Greg's Testimony

kerrvillecrossgregsmall06072011In retrospect, I find myself amazed by God's grace as He leads me along His path for my life. His fingerprints of love grow more obvious each day as I consider the unique ways He develops godly character within me. At key points along my journey, God has allowed me to take self-directed detours on my personal quests for identity, hope, and purpose. Many of my ill-motivated adventures were difficult, painful, and lonely as I went where His love said not to go. And yet, in God's hands they were eternally valuable as He prepared me to accomplish my created purpose, to proclaim my life message, and to impact my ordained audience for Jesus Christ.

As a fourth generation apple orchardist in Washington State, I surrendered my life, possessions, and future to Jesus in earnest during 1986 amid personal crisis. Though I had been called to preach fifteen years earlier, I managed to dodge God's directive until He brought me face-to-face with myself through my misplaced passions. I was raised in a Christian home from boyhood. My heritage included a great grandfather who emigrated from Germany as a seventeen year old preacher in 1882 planting churches between Canby, Oregon and Yakima, Washington by 1903. As he left His pulpit in the early 1920's due to emerging language barriers, my family entered fruit production as a means of life support. I was inquisitive, creative, and persistent in my approach to learning about life's mysteries as a child. These qualities would later help me launch my first business while still in High School. After graduation...I added a commercial diesel repair shop, controlled explosives company, and a consulting firm. As my ventures excelled and joined forces with my personal shortcomings... clouds of peril rose on the horizon. Before the ensuing storms made landfall in my life however, God gently called me back to Himself through His word, prayer, and grace in preparation for what lay ahead.

In 1986 on the heels of major life trauma; I found myself devastated, alone, and shattered in my sense of purpose. Determined to rise from life's ashes...I gave Jesus permission to dismantle my flawed humanity through Scriptural counseling carefully re-assembling my beliefs, attitudes, and passions based on His life as the Living Word. I gave myself space to uncover who I was before God and man by closing all four companies and going to work for one of my clients. Through extended prayer, fasting, time in the Bible, and walking out what I discovered; God gave me another glimpse of who He had created me to be. Upon seeing what He showed me, I almost asked Him if He had the right guy...

In August 1987, I went under the waters of baptism as a man who could do anything with excellence and emerged with a passionate fire to preach in Jesus' name. Many around me said my zeal would pass, but it has only increased with time. As I pursued God day and night with my whole heart, well-intentioned Christians took it upon themselves to say that I would never be in ministry because of my past. In response, I quietly said that my Jesus is faithful to forgive though others may not. Undaunted and armed with assurance of God's mercy within, I launched out to declare His loving forgiveness through life-giving repentance as a gift of hope and freedom. My life was transformed, filled with purpose, and would never be the same again.

While on a 50 day fast seeking insight after my wife left amid the battle (late 2003)...God led me to travel and pray on-site at America's east and west gates appealing to Him that they be opened for His people to return home. Shortly after returning and while in prayer, the Holy Spirit whispered that I would arrive to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to close my three-legged prayer loop on my 50th (Golden Jubilee) birthday some 37 months later. It seemed surreal...I had no clue how I would get there...but, I was confident I had heard God's still small voice.  Despite reconciliation efforts, or marriage never recovered.

As months passed, I began telling my intercessors that God promised to get me to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem on my 50th birthday. Early July 2006, I received an e-mail asking me if I would be interested in consulting for a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Eastern Afghanistan. Twelve days later, I jumped a plane out of Seattle bound for Jalalabad, Afghanistan to give technical inputs to an agricultural project management team. Upon my arrival there, I found myself bouncing toward an undisclosed location accompanied by machine gun-carrying guards in a Hummer that had just been scoured for bombs. I felt like a character in an intrigue novel. I went about my work over the next 3 weeks finally returning home to resume life in Washington State. As mid October 2006 approached, now 10 days prior to my 50th birthday, I received another e-mail from the same NGO asking me to return for a second assignment to secure resources from several other countries to supply an associated project in Afghanistan. Through God's miraculous orchestration...I was given airline tickets, flew to Los Angeles, secured two visas, gained a second passport, packed my bags, said goodbye, flew out arriving into London on October 23rd, gained a day in time zones becoming the 24th, boarded a plane arriving into Tel Aviv early morning the 25th, toured more than 300 miles of Israel at the expense of suppliers, and was politely delivered into Jerusalem just past midnight early morning on October 26, 50th birthday. God was faithful to the promise He whispered more than 3 years before. That day, I stood at the Wailing Wall overwhelmed by God's goodness, mercy, and tears as I bowed praying the completion of all He entrusted to a broken man several years earlier before sending me to America's east and west gates.

Despite life's struggles and the opinion of others...Jesus continues to redeem and equip me to stand alone through adversity each day. Have I arrived? No. Meanwhile; I choose to hear His voice, to pray His heart, and to walk His journey to impact the lives of others. Honestly, most will never understand the life and purpose God entrusted to my care. As a result, I made peace gregchair04012011with that fact and stopped trying to explain my path to others. Life's bruises have been hard, yet worth it as they help me grasp and articulate what limits and moves the bride of Christ toward intimacy at the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Though life...and people... remind me of my past often, I stand victorious in God's love, mercy, and grace each day! After years of meeting Jesus in the journey, I have gained a passion to encourage those He gave identify and fulfill their created purpose, to proclaim their life message, and to impact their ordained audience for Jesus Christ. As Billy Graham once said, "never give up, never slow down...never!" Why? Because Jesus said forceful men and women...not the well-dressed unwilling...lay hold of and advance God's Kingdom! He or she who has been forgiven much...loves much. Therefore, heaven calls me forth to labor with His strength which so powerfully works in me as He spends my life to touch a dying world one life at a time! Who did God create you to be?

Chasing Jesus,

Greg Benner

BattleCry Ministries

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