It was a Saturday afternoon, I was 12 years old. A man dressed in a black suit drove into the driveway at our farm. He was our new Methodist pastor whom we had not yet met. He walked out into the potato field where my dad and I were planting. He explained very clearly that God had chosen me to be His child and that He had a destiny and future for me. I had a choice whether or not to place my faith in Jesus as my Savior and Lord. To me, the choice was easy and I eagerly accepted the offer of salvation that day.
Believing in Jesus Christ as my personal savior was the real thing. I remember it well and with great clarity. It happened on a Saturday afternoon at our home near Ovett, Mississippi, near Laurel, south of Jackson, the Mississippi state capitol. The next day, on Sunday, I professed before our church, Mount Olive Methodist Church, that Jesus had come into my heart and that I had given my heart to Him. That same afternoon, after a hearty meal at our once a month “dinner on the grounds” event, I was baptized by immersion into the spring-fed cold waters of Mill Creek, near the church.
My parents gave me a Bible to read. Daily I marked and dated what I had read. His word came alive in me. I fell in love with God’s word and hungered to know more.
As I would walk from our home to and from public school functions, I walked alone. Soon I discovered that Jesus was walking with me. He and I would talk about things concerning me. But at times, we would just share our hearts with one another. He gave me identity, purpose and hope of a destiny that would make me to be someone special in this world. Jesus was as real as my mom and dad. I guess I just assumed that everyone had this same relationship with our Lord.
Today, I believe the most important thing a Christian can experience and possess is faith in Jesus Christ and His presence in their life on a daily basis. Can you imagine walking and talking with Jesus right through the issues and circumstances of life? Is it possible? Yes, it is. For you who are reading this right now, I want you to know this great truth and reality.
Come with me, please, into His presence. And if you look through the eyes of your faith, you can see and experience His glory in all things of life. He is here, just as He promised. His presence is with us. His glory abounds all around us. We often pray in church services for the Lord to “come.” We plead with the Holy Spirit to “presence Himself with us.” But the truth is that the Lord and the Spirit are always with us. The problem is on our end. Our hearts need to be repentant and hungry for God! He manifests His presence.
After graduating from high school, I spent four wonderful years in the United States Air Force. God allowed this poor country boy to travel extensively to several international places like Japan, Philippine Islands, Hong Kong, Okinawa and Greenland. God blessed me in each place with good and vibrant church experiences while on the military bases. In addition, He gave me a dear friend and mentor for much of that time. He was a strong Christian leader in his own right and later pastored several churches here in America.
While in the military, I attended the University of the Philippines and completed my freshman year of college. Afterwards, I attended McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana before transferring to Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana from which I received both the Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees. God is good. His presence has always been with me.
I married at age 18, just days before going overseas. My wife Margaret and I didn’t even have time to set up a home. She became pregnant, and she and the baby died in childbirth. At the time I was stationed in the Philippines. This experience changed my life. Out of sorrow God showed me His love and I wanted to go tell everyone that no matter what you go through, God’s love will comfort and take care of you.
Three years later I married Beverly Jane Hartsfield. While in Baton Rouge, Bev and I were led to join the local Baptist church near our home. I was brought in faith and understanding from Methodism into the Southern Baptist faith and message. For the first time, I began to learn about grace in my walk with God and people. It was wonderful. My spiritual foundations are strong because of it.
Immediately upon graduation from LSU, I was given employment at the Baptist Sunday School Board, Nashville, TN for fourteen years. The last five of those years was spent as head of the Broadman Products Department. During this time I prayed to be filled with the Holy Spirit and began to publish books on the Holy Spirit. At the end of that season we were publishing over 100 books a year plus Christian music, church supplies, and films and other Christian products. The favor of God often humbled me as He poured out blessing after blessing. It was truly amazing what God did!
In 1974, Bev and I received a calling from God in the area of spiritual renewal and revival. We left Nashville in 1975 and began itinerant travel over America and to several international locations. We helped begin, edit and publish a Christian magazine, Fulness Magazine, with the purpose of equipping, edifying and encouraging the body of Christ, providing a bridge for those leaving conservative traditions and entering the Spirit filled life. After fourteen years, we felt the purposes of the magazine had been accomplished and we ceased publication in 1991.
During those years, God brought favor in helping me to write several books and booklets, including “How to Receive God’s Anointing” and “Taking Away the Devil’s Opportunity (With Jack R. Taylor).” My wife and I also wrote many articles for Fulness Magazine and continue a writing ministry today.
In 1991, God led us to begin Fullness in Christ Ministries (FCM), Incorporated, and Fullness in Christ Church (FCC), Fort Worth, Texas where we still serve as overseer and elders. At that time, we also launched the Fullness in Christ Ministries website (http://www.fullnessinchristministries.org). Today, in addition to our pastoring assignment from God, on our website we sponsor a “Connecting the Net” ministry, Fullness Conferences and Fullness Missions to the Philippine Islands. We also publish books, blogs, and other materials for Christians and the church.
On January 6, 2001, we began to send over the internet a brief, daily prophetic word called “What the Lord Is Saying Today.” It is intended to offer the reader encouragement, strength and comfort. God promised me that if I would write exactly what He says to me and check with no man He would bless the words. He has certainly blessed us with over 8,500 active subscribers who receive the daily devotional free of charge. To subscribe or send to someone else, go to the following link: WTLIST Subscription.
Currently, God has said to us: “Begin networking so that My kingdom (God’s rule in the hearts of mankind) can be established and become fully functioning before I return to set up My new kingdom. I want you to get prepared for what is about to take place in these latter days. My presence will go with you.”
When once you discover His salvation, presence and glory, you will never want to leave it. The Lord is still saying to us today: “I am with you to the end and will never leave you.”