That night on the balcony in Key West changed many closely held beliefs that had formed since my earliest ages. My prior teaching in church had me believing that miracles no longer happened and God does not speak to people today. I was so set in these beliefs that the experience left me in a bit of a quandary for a few months.
I remember pondering for months what I had experienced. I questioned my faith in Jesus Christ to its very core. I began exploring other faiths due to these beliefs. I knew the feeling of love that I felt in those moments in Key West were very real. They were the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life even to this day. I needed to know that I was not going crazy, and outwardly, I had an acute fear of sharing the experience with others for fear they would judge me. This led to me quietly searching for understanding.
It is never a bad thing for one to question their faith. I have learned this lesson since. One’s faith never becomes their own if they simply believe what they are told. Not until one’s faith is challenged in some way and questions are answered will their faith become their own. At this time, I became irritated with those who simply spouted talking points in church. The extent of the knowledge of some I knew about God was only what they were told. Here I had a chance to reform and understand my faith in a real way.
I studied lightly into Islam and Buddhism among other beliefs having friends in community college who understood and lived these beliefs. I noticed very quickly that most faiths required certain actions on the part of the one who believed. Many of them required specific actions to bring people closer to the goal of the faith. I quickly came back to Jesus when I realized after a few months that only one God died in order to redeem us, and we did nothing to deserve that redemption. I knew that I did not deserve redemption, so it was much easier for me to believe in a God who accomplished it for me.
In a sense, I took a waiver that God must exist and that he met me that night on the balcony in Key West. It was not a figment of my imagination, and it was not some other entity. The love and mercy of God described in Scripture held me loosely to a belief in Jesus Christ, but I also knew there was another realm which had never been explained to me. I felt compelled to explore this experience further. If God could talk to me once on this balcony, could he talk to me daily or constantly if He wanted? I just had to know.
I was moved by the Columbine massacre that saw 13 students lose their lives on April 20, 1999. One year later to the day, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott who died that day, published a book that would later change my belief about whether God speaks to us still today. Rachel Scott was apparently one of the students who was killed for her belief in Jesus. I did not take an interest in Rachel until fall of 2002 when her father came to town one night to speak at our local high school. I was moved by Darrell’s presentation for several reasons. This was the first time I heard the statistics of teenage pregnancy, test scores and crime that went downhill after the Bible was removed from public schools. I was moved even more by the fact that Rachel seemed to prophecy the massacre in several ways in her diary of conversations with God. I was so moved that I bought the book.
Many of the book’s chapters centered around entries in her journal. While following her diary entries in the months leading up to the massacre, we could see that Rachel knew she would never graduate high school. One of her drawings predicted the massacre and even the number of people who die based on the number of tears in the picture. She cared very much about being close to God and knew her time was short. I could see very clearly that Rachel was hearing from God in some way, and I figured why couldn’t that be me?
I asked God whether He and I could have a relationship like that someday. I had a number of dreams and thoughts over the years that began to come back to me in the days that followed this prayer. I began to ponder these dreams and wonder if they were messages from God similar to those that were given to Rachel Scott.
I had one night when I was 17 a dream of hell that seemed so real it haunted me for weeks. The screams were long and piercing and this vision left me with such an imprint that I never want to go there! I had other dreams however that seemed to be far more prediction based in regards to the future. Eerily many of these dreams came true over the years and some have yet to still come true. I will share one example of a specific dream that came true, and I will share a few examples now as they relate to Meopen in particular.
In high school, I honestly believed that I would never get married. I read the writings of the missionary Jim Elliot and how he initially thought his wife was a distraction to his walk with Christ. God asks us to be content in being single when we are, and I was going a bit overboard in my attempt to be content. I went so far overboard that my mother once asked me if I hated girls. Oddly enough, God gave me a dream one night of a family that I would have in the future.
In the dream, I was standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Next to me stood my wife, but when I turned to see her, I saw a blur for her face. I then saw three children next to her. I saw a 10-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl whose faces were also a blur. This is all I remember from the dream. I dismissed this dream for a few years, but sometime after I became engaged to my wife Jennifer, I told her the dream. She believes she laughed it off at that point, but as I write this, I now have a 5-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy and an infant girl. I also shared this dream with family members and my friend Kevin as well before our first daughter Rebecca was born. I was sure it would be a girl. I always envisioned taking an RV trip around the United States when our children got old enough to remember the trip, so I imagine this dream will fulfill itself in approximately five years or so in the summer of 2024.
In this dream, I also knew somehow that I was the owner of a very successful business that had helped a lot of people. When this Meopen idea started coming to me in 2012, I honestly knew somehow this was the idea God was going to turn into a great business, but I also knew it would take much preparation and education to accomplish. I have other visions for a Biblically-based theme park and movie studio if Meopen is successful, but that idea is for another time and place in the future. I state that simply knowing that the Bible needs to be better taught in our society given the lack of true Bible education in churches today.
In another dream, I envisioned a move of God that would reach one billion souls for Jesus and also bring many Christians back to God. This was not a physical dream as much as it was a thought that came to my head out of nowhere and stuck with me strongly since. In this thought, the Millenial generation abandoned churches out of a desire for something real. As with me, many of them abandoned the church due to personal opinions overriding Scriptural guidance. Many of them did not think this way when they left, but they knew that the opinions of these leaders steered them wrongly in life. With the move of decentralization that exists today, many of the old opinionated hierarchies that rule over churches are become obsolete. The number of people attending church decreases yearly, but this move will lead to home churches becoming the biggest churches today.
As this vision grew over the years, I realized these churches had no pastors or employed individuals, no buildings, no overhead and no bank accounts. Since these churches have no operating budget their giving is direct and need based and no incorporation of a 501c3 is necessary. They operated with unpaid elders and facilitators who offered their homes as a meeting place. These churches focused heavily on Biblical education of its members with a specific focus on the stories, commandments and promises of God. These churches are given a specific focus to help guide bi-weekly meetings, but the meetings are story based to drive points home as stories are remembered far longer and have a greater impact than a planned sermon. This organic church style closely mirrors the early church and builds tightly-knit, self-guided communities that can more specifically focus on the needs of those present than an institutional church. I share this because I believe that Meopen could play a part in this vision.
I also envisioned a strong leader would be needed to awaken the church and usher in this move of God. This leader would both loosen regulations that burden the church and call out its leaders who are holding the church back from reaching its potential. Somehow based on his platform in 2015 when he started running, I knew that Donald Trump was this man. Despite the crude remarks and public attacks, I voted for the man in the primaries and the general election due to the parts of his platform that free the church. Since then, he has attempted to gut the Johnson Amendment which stifled free speech by pastors of 501c3 churches. He has removed countless medical and tax regulations that challenged the beliefs of many, and he has exposed many leaders as the wolves in sheep’s clothing that they are. All of this combined with his prayer meeting call for action to many evangelical leaders for their fear to speak truth and do what is right has led to a great awakening of the church to its enemy within the gates. Whatever you may believe about Donald Trump’s politics, he has been the greatest advocate God’s church has seen in quite a long time.
When the door was ready to open for this move of God, I wanted to be a part of it. I believe Meopen could be a big part of that move, but how?