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How to Return to Jesus - Part 2

Eblast - Fresh Fire USA

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I went into my daughter’s room; I closed the door and Jesus was already in the room, standing. In a vision experience, I saw the Lord. I was going to pray, and I just couldn't pray, so I crumbled onto my face. After four hours I got up, and the glory lifted. I call it the glory wind—where you're consciously aware of the overwhelming presence and tears are running and you must lay down.

Sometimes it comes, and you don't even know why. You get out of your bed and you come down in the morning to get coffee and you walk right into the presence of God. You're weeping in the kitchen, and you haven't even prayed in two days. I said, “Lord, why are You here so strong right now? I'm not worthy.” And the Lord said, ”That's why I'm here. Because you think it's about you.” I love sovereign moments when I'm driving my car to the grocery store, and I start weeping in the front seat. I ask, “Lord why is Your presence here right now?” He says, “why shouldn't it be?” God's sovereignty knows how to capture my heart. But you know what He loves even more? When you don't wait for those touches, when you don't wait for those kisses, when you don't wait for those moments of sovereignty, and you decide to move Him with love and hunger and draw near unto Him and seek Him and search for Him. I want You to come closer, keep coming Holy Spirit. I want to be overwhelmed. When that cloud came, I didn't ever want it to stop. It was like an experience somebody has in one of my meetings when I pray for them, and they get slain in the Spirit for like three hours. You had to pick them up, turn the lights off, and carry them to their car. Those are revival meetings. And that is what happened to me, by myself, in the baby nursery.

I wondered if it would happen the next day. The next day, I knew I was going to pray in living room, and the house is empty. This is day three of the ninety days. I'm in the kitchen and I'm going to get a glass of juice. As soon as I open the fridge door, I bring out the glass of juice, put it on the counter, and a person stands behind me in the kitchen and I know it's the Lord. I can't even move, I can't shut the fridge door, I am stuttering, and I can't look. I'm thinking, don't look, you'll die. And I'm thinking, why is Jesus visiting me two days in a row? And this one feels stronger. Now it feels like there's an actual person in the flesh. I'm not saying it was in the flesh, but it felt like this. And the Lord was so close behind me. I looked down and I saw just His feet with one hole on the top and I fell flat out on the floor. Literally, by the time I hit the floor, I was in a trance. And in my trance, I was walking in the garden of Gethsemane, and I got to witness the whole moment from the garden. I was like somebody traveling on the road, the passion road, and I got to go all the way to Golgotha and witness the resurrection like a movie.

When I got to the cross, after I felt how much agony the Lord was having in the garden, I asked Him why that was permitted for me to see. I saw how the Lord wrestled with the Father about the cup. Not My will, but Your will. It was such a real thing. He said, "Now you'll have passion to be an evangelist and you'll go anywhere I send you.” I go to Pakistan, Congo, I go to war-torn countries. I go to the jungles of Peru and Bolivia. I go anywhere because of that experience.

I had two experiences that defined my call as a preacher/harvester. The second one, the Lord permitted me to fall into hell and feel it for a moment. That experience made me realize that some you save with compassion, and others you make a distinct mark that can snatch them out of the fires. You just need to know who you save with compassion and love, and who you save with hellfire and brimstone. The Lord said, “I think a lot of Christians pray for visions of heaven and glory, but more preachers probably need a vision of hell.” That's also what William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, said. He said if every Christian could taste and see what hell was like, they would want to get every lost person in the kingdom.

So, the Lord let me have those two experiences. After that experience was over, the glory just came every day for the next three months. And every day it was so overwhelming. Most days I just laid on the floor.

