Pastor Rick's Preach Story

Some where called and some were sent. Some just packed up and went.Some were Mama called and Daddy sent. But there are those called of God. So it was with Rick Bowen.

The story you are about to read is like others but unique. I know, a paradox. Yet this is the way much of supernatural ministry goes. Each day may be quite mundane, but often is sprinkled with manifestations of God's presence and even the miraculous that he weaves into our story, which is actually His. History. So this is the history of one anointed prophetic minister. Not everything will be told or it would be way to lengthy. Some things are left out to protect those still trying to get their footing and renew their relationship with God. Therefore the purpose of this informative saga is to inspire and equip. If you understand that God uses others in spite of their inhibitions and restraints, then perhaps you will understand that God is already using you and you have a story to tell to. Maybe you won't share yours until some time later. But more than likely it will encourage and inspire others much like this one. Enjoy and be blessed!

The Beginning

46 years ago, I began this preach journey. Singing with a Gospel Group. Getting credentialed in Dallas at the International Churches of Deliverance with W. V. Grant Sr. of the Voice of Healing! I then began working for a missionary evangelist to Mexico in Bryan, Texas, Harold Lange. He and Gloria Ellis-Lange Price owned a music store. I interpreted letters from Mexicans to him and from him to them! I would preach mostly on weekends for app. 4 years in the Texas area and perhaps Louisiana and Arkansas.

Alfonso Alvarado asked me to be the expositor for our Gospel Group. App. Early 1976, the Holy Spirit fell on me with an anointing to exhort! As this occurred the call to preach came heavy. I accepted it and began to move into the gifts, word of knowledge, wisdom, discerning spirits, tongues, interpretation and PROPHECY! I preached my first sermon in Austin at Santos Pentecostes! Don’t worry the sermon was in English and only lasted about 7-8 minutes ðŸ‘€ðŸ¤·ðŸ»â€â™‚️

I got saved and filled with the Holy Ghost under the anointed prolific preaching and pastoring of Brother D. R. Young at the College Heights A/G. A lot of word was instilled in me from 1965-app 1974-5, Then for approximate 2 years I taught the young peoples Sunday School at El Templo Buenas Nuevas A/G pastored by Hermano Rosas (I was also singing in the group when I started preaching), In 1977 I became an Honorary member of The Revival Center Church of God in Christ pastored by Brother Webb. In 1978, I helped start the Endtime Evangelistic Pentecostal Church which is pastored by Brother Melvin C. Williams. As I continued my revivals locally through the week and also on weekends, I worked at Lange Music Company and McClane Southwest! During these years I received prophetic words and anointings from prophetic ministers and evangelists, Isaiah Young, Bud Chambers, Bishop S.D. James, two prophets names Hester, and David Terrell and others. Much of these prophecies confirmed and gave momentum to my early ministry!

With anointing oil ‘dripping’ from my head, I left my job, home, and surroundings in 1980 for the next 8 years (new beginning), I traveled the ‘sawdust’ trail preaching in Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, several islands, and all states already named! I preached everywhere they’d have me. I prayed over many as they came through prayer lines, baptized and rebaptized, newly saved, and the rededicated! The gifts were in operation. I made many friends and became adopted parts of several families for different seasons of kingdom assignments. In 1984 the ministry took a turn!

New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1983, a service that lasted till 2 a.m, Jacksonville, Florida pivotal time. Pastor Wil Cohron hosted me for revival. I attended camp meeting met strategically effective and located pastors, W Wayne Pugh, Paul Haygood, and several others! I preached revivals for these great men and became lifelong friends. Pastor Cohron arranged for me to take a turn north, so I journeyed to West Virginia, to preach for Joe Nelson. From there I crossed the Ohio River and began preaching revivals in Ohio! Each place I would go would lead to the next place, it seemed those that were blessed, were also impressed and wanted to share my prophetic and catalyzing ministry with their friends in the next city or state and sometimes the same town!

Those 8 years in the 80s were lean times, but yet rich. Like Bud Chambers wrote and the Goodmans sang, “I’m a Poor Rich Man!” I stayed in people’s homes, Sunday School Room with bed, cheap horseshoe classic motels, etc. I stayed in travel trailers. I finally bought a used travel trailer that was my home for a while. Later, I bought an old construction workers motor home called, get this, “Escapade!” It had a tool box on top that looked like a coffin. There was preacher poundings (some of y’all know) and weeks where peanut butter crackers and bologna was exquisite cuisine! Yet God provided, sustained and even prospered! And don’t forget his protection. Even delivered from an apartment fire that took out two of my best suits (rust and lavender) 👀😎 Got locked out of my 71 Cadillac while running in with a flat in the hood of Chicago 👀 But I’m still here 🙌🏻 God ministered in every case, ‘cause people were hungry! They didn’t care what color I was and I didn’t care what color they were! We had CHURCH y’all!!! The Prophetic was intense (or in tents ⛺️, you might say LOL) 
The reason I bought the motor home was for somewhere for me and my new bride to live in while we were on the road. We affectionately named the motor home, BERTHA! (No offense if that’s your name). She made it through the saga of this motorhome, even though we had to drive it for 100s of miles with no brakes and had to suffer through sparks flying off the steering column 👀LOL. Ruth was the greatest change and person that could have happened to me. I mean who would leave all to follow Jesus and take on a Kingdom assignment that would take us where I hoped angels did not fear to tread? She has stood beside me in thick and then, for better or for worse, and certainly through rich or poor! I would not have been able to do what was done since 1987, if it were not for her hard work and counsel. You’ll never know what a difference it’s made to have this green eyed blonde headed girl co-laboring with me.

