Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Why Another Blog - Because I Said So
As if anyone cares? We shall see ..
This blog, entitled "Spiritwatch Unchained", is designed to be an outlet for me to expand upon various hot potatoes and subjects raised by the work I've done on our ministry website, "the Spiritwatch" .
As one of the facilitators of a countercult ministry outreach, we've all seen some pretty unbelievable things concerning the fields of faith, religion, spirituality and culture. And having myself become a born again believer in 1980 and a Pentecostal minister in 1983, I've seen more than my fair share of metaphysical melange in my 47 years. Spiritwatch Unchained will be my own personal outlet to comment on things. This will include and is not limited to the spectacles of the mundane and the mystical found in Evangelicalism, the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, and of course, the Cultworld itself. Some of my postings will be from an old forum I used to post upon and which I felt I needed to leave (with no hard feelings) for several reasons, not the least of which was just a desire to explore life outside it's hothouse.
A little about myself?
I came to faith in Christ out of a licentious life as a pagan Catholic after living on the streets of Chicago and finding the love of Jesus Christ touching me at the Pacific Garden Mission on St. Patrick's day, 1980. I joined the Navy, left it in June 1983 and began to learn what it was to be a disciple of Jesus at my first little Pentecostal homechurch, which is affiliated with the Church of God - Cleveland, TN. In 1983, that same Jesus called me to the ministry and my life has never been the same.
After a maelstrom of spiritual growth and development that sadly was punctuated by parental divorce aftermath, the death of my first pastor and the tragedy of a church gone wrong, I left Chicago to prepare for ministry in the buckle of the Bible Belt, Cleveland, Tennessee (the Holy City). This was in 1986 and the time at Lee College (now University) provided for me another furnace of spiritual testing and personal growth (that would take too long to really fully explain).
After getting my Bachelor of Science degree double majoring in Biblical Education (Pastoral sequence) and Christian Education (with ETA certification) in 1991, God orchestrated things seriously to ensure I remained here. I was ready to blow town and head out to Wheaton College graduate school for Intercultural studies in preparation for missions work when out of the blue, He sent me the princess I am in love with and am passionately married to (a Clevelander, of course). Talk about change - it's a change I've never regretted and Joy Lynn Robinson has truly been a joy in my own journey, someone through whom God's grace and character has been part of my continual growth, edification and even chastening. Good Christian women will do that for you.
I finally became a licensed minister with the Church of God (Cleveland) in 1992 and then, a few months later after Ms. Robinson became Mrs. Martinez, Jesus then bestowed upon us a calling to evangelize those in cults and to help bring healing and restoration to those wounded by them. Our membership in the Westmore Church of God was part of how He spoke to us, and through Westmore's encouragement, we entered a vast and almost unexplored galaxy of ministry I call the Cultworld in our first efforts to win Jehovah's Witnesses in 1993.
14 years later, and after several other seasons of transformation, outreach and ministry, the Holy Spirit has set us apart to be among the many serving the Remnant Fellowship cult by trying to arrest its' madness, confront its' practical and theological errors, and try to help those ground into the dirt by it. Joy earned her degree in Psychology from Lee in 2004 and that is where we are up to this point, and , we now are members at the South Cleveland Church of God, where I am an elder.
Although I am a man of God, I am also a man .. and a Christian who has grown enough to learn three important truths that never escape me:
I am still a man in need of a Savior
God is Love but he is also Jealous
I will always need His grace and the End of all things is still at hand
I hope the postings on this blog, as funny or serious as they may be, communicate some of that amazing Grace God has imparted to me .. as I wander through this vale of tears ..