The word got out fast in Canada that somebody on the West Coast was experiencing God-like revival in Toronto. Remember, people are hearing the story and they're like, but he's such a young Christian. Can we have him come preach in Toronto? I was preaching there before I was twenty-seven years old. Then I received invitations to preach in Brownsville after the revival in Pensacola, Florida. I went to Brownsville to preach there. Bill Johnson and all these other ministries would start asking me to come preach, and here's why. Because they started hearing about the glory. When it started, I would have people come to my door. They would knock on the door and they would say, “can we just come into your place? We heard the Lord is here and we are so hungry, we are not getting it in the churches. Would you mind if we just laid on the floor, you wouldn't even know we are here? Could we do this for like twelve hours?” And one day, I remember counting twenty-two people on the floor in my house. Strangers even! Just lying on the floor! While I experienced God. They would say, “just do what you do in your normal prayer life.” And I would just go for it and let the Lord touch me, and I'd lay on the floor and go into the secret place.

Sometimes I would have dreams, visions, and I would see angels. Every day, as I began to honor the presence more, I became more aware of how real the heavenly places were. It became more and more real—the Lord became so tangible there were so many prophetic experiences.

So, this continues for ninety days, and on Mother's Day, 1998, I wake up and felt something changed. It was like the Lord said, “It's done.” The visitation. And I'm thinking, No! What do You mean? You just come, and it's done? Like, what happened? We were like four to twelve hours a day, every day, glory, liquid honey clouds, angels, dreams, supernatural, I'm on my face, I'm so in love with Jesus. What do You mean? He said, “watch and see.” He speaks to me, and He says, "Your ministry begins tonight." This is Mother's Day 1998. I said, “I don't have a ministry. I must go back to work at the mill, and I've never preached more than a 10-minute sermon, maybe 30 minutes now. I'm not ready and qualified at all. I've never been to Bible school. I don't have a business card. I don't even know what ministry means.” And the Lord said, "You begin today."

I end up in this meeting, Mother's Day night. The Lord said, "Go to that women's conference that Patricia King is putting on." She's a prophetic person and she was a Canadian. She didn't even have the name Patricia King then; it was a whole other name. People knew she was kind of the ministry for healing, deliverance, and the prophetic twenty-five years ago in Canada. So, I went to this women's meeting and I thought, Lord, there's going to be no men there. Why am I going to this women's meeting?

Patricia wanted me to share a story for ten minutes about the glory cloud and hunger. She thought it would be good for people to see somebody so young hungry and on fire. I got the microphone and ten minutes turned into two hours. The glory came into that meeting. I remember Patricia getting up and saying, “I have never done this, and I don't know I’d ever do it again. I just heard the Lord say you need to stop whatever it is that you're doing. You need to be in ministry full time. I believe it so much that we are going to take an offering. This can be the first offering of your ministry.” I didn't know what an offering was. I'm like okay, and she says pray for all these women. I pray for like five hundred women, and they're under the power. We had several healed of cancer, all these miracles. And they take up this offering, a few thousand dollars. I thought, wow, Lord. He said, “Didn't I tell you to watch and see that you were going to be in ministry today? And now I publicly confirmed it.”

After years in ministry, you drift away and it's possible to hear the Lord say depart for me, I never knew you. He said, “you cast out demons in My name, miracles in My name, signs and wonders in My name.” And these aren't false prophets and false teachers as many of us have been taught to believe, they're believers that the Lord rebukes and says you cease to be known. That’s the Greek word. That means there was a time you were known, but you ceased to be known.

Think of it as a marriage where two people fell in love. You lost the dating, the romance, the spark, and that gets challenging. Love matures, but like Jesus said, “I used to know you, but you cease to be known because the friendship is over. Yet you've maintained how to move in the gifts. You've maintained how to do life and ministry. But it's not the way you were in the beginning when your one desire. Remember when it was one thing?”

I was in the height of my ministry, when it was the busiest time and I was the most successful. We were receiving million-dollar offerings. I'm doing stadiums. This was in America in 2008 in Lakeland. I had T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyers, and Benny Hinn call me. For me it was like the pinnacle in the charismatic movement. I thought, Lord I'm doing everything You've called me to do, but I wonder if all this was gone, how much I would love You? Before my life kind of imploded, I said, “I wonder if you must lose it all, so you can find it all?” You don't.