Pastors Schneider and Colbern in Caldwell, Ohio said, if they weren’t married, they would marry her. They were and I wasn’t, so I DID/I mean I DO! 😊 But this led from Parkersburg, West Virginia, to Coshocton, Ohio, to Toledo, to Loraine, where we dated for a couple years by plane! Who does that?! So we married and hit the trail in that aforementioned BERTHA! Now she can vouch for more of my “you can’t make this up stories!” One place the Pastor took us out to eat but we received NO honorarium 👀🤷🏻‍♂️Another lasted two weeks or so. Food every night afterwards. No wonder I ballooned out to 230 (180 now)! We drove the motorhome through many states and saw the move of the Spirit in congregations in the city and the COUNTRY. Then the motorhome began to come apart like Johnny Cash’s car in reverse, “one piece at a time” LOL. It made it all the way to Muncie before we moved it out of our lives because we had a new assignment.

A pastor named Kirk in Elyria, Ohio had a brother in Toledo! Holy Toledo!! I was able to have three revivals in Toledo. At one of these meetings, I ministered a prophetic Word of Knowledge and Wisdom to a young couple. This couple arranged for me to come to Kokomo, Indiana in 1986. I hadn’t been since 1976 (Austin, Indiana, with Brother Richie). I was invited to second church in Kokomo, pastored by James E. Ball! This pastor took me to Indianapolis to preach in his network’s fellowship meeting! A church from Muncie was there also. Unbeknownst to me I was about to get an invitation to Muncie for a series of three revivals over the next 2 years. It was during this time that I was joined by the gorgeous blonde in the aforementioned posts! I was told by Brother Ball that Brother Slattery from Muncie was looking for a pastor to take his place. He said don’t be surprised if he asks if you have interest. By the way Brother Ball said, ‘are you interested in pastoring?!’ I heard that question again from this great pastor from Muncie, Brother Harry Slattery! It was like a Holy Ghost echo! 👀

As expected, one night after church, Brother Slattery asked me about my interest in pastoring. Basically, though flattered, I told him, I would pray about it. This was in December of 1986. As 87 turned to 88, I and then Ruth and I had 3 meetings in Muncie, plus we watched the church for 3 weeks. The people of Muncie and Gethsemane received us well. In the fall of 88, after our consent, Brother Slattery nominated us as his choice to become pastors! It was confirmed by the majority of the membership. We move out of the motorhome and into a house. My head was in the clouds and my eyes on the stars! Most of the time, thankfully my feet stayed on the ground. The church slowly began to grow. The gifts were in operation! Baptisms of the converted started accelerating!!! Before long I invited my friend, whom I had preached for, in for revival! W Wayne Pugh came for a Memorable, Miracle Revival! The crowd swelled and filled the house. The prayer line was long and the anointing was heavy. Of course trials were right around the corner! But God!!

You May have noticed that the story so far is exciting and rosy! But in this life there are also thorns! Adversity and tribulation. I haven’t and won’t tell most and certainly not too many details! The past is under the BLOOD!! But you need to understand that ministry comes with a price! It is valuable! It is to be cherished! 1990 brought the shocking passing of my Dad! 6 months later during the revival mentioned in part 10, a core member of the church dropped dead right in front of me and others! Yes this is the short version. Pain, anxiety and trauma gripped me in 1991 for all of a year. The enemy tried to take me out. I had symptoms that were extremely disturbing. Cramps, spasms, acid reflux, esophagitis, heart palpitations, pre-mature ventricular contractions, 20 per minute at times, etc. I walked through and out of the valley of the shadow! For you see over 30 years of prophetic pastoral ministry lay in front of me. God wouldn’t let the devil win! And neither would I! I was going to sow a new theme in the lives of the tried and true, the testimony of victory! And like the preacher for our first revival said, “Don’t wait for the walls to fall, SHOUT NOW!!”

The prophetic anointed desire and word of knowledge came during the adversity. I wanted a boy, 9 months, he arrived. It was a miracle prayer! 22 months later his sister came along. This illustrated the irony of TRIUMPH in the midst of trials! Then there was the 22 weeks of baptisms every week! We were underway. Excitement building. I arose from the laser focus on my mortality, thinking I would die, to the right focus on God’s plan for the assembly. The buzz ensued. People were sharing and talking. We had several revivalists in to keep stirring the fire. Other pastors said this is revival. We began to make friends with missionaries and support them around the world. The honeymoon lasted for some time. We met people around the church community of Muncie, Delaware county and beyond! Yes the right decision has been made! We had our natural children and spiritual children were being born! God is good!

