Hello, my name is Pastor Troy, I want to personally invite you to come and be our special guest at our next service. I'm here to let you know a fact about you. you are a unique individual you are special in the eyes of God. there is greatness and untapped potential within you. you were made and born to serve God. you will not even begin to see the things he has in store for your life when you submit your life to his. He loves you very much. My job as your new Pastor is to lead you in the way of salvation, to make sure you make it to heaven by teaching you how to live to your fullest potential in God. I want you to plan to be at our next service and come worship with us an dsee, feel, expericne a church that's full of love and compassion. Your life will change you will never be the same.
I want you to know that my life is a divine design by God. If you are to follow Christ through my leadership you should get to know more about me as a person, my life, my testimony. God has prepared me to lead and Pastor you.
Strong Armed Robbery
My Calling from a child
From the age of 10 years old I prayed to God for my wife. God hear my prayer. I was a virgin when I married her at the age of 22 our first kiss was at the altar.
I was born & rised until age of 12 in Chicago, under strong COG rearing by faith in Grandmother Eula and Mother Deborah. We moved out of the city to Saint Petersburg, FL. I watched learn was trained, up in the way that I should one day go, in building and establishing work there through HS. Being raised in single family home, very few out-lets, I played sports in school, became excellent in football, and was offered several scholarships prestigious division one schools. In my final year in High school to shine, in the second game, busted knee open. So I was no good for the big schools, so came this coach from a junior college scouting me out. Told me he can do it all for me, even get me some women. God told me that this is where I want you to go, and at the time I had no idea that this was near Chicago.
Brother Kevin Williams was living in Bollingbrook, 35 mi. away and would pick me up for church and carry me to Chicago. Sister White, thank you for the sacrifices of coming to pick me up for church.
Souls were saved from team. Lead all prayers for games?let my light shine, I was a inspiration, they looked up?
After the first year, the Coach privately came?I was offered a full scholarship to Iowa state if I came and played football for them. Said I played like Mike Singletary, ?said was..very dedicated to the game. God was already dealing with me concerning Bible Study group. I asked God to prove me?The turning point,?fight broke out both teams coaches and all,?stomping a man on the football field? ran to side line only one on bench holding my head as I watched the kyosh on field. Told God I quit.
Souls were coming to church from college. Just about everytime I walked in the doors of the church, I had a soul with me. I didn?t feel right/saved unless I had a soul in hand. I craved/hungered/thirst for souls.
Rick Maltbia came to visit me in Joliet, as he was getting ready to return, car wouldn?t start; His transmission said ?I had enough Rick? spent the night in a studio apartment; he was w/o work; next day he was offered a job in apartments as ground maintenance. We moved in together the next day into a beautiful apartment. This is where our bible studies started. We had gays, strays and runaways, religious tongue speaking, life threathening people who told me he was going to kill me, if I kept messing with his wife. It was rick he was after. Rick wasn?t in apartment, went looking for him?.told rick? ?I?m not scard ?who is he that would harm you??? I said Ok but you need to get back to apartment take care?Anyway she got saved and escaped this man chasing her, harassing, threathening her and shes here today. Sister Trucina will you stand. She left a killer for another killer. After she got saved Rick moved away, back to Chicago, leaving me with this saved sister and a killer on the loose. I told you he was slick Rick.
I moved on the Hill: Thelma
I continued to passed out tracks, on campus & witnessed door to door by myself.
Bro. Kevin Wm. Came to visit me---I expressed my burden to him to continue studies.
Started a bible study in the apartment of Spivey twin brothers who was on the football team and their cousin, and friend BamBam. Studies went so well every week.
Pastor Gordon heard of the work & Seeing souls saved that were coming to church we me and hearing of souls saved in Bible study in Joliet, (Bro. Tommy Richardson and Sister Simpson)
I learned later of why I believe it was important to Pastor Gordon to come; He prophesied years before that there would be a work in Joliet, IL. I didn?t know of this until after him coming here teaching, and his death.
