My Testimony of what GOD has done in my life.
Accepted Christ: February 2002
Age Today: 28 (in a few days)
How I got Saved...How GOD called me out
I used to work at my father's gas station / convenience store full time while juggling college. I did this for the 5 years he owned the place. I was in college only the first two years (98-2000). Just shortly earlier in high school I started to get into pot smoking (marijuana). That was in late junior year in high school. It was very rare that I did it. By senior year, it just picked up its pace. A few years later, about the 3rd / 4th year of working at my father's place it became a lifestyle. By then, I had also tried ecstasy a few times. First time I tried it I had a seizure and went to the hospital, but technically I was purposely staring at a strobe light in front of my face which really is the main cause of the seizure. I had done the whole club / bar scene as well. Go to the clubs or bars and just try to hook up with women as any other guy there.
There was a born-again believer that used to come to my father's store every night to deliver the bread. He was a bread-man. He used to preach to me just about every night, even when he noticed I was high off weed (yes, while working). There were times were I had to work in the little booth overnight because the other employee had to take off for whatever reason. It was absolutely the most boring, loneliest work hours and shift, job, etc. From midnight to 6am, all alone, barely any life on the road and nothing to do at all.
So this bread man would come in around 5am to deliver bread. He would preach to me, sometimes even stay for an hour. He was truly humble and devoted to reaching out to me. This man bore the fruit of the Holy Spirit like no other that I have ever seen, even til this day! Now, one night when I was working the usual weekend shift (Saturday evening, 3pm - 12am midnight), a man came in around 11pm. One hour before closing time. He started to preach to me. Now, most of us know that the Holy Spirit many times can sweep right into a conversation not about Him, Jesus or "GOD" talk and turn it into a conversation all about GOD! I'm confident this is how this man started to preach to me.
Two hours later, he is still preaching to me! Guess what? I did not kick him out. I did not even interrupt him once! I kept asking him questions because I was so dwelled into the topic of GOD and so interested in everything he was telling me. This mean also bore the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He gave me a tract / booklet (which I still have here today) about accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
I went home all excited like I have never been before. I sat down in chair and read the short booklet. It was the usual kind of tract. Plain english, plain to the point and simple explanation on why we need Jesus and how to receive Jesus. I was reading this (not out loud) and read the whole thing. By the time I was finished, I started weeping intensely out of joy. In my heart, I accepted Jesus Christ. The moment this happened and the moment I started weeping, I was overcome by the Holy Spirit. Like many have expressed, I felt this wonderful burning sensation inside me when the Holy Spirit overcame me. I had accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!!! I was from thereon, a brand new man. From hereon, I was GOD's work in progress. I was now the real Chad that GOD had in mind since before I was born.
Business & School
In 2002, I stopped college and started my own online candle business. I had a great website, local storage place with a 15x15 space filled with candles racked up nicely like an actual store. I sold candles online for 2 years. By the end of the 2nd year, I was about $50,000 in debt on credit cards due to both business expenses (advertising) and irresponsible shopping at the mall. I was still working at my father's place. I got some nice orders here and there (big ones), mostly average size orders otherwise. Either way, it was not paying off and I was not enjoying it. Simply, it is very hard to sell candles online when you cannot smell them. So, I closed that down rather abruptly after GOD had given me a new venture on my heart.
This new venture was to start my own web hosting company. Guess what? I had literally, positively zero knowledge and experience of this field and industry. I had no expertise in running a web hosting server. I had never even thought of this idea at all. Lo and behold, my father lent me $5,000 to start this business. I advertised heavily right upon takeoff of the business. I started off by renting one server from a dedicated hosting provider called EV1 (now merged with The Planet). I began this business back in April 2004 officially. By 2005, I was starting to make good money and started to gain enough clients to make yet another big decision that GOD placed on my heart. He told me it was time to buy my own servers and rent my own space at a data center.