One of the things that intrigued the folks upon becoming pastor and before was the gifts of the Spirit. I have already alluded to this. This was somewhat new to many. Some were a little leary at first while others were fascinated. It started with me in 1973-74 with my first message in tongues in Jacksonville, Texas. That was the door to more. Later at Souls Harbor in Dallas, I observed other gifts. So in 1976, on the way to San Antonio, I had a vision. When I arrived in SA the vision came to pass. I ministered to the lady and her son deliverance. One year later at the same church, the lady said, he was still free! So from there words of knowledge and wisdom, along with prophecy became pretty common. It was that way when we arrived in Muncie. So ministry flowed from 88 into the 90’s with anticipation, excitement, growth, and hope! Perhaps someone will testify in this thread. Nevertheless, more to be said as the 90s hit their stride!!

As we rolled through the 90s with momentum, the quest for different stratagems and methods got our attention. But mostly revivals, making new friends. A number of evangelists came and did their part. We settled into a network and befriended other groups. The Lord gave me an overwhelmingly conviction, “you are not by yourself, this is my kingdom!” Then came camp-meetings. Near and far. Family and national. Lake Placid and Columbus! Suber and Parsley! We had high hopes lifted higher as we saw a great hunger for growth and vision! Could we build a new church? Could we buy land? Could we expand? Ideally yeah! Realistically it took cooperation and resources! The answer was a resounding yes!

One member suggested we go on the radio. So we went on WERK - 99AM, a local Christian Station (Now Classic Rock, FM). I had to make a cassette tape with a sermon or lesson on it each week. I also needed a lead in song and one to close. We themed the radio program similarly to what the church we built would be named, The Victory Today Radio Broadcast! It was a challenge to get the newly made cassette out to the station each week. It was located in what looked like a house on 3 at that time. Once I sung all 4 parts to a song on a sound track!!! I had to dub each part in one at a time! I sounded pretty good as a quartet LOL! The broadcast hit it’s stride and ran it course as the station was sold and repurposed! Little did I know in the early 90s, that one day there would be digital opportunities to get the word out and that I would find several ways to send out the light of the GOSPEL!

Excitement! God’s work is! But the human mind and emotions can get in a rut if not challenged! Mid 90s we found one of the several hubs of revival in Columbus, Ohio! We also aspired to become a hub of sorts in our own right. Could we spawn, stimulate, and catalyze revival? Well we were on a quest! Let’s relocate and build! Where? We looked at several churches and we looked at several land locations. When Robert Huddleston showed me his mini-farms properties on 26th Street, the witness came as the board and church body agreed on 14 acres in Center Township! We bought it fully paid for in less than 6 months! Even though then it was a barren, plot of dirt and weeds, it was destined to become a blessed area where angels roam. One day it would become as one Bishop described it, a field of dreams, where a fortress of faith would be built! A bastion for the BLOOD!

Each morning (as 96 ended and 97 began), before going to the office or about the day’s agenda, I would drive to the blessed land, sit in the car, watch and pray, as the Temple of Victory was built. They built through the winter, using visqueen, salamanders, and other helps to facilitate as an efficient use of the otherwise inopportune time as possible. As spring arrived, one morning I noticed an extraordinary phenomenon!! Sitting on the unfinished drive through was a WHITE DOVE!! It had never been there before and I had never seen one in ‘person’! Every day for two weeks, the same thing. Then it disappeared!! I pointed it out to the contractors who also saw it! They were astounded as well! What did the DOVE foretell?! No matter what, it was a sign of God’s approval!!

I find (as I often do) the timing of this day and the parallel course of my ‘preach posts’ to be riveting! For it was 21 years ago today that Penny Robertson, Kim Brown, Theresa Harville, Joan Allen, Bruce Boling, Larry Terry, and I were headed to Baton Rouge to Bethany World Prayer Center for Larry Stockstill’s Cell Conference! We stopped in Terre Haute to use restroom when we heard the news of the first plane! The rest of the trip was sobering! But we determined to go to the conference anyway! Fellowship good! Learning wonderful! Worship heavenly! What we didn’t know and still don’t fully grasp is all that would happen going forward, even what was signaled in that infamous attack! But 21 years later we have grown into giant slayers! We are a people that will persevere and rise up out of the rubble! For 21 years the debri of the towers has figuratively been strewn across the nation. God has allowed us to look beyond the surface and see deep dark and dismal items! But this you must know >> Proverbs 24:16 (NKJV): For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

Around 1998-1999, as the luster of personality wore a little thin and the newness was gone, and even as things across the church landscape were changing, we also looked for biblical strategies that would hold the expected harvest. This quest would last for years. Initially, I read three books that my friend, John Adams shared with me. At that time, I felt the witness of the Holy Spirit, that so familiar resonance of HIS presence!
One of the books was, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?, written by Ralph Neighbor Jr. I have lost count of the coincidences (providential confirmations) that have happened in my ministry history!! Soon I would attend a one day conference in Tulsa at the church then pastored by Billy Joe Daugherty! When I got on the shuttle from the airport to go to the nine hour conference, I sat down in the empty seat by a friendly older man! He stuck out his hand introducing himself! “Ralph Neighbor”, he said! Once again I KNEW, I was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing!