One of the hall marks of this work, is when in its infancy, the seeding phase, Pastor Gordon, being lead by the hand b/c of his age/poor vision but sharp memory, came to Joliet and held a bible study in our apartment, with six converts, yet with a sharp mind, answering questions and encouraging and confirming the converts.
Many times tempted to quit. God building character/faith/persistence, teaching me how to deal with people and personalities. Personal battles with Thelma:
Bible study started on campus.
Bro. Kevin to help.
2 souls were saved from there sins after watching my life and hearing my testimony of deliverance.
Scholarship offer: With the offer of playing football for a prestigious and famous college in one hand and a college bible study prayer group of 2 students on the other. I was pressed by God to turn down the fame and future fortune of one day playing in the NFL, and coach those 2 souls and see that they were established in God. I have always had a special love for souls that they be saved from sin and sanctified by the Holy Ghost and unified with true worshippers of God in fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ. I by the grace of God have been commissioned to go into all the world and preach the everlasting Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, setting imprisoned and enslaved souls by sin, free.
Lord give me a sign that you want me to stop playing. Stompping player to sleep.
In our groups 1-5 I remember Bro. Bobby quoting scripture God is God of all comfort who comfort us?.
Went to jail service Sister Boyd: exhorted there and told me that God would use me in ministry.
Tom & Jim saved
Joyce & Children
Moved from Thelma to Fritz
Van donated: Themla told me of lady who help people with clothes and food at the center.
MY CALL TO THE MINISTRY
Sis boyd was the first minister to see my ministry as a young man. I exhorted at a jail service?she told me that if I stay faithful, that God would use me one day in the ministry.
God hedged in my way, to show me through a series of unusal test, trials and deliverances, that He was calling me to the ministry.
We gave high 5 just like we do in football. We were the team and the congregaton was the crowd. When we came out of office they cheered us on.
Dream of sitting in Pastor Gordons study with his ministers. As I sat before him, He announced to the ministry that I was among them as a minister. All of the ministrersjumped up and gave me high five hand slaps, just the way I did when I played football. This was my new team. Not taking the scholarship and slapping hand with a new football team and school at Iowa State. As I left the office, the saints were already gathered in for the evening worship service. Pastor Gordon came out of his office and made an announcement to all of the congregation of new player on team and they all began to rejoice and praise God. God showed me that this was the crowd that he wanted me to perform before, this is the crowd that would cheer me on, not the crowd in the stadium of Iowa State. This was to be my new playing field. It was divine calling I was receiving.
I rejected this notion/dream; shook it went back playing reg. football; yet holding down study
Dream of bridge: Bro. Eddie came to help me pass out tracts; told him of another dream? ?God is calling you?did you know that?s in Bible?
Turned down scholarship to Iowa
Moved out Thelma to fritz
God was moving us out of college.
Moved to Fairmount community center.
We had a revival on Hill at sports center.
Asked God to give me one more sign/prove yourself to me.
Accused of Armed robbery (3 days in belly)
Dream concerning ax in hand. Was in basement of church. In the basement were two pillars. That held up the building. I stood between them. There were some who wanted to destroy the pillars but I hit them with the battle axe and chased some out of the church house. The saints seemed to be bery confident in me an dprotected by me. It seemed as if the burden of keeping these saints alive and well and upholding the pillars of the church so that it wouldn?t fall was upon my shoulders. As I awakened of my sleep. I felt yet this burden upon me as if I was responsible for God?s people and protecting them.
Bro. Gazzarro appeared at my door step knocked on my door. As I opened, he pointed his finger in my face and said ?you better obey God and accept what God wants for you and accept your calling?
