was trying to make things happen on my own by myself.
What a difference discipleship made in my life. Before this I had been an atheist all of my adult life. I went from being an atheist to believing in God to actually obeying His Word to teaching others to do the same. Before, I was not a singer. The only singing I had ever done was while I was in the military, singing cadence while running in formation. And I only did it because they made me. But discipleship was different. Through a man of God I learned to sing worship songs to the Lord. I discovered that this is the number one way to get in the Spirit every day — by praising the Lord. It gives you peace and joy. It’s a spiritual strength. And even if you don’t have a lovely singing voice, the Bible tells believers to make a joyful noise. This is how we worship the Lord.
As Brother Greg was called and anointed to stand in the offices of prophet and teacher, I was birthed into ministry under him. While serving in his ministry I became a teacher at our weekly believers’ meetings. I heard many praise reports and even testimonies of miracles from the brothers and sisters who became a part of our fellowship. We had supernatural healings, complete strangers coming up to us to give us money, and numerous people being delivered from all kinds of bondages and set free.
By direction from the man of God we sent ministers to Africa to train pastors of churches in Kenya. Elsewhere, men and women whom we had never met, living in other states and a few in other countries, heard about and wanted to join our ministry. Some of them we discipled over the phone using Skype. We built up a library of anointed books and mp3 downloads to give out as homework, just a little bit at a time. An hour a day was considered the bare minimum. We of course fed on these teachings ourselves too. And our presence on social media has been all about the Word.
Most people get on social media for the purpose of trying to sell you something or to show everybody how sexy they are. The main reason we would go on Facebook, WordPress, and other sites was to post the Truth. For two decades the head of the ministry and its members have used their own personal accounts on different social media platforms to share their faith and get the Word out. Now Substack is one more tool that can be used for publishing the Gospel. As my spiritual father told me, “This is not just about you. It’s about all those you’ll minister to.” So many people are used to searching internet sources and hearing only bad news. It’s time believers use the net to tell them the Good News!
This man of God who was a brother and friend to me and who later became my teacher was an extraordinary blessing to me. He also taught me how to enjoy the blessings of God in every season, the fat seasons and the lean. Even as we obeyed the Lord there were times when we struggled financially. There were also many times when the ministry had an abundance. We ate the best of the land. At other times we gave thanks for the little that we had. Always we got in the Word. We have shared many good fellowships and feasts, too many to count. It has been my honor and privilege to serve in the Lord’s ministry with this man of God.
Full Grown Ministry was not a traditional church. This was part of its appeal. Its members would often meet for one-on-one fellowships at local coffee houses where they would read the Bible along with different Christian books. This was part of our public witness. We also had weekly meetings in our homes. Five big things that were taught in these meetings: How to worship God… Read the Word… enough to Speak the Word… Tithe & Give… and Teach others to obey the Bible.
These things are largely the result of one man’s obedience to the Lord. What God was doing in his life overflowed into the lives of many others. This is also one of the secrets to ministry. You must first be being filled with the Spirit and the Word, then you will be able to minister out of the overflow.
Over the years quite a few people have “rung the bell.” But that’s to be expected with any ministry. Jesus had people quit on him. Others followed from a distance. But he also had some who stayed very close, and discipleship changed their lives. This spiritual law of Seed, Time and Harvest was at work. The sowing of anointed words over time will always produce a rich harvest. If you stay plugged into an anointed ministry, if you hear the anointed Word regularly, it will change you.
In Biblical symbology light is symbolic of truth. In the scriptures the Bible is called the Word of Truth. Becoming a Christian and believing the Bible has changed how I see the world. Hearing the anointed Word has increased my faith. Faith in God has changed my life. Now I realize that I’m not the hero in this story. Jesus is the Star.