I would be remiss to not share my technology journey with you, well at least the part about ‘my phone’! Phone, you know that minicomputer we carry that we sometimes talk on! In the latter half of the 90s people started bringing me their old ‘klunker’ phones! I tried to be gracious and take them, not even sure if they ever worked. Plus, I didn’t want a cell phone! Finally after something close to Palm Pilot, I broke down and got a Motorola Flip Phone, thinking I had arrived. IPhone came out. I started with a 3 and moved on from there! I have tried to keep up and use it for connections and ministry since. I became aware of the many pitfalls of technology as well as the benefits! But it is hard to imagine not being able to text someone, call someone or email someone no matter where they may be. I like to think that our prayers preceded all of this. They are even faster. Send up a prayer! Release your faith! God dispatches angels to carry the answer to the target of blessing and hope!

Our church is not large, yet it’s reach is practically unspeakable. It’s connections have included a Hebrews 11 Hall of The Faith. If I started naming names, you would think I was name dropping…and I would be; for many high caliber and profile people have touched and been touched by our assembly. Not the least of these was Bishop Kenneth Phillips. Before I met Brother Phillips, I remember watching The World of Pentecost on TV. Little did I know then, that one day I would ask this forward thinking and strong foundational apostolic man to come and dedicate our church. I suppose it picked up pace when Ruth and I were able to attend The Harmony for the New Millennium Conference in Austin, Texas at Promiseland Church! Brother Phillips and Brother Jack DeHart from Christ Church in Irving, Texas collaborated for two of these conferences in 1999 and 2000. I was also able to attend the one in Irving! Bishop Phillips graciously accepted. Invitations were sent to the many friends we had made on the “Evangelistic Trail!” So many honored us by attending the dedication of Victory Temple. Dave and Bonita Petersen lead our worship ensemble. We had a power packed weekend as we headed for the new millennium and it’s powerful possibilities!!


Apocalypse now! Well that has been the pending prediction for most of my ministry by some, even secular prognosticators! And it is true that I have done extensive study on eschatology and the end of the age! So it is woven into my message for hope and motivation! It stands to reason that the herald of Y2K had everyone’s attention! When the clock struck 12:01 AM, 2000, the expectation was that all computers would reset and lose all their data, throwing everything off course, planes falling and other catastrophes unfolding! But…it didn’t happen! The LORD never said that! He had yet some decades of work to do with the human creation that would culminate in the greatest revival of all time (Revelation 7)! So we began the 21st century in our new building, with new strategies, and the anticipation that the best was yet to come!

Anyone living for God knows what I am about to say is true. It is particularly true for those that are in the five-fold ministry. There ARE trials. There ARE pitfalls. There ARE tribulations. Yes there are even mistakes in judgment and errors in decisions that we all make. Really! That is part of the learning process! That is part of maturing. No! It is not an excuse to continue to do the same thing expecting different results. That is the definition of insanity. So before I go forward sharing the next 22 years (I have already shared the first 25, WOW), I confess there has been pain and there have been trials that we have dealt with. SO…we have something in common. There is no need to describe these things to you because this exercise is for the purpose of edification and information as well as inspiration and revelation. Besides, it is so far in the rear view mirror that it has disappeared beyond the horizon of the past! That is what the blood of Jesus does for you and me. As long as we are on this earth, we will deal with the adversities and as one preacher says, “vicissitudes of life.” But those of us that have had his hand on us and his SPIRIT within us keep getting up with his healing and forgiveness and moving forward. Yeah I could easily say that compared to this one or that one, we have not had any real problems, but that would be misleading too. Besides the Bible says that kind of comparison is unwise (2 Corinthians 10:12). 

We needed help. We always have. We always do! One couple (Robert and Dana Williams) came from West Virginia and served with us in the 90s for a while. Robert said the LORD told me, Brother Bowen needs help. After about a year passed, they were with us in ministry for some time. Then in 2001 just before the World Trade Center hit the ground, I found a young ministry couple on, get this, America on Line! AOL!! Remember that! However this next couple was from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. We talked a number of times late up into the night! I flew to NS in order to personally interview this couple (Trevor and Jacqui Hill). This great couple came to Muncie and worked with us for about 3 years. During their tenure, we were able to try a number of unprecedented things. Each of these folks have more robust stories we could share with you. Since that time, we have continued to be blessed with high caliber, skilled, and seasoned people come for seasons of ministry. We are thankful for each and every one! The pivotal times of ministry are vehicles that transport you to the next time on God’s calendar. Dana is with the LORD now, Robert is back home. Trevor and Jacqui are in active ministry in Halifax. They have two beautiful grown daughters! Yes we are all getting older. But I digress.

2 Kings 3:15–16 (NKJV): But now bring me a musician.”Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. 16 And he said…
This has been me since before day one. I borrowed my uncle’s Gibson J40 vintage guitar one summer (probably about 1968). It had a sunburst solid flattop! Learned to chord from a chord book. I would sing to the top of my voice. My Dad overheard me and I wound up singing and playing in church (that is the short version). From there to the Gospel Fire Singers group as lead singer and rhythm guitar player. Throughout the 80s I would play and sing before prophesying and preaching! Along came Ruth who was quite schooled in reading music and playing the piano. So we have that foundation! Yet, we were supernaturally connected with many classy accomplished musicians and singers. I could drop a few names here. Instead, I will share those who actually came to the church for a season to play and sing before the prophet prophesied! I have mentioned Robert and Dana Williams. I told you about Trevor and Jacqui Hill. But there was also Russ Thompson who came to us from Michigan! There was Steve Richardson, one of the writers of that great revival theme song, “Mercy Seat!” Ruth Ann Kerr, from Ohio, his friend would alternate with him. Dave and Bonita Petersen came and helped us dedicate the church before moving to Wisconsin. David Powell share his great talent after having worked for the powerful Lester Sumrall! After these several great folks, Bonita Petersen has settled in now as our full time keyboard player and worship music administrator! God knew what and who we needed! The nature of the anointing and gift mix I was blessed with includes the assistance of musical lifting and motivating chords and keys. Then the pool of prophetic possibilities turns into a river that profusely and powerfully flows! Thanks to all of these folks! Now bring me a musician!! 

