I was born in a small town called Ilkeston in the middle of England and, from a very early age, I’d been sent to Sunday school a few times to give my parents a lie in on a Sunday morning, but other than that I was raised in a family that only attended church for Christenings, weddings and funerals. There was certainly no relationship with Jesus. I’d simply accepted this religious practice and, by the time I was into my teenage years, I’d adapted to lusting after everything that wasn’t good for me, but for all purposes I’d fill out forms and tick the religion boxes as a Christian because, after all, I’d been christened.
I became more reckless as I grew up and enjoyed grazing on all the grass on the other side of the fence. My parents claimed that my lifestyle had actually driven them towards God and they became “born again” believers when I was in my late twenties. It was strange to see my parents embrace Christianity and move in a new circle of friendships with a sole mission to try and make me like them! Now they were extremely set on getting me to a church Alpha introductory course, planting leaflets and books around my house and, eventually, they decided to increase the pressure during a low point in my life, when my wife had left me and, under the strain, I left England and headed for Thailand to continue my reckless lifestyle, Whilst there, I met a couple of young ladies who invited me for diner. Little did I know that these were Christian missionaries who were also on a mission set on getting me to a church Alpha course!
As I couldn’t get away from it, I eventually enlisted on this Alpha course at my parents’ church. It actually wasn’t as bad as I expected. The food and fellowship were great, the talks were quite interesting and I enjoyed asking questions and having a debate. I actually became quite comfortable with the information and religious head knowledge, but it wasn’t only until half way through the course that I hit a problem when they started to pray for people to receive God’s Holy Spirit. When it got spiritual, what I witnessed defied the natural boundaries of my understanding. There was now no doubt in my mind of the existence of God. My problem was that, if He was real, then everything I enjoyed doing was wrong, and I enjoyed being in control of my own life!
Well, about eight years passed by with my head in the sand doing it my way. I was now living in another relationship that was terrible, doing, buying, drinking and smoking all that my soul desired, but I just couldn’t make myself fulfilled, or even content and, over time, my short-term happiness fixes became my addictions. I’d only myself to blame for how my life had turned out and I started questioning what my life would have looked like if I’d had let the Holy Spirit take over my life eight year previously. Looking at what I’d done by own strength, His plan had got to be better than my achievement! I attended another Alpha course and, when it came to the Holy Spirit day, I actually came to the realization that there was nothing good in me and there was nothing I could give God to repay Him for a lifetime of sin except my repentance, love and my body as a living sacrifice and, if the Lord could do something with this broken vessel, then He could have it! As Jesus died for me and paid my penalty, I crucified “my way” that He may live through me His way, thus giving me a brand new start in life, to be born again by His Spirit.
Three days the Spirit was inside me before I experienced, for the very first time in my whole life, what I can only describe as the consciousness of God, just as I awoke in the morning as I was laying at the side of my girlfriend, and He spoke straight into my soul, He said, “Son, I have plans for your life and if you want to go where I want to take you, you must separate yourself from your girlfriend. This is not what was intended for you and not an example of love, but if you are going to carry on sleeping together then you must marry her.” This was my first conviction by the Holy Spirit and I yielded and that day I moved into the spare bedroom, which was really difficult for her to understand that I’d sooner have an intimate relationship with Jesus! Although we’d done the Alpha course together, she just couldn’t understand it and thought I’d gone a bit crazy. Well, we’d actually only been in a relationship for less than a year, two damaged people together for all the wrong reasons; it was doomed from the start, but it was my house that we were living in, which made it a bit awkward, but I had told her that she was welcome to stay as long as it took for her to find another place to live.
Well, the following evening, I came home from work with a takeaway and a couple of bottles of wine. I poured myself a pint as usual, but when I took my first sip, to my shock it tasted odd! I instantly knew that there was something different and then I was overcome by an immense joy, so much that I couldn’t contain my laughter. My ex-girlfriend asked me if I was okay. “What’s the matter with you? You always get drunk!” she said. I told her that, for the first time in years, I didn’t need to get drunk anymore to make me happy, and I was actually eager to go to bed early because of the hunger inside me to read my Bible! The next morning, I lit my cigarette up and when I put it in my mouth it made me feel sick and I burst out laughing again, and by the end of the week I’d also stopped swearing too! Not one of these addictions could I have conquered by trying and striving but only by yielding to the Holy Spirit, and it was easy.
I then started receiving amazing dreams explaining some of the roots behind my behavioural mind-sets, He showed me that, in my times of hurt, I’d placed a man-made self protection mechanism around my heart. There was actually so much damage that it looked like a patchwork quilt! And, as I yielded to the Spirit, He gave me deeper understanding and, piece-by-piece, they started to be removed. As the months went on, I think my ex-girlfriend thought I’d completely “lost it”, especially when she came home from work one day and I’d told her that God had healed one of my power tools after I’d prayed for it! Well, I was impressed! Finally she cracked one night and in a fit of rage she started throwing my household ornaments at me and I ended up leaving my own house with just my Bible and a pair of jeans! It took a further three months living with my parents until I could get my own house back!