Timing could not have been better. There was a brand new data center built in prime location at that time and after a few months of talks with the company, we came to an unbeatable deal for me. I initially did a lease of about 50+ Dell servers through this company with end-of-lease buyout option. I officially signed with this company, the data center called Team Technologies in April 2005. I moved ALL my clients over to the brand new Dell servers. It was a painful but fairly smooth process all in all, by GOD's grace. I renewed my contract with them this year in April for another 2 years. GOD gave me peace, faith and confidence in this. This is after I brutally researched for alternatives and rethinking about reverting back to reselling for other companies! Yes, a doubt crept up in me. Now, not to say it would be failure to go back to reselling for other companies, but no. GOD says "you will grow". Strange enough, when I first began this hosting company I thought to myself "what if I built my own data center one day"? Yes, a start of the art data center can easily cost $10+ million dollars. No, I'm not even close to being at that point (yet, if it is His will). I think these thoughts are very likely from GOD after all.
During the first two years of running my hosting business, support requests were getting sky high. There were ample days a week were I was literally glued to my chair in my room for about 15 hours straight trying to provide support to everyone. Remember, I entered this business with no knowledge. So I was in a great learning process too. There was much trials and errors in this process and major grief at times. It got to a point where I was ready to bail out and call it quits. However, I chose to ask GOD in prayer to ease the support requests. I literally asked GOD this. I asked GOD to help me out. Guess what? Today, on average I get a few support requests (my client base is also about double than 2 years ago) and I *never* stress out about support requests anymore praise GOD!
I used to literally be woken up at night (2am, 3am, 5am you name it) by phone calls for support or sales. I allowed that by keeping the phone lines open. It became an unhealthy lifestyle mentally but physically it did not affect me. I was stubborn by trying to look professional and trying to look like a big company that literally would be there "24/7" for support and sales. It took about two years after starting this business when I said enough is enough. No more support over phone, only via online support ticket system. No more 24/7 "sales" phone line either. I set a new hour for sales and reduced support to the ticket system solely. I am totally free from stressing about someone waking me up from my sleep or being accused of support not picking up the phone. Thank GOD!
Now, I have several hundred active clients. I run my business all alone still 'til this day. I'm comfortable, my hours working at home are flexible and enjoyable. I'm not longer in debt, instead I have good money saved up and I'm faithful that I will have enough money for a nice down payment on a new custom built house of my dreams by next year, if it is GOD's will to buy a house by then. I'm also in the process of rebranding, launching a new website and more affective advertising campaign. I will not give up nor be satisfied unless I reach my goal of my client base hitting 5x the size within 1 year of the official company's rebranding / re-launch under the new name and website.
Talk Jesus Forums...how did it come about?
This is rather a simple story. I've been using the Internet since I was about 13 or 14 years old, (around 1993). By the time I got saved in early 2002, I have done a lot of the things on the Internet: IM chat, live chat on Yahoo, messageboards, websites, dating sites, video chat, etc. I knew my way around. Shortly after I got saved in 2002, I thought to myself how cool it would be to own my own Christian forum and have 'a lot of members' to be honest and precise. It wasn't about being big in general, but it was interesting and nice to see how active other forums were that I had visited at the time. One thing I did not like was how unattractive many of them were or how bombarded they were with advertisements. The Holy Spirit had impressed this desire on my heart to start this forum.
By early 2003, I officially launched Talk Jesus Forums. This was about March or April 2003. I was incredibly excited like you would not believe. I kept going to Yahoo! chat rooms (Christian, Catholic, and even Islam) trying to spread the word to others. If anyone here has tried Yahoo Christian chat rooms, you know how bombarded they have (and still) are by childish unbelievers, blasphemous to say the least. I did not care because I did notice some true believers there who did come to my site here and register. I did this for hours a day for quite some time, maybe almost a year. I do not recall how long, but fairly long enough and for hours a day. I enjoyed it to say the least. Everyday I was excited about adding things, making things better, spicing up the forum look and features. Most of you here today now by now that I still have this passion to making things better and more user-friendly, more feature packed. GOD has stirred my heart with great ideas for this site since its inception in 2003.