The years continue to pass. Each group of years and sometimes within the same year there are ‘seasons’. In these seasons there are waves of God’s glory. Our holy objective is to ride the wave through the season and then do it again when the first subsides and the next one arrives. Maybe that is a little simplistic, but I think you get it. So it was that when our staff couple returned to Canada in 2004, Ruth and I were able to connect to the then Global Network of Christian Ministries that had existed for years. But the impetus that brought us on, other than our own need to affiliate and be accountable and connected, was our friendship with the newly elected chairman. Bishop Jack and Doris DeHart had been admired by us ever since there afore mentioned Harmony for the New Millennium conferences, one of which took place at the then Christ Church, pastored by Bishop De in Irving, Texas. This new connection brought strength, direction and confidence and would last until the passing of Bishop De to be with Jesus some years later. Ruth and I, along with Victory Temple hosted one of the regional conferences for the network in which we were able to forge a number of great lasting friendships and connections that last to this day. I was able to travel to a number of cities for resourcing, equipping and fellowship over the years that followed, including cities in Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, etc. We continued to be a part of this network until this very day even after it merged with a parallel network of churches a few years ago.

Ministry was well established. I was moving into what some call ‘middle-age’. So after decades of life patterns had been established that did not include new technologies and their facilitation of new platforms of communication. I have mentioned AOL. But along came other platforms like FaceBook and Twitter. I was reticent to move into these areas. Yet I wanted to reach out to church members and society in a relevant and contemporary way. What a conundrum. I waded into Face Book as a novice not understanding the benefits, pitfalls or the nuances of those two things. I quickly found out that it wasn’t all peaches and cream. Nevertheless, I was at one of our network conferences in Nashville, Tennessee in about 2005. I went to a break out session on marketing your church opportunities and using new technology taught by Phil Goldsberry. I sat down on the 2nd row from the front. About a minute after sitting down, I got a text out of the blue from Georgia from my friend Matt Tew. It said, Pastor, have you ever considered using social media for church outreach, etc. He said, I know a pastor that has done so and is reaping benefits and success from having taking advantage of that. I couldn’t believe the timing. Matt had no clue I was in Nashville and had just sat down in a conference room pertaining to the very thing he was alluding to. Once again, I knew God had my attention and was telling me something. The communications journey has been a long winding road and there have been many miles since then. I have used briefly or extensively the following platforms along the way. Facebook. Twitter. You Tube. Me We. GAB, GABTV, Telegram, Parlor. Rumble. GETTR. Truth Social. Our own URL, website. www.victorytemple. us and Anchor. You can usually find me under my name or the title The Prophetic Angle. The quest for the best time and perfect way to do this is ongoing. But I marvel at how God leads in each facet of ministry when we need an answer.

Our two kids (Randy and Susie) were growing up and we were paying for their education. As we looked toward their higher education, we knew we needed supplementary income. Tight budgets at church. Tight budgets at home. Mortgages being paid each month. So we looked for work on the side. Ruth was an excellent crop inspector, the best Indiana ever had IMO! On the other hand I had another one of those ‘coincidences’ come my way in app. 2005. “Hi Rick, this is Jerry Lundgen with Church Web Works, would you like to fill in for us at a conference in Indianapolis?!” This was a one time thing, but it led to a 7 year side job, where I flew all over the country to the conferences and conventions of different denominations. Church of God. Church of God of Prophesy. Outreach. Free Will Baptists. Lutheran (Missouri Synod), Reformed Churches, Disciples of Christ, Christian Church, Global Network of Christian Ministries, Church of God in Christ, National Baptists, etc. I was hired to sell websites to and for churches and ministries! This happened after that one time opportunity! I made a number of great friends. Sold a lot of websites and got to meet some famous folks too. Below you see two of our booths that were displayed in the exhibit halls and one of my co-workers, Rebecca Sullivan, who still to this day works for CWW East. You also see me pictured with the well known Bernadette Stanis who played J J’s sister Thelma on Good Times 1974 (Her husband was kind enough to take the picture). Some of you are old enough to remember that show. ‘Thelma’ had her booth set up not to far from ours in St. Louis at the COGIC Annual National Convocation. Sadly my time with CWW came to an end, but thanks to owner, we still use their platform for our website. They have been very kind to me as a former employee. Much ministry took place at and because of these conventions and this ‘side’ job.

