I would like to tell you about a radical encounter I had with God that rocked my life and brought me into realms of supernatural visitation that I never before could have imagined. I met Jesus on an acid trip, and what a long, strange trip it has been ever since! Here’s the condensed version of my story:
I grew up amid a Bible Belt Pentecostal background and chose to embrace God when I was 8 years old. I was eventually turned off by the forms and legalism of religion. Not knowing that God had destiny for me personally, I sought purpose elsewhere. I was bored with my mundane life, and I wanted something deeper, so I turned to substance abuse. By my first year of college, I had become an alcoholic, sometimes downing up to 36 beers in a single day. I smoked pot from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep, and took any kind of drug I could get my hands on. I had sexual addictions, battled depression and carried serious baggage from growing up in a broken home (I’ve had a total of eight parents) – but most of all, I was just trying to escape from God.
My deliverance was sudden. I was in a bar on an acid trip one night, when instantly my eyes were opened to the spiritual realm. Of course, under such circumstances, I was only aware of the demonic activity around me, and it freaked me out. I somehow knew what people were thinking before they spoke, and I knew things that were about to happen before they occurred. The enemy began to trigger into the prophetic call that he saw on my life, and I was gripped with fear. Suddenly, I knew beyond a doubt that I was going to die that night (and in a way, I did).
I knew that I had hit rock bottom and that this was my last and final chance to turn back to the Lord. I knew that if I went to sleep that night without changing my ways, I would surely die. Somehow I knew that God will not strive with man forever and that this was the day of salvation. I could take it or leave it. My only hope was to trust in the work of Jesus Christ, but I had given Him a lot of lip service before. Under such pressure, I felt the only way to make my confession real was to make it public immediately. No more closet Christianity, and no more living in sin. I went for the Bible on my bookcase and that night, I immediately began preaching to my friends. Walking to the bookcase was the hardest thing I have ever done, but as soon as I did it, I was transformed.
“This is real! God is real! Everything in this book is true,” I said. Suddenly, I felt every effect of the drugs leave my body, and in an instant, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Spirit ripped through me. The very page I first opened to at random said, Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime (Zech. 10:1). Although I didn’t understand it intellectually, the Lord was pouring out the rains of His Holy Spirit on me and calling me out of darkness to be a forerunner in his last days church. Power surged through me like I had never experienced, and the words leaped off the page.
At first, my friends laughed. But when they saw that I was serious, they went nuts. Their demons started manifesting, as one girl ran out of the room screaming. Another friend, normally a very calm, laid back atheist, began yelling and going crazy. It was about 2 a.m., but I woke up all of my roommates because I had to tell them about Jesus, too. One of them kept telling me to shut up, but when I kept preaching, he threw me against the wall. Thus was my introduction to the Kingdom.
I was buzzed in the presence of God for days. The Lord released a spirit of revelation on me that was so intense, I could literally feel my Bible itself vibrating, almost glowing. Every word in it was like a hyperlink with layers of understanding behind it. I had never encountered anything like this before. I was filled with this pure, tangible spiritual substance that seemed to electrify everything. At first, I didn't even understand that it was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I was instantly delivered from drugs and alcohol, immediately smashing all my bongs and drug paraphernalia and ripping out the small marijuana farm growing in my closet. I immediately lost all taste for those things which once held me with addictive chains. I was experiencing the high of the Most High, and it was a very real, pleasurable thing.
The dead, religious Christianity I had grown up with was out the window. I was plunged into a realm of danger, adventure and spiritual ecstasy that was better than any drug I had ever tried. The first few weeks of my Christian walk were an intense process of sorting out the voice of God and discerning spirits. Although I was very immature in my faith, my paradigm for reality had been radically flipped upside down and so I was willing to do whatever I thought the Lord was "telling me" to do!
For instance, after reading Isaiah, I once left the house to preach naked like he did; I almost plucked my eyeball out, literally following the admonition of Jesus, because it caused me to sin; I once threw away my wallet and eye glasses to prove to a friend that nothing matters except for God, then I left his house almost completely blind. Of course, this was all pretty fanatical stuff, but I didn't know any better. Rest assured, I have preached fully clothed ever since!
