Jeff Hughes' UPC Experience
As I am committed to aligning to God's vision for my life at 45 years old, I am writing this to you.
I was in the service when I first was introduced to the UPC. Stationed in West Germany and living in military housing with my wife and two children, separated by great distance from family and friends at home, I was looking for fellowship. A couple that lived below me told me about their church and asked me if we might like to go. I gladly excepted the invitation and we attended Lighthouse in Wiesbaden.
Pentecostalism was not totally unfamiliar to me; I was raised Assemblies. But it seemed that these people understood real worship and praise to the Lord. Lifting holy hands unto the Lord and singing with such enthusiasm.
We continued to attend and the Pastor was so versed in Greek and Hebrew, giving quotes and references continually during preaching. He was the Bible School President and I truly believe that he was doing all for the glory of God.
I was baptized in Jesus' Name and came up out of the water speaking in tongues and praising the Lord like I have never done before. Now, here is were everything changes in my family's life.
I was made a deacon, teaching home Bible studies to a group of men I served in the army with. Speaking Jesus' name everywhere I was given opportunity. This went on for about 2 1/2 years.
I was transferred to Ft. Lewis, Washington where I attended another UPC church for a short time in Olympia. The pastor there was so much different and so closed minded, and with it would seem not much "Holiness" standards as I was taught to have in Germany.
So we heard of another church in Auburn. We went and made that church our new home. I was not rolling my sleeves down at formation because I wanted to obey God verses man. This lead to a potential Article 15 (Company Grade). I explained to my military chaplain the reasons for my stand. I was brought before the commander and first sergeant and was warned again. Thus, I went to my knees before the Lord. Answer: "stand your ground and faith in Me." So, I again was before the Cdr. and 1st SGT. and they told me I could not re-enlist and I would not have to make formations. Instead, I would be in charge of Troop Medical Clinic Treatment Room. I felt that this was truly God involved because I loved working with medical related injuries and illnesses.
My family now looking to me for support, trusted my decision to get out of the military because of my faith. Spoke to the pastor and he agreed this was the thing to do, and with hopeful church support we made our move to Auburn to live and work, or so we thought.
After 9 1/2 years in the Army as a Medical NCO (Paramedic) I found work paying only part time and furthermore, not much. Financial difficulties kept pilling up. Stress levels increasing and increasing. And on top of it all I brought my older brother and his family into the church. Spiritually, we look good on the outside because of all the sacrifices we continued to make for the "church."
Finally, I enlisted in the Air National Guard. There, we had no problem with how I dressed, sleeves up or down. Church standards and financial problems, wife not allowed to work, it was man's responsibility to provide. The rent was almost regularly late. The church when approached would give sometimes to help but things in other areas such as food and such became harder and harder to meet. But the church always made a point to give 10% tithes and 5% offerings. This really made me crazier and crazier. I could not understand what was happening to my life. And watching my family suffer as well made it unbearable.
I simply felt that if I left as I had seen other men do in the church that my family would not have to worry about a roof over their heads. So being stupid I left my beautiful family and the church. The church immediately moved my family into a charted owned home. I thought to myself, how come they did not do this when we as a family needed the help?
I got involved with another women to add to the problems I already had, which lasted less than 1 1/2 months. I came crawling back to my wife asking for her forgiveness and she said I had to talk to the pastor. So I made the appointment to speak to him. He had the church board there. He stated that he could not have me attend the same church, so he sent me to a church in Federal Way just above Auburn to "Prove myself."
I worked for the church without any pay, laying grass and preparing the property for landscaping. I had only a VW Bug, which by this time I was calling home. Middle of winter. No one from the church was there to lift a hand or to help me when I pleaded to see my family. I was doing everything asked of me physically, and I knew that God had forgiven me! I could not understand why they would not at least let me testify of God's glorious love and grace.
I found in my studies that I truly served a magnificent Lord and Savior and that I had furthermore, made yet another mistake. I denied the Deity of the Godhead, by denying the Triune God. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Who by the way is no Ghost at all.
Through it all I lost my family. Blamed myself until just this last year, making it eleven years of guilt and shame. Thank you Jesus for your love and compassion. I am now healthy, mentally and spirituality. I could tell you so much more about this UPC experience but it is true, they do control, control, control.
My brother and his family (Wife left him), still attend a "UPC" church of sorts as they have all the same beliefs but claim to be non-denominational. I find this yet another way for them (UPC) to enter into good peoples' lives.
Be careful and Study to show thyself approved unto God by rightly dividing the Word of Truth (Study), (Challenge when scripture is taken out of context). And most importantly, listen to the Holy Spirit. He will guide you into all TRUTH.....
Jeff Hughes, Boise Idaho
In Service for the King
Posted March 13, 2003
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August 23, 1997
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