Live life! Live long! Live strong! If you remember back in parts 11-12, I relayed to you how I thought I was going to die and all the grueling symptoms. Necessity may be the mother of invention, but desparation is the impetus of change! So it was I had established a habit in the 90s of working out. Dietary change. Not drastic. Not legalistic. Just common sense. Better habits. Working out took all forms throught the years. Weights, Aerobics, Machines, Walking, Hiking, etc. Eventually I took up biking. I do different styles of biking, but mostly like mountain or trail biking. I was able to lose 50 lbs and keep it off to this day. My body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. I want God to enjoy living in and through me. Below you see one of the earlier pictures of me on one of my first mountain bikes.

In the 90s, I was able to attend a spectacular passion play at a friend’s church in New Castle. In the early 2000s for a time Rod Boyd became a member of our church along with his band from the same city! Rod brought the play with him to Victory Temple. Over the years we made it our own. As the years rolled by, this play had many that played a role in its cast! It was directed by Rod Boyd, Deana Jarnagin, and Jonathan Boling. It was produced by yours truly, as I did the narration and wrote the lighting scenes. We did the play 6-7 times and it was one of the high points of early spring until it eventually ran its course. The pics speak for themselves.

On this second day of The Feast of Trumpets, this is what I have endeavored to do for 46 years >>> Isaiah 58:1A (NKJV): Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet;…
But this heralds a time like no other! The 10 day interim prior to Yom Kippur portends shaking quaking and making! The Day of Atonement is ahead! In the Bible it was a national day! So…🙏🇺🇸
Perhaps Isaiah was ‘Pentecostal’, you know, loud. Smile. At any rate. I have often felt like him. One time he said, “who has believed our report?!” At times it has seemed like most turned a deaf ear or were at the least dull of hearing! I sure hope more believe it than I can count because I believe that oddly this is THE MOST URGENT time of my ministry. It is time to hear what the SPIRIT SAYS to the churches. Even though I am obscured from the limelight, I still stand in God’s spotlight with a sure word of prophecy! As we get ready for the finish of this age, I want the most proximate years to bring the harvest. I realize that ultimately it is the sovereign choice of the one that gives the increase. But I will continue to blow the trumpet with a certain sound! 1 Corinthians 14:8 (NKJV): For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? Hear ye the WORD of the LORD!

Over the 47 years of ministry, I have baptized literally hundreds in water in the name of the LORD. This rite signals and illustrates a number of things, not the least of which is the complete repentance and commitment of the individual to follow Jesus all the way. It is an announcement of victory over the powers of darkness. So it is no wonder that I have done this so many times. I have baptized in creeks, ponds, seas, cow troughs, baptistries, and bath tubs. I have baptized when it was cold and hot. I have baptized when the water was clean and when it was dirty. I have baptized young and old. I still look forward to each time that a person makes this public commitment to God with great zeal. Without digital cameras in the past, I have not included some pictures that I didn’t have in that format. But I remember so many instances where there was water, so what further hindrance was there to be baptized? One time in Gulfport, Mississippi a pastor let me use the church baptistry to baptize a few that had been saved in my backyard Florida room revival in Pascagoula. The water was rust colored. I said do you all still want to be baptized? YES. One lady had red hair…before she was baptized :-) Just one of the hundreds of stories.

From their birth until they left to start the pursuit of their careers, our two children, Randy and Susie Bowen assisted us in the ongoing ministry at the church. The list of things they did could get quite lengthy. But whatever needed doing they were of course present and if it fell within their forte and skill set, they took the task. Being highly capable young people they were at times assistant in things that youth seem to catch onto faster these days. From the Passion Play to Bible Quiz, to music and computer excellence they pushed to make the best possible outcome visible and experiential. These two kids are the at the center of our thoughts and prayers and only eternity will tell what they sowed into the field of dreams and fortress of faith called Victory Temple.

I had to get in touch with my Pentecostal roots. I boarded a plane on April 24, 2006 and rendevoused with my friend, the dearly departed R. K. Rivers in Dallas. As we boarded the plane to go the Azuza Centennial in Los Angeles, we passed by Keifer Sutherland, A.K.A. Jack Bauer who I apparently prophesied that I would see that morning to my kids. Later I got to have a photo opp. with him just outside of baggage claim at LAX. That was one bookend of this spectacular trip. The other was an opportunity to greet the pastor I got saved under in 1967, D. R. Young, who I hadn’t seen in decades, just by coincidence of course (Yeah RIGHT, God smiles on his folks. Look for his favor friends). I catalogued over 50 renowned leaders of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement that spanned over 600 millions adherents of the Holy Ghost and power that year. I talked to some and saw others from a distance. That is just who I remembered seeing. The breakout sessions were powerful and the services were awesome. I got to attend powerful services in four of the five designated venues: The Convention Center (right next to The Staples Center), The Faith Dome (Fred Price), Angeles Temple (Sister Aimee) and the Sports Center (adjacent to the great Coliseum). The deposits in my life were not only for nostalgic appreciation, but future equipping with more for my ever growing quiver full of arrows. It wouldn’t be the last, but it was certainly one of the highlights of my ministry journey. (Sorry, all I had was a flip smart phone yet)

The years began to rapidly pass. Some I have known in this way have moved on up. There have been trials and times of uncertainty. But one thing has never changed and never will. That is the importance of the cross. Paul said when it comes down to it, it is Jesus Christ and him crucified. On that hill, somewhere near Jerusalem, stood and old rugged cross. It was at the cross where I first saw the light. That is the core of the message. That is the platform and fountainhead of the Gospel. I had to come to grips with Jesus statement, “if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me!” Then I had to realize that taking up the cross was emblematic of discipleship, for it was a living sacrifice that was called for. In this day of entitlement, some just don’t get it. But when one does, they find their way back to the foot of the cross where the blood of Jesus our only plea can drip on them and remit their sins. I should have been crucified, but Jesus, God’s son took my place! Lift your hands and give HIM praise!

