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"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you."

Psalms 51:12-13


A Note from Dennis

     I want to talk briefly about my credentials. Christ made himself real to me about thirty years ago. I was a powerless, hopeless alcoholic. During this time in my life I slept in the back seat of a car. I ran into an acquaintance of mine and I asked him if I could sleep at his place for a few days. I told him that I was going to look for a job. Instead of looking for a job, I smoked his pot and I got so paranoid I could not go outside for three days. After these three days of fear and paranoia, I spent the last twenty-five cents I had to take the city bus to the University of Minnesota. I was hoping that I would run into someone that could get me “high”, give me a place to sleep, feed me, or maybe even give me some money.

     When I was on the bus I said a prayer. I prayed, “God all I want is to be me again.” I went to the University of Minnesota and sat at Coffman Memorial Union. Coffman Memorial Union is a building that has a cafeteria and a huge lounge area where students congregated. I hoped that I would see somebody I knew that could get me high. As I was waiting, a man came up to me and asked me if he could share somethingwith me. I told him sure, go ahead. He started telling me about Jesus. I was scared, but I thought I had nothing to lose. God answered my prayer that day by sending me this man to share the Gospel with me. On that day I believed that Jesus was the Son of God. I knew I was a sinner, I asked God for forgiveness, and I opened my heart to Christ. The Spirit of God entered into my life. I received confirmation of that fact two days later when I was taking a bath for the second day in a row. You see I had a reason for taking a bath again. I had hope and a reason to live that was not based on what this world had to offer. God moved independently of me and I became aware that he existed. I was not alone anymore.

     Fear had been my God, along with the belief that I was not as capable of being successful as other people. I saw the world as a place for others to succeed in, but somehow I lacked the ability to participate. When I ran into drugs and alcohol I found that they gave me the confidence to help me participate in the world. For a time it worked. Even after my spiritual awakening in Christ I went back to alcohol and drugs for about three years. I eventually got backed into a corner and the Lord led me into Alcoholics Anonymous.

    During my time in Alcoholics Anonymous the Lord showed me the importance of fellowship and my need for others to help me get through the times I could not and was not meant to get through by myself. The Lord started drawing me closer to him with questions like, “What is the most important thing you can do with your life?” I knew it was to walk with Him. God was calling me to be separated unto Him. During this time when I was getting prepared to commit my life to Christ I had my first experience with demonic activity. I was lying on my bed when a demon spirit landed on my chest and began to crush my chest. I had difficulty breathing but The Holy Spirit gave me a name to utter, Jesus. When I called out to Jesus the demon left immediately. I experienced the power in the name of Jesus and learned that there was a lot more going on than just being “free” of alcohol and drugs. God really started moving in my life and talking to me in the Spirit. The Lord told me, in a small still voice, “What I am going to teach you others will need to know, but you have to repent of it yourself first. The Lord also told me that, “The seminary that I want you to go to is the seminary of doing My will. God started moving in many ways.

     At first I was afraid to tell my friends at Alcoholics Anonymous about what was happening, but through prayer God gave me the courage to be honest about what was going on in my life. As a result a number of people started to believe in Jesus and we started meeting together and encouraging one another in the faith. God would speak to me regularly and when I obeyed He would meet my needs and the needs of others. I remember one time when I was riding my bicycle by Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, Minnesota the Lord told me to go on the other side of the lake. When I tell this story many people ask how do you know it was the Lord? I tell them that at the time I heard that small, still voice I was on my way to play tennis and this voice spoke independently of me just as independent as when someone speaks to us. (I mentioned an incident like this to a Pastor once and he challenged me. He did not believe that God could speak to us other than through reading the Bible. He asked me how did I know it was God. I told him that the first time I called him up he did not know it was me calling but if I talked to him regularly he would recognize my voice. God speaks in accordance to His word, His relationship with us, and His purpose.) I listened to Him and I went to the other side of the lake, got off my bike, and started to pray. Within five minutes a women, who I had met a year earlier, came up to me and started talking to me. She asked what I had been doing with my life and I started telling her what God was doing and she broke down and started crying. The Holy Spirit gave me the words to say to minister to her needs. The Lord knew her needs and used me to “ offer my body as a living sacrifice”. God loves us and knows our needs and He wants to use us for His purpose.


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Copyright 2006 Discovery and Recovery in Christ, Inc.