Jesus Changed My Life at Pinecrest
Like so many teenagers of my generation (and perhaps every
other generation), I decided at age thirteen that I was mature,
a man capable of making his own decisions with no need of
guidance, parental or otherwise. Recognition and respect for
my self-bestowed position of authority over my life were demanded
of all who would be my friends. Little did I know that instead
of completing my maturity, I had actually postponed it. Instead
of becoming an individual, I had conformed to the stylish
values of the day that I might win the phony title of "Nonconformist."
I entered a "Never-Never-Land" of self delusion,
self indulgence, and the pursuits of uninhibited ego.
By the end of three years I began to reap the reward of
going my own way, of running my own life. My fantasy world
began to crash down around me. Drugs had become the ruling
influence in my life. I was flunking school, I was under police
surveillance (with good reason), and worst of all I began
to see that the only friends I had were those who respected
my stash of drugs. I was coming to the end of the line with
no where to go, once I got there. There was no way out, there
was no hope. There was only one escape from my failure yet
within my power to perform ... suicide.
Then Jesus stepped into my life. I could write pages on
how it happened. I was about to get up and get the shotgun
that my father had hidden in the back of his closet, when
Jesus walked into the room where I was sitting. I could not
see Him with my eyes, but I did not need to. I knew exactly
where He was standing. Then He spoke these words to me "I
love you, I have been waiting for you. Give up drugs and follow
There was life changing power in those words. I never got
high on drugs again. I never needed them again. I was free.
Free to follow Jesus. But where was He leading me?
My salvation experience is, I suppose, unusual in that I
was not saved in a church service, or in some kind of evangelical
out-reach program. There is a prophesy in Scripture that describes
how I was saved. "And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh," Joel
2:28. What I experienced was not an isolated event.
Within a period of about six months before and after my
experience, many ofmy friends met the Lord Jesus in very similar
ways. Before long, we began to meet in a rented, one bedroom
duplex apartment which we called the 715 North Columbia Street
Fellowship. Sometimes there were over sixty saints jammed
into that tiny living room, bedroom, and kitchen, sometimes
spilling out onto the porch and into the front yard. We shared
a burning love for Jesus, a commitment to one another, and
a very limited understanding of the Word of God and of His
ways. I call that period "The Wild and Woolly Days"
because there were some pretty woolly sheep, and some pretty
wild wolves. We had no pastor, no leadership, no elders, we
lost many lambs.
Towards the end of my first year as a Christian I began
to get a little shaky, I wasn't growing. My family was unsaved
and continued to attack my faith as best they knew how. Since
my parents were college professors, they had plenty of ammunition.
Many in the Fellowship were struggling with sin, as was I,
or had fallen away completely. Doctrinal arguments and power
struggles were tearing the fabric of the unity we once knew,
into shreds. There had tobe answers to these problems, but
I was not finding them.
Then the first "Banner" from Pinecrest arrived.
Looking it over with a critical eye, I said to myself, "I
will never go to that place." Then a still small voice
said, "Oh yeah?" A catalogue from the Bible Training
Center found its way into my hands. It spoke of a place where
"the Lord could have His way," where academics were
important but always secondary to developing a personal relationship
with Jesus and producing the fruit and qualities of Christian
character, a place to equip and prepare lives to serve the
Lord. These words spoke to my need, but there was one problem.
My hair was down to my shoulders, I wore blue jeans and sandals,
my Bible was covered in leather and tied to my belt. The pictures
in the catalogue were of clean cut young men wearing slacks
and "ties!". There were rules and dress codes. Then
the Holy Spirit asked me a question, would I obey the rules
if it was His will for me to go? How could I say no?
When I arrived at Pinecrest for the first of what would
be four years, I had very little to stand on other than the
Word of the Lord to my heart. My parents had provided me with
one way air fare. They told me that I was on my own financially,
and to let them know when I gave up and wanted to come home.
I had a little money saved to pay for my first few weeks of
room and board. Beyond that the Lord would have to provide,
and He did.
First of all, He provided through the ministry of Pinecrest,
tuition would be on a free will offering basis. Because they
believed in what the Lord was doing in my life, I was allowed
to pay for room and board through a work duty and they encouraged
me to believe the Lord for the rest. Then they went to work
on restoring my life by requiring that I finish high school
before I entered the Bible College.