Humor! Without it, you will fracture and break. With all the rigors of ministry over time, one of the supplements that God has used to sustain us is humor. I used it quite frequently in many messages. My hope is to properly place it so that it helps make something more memorable, palatable and applicable. I am sure I have misplaced it at times because my personality style is very positive and fun loving. Eternity is a serious direction that requires sober decisions, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the journey. Of course some stories are funny in retro like:
The time the motor home dash fell off into my lap while driving.
Sparks flew from the steering column.
The tambourine player ran around the church and leaped over someone who had just fallen "out in the Spirit!"
The lady that testified that it wasn't in the shout and then let out a loud WHOOP!
The little girl that came out of the restroom during the sermon with a long series of toilet paper sections attached to her shoes.
The time a big lady picked me up by my belt loop after I had fallen out on the pew behind me.
The little boy that thought the Johnson's baby powder that spewed into the air when a vigourous lady testified was the Holy Ghost.
The time I had to descend the outside basement stairs during the winter to get in the church, and slid all the way down because of the snow on the steps only to realize my keys went up in the air and were all the way back up the stairs.
The time someone was speaking in the locked church and me knowing it wasn't God, had to find out how someone got in and where they were.
The time the lady said, "help him Lord!" all throughout the sermon.
The time I was baptizing in the Caribbean and was pretty much under with the candidate as the tide came in and out.
The time someone told me I wouldn't get wet on a ride at King's Island and I believed them only to have my hair looking like Alfalfa the rest of the day.
Too many to tell. But it is good to laugh and smile. So let the joy of the LORD be your strength!

We are our own worst critic. At least I am. I sold my Yamaha guitar to someone in the church back in the 90s and pretty much quit playing guitar. I didn't really quit singing. Never have. Never will. About a decade went by and the Holy Spirit said pick up that guitar and sing. I had had two Yamahas, an Alvarez, and a cheapo back in the day. I bought a Seagull and felt impressed to start playing regularly on Wednesday nights. I knew I wasn't that good, and didn't want to make a big splash. But I quickly picked up a few licks and started dreaming of a Taylor (which I now have). It has been over a decade now, and I regularly play the guitar (still on Wednesday) and for my own enjoyment. You know, kind of like David on the hill watching the sheep with his harp. Below is probably my first group (LOL), I am the one taking the picture of Benny Dana, Paul Whitt and Franklin Castanon...we went to chuch together and jammed. That's what you call it, right?! Then the Gospel Fire Singers. Finally, me prior to preaching at Pastor W. Pugh's Church in High Springs, Florida.
I'm toying with the idea of putting a few live informal singing videos back up with me playing the guitar. No matter what, the guitar is back in this Jesus' Man's ministry for the duration.

One can attach meaning to nearly anything, while another can scrutinize and then criticize the one who does! Yet the significance of a sign is almost redundant in that you see the word sign in sign-ificance! Mark 16 speaks of signs following the believer, which might be better said accompanying the faith person. I have had the privilege of being in the middle of these gifted ministries throughout my tenure! So it may seem quite mundane to make any issue of a digital sign that is about to be installed by the road near VT! However, I refuse to let it go by as some cavalierly, thus trivializing a profound happening. Nope. This will be one more of many POINTS in time in which we shift into the next position of God’s ordained will, plan and purpose for present truth ministry! It is with that sentiment that I would like for you to celebrate with me what God is doing in the earth even against the backdrop of great corruption. Now let the signs follow you as you go forth with resolve and expectation!

Throughout the tenure of a pastor, if it is of any substantial length, he/she faces doubt and discouragement. I know we like to make the Bible characters into Super Heros, but they did face these things too. Pick one and you will see. How about Elijah? He wanted God to take him and instead got a rebuke. But then later he got the chariot ride to heaven! Jesus himself said, if there is any other way! As we look at this faceted stone of reflection from another angle, we see the possible end of our nation…and even the world. I won’t take this space to go into all the obvious reasons why that is an outcome that must be considered and avoided. But it is there, plain as the nose on your face.

So it is no wonder that every human pastor (they all are), including me, has thought the end has come. Realistically over 46 years of ministry and 34 years of pastoring in the same place, it has happened a number of times. But since so much time has transpired, it is more logical that an aging pastor might wonder when that time will be. But…I will assure you that it is NOT yet. There is still more story to tell in this treatise and there is still MORE story to write by living it out. I am hoping that many of the readers will go with Ruth and I as we finish our assignment.
Below, I pray about these things on top of Prayer Mountain at the Fields of the Wood owned and sponsored by the Church of God of Prophecy. This prayer mountain is in North Carolina.