I preached to my family so wildly in those first few days that they called the cops on me – I then preached to the cop, who handcuffed me, and I preached to him all the way to the hospital in the back of the squad car. I preached through the emergency room until a doctor anaesthetized me and sent me to a rehab center. Everyone thought I had flipped on drugs at that point, but my intellect was totally in tact. I had simply been impacted by God to the point of no return -- willing to do all the crazy stuff I saw in the Bible, even though I didn't yet understand the Bible at all! They quickly realized that I was not technically crazy, only a religious nut, and there were no drugs left in my body for them to test, so they let me go.
That was just the first week of my Christian walk! The Lord pulled me aside, and for ten years, I learned and grew in the scripture and in the practice of His presence. I began to experience the grace and intimacy of God. He began speaking to me on a deep, intimate level as a friend speaks to a friend. He fathered me where I needed fathering. I learned that God is not after servants, but He is after lovers. I just wanted to devour anything that smacked of Jesus. Over the years, God tempered my zeal with wisdom. He began maturing my prophetic call, keeping me hidden away for a decade. He forged in me an enjoyment of His presence in the place of stillness and contemplative prayer. Out of the place of stillness, I began to experience His power.
More and more supernatural occurrences began to unfold. As I prayed for the sick, I found they were often instantly healed. Today, the Lord allows me to supernaturally discern conditions of the body, reveals people's thoughts to me and often gives me divine words of knowledge for people as I minister. The power of God seemed to surge as He eventually called our family into itinerate ministry - pulling people out of wheelchairs, opening deaf ears and blind eyes, healing limbs, organs and more. Gold dust, supernatural weight loss, and all sorts of strange supernatural phenomena began to occur in our meetings, and the Lord often graced us with visions, dreams and angelic encounters. We knew it was not because we were specially or exclusively gifted, but because God has poured out His Spirit on humanity - it is our inheritance and birthright to experience Heaven on earth through the shed blood of Christ.
Over the years, we became more and more convinced that this extreme supernatural lifestyle was happening by no effort of our own. It was beyond us ... and we were still only scratching the surface of what was available! By now, we had become popular conference speakers, but the more I realized the gifts and power of Holy Spirit were a sheer gift of grace - in which no man could boast - we started to become very controversial! Some were offended at how we became so intoxicated in God's presence ... but the real offense was the scandal of grace ... we were experiencing so much - and it was all a gift! We couldn't sell religious formulas or give three steps to success. More and more the revelation sank into us that it was all about Christ and Him crucified. Not our spiritual disciplines. Not our unique calling. Not certain methods or routines. Christ is the substance. And because of our union with Him, the scriptures say we are now filled with the entire Godhead! (Col. 2:10). As scandalously simple as it seemed ... we could honestly tell everyone that it all flowed from what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
Not every day is full of signs wonders and miracles, but God’s presence is always at hand. The most spectacular thing is no longer looking for odd miracles, though all of that is great. The most phenomenal thing is this simple revelation that my everyday, ordinary existence has been woven into the life of the Trinity. That I have been absorbed fully into the Godhead thanks to Christ taking on my humanity, and drawing me fully into His life ... as a gift! He is always closer than the air I breathe - whether I know it or not. Our is a ministry birthed out of a simple appetite for His presence. But the object to which that presence had always been leading us was the revelation of His intoxicating sacrifice on the cross!
I have seen the Lord transform hopeless nothingness, oppression and confusion into a thing of great beauty and wonder. The blood of Jesus has already transformed us completely. That's the crazy thing. His Spirit gives us eyes to see it - so our problems aren't things we have to struggle with for years - the difference can be seen overnight! Even as He changed my life in an instant, so is God doing a rapid work of transformation and maturity these days for those who catch the revelation of what He has already accomplished 2,000 years ago. The Lord has given us a vision to facilitate the release of a powerful move of ecstatic believers, drinking deep of the bliss of their salvation and manifesting Kingdom realities everywhere they go. A people no longer looking forward for God to show up and bring a future breakthrough - but pointing backward to something that has already taken place in Him. Convincing the world that Christ has already ripped mankind out of darkness, destroying our corruption and decay, and planting us firmly into the Kingdom of Light!
John Crowder, 11/28/2008