That Bible Study Group exploded after turning away from my ways and desires. My chief aim and desire is to please God. God started to counsel my soul about preaching his word. The Lord started to talk to my soul about the ministry. I knew that this was a great and divine call from God and should not be taken lightly. I didn?t want it to be my own self initiating thoughts or desires. I started to seek the face of God about this divine call and told God that if he was calling me to preach his word as a minister, to reveal himself unto me in a definite way. Our Bible study Group had grown to the point where we were forced to leave the college and go somewhere else. Going into the community with a group of about 15 people not knowing where to go but totally depending on God for direction. I started to solicit help from divinely called of God and well seasoned ministers. One in particular was minister Eddie Hodges, now presently Pastor of Joliet, ILL. Church of God. I was in school trying to receive my education, and hold a job and work with a bible study group all at the same time. It was cumbersome but the sufficiency of the Grace of God was always there to sustain me through it all. Many souls were saved adnd converted through our soul winning efforts. I wasn?t claiming to be a minister, nor a pastor in any way. It was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. I wanted to finish school, get my degree, make money now that I didn?t have a future in the Pro?s, and get married and just be a good faithful, humble brother in the congregation. But God had another plan for my life. Minister Eddie Hodges, advised a community revival coming out of the college into the community. He was a great help to me with the Bible study and so was a well season, brother named brother Kevin Williams along with Bro. Rick Maltbia. They were a backbone to helping this work get established. We found community center and we had us a good old fashioned church of God revival. Soul were saved, and sanctified. The community was refreshed with the pure word of God. Our influence spreaded throughout the city of Joliet, IL. When we could no longer worship at the community center, God blessed us with a opportunity to rent out space from the community YMCA. We had classrooms for the children, adults and other functions. This was really growing. In the meantime God was yet dealing with me concerning becoming a minister for him. I was in reality ministering and leading a group of people, but I really didn?t realize I was already their minister. I never saw it. God wanted me to claim it and accept it.
(DREAM ABOUT CALL)I asked God several times that if this was him talking to me, give me a witness that it was him calling me. God then gave me a dream. I dreamt that I was climbing a bridge set on the earth and reached into the heavens. As I walked up the center of this bridge there were others ministers and pastors dressed in white robes standing on both sides of the each shoulder of this one lane bridge to heaven. At the top of the bridge was hands extending out of the heavens with the Word of God the Bible in them as to hand it to me. I was of the mind to reach the top to receive the word at his hand. When I reached to top I took the word out of the hands and turned to go back down the bridge. I looked and beheld a multitude of people standing shoulder to shoulder from the foot of the bridge to the horizon. I turned back, as it were for fear and God?s gentle finger pointed in the direction of the people. Then I woke up. I didn?t know at the time what it meant. I was very troubled by it. When minister Hodges came out to Joliet, IL one day to help me do some soul outreach work. We were driving over a bridge at the time and the thought came to inquire of him concerning my dream. After listening, he asked me ?did you know that that dream is in the bible?? I told him I didn?t connect it with anything in the bible and nothing crossed my mind. He said confidently ?that?s the same dream that Jacob had, Jacob?s ladder.? My heart started pounding, a heat wave came over me, palms were sweaty and chills all at the same time. I knew God was speaking to me in a direct way.
After being convinced that God was calling me, I went to pastor Gordon and told him ?give me a double portion of your power?
The next fellowship meeting Pastor Gordon felt the need for me to be ordained as a recognized minister in Nov. 1995. At the same time god was dealing with Bro.Eddie Hodges about taking over the Joliet work. I didn?t know this. Bro. Hodges felt that It wasn?t the time for my ordination. He felt that I should wait. I can now today see the wisdom in waiting. Why rush if it?s to come to pass. Since I had started the work in Joliet, then If I was ordained I might have taken the work of a Pastor over the work there. God was already talking to Bro. Hodges about taking the oversight in Joliet. Since Bro. Hodges was to be my pastor, it was good that I sit under his ministry. I wasn?t ordained until Nov. 2002 seven years later. Seven being the perfect number in the
It is a good feeling to know that Jesus Christ is walking with us, and he is holding our hand. God has something for my faith. I have been through many battles, trials, and tests. But God has done something for my faith. I really believe that God has given us; this is said for God?s glory, the gift of faith. God has been taking us through many things. But God has done something good for our soul. I don?t know about you but I need an increase in my soul. I can never come to a plateau where I can say, ?I?ve arrived. I have enough of the Lord.? Our trials are getting greater; battles are getting harder and longer.
?The battle may be long and hard to win,
And Satan?s hosts may press me sore.?