My relationship with Jesus had a big effect on my work too. At that time, I was working as a taxi driver, probably the only taxi in town that had a glove box full of Bibles and testimonies on DVDs, as I just wanted everyone else to be set free too, but it soon became extremely challenging to keep my ethics and continue my style of working. Previously, I’d majored in ruthlessness and corruption in the pursuit of material wealth and lying to the company, speeding and stealing from work rivals made me a good living, but this became a “grey area” and, as I yielded to the convictions of the Holy Spirit, my wages dropped drastically. To be honest, all the chatter on the taxi radio was also getting in the way of ministering and praying for people too. So, on a leap of faith, I jacked! I took out the taxi radio and pulled off the company logos, and then sat in the taxi rank praying for work. I just knew that if leaving the company meant I hadn’t compromised my being who I was called to be, then I was completely trusting God’s new plan for my life, and at the end of that first evening of stepping out by faith, I actually made the same money than if I’d worked for the company! And so I continued to live by solely trusting God to meet my needs by faith.
As I journeyed, I started to get a bit frustrated at why I wasn’t seeing the level of anointing demonstrated by the early church. I had the faith and was trying my best at being obedient and working so hard for Him; it just felt that His voice was getting fainter or I was somehow letting too much interference get in the way! It’s amazing how much clutter you pick up along the way. It had taken a lifetime to get both feet on the right path and somehow one foot seemed to be wandering off into some religious mind-sets. Through an encounter with the Lord one night, He showed me that I had to stop trying to work for Him and allow Him to work through me. He then told me to “drink the waters of Kathie Walters’ teachings!” Well, she is an amazing woman of God, who’d been mentored by Bob Jones and influenced by Arthur Burt. She travels around the world ministering to thousands of people with an anointing that is just out of this world. Well, the following day, while going to work, I opened my glove box and, to my surprise, there was Kathie Walters’ book, “Living in the Supernatural”. Wow! I think my mum had given it me years before and I’d buried it in junk, but there it was, sitting on the top of everything in the glove box as if it had been placed there that night! And as I read chapter by chapter, I started to get rid of those religious mindsets and receive all the encounters that she’d written about, even the angelic visitations! It was all in the Bible, it’s like He just knew that Kathie had worded it in a way that seemed to be tailored for my understanding. These were the keys to unlock those religious mindsets that were stopping me from moving in the fullness of the inheritance.
The day after I finished reading this book, I went to a Christian concert being held in Leicester and, while Hillsong were performing, a random stranger came up to me and said that they’d been given a message from God for me, and the message was that “I’d received the keys, now use them!” Ha, I knew this related to the keys within Kathie’s book, and as I continued my journey the Lord gave me another powerful dream, showing me a rainbow being poured into Wales, and I just had a knowing that I needed to go wherever that place was, because I was going to receive a gift there. Well, I visited my parents that day and, when I told my parents my encounter, my mum said that she’d received an email that morning and that Kathie Walters was coming to Wales! I just knew in my spirit that this was the place! Well, by faith, I travelled to the conference and, when it came to the impartation, I was so expectant. Kathie told me that the Lord had just given me a scroll and, at that moment, my hand just froze, just as though there was a scroll in my grip. Then she placed the palm of my hand onto her inner forearm, which was now manifesting with gold dust and oil! Then she told me that there was a commissioning upon my life, while she wiped the oil and gold dust onto my palm, and, at that moment, I just sparked out and didn’t wake up until about an hour and a half later, by someone trying to vacuum up round me in a now empty church! As it so happened, my parents were waiting for me to help me stagger back to the hotel! It was such an amazing experience; I so believed that I’d really be witnessing so much more of the power of God in my walk. How could you not after that!
Well, I travelled to India a few weeks later for the first time on a mission, expecting to see major signs wonders and miracles but, to be honest, it was a great experience but I didn’t witness the anointing I expected to see, by any means. And about three months passed by and I just I kept wondering “when, Lord? I don’t understand”. I was so frustrated that things weren’t going the way that I thought they should and so focused on my trials, that I hadn’t even been listening to half the talk in the church meeting I was in. Just then, a man asked me to pray for someone. Well, in my mind, I was thinking, “God, You can’t possibly use me today!’ I laid my hand on their shoulder and , by the time I’d finished saying “In the name of Jesus”, the person was on the floor rolling around in the Holy Spirit! And then so did the next twenty or so people. The anointing was so powerful that people were all over the floor rolling about laughing or crying. Then someone from church came up to me and asked if I could “tone it down” because they said it was frightening some people! “Tone it down?” I had to laugh; I don’t think they realized that it wasn’t me doing it! But there was no doubt in my mind that, regardless of how I felt in my emotions, God had moved through me, and this taught me another lesson, that the anointing isn’t affected by how we might feel, and this caused me to pray, by faith, in the discernment led by the Spirit, rather than just making the assumption of things led by my emotions. The more I moved by the Spirit, the more I understood the sonship with the heavenly Father and also witnessed the anointing manifest in many signs, wonders and miracles.
But getting into the anointing was one thing, and keeping in it was something else! I think the best way to describe the journey is how He showed me in a vision once, where there were many different shapes and sizes of water slides that represented people’s journeys and, when it came to my turn to choose a slide, I asked how much they cost. And the reply was that the cheapest slide wasn’t much of a journey at all, but the best journey costs your entire life! And this journey with God through ups and downs and twists and turns is so much more than I could have ever dreamed it would be. I’ve witnessed many great signs, wonders and miracles and have been used in some amazing meetings. The transformation and revelation received through my personal relationship with the Godhead, the friends God brought into my life and the discipleship from my good friend and mentor Kathie Walters has transformed this broken vessel into a vessel that fulfils its design and purpose, to be filled and pour out His Glory, as I continue to follow His perfect plan and will for my life, and so may it continue.
Kathie Walters & Me