In early 2004, I was hosted at LunarPages, some well known hosting company at the time. I did not start my own hosting company until later that year. I had hosted Talk Jesus at this so called hosting company and although I do not recall the exact cause, there was a mishap likely on my end that caused a loss of the database for the forum. By then, I had literally about 800 members. I had lost the entire site, all the members, posts, threads. Everything was lost and irreplaceable. LunarPages unfortunately did not care and did not provide any backups nor show any concern to help me. I was furious with them and expressed my anger. Regardless, the site was lost. I was devastated in my heart and very frustrated with the whole situation. I couldn't believe I had lost my site, all my work, my heart and passion put into this site.
I started off fresh again with a great desire to gain back everything I can. Within the first month, about 50+ members joined (mostly members who were lost and have re-registered). That was early 2004. By October 2004, after months and months of literally thinking and actually fearing of advertising on Google, I gave it a shot. I also switched over to a paid forum software called Vbulletin, which the site still uses this day. It cost $160. Remember, I was about $50,000+ in debt. This is why I feared advertising on Google. By October 2004, I had already begun my hosting company and I already knew how expensive Google ads could get. Even so, GOD assured me to go forth. It was an exercise of faith indeed. So, I started advertising on Google daily and switched to a paid forum from a free (even generic) PHPBB forum. It was an excellent idea suggested by the Lord Himself!
I'm purposely keeping this short, otherwise I may as well right a book, a novel if anything. I can tell you right now that there is great power in prayer, and solely prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. GOD knows that this site has me and even my moderators dealing with great spiritual warfare. I am the devil's greatest hate here on the forum. In this truth, I clearly acknowledge that he has always attacking me every single day.
What I have learned and what is the point, the outcome? I have learned that this piece of Scripture speaks loud and clear when dealing with devilish trouble makers.Ephesians 6:12GOD has delivered me from great deceit. In 2006, I dealt with a very deceiving moderator (and his wife) who tried to literally cripple my reputation here and even my hosting business by spreading lies all over the Internet. Its a shame for mid 40's year olds to do such a thing. I also was delivered by GOD from deceit of a young lady who put me through such spiritual and emotional hell beyond the realms of my own imagination at the time. At that time, I had ample anxiety attacks for the first time too. GOD delivered me from these as well.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
I was emotionally and spiritually wrecked in darkness for about 6 months or so after dealing with both the ex-moderators and the young lady I had conversed with for four months. It was a slow healing process, but surely got me on my knees. Thank you Jesus for helping me. You know better than I do even the negative trials you may have even prevented from coming my way.
I'm single. I have been so for a painfully long time. I've been introduced to and hooked up with various nice women the past few years, but they were not of GOD's choice. I went to Texas in mid 2006 with a relative who invited me along on his business trip. I figured why not. Since I work from home, all I had to do is bring my laptop and work with me (I'm grateful to be uncommonly blessed like this). We were there for about 3 days only. However, by the end of 3 days, I had gotten 3 different womens' numbers. Now, I was not trying to be a "player" of any sort, but I figured I had nothing to lose. I would simply converse and play it by ear. Strange enough, none of them returned my phone calls. I gave them each a 2nd [gracious] call for the sake of following up in case they perhaps lost my number or maybe I had not left it loud and clear in a voicemail.
None returned my call. A month later at a family party, I had gotten another lady's number. Did not return my call. So now, 4 ladies in a month, no calls returned. I'm left extremely wondering and just baffled. I mean all of them were talkative, smiling and seemed positively interested in me when we were face to face. So, I prayed to GOD about this asking Him what on earth was happening here. Did my voice mail leave a stench of bad breath? Seriously. I brush 3 times a day! :D Anyway, I posted in my journal, although I rarely do so. One of the members here saw my journal post and left a comment. This member is what GOD used to answer my question on "what is going on" and why were these women not returning my call. She basically said [generally paraphrasing this] "you asked GOD to lead you the right woman and they did not call you back. This is GOD working His place and they were not according to His will". Bingo! Thank GOD He answered my question. I did always pray His will be done even prior to meeting these women. GOD used this member to basically answer my question and concern.
