When I say it was more than a challenge to “stay clean”, I would be completely wrong. I considered anything that I need from a lustful perspective, be it entertaining lustful thoughts or masturbation, that it was considered a “hit” in my book. I can honestly say as I am writing this, that as far as committing fornication, it would be nearly three years before I would do that again. I had in a sense, conquered that demon, but the masturbation was still attached to me and I couldn’t shake it loose. I would continually stay in line with my season pass to that roller coaster and spend more time going back and forward to my pastor’s office telling him what I’ve done AGAIN, and repeating the cycle over and over again.
The church I grew up in was a part of the Arkansas District Council of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., and every so often we had “The Council”, which was the gathering of all of the churches statewide that were a part of the organization as well. When I say HYPE!! The level of “having church” couldn’t be compared to what people call church these days, just my opinion. The council would start on a Tuesday of the week with the Sunday school department kicking off the festivities and the Young People Department sending the gathering out with a bang. I remember the summer of 1987, it was the July Council and it was being held at our home church. When I say everyone in the organization, especially the youth looked forward to the Saturday of the council, would be an understatement. We had various activities, seminars, poster and essay competition and the ever popular Bible Bowl. This particular July Council, we had a church rally, where all churches had the opportunity to do a rally for their local assembly. During the rally, the Vice President of the Youth Department decided to open the floor up and asked for a young person to come up and give a testimony or words. There was a pause as we all waited for someone to make the first move, and the next thing I know, I’m running full speed down the aisle of the church and in the pulpit giving some words. I have no recollection of what I said, but that moment would be a defining moment in my life as previously I had an experience with God during prayer that would only confirm what I knew I would be doing a portion of my life, and that was preaching.
I always had a love for learning the bible and studying it. There were some people who could see that I had something in me that I couldn’t even recognize at the time. I had different people ask had I been “called” to the ministry and I would sort of tense up when they asked simply because of an experience I had on Tuesday night during our regular prayer service where I distinctly heard the voice of God calling me to it. I would often just look at them and not answer, but deep down inside I knew I had been, but how? How in the world could I ever be called to do something for God with the struggle I had? There was no way God would use me…Boy was I wrong! As I stated in an earlier chapter, there was a fellowship between my home church and sister church on third and fourth Sundays. One of the portions of the service that I often looked forward to was the “program”. There was a time after the testimony/praise and worship service that we had a short program in which different people did certain things on the program. There could have been someone designated to do a poem, a solo, a reading, you really had no idea of whom or what was on the program but to sort of have a break for regular service was exciting. There was a time in which I had been called on to do words of encouragement/inspiration, and I remember “tearing the church up”, and from that moment, I felt as if I was one of the youths that was set apart. After service, many people would come up and tell me how much they enjoyed my words, and I felt really proud, but confused, because I was still masturbating and giving in to my lust. I thought I couldn’t be used because of my problem, but I just got proven wrong at church. This would be another turning point in my quest to pursue God more with my heart, but also prove to be a means by which I could use my charisma at church while doing my dirt!