Keeping it FRESH
- I comment on here on occasion, just like to say my leaving journey is coming along nicely.
To recap - I first joined PH on 23 MAY 1988. I was just 21, and in a vulnerable place in my life. I had a good Government job, low on the ladder, but a good job anyway. I was single, very lonely, and a chronic stutterer. This had led to a substantial drinking and pot smoking lifestyle to cope. I also smoked 50 cigarettes a day.
The first month was impressive as I was able to discard alcohol and pot immediately. Was this through faith? I can't answer that, but the desire to partake was totally absent. I was also able to completely stop smoking cigarettes with absolutely no cravings or side effects. This I just know was the power of God moving in my life. 9 months later, during a "revival" service, March 1989, with Vic Eason, who "laid hands" and prayed - the result was a near total deliverance from stuttering. Bare in mind this was a total reversal from not being able to get a word out to completely clear speech in an instant. Once again, I am totally convinced this was the power of God working in my life. Why? Because I am also convinced that He responds to faith where He finds it.
I never once felt "called" to preach/pastor, which put me at odds with every other man in that congregation. I was never one to just make these things up, I never succumbed to the conditioning or the peer pressure to make up a bogus calling. I was content to just "stay and support" which as a result garnered me little respect from the other "men and women of God". The following years were ones of constant giving everything I had, and made to feel guilty that I had nothing to show for all those years of faithfulness. Always the theme was "you must have a secret sin" as the reason for the lack of blessing. Of course, when a promotion opportunity came up, it meant going to another city, so of course that was "not God" so the promotion was rejected.
I actually came to the secret conclusion that there was something wrong with the tithe message, but of course never had the guts to actually say anything - fear of excommunication and shunning of course. Mind you, most "disciples" basically did that anyway because I wasn't "full on" anymore, I also no longer believed the program was working. It had been years since I had seen even a single person come in as a result of our outreach efforts. Seriously, a mother church with 6 babies out by this time was declining in numbers and more so in effectiveness rather than growing as we would be expecting.
So, to recap, from 1988 until 2004, we had Richard Tozer as pastor, under whom we saw continued growth (some fluctuations) with 3 couples sent out, the two in Australian cities were successful in building self sufficient works. One other couple went to China in an underground situation and they were also very successful.
Then in 2004 Tozer gets sent to Fiji to replace John Brown (no reason given why he left) and we get Peter Field as a replacement. Fields of course promises us a minimum of 5 years, and immediately starts making changes. He says the new vision is to buy our own building and so begins the pledges. We moved to a school hall, saving money, and we do actually raise a substantial deposit and purchase a building from the local Baptist congregation. But from here it is all downhill. Peter Field had been working in the back ground to return to South Africa, from the moment he arrived this had been the plan. He blatantly LIED. He also decided to send 3 more couples out, all in a bid to look good on his resume. 2 failed to get anything going (1 was a replacement for another guy that was redirected) and the 3rd replaced the first couple we sent out (they went to Malawi). This guy is the only one still in PH ministry, 2 failed, 1 quit, 1 got "sacked" and 1 left with his congregation intact and is now "independent" but chose to forfeit his building they owned in the process.
Anyway, Peter Fields LIES came to fruition in 2006 when he suddenly went to South Africa, taking us by surprise. The lies were exposed when the kids let the truth out of the bag by mistake. His replacement was a guy that was basically being redirected for the second time after failing dismally to get anything up and running. He however was the area leaders son in law, so of course, he was "sent by God" (ha ha) to take over this relatively successful and totally self sufficient church of 120 with 6 babies (3 self sufficient in Aust, 1 overseas and successful, and 2 struggling works). This "man of god" was so successful that he grew the mighty work to an awesome 15 (including his wife and 3 kids) withing 3 years - 2009.
So, by 2008, when I was on the ropes through a situation at work, my "pastor" showed the discernment of a "pile of dog poop" and the result was a decision made between my wife and I to relocate. Of course this loving pastor who cares for my soul, does what every good PH pastor does. He phones the guy whose church I am intending to move to - and lies. Little does he know but it is that action that results in my finally seeing through all the bull.
The first year was especially difficult, as the conditioning of 20 years is very very deep. I did suffer from acute depression, as did my wife, as one by one just about ALL of my friends from my PH years shunned me. Of course, this is not something I now hold against any of them as it is exactly what I had also done to any that left while I was in the PH. It is all part of the indoctrination and brain washing.
In the second year, things were a little easier, depression is still a major factor, but I had started to re-assess what I had been taught as gospel, and thanks to what I have been reading here, this process has been a lot easier than it would have been otherwise.
After 4 and half years, I feel I am pretty much over the brainwashing. There is almost no feelings of guilt about not going to church or tithing, as I have totally accepted that those doctrines were blatant distortions of scripture and in no way reflect what Jesus wanted for His gentile followers. I am of course starting again, going back to my original first encounter with God way back in 1979 long before PH corrupted my salvation. The 12 year old me that invited Jesus into my heart after reading the Cross & the switchblade comics, who felt the presence of God entering him at that moment as a strong warm sensation from head to toe. The tangible presence of God that was absent my whole time at PH. I have never felt that presence since, but every time He moved in my life was when I exercised faith, and it is this knowledge that God is with me and protects me that gives me faith to believe.
My journey is progressing well, and it is largely thanks to Ken and all the guys and gals that post in this message board. I do sometimes feel a little saddened that the PH abuse and lies has led to so many turning to humanism and evolution, and that is another thing that those PH leaders will have to answer for.
I am starting to lose my train of thought, end here with a warm wish for the new year. I hope everyone has a good, prosperous, and healthy year.