Where is Satan pressing at? He is pressing against our minds, with thoughts and against our feelings. But we don?t go by feelings. The Bible says, ?The just shall live by faith.? We need God to reinforce our faith. What is going to heal us? Faith. Many times Jesus told those that he healed, ?Thy faith hath made you whole.? We can have faith in God. We do not have to put out confidence in men. We don?t have to put our confidence I our mother, father, neighbor, sister or brother. Our confidence can be in God. We need God to build up our faith. The Bible says, ?Building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.? We need God to build us up.
My example of Humiliation
Nursing School & Moving transition
Arrested snatching old lady purse; pulled over and guns on wife and I
fire dept. hadn?t hired black in 8 years; and 8 year ago it was a family member of employee. (good ole? boy network of nepotism) 99 applicants. 13 to be hired. I was in top 13?the 99th?
Got job in NWEng. sick ---left job by faith?no insur. no 401K, no med. then church ransacked by gas tanker ?we the victims suffering (no assets assess). Yet left with high school debt, paying for something I never got a chance to use?.humiliation.
Built work in Joliet
Turn the whole work over into Pastor Hodges hands.
Sat under him for 7 years; a work I started & humble. The people saw a submissive spirit and my spirit didn?t change (excellent) because it was revived when I humbled myself. Although many said I thought you were the pastor.
FROM NIGGA TO GOOD-LOOK?N
Settled the trial??either way (marriage, school?); settled appendicitis?don?t pick it up?
So the disciples say, ?Lord increase our faith.? They needed God to give them something greater in their soul. There is some task we are going to have to face. Some task we are going to have to fight. There are some battles we are going to have to confront. And we need faith to fight. The Bible says to raise ?the shield of faith.?
I know what it means to be on trial. I went through a fiery test a hard place. November 24, 1995 about 10:00, two FBI agents picked me up. They arrested me for Strong Armed Robbery of a bank. When I was picked up I had ten Bibles in my trunk. I know what it means to have my faith tried. They interrogated me for 11 ½ hours with my hands handcuffed to the wall and sitting on a little stool.
Just before this happened I remember praying. I said, ?Lord, if this is you talking to me, prove yourself to me God.? We better be careful what we ask God for! I was fighting God when he was calling me to the ministry. I was telling God, I didn?t want to have to do THAT. I had said, ?God if this is of you?give me something.? The next day I was picked up by the FBI.
Sitting in jail I was looking at 8 to 30 years as the sentence for Strong Armed Robbery, I cried out to God, ?Why me??
God said, ?You asked me for an increase. You asked me for something greater. You asked me to give you something to confirm my call.?
We all ask God for an increase, but when God sends one our way we say, ?God I can?t handle that.? I want to be great for God. I want to be somebody for God. When God sends us a test to try and prove our sincerity we say, I can?t handle it! Do we tuck our tail and run? Do we run through the test? I tell you that was a hard experience.
I was in nursing school, just two classes away from getting my nursing license. The FBI had come to my school and searched the lockers. My name was in the paper three times stating that I had stolen 5,000 dollars. I lost both of my jobs. They took away my car. I had been living in a beautiful apartment in a nice neighborhood and I couldn?t go to it. They closed my bank account and froze my assets. In one day I was left with nothing. And here I was sitting in somebody?s jail cell. We are going to go through some things. We have to learn how to take some things.
My faith was on trial. God said, ?You want an increase, you?ve got to go on trial. You gonna go through something.? I was interrogated by the police for 13 hours. I was sitting on this little stool and they were hovering over me. When they would speak to me they were angry. Then you have one officer who would be so humble meek and mild. He said things like, ?Oh Troy, don?t listen to them, they are pretty fired up and angry; but you can talk to me.? In the middle of it all the thought came to me, ?Your faith?s gonna be tried.?
I sat there, I said, ?Lord, increase my faith. God I need you to help me in my mind.? The devil used those officers to come against my very mind. They put me in such a scenario. They said, ?You?ve got a church.? We did have a little Bible study class operating every Sunday and Thursday night. It was small, about ten of us before God blessed us with a Pastor. These officers said, ?You?ve got you a church downtown don?t you? You stole the money because you needed some money for the church?? They were coming against my mind. They said, ?You got up this morning, you were out of your mind. You weren?t yourself, Troy. That was not you; but when you left your house you purposely, you robbed the bank.?