When that happened, I almost died. I could not believe that
was God's will but I surrendered. Then the Lord touched my
parent's heart as they saw that I was committed. They began
to send enough to pay half of my room and board, the rest
was met through the work duty I had. For the next four years
my bill at Pinecrest was paid. But I never had very much to
put into the offering basket. For four years the ministry
at Pinecrest taught me, prayed for me, counseled me, and cared
for me. In a way they became my spiritual parents. Not once
did anyone ask me why I wasn't giving more. I don't think
they ever checked.
There was a lot of growing up left for me to do when I came
to Pinecrest. Much of it very painful. While I was there the
Lord restored my mind from the after effects of drugs. Emotional
scars and wounds were healed. I received impartation from
anointed men and women of God who poured the hard learned
lessons of their lives into my heart. I met with Jesus in
a personal and corporate way. I learned the principles of
the Word of God. I shared the good fellowship of brothers
and sisters who were pressing into the Kingdom and to a life
of serving Jesus. I met the woman that the Lord had chosen
for my life.
I have had to do a lot of growing up since leaving Pinecrest.
Through the growing up process, many of the things that I
thought I understood, I have had to live out in my life. Often
I return to the notes I took in class and discover the answers
to the problems before me.
Not long ago I visited Pinecrest. I was impressed by the
quality of commitment and faith that I found in the student
body. The ministry continues. I realized that what the Lord
had done for me has been done for hundreds perhaps thousands
of lives all because of Jesus and His work on the Cross and
because there have been those like Wade Taylor and the staff
and faculty at Pinecrest who were willing to pick up that
Cross and give of themselves a living sacrifice.
The Lord has blessed me financially. I can attribute much
of that blessing to knowing the voice of the Lord, something
which we were taught to pursue at Pinecrest. The Lord has
spoken to me, that I am to send support to the ministry and
work at Pinecrest on a regular basis. What a tremendous burden
we could lift and share with Brother Taylor if a steady and
regular stream of finances, even in small amounts, would begin
to flow into the work of the Lord.
The ministry at Pinecrest has given so much of themselves,
let us help.
Note I personally do not remember
meeting "Cappy" Kennedy but I seem to know his name
very well. I find his testimony so touching to my heart and
soul. When I arrived in Fall of 1976 Pinecrest was utterly
different that what Cappy described in his testimony as the
student body became completely splintered and the staff and
faculty were very much on their own and about their own business.
The Pinecrest that Cappy has
described was how it was in the early days where faculty staff
and students were all one team. I have heard these same things
testified of from other students that were at Pinecrest prior
This the way Pinecrest originally
was as ordained by the Lord. It was a school where academics
did not rue the day, it was instead a school based on instilling
in students a love devotion and a personal relationship with
God, while at the same time teaching through demonstration
of how each beleiver is precious in the eyes of the Lord and
the brethren, so that part of the education included loving
and caring for the flock of God, and teaching and demonstration
on defending these tender sheep from wolves within, and wolves
without. As well as teaching by demonstration, how to pray,
how to study the word of God, how to wait on the Lord, how
to worship in Spirit and truth. Pinecrest was to have been
a Spiritual household where every faculty member and staff
member were His servants, filled with the Love of Jesus Christ.
These things should never have
been let slip Faculty should have never come to the callous
state that they could speak of these things as unneedful,
or secondary things that needed to be learned elsewhere. Neither
should staff member have ever spoken of such things as being
lower realm, as being things needful for only naive christians,
I am not speaking here of this
from a standpoint of "Wouldn't this be just so nice"
or from some theoretical standpoint as an Christian utopian
idealist. I am speaking of these things prom a personal experiential
standpoint where I witnessed, and partook of, I received great
spirital impartation, from several meetings and fellowship
where the pastor, the elders, and the brethren so walked,
and God so manifested himself in these meetings as His presence
would come and light upon us.
As there is no higher realm
in God that devotion to the Lord, So is their no higher realm
than agape and humbling ourselves and serving one another.
In the household, and in the fellowship. When the Lord turns
the captivity of Pinecrest -- This time Isaac shall truly
come forth, and it shall be as in the days of the household
of Abraham when all His the servants, all his shepherds and
employees, and all of his household can to know the Lord just
as Abraham so did, all were circumcised, all became part of
the Ekklesia of Abraham, and as demonstrated by the nameless
selfless servant of God -- it was in the household of Abraham
form the least unto the greatest that all Knew The Lord, and
there was no one that needed to say anymore know the Lord
for they all knew and walked in personal intimate relationship
with God just as Abraham did. -- This is the picture of what
the Ekklesia and Pinecrest are to be.
And as the Lord has indicated
to Wade and to myself over and over --This shall indeed come
to pass. Watch for it.