Earlier this year I decided to give eharmony.com a shot only because it is Christian based (not hypocritical either) and it is unique in its own way, the whole 29 dimension match making system was fascinating. I tried it for about 6 months. I went on one date and the girl was absolutely cool, but it just did not take off after due to whatever our circumstances were, and probably not GOD's will. I didn't honestly feel the 'click' as I expect.
I bailed out on renewing my subscription with eharmony and did what I know GOD was pleased with. I fully surrendered my whole love life to Him and came to the conclusion, the truth that whomever GOD chooses I will surely know. I will not doubt if this woman is the one, I will not question it. I will "just know" as every couple have told me. Many couples have told me also that "it will happen when you don't expect it". I'm thinking these two things I've been told by many couples over and over again sound logical. So, I gave GOD my love life. Now, I'm rightfully "expecting" the best choice ever. His!
Well, I'm not one that has faced a boat load of miracles off the top of my head. This is not to say that GOD has not done wonderful things. He surely has. Every day waking up says enough...GOD is graceful and all loving! That's how I look at it. But, there is one particular miracle that always pops up in my head when I try to reach out to an unbeliever. Here it is.
As you know by now, I used to sell candles. You read that I accepted Christ in early 2002 (when I started my candle business also). I love candles and have always lit dozen or so at a time in my bedroom. Well, one night I was in bed reading the Bible. I had two tealights at the end of each table stand, one table stand on each side of my bed. The table stand on each side of my bed is only a few inches away from the bed. A little cramped here. Now, I got my down comforter which is now rubbing against each table stand. So here I am reading the Word. I feel asleep and all the candles were still lit, including the two tealights on each table stand.
The next thing I know, I literally woke up from a very deep sleep and instantly (no exaggeration) noticed a huge flame in front of my face on my blanket. My blanket was on fire, the portion on my chest in front of my face. I put it out with the unaffected area of my blanket and went to bed like nothing happened. Not only that, I went to bed as if everything was ok, But was everything ok? In a way, yes. But here's the miracle part. From the split second I woke up, put out the fire and went back to bed was literally about 10-15 seconds top. Even better? I woke up as if I had already knew there was a huge fire in front of me and as if I was a fireman prepared to defeat the fire! Think about it...you fall asleep with candles lit every where in a small room. Your blank catches fire (almost half of it). You woke up from a deep sleep instantly, put it out instantly, go back to bed and fall asleep instantly. In a matter of 10-15 seconds.
This was a miracle of GOD's. This happened about 1-2 months after I accepted Christ. This, to me was GOD's sign to me to show me that He is there, He is protecting me and my family and He is of course, real! Thank you GOD!!!
What's Happening Now?
GOD is still doing great things in my life. Right now, in all honesty I'm fighting spiritual dryness. The "dry spell" as some call it. I'm 100% confident GOD puts us through this for a reason. For one, to notice the difference when we feel His presence and when we do not. Secondly, because we don't feel His presence, it puts this desire on our heart to seek Him more. In essence, its a good thing. Otherwise, it could be sin in the way. For me, its possibly both right now. Thank GOD for His grace each day in Jesus Christ.
Why is this a sticky post?
Thank you for reading my testimony. It was very very long but necessary. I figured it was important to try to be as detailed as possible to glorify GOD. I think its important for members to know a decent amount about me being the site owner [read statement of faith here]. Its important to at least get a general background understanding of who I am and what GOD has done through me and to me for His glory and His kingdom. In a way, its like an author giving a brief biography in his or her book for the reader to get a general understanding of who the author is.
I hope this testimony has moved you to seek GOD more and give Him glory like you have never done before. There are others' testimonies posted here in the forums that have blown me away. Things that GOD had done in their lives beyond belief of an unbeliever if I may say. Just amazing, so search around and read them. Be moved by what GOD has done for YOU and the price Jesus Christ paid for you and I. It was the costliest debt in history.