As a young boy growing up in southern Manitoba, Canada I remember having a desire for the word of God and was fascinated with the stories of the entire volume. Over and over I would “Give my life to Jesus” and I remember going through stages of extreme “sanctification and righteousness” decisions like destroying any music records or cassette (anyone remember those?) that did not glorify Jesus on my journey to be a “good Christian young man”. I also remember being taught that any outward expression of joy for Jesus in public worship was not Ok and just bringing glory to yourself as well as expressions of the Holy Spirit and desiring “gifts” of the spirit were not for today and ended with the last disciples of Jesus.
As I progressed into my teens, I read my New testament so much I began to have verses memorized without even knowing they were committed to memory, but I slowly began to judge others and grew in religious zeal and fervor pointing out others mistakes and shortcomings while being unteachable. Spending my later teens in a private school 8 hours from home (Wilcox, Saskatchewan Canada) in a college type setting was good training and yet initially terrifying to say the least. There I was exposed to more “sin behavior” than I had been exposed to my entire 15 years on earth! Great leadership training ensued as I was asked to lead a group of 20 - 9th grade students and live in their dorm wing in charge of supervision and overseeing all responsibilities associated with dorm life.
Having the opportunity to play on a college hockey scholarship in Duluth, Minnesota for the UMD Bulldogs from 1989-1993 was a blessing and allowed me to start discovering the real me, or so I thought. Truthfully, hockey was really the only thing on my mind and oh ya, I did want to live for Jesus.
By the summer of 1992, I felt the Lord call me to start something on campus for Him and found out there was not a chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), so a friend of mine who spearheaded several groups at the high school level helped me start the first UMD Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 1992-93 school year. During that year, the coach of the hockey team allowed me to lead prayer before every game with the entire team which was unprecedented in a public University. Several players were led to the Lord and there was lots of opportunity to talk of Jesus. However, there still seemed to be a huge void in my heart and I still struggled with judging others in my heart while secret sins were having their way privately in my life. I was not very happy and I truly was turning into a Pharisee, looking at the outside when the inside needed a radical change and dose of the authentic kingdom life. I had a form of godliness and morality, but it was more religion than relationship.
After a short stint of playing professionally overseas, I went back to finish my B.A.S. at UMD in my early twenties. Still immature and struggling with identity, I got into a relationship I knew was not of the Lord. I continued anyway as I had not been trained in the new man all these years of “Christianity” but the ways of a religion that left me void and still looking for fulfillment in people and things, not God. What came from this was two wonderful boys and many, many hard life lessons that the Lord used to truly show me my pride and self-righteousness. I hit some real rock bottom points and one in particular came in 2004 when the failure of a relationship created such a vortex of lies that I contemplated ending my life. He came in and there was enough truth there to keep me going but I just knew there was more I was not seeing and understanding about Him, and man was that ever true.
In 2005 I met my wife Lori and we soon blissfully married in 2006. It is truly a match that God had brought together and 11 years later I can truly say she is the most wonderful person (woman or man) I have ever known! But God was just setting me up for what I desperately still longed for……..Him
I still knew there was a life of love, joy, peace, and the kingdom of God I read about in the bible but was not experiencing or living out. So, I cried out to Him and I mean I was desperate for the TRUTH. No more religion wrapped up in do’s and don’ts, but the real deal. I remember being in the basement of our house in 2007 getting up in the middle of the night and having such a real heart to heart with the Father that I “knew” He heard me. I said, “I want it all, no man-made formulas, no traditions of man, no ways that just seem right to me, I WANT YOU! I want to start over with you.” My life has never been the same since. He put such a hunger for relationship with him, filled me with His love and Spirit, started putting key people in my life to expose me to teaching I had never heard before, and it was ON! I started to get asked to preach and teach in different ministries while at the same time the churches I was trying to connect with wanted very little to nothing to do with what I was growing in. I learned many, many hard lessons about leadership and the hierarchy of churches and their rules. There were many hard life lessons with finances, and job changes endured as we were in the process of renewing our minds to what the kingdom of God really looks like, and not what we were taught.
Learning as we went, my wife and I kept growing in the secret places seeing things in our jobs change with God encounters growing every year. Testimonies began to abound (and still do) as we interact with people at work and about our day wherever we go. Many prophesies and divine encounters, vivid dreams and visions, multiple ministry opportunities and powerful encounters with God have led us to the point where we are today by His wonderful Grace. Being ordained by various ministry entities and being exposed to so many great men and women of God have shaped us with the wisdom of Holy Spirit along the way, keeping us always open to learn and grow into whatever He is endeavoring to teach us.
This next phase of life with Kingdom Life Academy promises to be a journey I am excited to partner with you and help you in your quest to be all that Jesus paid for you to be. I look forward to meeting you in person soon at the Academy!