Have you ever heard the Scripture, it’s better to fall on the rock and be broken unless the rock falls on you and crushes you to powder? The Lord was speaking to me about choosing brokenness and loving Him. Our ministry was a $13 million a year ministry. We were thriving. I had to turn away a thousand meetings.

It was a revival and I was lonely, and I was at the top and it started out with a presence. It was so much about the presence with me and Roy Fields. We would worship and go on for hours and sing in the presence of angels. Then the TV interviews started, and the media interviews started, and Oprah Winfrey and Nightline news and Geraldo. We were like celebrities. People started flying in from Europe and from many other nations. Monday nights we'd have 5,000 people, and we would have 7,000 to 10,000 on a Friday.

This went on for five months straight. I was imploding on the inside, and I thought, Lord I'm burned out. My marriage is burned out, I'm keeping the face. And You know all of this and You're giving me revival anyways. Surely the Lord was big enough and surely He could have kept me—He didn’t have to give me that outpouring. He was the one that chose to. And when it was all said and done, in the end I lost everything. And I got so down in brokenness that it took six months before I stepped into MorningStar church with Rick Joyner.

After my brokenness and revival being done in Lakeland, I went into a cave for months. I hid from the world. The world was talking about how my life and ministry had crumbled. I went through a public divorce, remarriage later, and all the rumors and stuff that came with it. Behind the scenes, I was in such burnout. I preached one hundred and twenty-seven straight meetings. That meant for the next four months, you sit right here. That was me. And on top of that, I had to get out of bed and run my family and do TV interviews. I lost time to even pray any more when before I would never consider stepping into a meeting without a minimum of one to three hours in the secret place.

I lost everything in that season. I was so broken when I stepped in the church. In the first few weeks in the church, when I tried to worship, all I could do was cry. I couldn't worship. I felt Lord, but I couldn’t even give Him a song of praise. He’s worthy and though He saved me, I'm so broken. He said that's because you need to let Me love you alive.

At that time the whole world had their opinions. I didn't have any friends that were calling and loving and helping. Just two men that believed they heard God to help me. A man by the name of Bill Johnson. He wrote the foreword on my secret place book and remains a friend and father in my life, and another man like Rick Joyner that would call me every day for six months in my hidden cave in my pain and brokenness.

Todd was in a cave. I had $20 to my name. Rented furniture and living in Reno, Nevada, hiding from the whole world and the media. They wanted the scandal, they wanted the news, they wanted the story, and the church wanted the lynching. So, I ran away from it all and thought I wonder if I could get back to the secret place like I had twenty years ago. And how did I get here after this? Sometimes you meet Christians, and the more they're saved, the more they forget to have the intimacy with God. They've forgotten how to feel the presence.

I said, “God, I'm in the field and I can't even give a praise. I'm in such a place of brokenness.” He said, “Let Me love you alive. You don't have to strive. Let Me love you alive, son. You know how to soak and marinate. You know how to bask and bathe. You know how to drink. Just come and lay in My glory again. Lay in the river again.”

My concern was could I ever love Him again and keep it real and fresh without all the fluff? I needed to know if the way that the Western world does ministry was the right way. I told the Lord, “I will never do it where it's about anything again other than You. If You give me one more chance to love You, and to have this in my life again because I lost this.” I lost it, and I was the most successful, biggest ministry at that time. I looked on the stage and I had Steve Hill, John Fitzpatrick, and every leader of every stream in twenty-five years. T.D. Jakes called me, cheering me on. He was the first to call me after my restoration.

Who you are in the pulpit doesn't really matter to me. Who you are when you pray and the face you put on doesn't really matter, and it won't matter to God. What won't matter to God in the end is how many demons and how many crowds and how many miracles you see. When I can get to that point where I realize that to die is gain, if I'm going to be dead, it might as well be Jesus. But if I'm going to be alive, it might as well be for the gospel.

I became sold out—not to religion, not to a form, not to anything else anybody wanted it to be. Nobody told me I couldn't have the encounters I was having; and I didn't even know it was possible. I stumbled on a place in the supernatural because I went after this presence; because I realized I could have as much of Jesus as I wanted to. You can have as much of heaven as you want to. You can have full access back to what Adam had in the garden.

