I heard from God at Gateway. In 2003, God said to me through Apostle David, “It’s real. It’s real.” Just moments before my thoughts had been filled with questions and doubts that had lived in my mind for years. It was not a deep revelatory word that day. It was a miracle that marked me. God spoke to me!
I had struggled for years with addictions to alcohol, nicotine, and pornography. I was the most selfish, depressed, rebellious, prideful person I knew. From the moment Apostle spoke those words to me, I began hearing the things God had been trying to say to me all along – relevant, life-changing things. I listened to the people in presbytery. I listened to the people in the church who I saw were truly seeking the higher ground. I heard God’s voice in their mouths. I knew these imperfect people, people with as tattered a past as mine, had the answers I needed.
I had always been so critical of “church folks.” I watched, cynically, from afar, waiting for others’ imperfections to become my excuse for not following the Lord. At Gateway, I discovered a place where the worshipers collected and sang en mass on service days and lived lives as singularly brilliant and sparkling as a trumpeter’s blast on Monday morning when few facades survive. The life they preached was the life they lived. It was real. The old excuses I clung to were finally destroyed.
With the excuses gone, the addictions began to go. It was a difficult process at first. I held on tightly until I started to recognize the lies the enemy had sold me all those years. I started recognizing God’s grace in the midst of temptation, and slowly I learned to let go. Apostle’s words would ring out in my spirit from time to time. “Just keep showing up!”
Once, when I was in the midst of a great battle, a friend handed me a quote from Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never give up!” Despite my hard head, God used many of my church family to get through to me. You, Gateway Church, are God’s hands, feet, and voice to me! You never, never, never gave up on me. I WILL keep showing up! You are a priceless gift to me, Gateway, and I celebrate you!