As I look back on Julia and my life together, there are many years of growth in the Spirit. Our last years at Wesleyan Fellowship/RiverStone together were awesome in many ways, but what prepared us for these years, and what prepared me for where the Lord is moving me today was the five years we with Tony and Sandy at Northeast Metro. Tony and Sandy were our best friends as well as mentors. I know that I learned so much about the things of the Spirit, and we had so much fun doing it.
Tony Cavener is one of the most prophetic men that I know and he and Sandy were a team that Julia and I could model our ministry and life after. We loved the things of the Spirit, and as long as I can remember, every Sunday the Holy Spirit would show up in power. We were in renewal for years after most other churches had “moved on”. We didn’t want to move on, why would you ever move on away from the Holy Spirit. NE Metro is where I first learned that I could give a word of prophecy for someone. It is the first place that we realized that we could be used in ministry by the Holy Spirit.
It was Tony who encouraged me to preach. I didn’t think that I had anything to say, and really felt shy about speaking in from of people. But he had me start preaching at our evening service. I think the crowd at that service was always less than 75, but it was still preparing sermons and praying that I would hear the Holy Spirit for a word in season for the church. Later I started speaking on some Sunday mornings, and pretty soon I was loving the opportunity to be used by God to release His word to the people. Julia really didn’t want to preach of speak, she had rather stay in the background, but that was soon going to change.
It was at NE Metro where we began to realize the difference between the Church and the Kingdom. We were all about releasing the Kingdom of God and creating an environment for Him to move. At that time, there wasn’t any thought of evangelism and taking all we learned outside the church. We were all about the Kingdom, but we didn’t realize we could release it in our everyday environment. Our idea of outreach was going downtown every Saturday morning with Blood and Fire. We would work with David Van Cronkite and his team in the projects of Atlanta and at the “warehouse” where the team would feed and disciple the homeless of Atlanta. I don’t remember how many years I did this on Saturday morning. It wasn’t really Julia’s thing, but she would go help occasionally. I really think she was discerning and knew that David really wanted me to quit my job, move down there and minister. He did, and I was tempted, but I knew that I was called to be with Tony at NE Metro.
Another area that we learned about and really grew into was the area of Prophetic Intercession. We were connected to Word of Love Ministries through Tony, and a new world opened up right in front of us. I had always thought prayer to be boring, but prophetic intercession was anything but boring. It was exciting and alive. This is when Julia really came into her own. This was her calling. She was an intercessor as soon as she began to understand the power and the calling. Her prophetic nature began to blossom as did her leadership skills. I would watch her in awe as she began to connect in the Spirit with what God wanted to do. She was passionate about it. We were in an incubator for intercessors. We went to numerous Jim Goll Conferences, and bought all his books. Everything we learned and all the passion that was nurtured was for a reason. We didn’t know the reason, but it was for later at RiverStone, so we could teach and release all that we had learned.
We were happy and content. Things were going well at NE Metro. The church was around 250 – 300, but we weren’t about numbers. It was deep worship and deep teaching. The prophetic was very strong and intercession was the fuel that powered the engine. We were deeply involved in ministry and were hooked on being in the presence of Holy Spirit. I think that I remember saying that I would never leave. I really felt that we would be there the rest of our life. These were good times, but there were hard times in the middle. Julia’s mom died of cancer during this time after living with us for over two years. It’s funny, but I really don’t remember the hard sad times, but the good times, these memories are so strong. Holy Spirit just showed me that it will be like this in years to come about this time. Interesting. Anyway, I’ve learned never to say never and never to say always. The Holy Spirit is like the wind, you never know which way He will blow you if you are open to His leading.