And they went on and on, that?s how the enemy comes against our mind. When you are going through a test, you?re going through a trial; the devil will come against your mind, like the natural man was coming against my mind. He?ll wear on your mind. How are you going to make it. Give up? God back out in the world? You say to yourself, ?I know how to go out there and make some quick money. I don?t have to take this. I don?t have to go through this!? You convince yourself you had it better in sin. That devil will talk to your mind. But every time you go through the test its for the glory of God. It?s not for your glory; it?s for God?s glory. God is sending you through this test for his glory. When I look back over my situation and remember that the Bible says, ?All things work together for good.? It?s working out somehow. I might not see the good in it; that?s why faith is not what you see. You don?t see the outcome, you don?t see the end results, but it?s working out for my good Lord. My flesh doesn?t want to believe it. My flesh doesn?t want to hear it. But by the grace of God I know he is working it out for my good. And God said all things.
I was sitting in that tiny little room in the jail cell. If you have never been there you don?t know what I?m talking about. They don?t have any Sealy mattresses. The bed doesn?t have a button where you push and it raises your head up. What you do have is bars and a hard concrete slab to lie on. There was a thin little piece of mattress on the bed. I found myself sitting on this bed just crying, ?Lord, o God, why me??
God spoke to me and said, ?Wipe your tears. Why are you crying??
I didn?t eat for two days, God said ?Stop that crying.? He was spanking me. ?There are souls out there, get out there, go and witness.?
?Witness? Not now God! I?m trying to figure out how I got in here. I didn?t do the crime. I?m doing someone else?s time.?
God said, ?Get out there? I got out there. I got out there and started sharing about the goodness of God. And you know what? A young man was strongly under conviction. God blessed me with his favor. I have been back to Joliet and visited with that young man. Nine years later he told me. ?God sent you in there for me.? Nine years later I didn?t see that. How long do you stay in the fire and not understand why? Even when God brings you out and you can?t figure out what God is doing. You still need to give it to God. You need to have the attitude, ?Lord it is still for your good.? I don?t see it but that is what faith is all about. It is not by sight, it?s by faith. That is what I?m living by. I am living by faith.
My bail had been set at 100,000 dollars. They came down to 10% of this sum. I didn?t have the 10,000 dollars for bail. As I was leaving from the jail cell going to the court room God gave me a ray of hope. God will show you rays of light. He gave me an indication that he was still there. He was still holding my hand. God gave me an assurance through the pain; I?m still here my child. Hold on, sorrow may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. Hold on a little tighter to the line. Don?t give up it isn?t worth your soul.
I was marched out, striped down, searched, treated like a dog, treated like a criminal. We were marched to the court room. I was chained to about ten other guys; chained in a line with shackles on my feet and shackles on my hands. As I looked at these men I said, ?Lord these people, they look mean, they look like they could rip my head off.? I was sitting chained to these men put into a van and riding side by side with them from the jail to the court house. As I looked out of the window of the van into the parking lot of the courtroom I saw a large crowd of people gathered into a circle praying. I see these people out there, but I am in the van with all the criminals. Men with hair to their laps, big muscular arms, who look like they haven?t shaved in years; they were hard core.
God can take you mind off your test, just like he did for Stephen. The Bible said Stephen was full of faith. I don?t believe he saw the stones flying in. I don?t believe he felt the pain. He was looking up. All God wants us to do is to look up. God took my mind of the criminals and I saw a band of angels. I saw a group of saints right there in the parking lot praying. I saw a court room that couldn?t hold all of the saints. As I was sitting there all chained together with these hard men, it was like God took me out of that situation. I jumped up chains clanging and cried out, ?This is my people, this is my people.? Both of the men sitting next to me raised their hands with mine. I told these men, ?These are my people.? These hardened criminals told me, ?You?ve got it made man. You?ve got it made. All these people are here for you. You?ve got it made.?