You want to go back and do what I taught you to do in the beginning? It's not just that my name is in the book of life, but God got me saved so He could get heaven in me. There's a place for you to get into the secret place of His glory and presence, and for you to encounter Him and experience Him in ways you never have before, and ascend the secret place of the stairs and know Holy Spirit as a friend and person. If your prayer life is dry and empty, and you're not having the level of encounter that I'm talking about, learn the prayer models. I learned every prayer model you can imagine on how to pray and experience God because I was so desperately hungry.

I needed something to help give me a little prayer structure, a little prayer sheet, let me go through the soul ties, let me go through the checklist. I did not know how to pray ten minutes at dinner. When I realized prayer wasn't about my prayer list and supplication, but that real prayer didn't begin until I prayed all that stuff through and I learned to show up and just go, “God I'm here for one thing, one thing I desire, one thing I'll seek.” Why aren't you hungry for God, why aren't you hungry for Jesus!? We need a fresh new hunger people. We need to pray! God restore the fire on the altar of my heart for fire and intimacy. This is what's going to fan the flames—maintain and sustain the flames of revival.

It’s not all about the revival, stadiums, harvest, or miracles. All the stuff that you think we talk about and do on the outside, but my friend, we must get back to the Father's house. The Lord told me this is the message of the hour. The church must relearn and rediscover.

When I lost it all, my biggest fear was that I was loving God because I always had a reason. It didn't start out that way, but now it was all gone, and I was broken and thought the whole world and the church were done with me. In my season of hiding after Lakeland, going through a real painful public divorce in ministry, knowing there were so many other lies about the way people think it really all went down. It didn't matter because I was done and I quit. The truth is on August 13, 2008 I stepped away from the revival. Nobody caught me. Nobody exposed me, I quit because I had missed Jesus. I said I'm not fit to be at this pulpit leading this revival because my life's not together and I'm burned out and I’ve lost my first love. I walked away from it all. I came to MorningStar Ministries in 2009, and I did two and half years of restoration. After two and half years of restoration, my call came to return to ministry in October or November 2010.

When I started again, I didn't have one dollar. I didn't have one partner; I didn't have one email. Everything I knew of the former was gone, and most of the relationships and churches and people that believed in me and helped me were gone too. Rightly so. People get hurt. But for me, I was trying to find my secret place. You see, this is my story. I did a lot of cleaning up and repentance. This is my journey because when it was all gone, I found the love of Jesus again. It took me six months because I was so unplugged from everything. They had me in restoration, and Rick Joyner said play golf, do whatever you want as part of your restoration because burnout was a big part of what you fell into. And the reason you got burned out was because you lost being a son and your motivation was the crowds and the meetings and the favor and the success. It wasn't just about Jesus alone in the morning, and eating the manna from heaven because you want to encounter God.

It's like everything I needed from the Lord was for a reason. I needed money for a reason. I needed to be anointed for a reason. I would dare not pray and then show up and preach and the anointing no be there. And the Lord said, “but you don't walk with Me the way we used in the garden.” He said, “I wonder if you would pray if you didn't have to preach six times this week and if it was just about My presence again and I took away all that stuff?”

I had to lose it all to say, I fell in love with Jesus again and I never want to go back to church. I was afraid to pastor again. I was afraid to launch a new church. I was afraid to do anything because I thought I finally got back what I had ten years before this, which brought me to my biggest, wildest Holy Ghost dreams.

God was in all that stuff. He was in the crowd. He's in it still. He's in the miracles, He's in the stadiums. He just wants to be sure that it's not "depart from Me, I never knew you." Somehow, I drifted away in all the fame, busyness, and distraction of life with babies and kids. And I said, “Lord, what happened to the real me that believed that these men had been with Jesus? That believed and valued that I would dare not even think of getting up and doing if I didn't spend all those hours praying?”

By Todd Bentley



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