I heard about Israel all my church life. As time transpired and eschatology unfolded, I felt I would never get to go until The Millennium! At that point in my glorified body, I would just will to be there and lo and behold, I would be walking around Jerusalem just like John. As an ever learning preacher/teacher, reading the Bible and receiving from those that were schooled in much history and theology, Israel was never too far from the discussion. Usually we were on topics smack dab in the middle of that small nation. However, in the fall of 2016, I got the opportunity to go with one of my great friends, John C. Adams and those from his church. Thanks to my mom, the funding was also available. While I took pictures like they were going out of style, I just included one video from that trip on this post. It is from the Sea of Galilee, also called then the Sea of Tiberias and the Lake of Gennesaret. This ‘fresh water’ body of water is actually a lake that is about 700 feet below sea level, 141 feet deep, 17 miles long by 7 miles wide, is where much of the story of Jesus took place away from Jerusalem. Imagine Jesus walking on this tumultous stormy sea and Peter taking a try at it too. To be out on this sea in a wooden boat on a beautiful day, makes one feel like he is one with the Bible stories that he as shared so often. God knew what I needed to enrich and liven up my teach, sermons as well as my personal perception of real biblical and geographic truth. I will share more about my second trip to Israel later. If I can get a few to go with me, I have an opportunity to go back in about a year. We will see what happens.

Techno. Technology. Technical. Yeah we could get archaic if you prefer. Catacombs. Graffiti. Hieroglyphs, Papyrus, Parchment. But we live in 2022 and I have TRIED to stay up to date with the folks that are a part of the congregation and those I am trying to reach. Not always spearheading what’s next, but I am at least on/near the cutting edge of what is effective. Thus this drone view (compliments of Brett Estes) of our relevant present truth church and it’s message. The message of Jesus and the always truths of the Bible are ever applicable. Therefore the method of conveying the truth might become sophisticated and advanced but it never changes the CONTENT! I will always contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. I hope you enjoy this arial view as the leaves are falling and we are about to enter a time of uncertainty and ironically expectancy.

As I bring you up to speed on my preach story, most of which now has been pastoring here in Muncie, Indiana, I would be remiss if I left out that I did have experience pastoring briefly about 41 years ago as a young 26 year old man. The two churches pictured below, one inside and one outside were modest, small and historic in their own communities. One is a storefront (storefronts are found in many cities, often people start a church in a downtown empty building) in Brewton, Alabama. The other is the outside of a church building yea 40 years later in Graceville, Florida. These churches were three hours apart. Formerly the first was pastored by Mother Edwards and the latter by Bishop Mitchell. I was appointed interim pastor of these two small assemblies by the late Bishop S. D. James. Now a generation has passed and I am yet pastoring here in Muncie, Indiana. Not only did I pastor before, I was privileged to work closely with others that were the senior pastor. At the time of this memory I was a full time prophetic evangelist traveling to and fro, helping pastors of local churches solidify their efforts with church growth and health by preaching powerful sound doctrine and prophesying over practically anything that moved and some things that didn’t move LOL. Now that Pastor Appreciation month is over, I want to encourage the reader to prayerfully support your pastor wherever you are and whoever he or she may be.

I remember decades ago printing flyers for revival with a crude likeness of me pasted somewhere amongst the information that was suppose to serve to invite the potential attender. I remember my first business cards. Below, I found one that went back to the mid-70s and a number that bring us up to today (excuse the writing on the oldest one). About three years ago, I wanted to bring everything up to date and make it classy. I found a Christian logo graphic artist in California and negotiated a couple of copyrighted logos from him. This process took some months of back and forth, modification and final presentation of the acceptable logos. We could still scribble with chicken scratch and communicate, but in this world where excellence is considered a characteristic to be admired, it is best to do our best for God. So I do. So we do. I know you can’t read a book by its cover, but too many good “books” have gone unread because the cover was drab, boring, and even ugly.

In September of 2018 we had our “Mortgage Burning Service!” We had endured the times of hardship and struggle. We had withstood the false prophecies that had declared our downfall. We had stood on, ‘if the LORD be for you, who can be against you.’ The times of juggling finances and stretching unstretchable bills were over. We were relieved to pay the debt and shout the victory. Many came to celebrate with us, you will no doubt recognize a number of them. As the paper went up in smoke and I continued to blow the shofar until a blast resounded throughout the sanctuary, we all declared together that we were turning a corner. Now this facility was available as an Equipping Worship Center for whosoever would come and receive an impartation from the Most High for this final time of renewal and the budding of the next Great Awakening! Our great friend, Wayne Pugh came to deliver the keynote message along with his wonderful wife Marie!

As the decades of ministry roll by I gave out of my ministry water supply over and over! Yes there were, at times, severe trials. Times of seeming isolation. Times of retreat. Invariably there were times of THIRST. Sometimes those thirsty times were in the middle of a dry season. But God always had a way, not only sustaining, but providing a way where there seemed to be none. For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness. (Ps 107:9). To illustrate this truth, here I am in the middle of the Judaean Desert at En Ghedi. There is nothing here. But this oasis made from the spring that seems to come from no where out of the dry sandy rock provides relief from the otherwise oppressive heat and potentially deadly desolation.