It was my turn and I was standing before the judge. He said, ?If you have 10% of 100,000 dollars you can walk.? I looked around the court room; the seats were filled all the way to the back. I looked at all those faces and then I looked back at the judge. I said, ?Yeah we got it.? You have faith when you want to have faith. I looked back at the saints and again I said, ?Yeah we have it.? Two of those saints came over to the judge and asked if he could please come down on the amount. The judge was willing to come down to 10% of 50,000 dollars.
Someone out of the blue came and paid five thousand dollars, the bail loan was paid for. We were escorted out of the courtroom and I was sitting in the jail waiting. The guards came and said, ?You?ve got two big men out there bailing you out.? I let those guard know, ?Those are my brothers.? This was faith. God had come just like he promised. He will come, He will come. That is the promise. There are two immutable things, it is impossible for God to lie. (Hebrews 6:18). He will do what he promised.
The Bible says, ?Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.? (Hebrews 11:1). Thank God we can build our hope on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. We don?t have to trust ?the sweetest frame? but we can wholly lean on Jesus name. There is a song that says, I?ve been through the fire, it had deepened my desire. My trial of fire deepened my desire to know the living God more and more. It hasn?t been much fun. I cried to God, ?Lord it hurts.? But what it has done in my life has made it worth all the hurt. Some times we need the hard times. To bring us to our knees, we want to do as we please and we don?t listen to God. God always knows what is best and confident in this I rest, that he is working everything out for my good.
It took me two years to clear my name. For two years of my life I couldn?t get a job anywhere. When you know you have a clean record, you know you didn?t do anything, and you can?t get a job; this is hard. I found a job digging holes in the snow for a sign company. I was paid in cash as a day laborer. That is all I could find. I was the preacher that robbed the bank. My name was out, my name was marred, and I was being persecuted. I would go into a store and people would say, ?You?re the man that was in the paper.? I confidently stated, ?Lord, you are working for your good.? I went to the gas station and they would say, ?I saw you in the paper.? No, I didn?t like it. My test became ongoing.
My faith was on trial. My cry was, ?Lord, increase my faith.? Finally after two years I went before a jury trial. When they said, ?Not guilty,? there was a hallelujah rejoicing in that court room. That judge kept banging on the gavel and saying, ?order in the court.? We were having a revival in the court room. Shouting, crying, jumping and rejoicing because God had answered prayer.
The devil wasn?t finished, my faith was being tried. After all that I had been through the police came to my apartment and arrested me again. They accused me of snatching an old ladies purse at the court house. I had been at the courthouse that day paying a ticket an old ladies purse was missing and my car had been identified.
?Have you been to the court house?? the police asked.
?Yes sir I have.?
?Is that your car there with the license plate that says, SOULS? The car that has a bumper sticker on it that says, JUST SAY NO TO SIN??
All I could do was ask the question, ?You saw that car?
They searched my apartment and took me to the station and finger printed me again. When they were finished with all their paper work they let me go. They said to me, ?You can walk home. We know where to find you.? Here was another false accusation. The devil is a master at bringing on false accusations. Those accusations will bring up all manner of negative feelings. But the Bible says we overcome him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony. (Revelaion 17:14)
?but I found a refuge now from every sorrow joy everlasting a sweet?.
Fulfilling all our places in the body of Christ. It?s time for thee oh Lord to work?we are his workmanship?for it?s God which worketh in us both to will and to do?
(pastor Gordon wanted to ordain me at the next meeting same yr. Bobby?Bro. Hodges stepped in?; wanted to give me his Cadillac?bro. Hodges stepped in?)
Many days as passed by empty buildings I would get out my car and lay hands on the buildings and thank God for the Joliet church building. Little white building at the foot of the hill.
I can remember the nights of the revival so clear in my mind at the Fairmount community center. I still have written directions on leading the saints in from Chicago to the center.
Brother mark and I witnessing on the hill?3 young men counting?, wht castle a yr later?sleeping in parking lot of kmart?3 in morning met howard again?got address went by house constantly?
Laid hands on empty buildings, praying that God would raise up a work and bless us?
Just as I was dedicated to the game, I?m now dedicated to the things of God
Discrimination pays off big - Joliet Fire Dept.