I would like to take the time to elaborate somewhat on the events described before because the timing of the events that I have described overlap each other so hopefully you can stick with…
First, let me address "the pastor" that I met who “discipled” me for approximately 3 ½ to 4 years. This pastor led a home group. The first time I attended this fellowship (95’ or 96’) I was awed with the move of the Spirit. I had never seen or experienced anything like it in my life, up to that point. What many of you may consider common everyday occurrences in your church now, I had never experienced anything like it, LIVE. God got my attention that night. It was approximately a year after my mom’s death. I had a girlfriend, at the time, whose parents were attending this fellowship so I visited.
Shortly thereafter, I was taken under wing by this pastor. He said the Lord showed him that I was like a “cork bobbing in the sea” with really no direction (which was absolutely true). The Lord said that he was to be a father to me. As I said previously, when I began to meet with him on a weekly basis for personal ministry, I cried in his arms every single session for the first 8-10 weeks straight.
I was dealing with a lot of issues with my mom and her death, judgment of her, and the pain and brokenness I experienced through it all. The struggles of handling alone for a whole year a mortgage, while only working part time, and all the different financial burdens that were, in a sense, dumped on me because of her death had taken its toll.
Because of these sessions, I received a lot of healing that I needed. The relationship with my pastor and I really bonded because of that and I accepted him as a father in my life.
So for 3 ½ to 4 years I worked with him in the ministry of this church. I later was baptized in water and afterward received the Spirit. However, I don’t know what I was baptized in at the time. The true gospel and its obedience was not an issue to me, YET.
To make a very long story short, the relationship between that pastor and I, that started out purely as a father/son, became defiled by sin. The defiling continued for the better part of those years that I was with him.
A few years later, in Nov. of 1997, I broke up with my girlfriend. My pastor and I began to pray in agreement for a wife. I remember praying specific things that I wanted in my wife, not necessarily selfish, but really characteristics of a virtuous woman. One of them I remember clearly was to have woman that would come along side me in whatever God called to me to do and be.
One month later, late December of 1997, my future wife arrived at my church. In August of 98’, we were married.
Now, I first met Bishop Clarence Harris, my apostolic brother, in July/August of 1998, about a month before I got married. He came with his wife, and few of his “brood” (3 or 4 out of his 6 children), and talked with me extensively, sort of like a father to a son whose about to be married. My wife, then fiancée, already knew Clarence for many years, so the gathering was really to find out who I was. The gathering lasted longer than expected. We even arrived to church that Saturday night late, but Clarence was well-pleased with me and my relationship with God, so his family prayed for us and blessed us before they left.
During my years in this fellowship I became a deacon, worship leader, and administrator of the church. All responsibilities that I look back on now were too great for me to handle with a wife and growing family. But I also realize when I moved into those positions I was single.
Because of the defilement of the relationship between my pastor and me, my wife and I left the church, but not before Bishop Harris held a conference for that church somewhere near then end of the summer of 99’. Although the theme was the End Times, Clarence did address salvational issues, with the Jewish roots apostolic perspective.
It created quite a stir in our church after he left, but our pastor came out with “Well, there are 3 baptisms. There is a baptism of the Father, a baptism of the Son, and a baptism of the Holy Ghost.” He was trying to explain away the necessity of baptism in Jesus name for salvation.
My pastor even admitted he wasn’t sure what he pronounced at baptism. He thought he said, “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in Jesus name” but he wasn’t sure. I could go into so much more, but I’m trying to be as brief as possible.
When I left the church, I wanted to leave and knew God wanted me out of there as soon as possible, but I didn’t know why it was so painful and why I had such mixed emotions. I asked Jesus many months later why He had us break apart in the way He did and He told me, “To save you and your family.” To say the least, I was broken again by His love.
A year after leaving that fellowship, I was finally so broken that I was able to express to my wife in detail all the defilement of that father/son relationship from beginning to end. That was such a relief. I felt such shame, guilt, and self-condemnation that I stopped growing in Him. But when I did confess to my wife what did take place it began the road back.
While this took place, we were attending another church (for about 2 years in total) that was not “apostolic”. They believed in all aspects of response in Acts 2:38, but they cut it up and butchered it and gave it in pieces. To them, as long as you repented and believed you were saved. They did have their baptismal services (originally I thought it was in Jesus’ name, but when I left that church in 2002, that became unclear to me). They did encourage the baptism in the Spirit, as a necessity to overcome, but not necessarily salvational.
When I was confronted by Clarence, in the summer of 99’, regarding the true gospel and obedience thereof, it began a personal quest in my life to know the truth and receive it from no man any further, lest it be revealed to me by His Spirit. I left that summer of 99’ searching to see if the scriptures and interpretation presented to me was true. Without a doubt in my heart, I found it to be true.
During late 99’ and early 00’ I was at a job that I was able to do my job while being on the internet. I began browsing through apostolic.net and came across Bro. David Bernard’s book, The Oneness of God.
I remember reading and consuming that book on the internet so fast. I never preached or taught the trinity. It really was a non-debatable issue to me. I had just assumed it’s truth through years of presentation as truth. I never really looked into it in great detail, until I read Bro. Bernard’s book. The belief that I held to concerning the trinity washed off my mind and heart like water off duck’s back. I too, like the salvation and obedience issue, began to search out the scriptures, only to find that their truly is one God, without persons, and His name is Jesus.
Because I was unsure of my water baptism, my wife and I went to our community pool in our housing development and baptized each other calling on the name of Jesus. She too was baptized, because she had no idea what she was baptized into either. It had been so many years previous, even before me. So eventually, we were properly buried. We had already received the Spirit years before and He was faithful to lead us into this truth.
In Miami, I used to lead a home/care group in my house on Friday’s with 2 couples, both younger than us in the faith, however one couple was in the natural younger than us and the other couple was older than us. I’ve been able to baptize 3 of them in the name of Jesus, and see two receive the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
Today, I live in the peach state of Georgia. I am still, gratefully, and happily married to a virtuous woman named Patricia and have three children - Lydia, John Daniel, and Deborah. I served the Lord gladly for 16 years as one of the elders, under the oversight of Bishop Clarence Harris, in Alpha Omega Ministries. However, I recently stepped down as an elder in 2021 and now attend fellowship at The Meeting Place.
Please continue to - "It is Written... Introduction"
© copyright 2008, revised 2011 Jesus M. Ruiz