“My Sheep Hear My Voice…”
August 14, 2021
by Maria Fontaine
“My Sheep Hear My Voice…”
This life is one grand set of experiences, designed by our Creator to help us to develop into a manifestation of His love. There is so much to be learned, not just from our own experiences but also from the lives of others, if we’re wise enough to seek out all that the Lord has to show us. That’s one reason that I love to hear testimonies that describe the varied ways and methods He uses to bring each of us into relationship with Him.
The Lord led me to an article online from a man named Mike explaining how he found Jesus. It touched me greatly, as salvation accounts usually do, and I want to share it with you. The thing in this story that particularly stood out to me was the importance of the part that each person played in bringing him to know the Lord.
This man whose story I want to share with you is now in his 70s. He’s been a pastor for many years. He and his wife have developed several websites to help people of other religions or beliefs to understand about the Lord.
Mike was not always convinced that Jesus is the way. In fact, as a young man he initially became deeply immersed in the Hindu religion.
As a child, he had been a Catholic, as were his parents, and he’d even been an altar boy. He had attended a Catholic school and respected and admired the priests and nuns for their examples of humility, commitment, sacrificial love, and kindness. The thing that was missing in his life, however, was knowing how to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
By the age of 17 he’d “had his fill of church.” Becoming a rock musician, he immersed himself in all the things that go along with that lifestyle. At the age of 18, he had a near-death experience. Realizing that his life had almost come to an end, he began seriously pondering the meaning of life, even dropping out of college to seek the truth. This was at the beginning of the Jesus People Revolution (and our own early days).
In 1969, he was introduced by a friend to an Indian guru, and soon afterwards became one of his followers. For him, this did not represent just a novel concept to dabble in. Instead, he became completely focused, almost obsessed, with learning all he could. This way of life was billed as a way to find a “conscious awareness that you are god.” He was seeking the truth and was willing to try anything to find it.
His attempts to reach this goal consumed him. He spent his days from about 3:30 in the morning until around 5:00 in the evening meditating, chanting mantras, and reading the Hindu scriptures. He even started an ashram with some others who were willing to spend all their time devoted to this religion, giving up all worldly interests and possessions.
During this period of time, he felt he was making progress in coming closer to the God-consciousness he was seeking. Things were going well. All the while God was working behind the scenes to orchestrate some significant events to help fulfill His promise in Jeremiah 29:13: And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Being gifted with leadership qualities, Mike was teaching yoga to several hundred students in different universities, who followed him as their guru. He believed that this was his calling, and that he was meant to not only find God for himself but to help others to do the same.
A newspaper reporter who had heard of what was happening decided to do a feature article and interview with Mike and the young people who were flocking to his classes to “learn the path to God.” Expecting that this publicity would bring him even more students who he could help, Mike was elated.
Among the many who read that feature article, there was a small group of very important people. These folks, members of a 24-hour prayer chain, believed in and practiced fasting and prayer. After putting the article on their bulletin board, they started to pray, knowing that God wanted to save Mike and the young people he was unintentionally leading astray.
During this time Mike received a letter from a former college friend named Larry who told him how he had been born again. This left Mike perplexed and a bit disoriented since this friend was the one who had dropped out of college with him to study yoga and Eastern religions. The concept that Larry was presenting to Mike was completely foreign to him: that God and the Holy Spirit could come into you from the outside and guide your life.
In Eastern religions, in order to find God, you are supposed to look within, and the “essence of divinity” is awakened from inside of you. But Larry talked about a God who would enter those who received Him and dwell in their hearts. Larry told Mike that if he would ask Jesus to come into his heart, the Holy Spirit would enter into him, and he would be spiritually reborn; God’s Spirit would dwell in him. This was troubling for Mike, since he had devoted so much time and strength to a completely opposite belief system.
But Mike was a truth seeker, and after spending many hours pondering his friend’s letter, he made an important decision. Though still teaching four yoga classes a week and continuing with Hindu practices, he decided to set everything else aside and devote an entire day to pray only to Jesus and to read only the Bible.
His prayer went something like this: “Jesus, today is Your day. If You really are the Savior of the world, like many people say, will You please show me a recognizable, undeniable sign that You really are the Messiah, the Savior, the Lord of all.”
This was not a prayer prayed lightly. Mike was aware that taking this step might completely upend his life and everything he believed. Nevertheless, he spent the day reading the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation from the Bible. And throughout the day, true to his commitment, he prayed only to Jesus, asking Him to show him a sign.
Afterwards, he proceeded to prepare to teach his scheduled yoga class, not yet having experienced the “sign” he had asked for.
Unbeknownst to him, on the other side of town, a young man named Kent, one of the members of the 24-hour prayer group who had been praying for Mike, was entering a laundromat to do his laundry. But Kent got the distinct, very strong impression that it was not the right time to do laundry. Instead, he felt almost compelled to get back into his vehicle and drive. He drove around, following leads from the Holy Spirit to “turn left,” “turn right,” etc. Suddenly he spotted someone standing by the side of the road. Normally, he was adamantly opposed to picking up hitchhikers, yet he felt the Holy Spirit telling him to pick this one up.
When Mike opened the door to Kent’s van, the first thing his eyes fell upon was a picture of Jesus taped on the inside roof of the van. This was his sign! Before that van ride ended, Mike had found his new home in heaven and a life worth living with the help of his two new friends, Kent and Jesus.
God often uses His children, as well as many seemingly random events, including the drug scene in Mike’s case (and possibly even yours as well?) to create a hunger for meaning in life. He will work through every circumstance of people’s lives to help bring seekers to Him.
I love these reminders of how God often works in unexpected and what to us are mysterious ways to reach someone’s heart. From our conception to our salvation, He is constantly shaping our lives, setting things up that will draw us to Him and prepare us for the calling He offers us for our future.
One of the things that spoke to me from Mike’s story is that no one is so immersed in another religion or another way of thinking, no matter what it is, that Jesus can’t reach them if they desire the truth.
The Lord knows each person’s heart. He can use anything—bad things, good things, and in-between things—to guide people in their journey toward Him.
Think about Mike’s friend, Larry, who wrote him about the need to be born again. Perhaps that took a lot of his time and effort, and maybe the devil was giving him a lot of “valid” reasons why he shouldn’t write that letter. But because Larry heeded the voice of the Holy Spirit, it proved to be a major motivation in Mike’s life to seek the truth about Jesus.
And then the 24-hour prayer group had an important role to play in helping unshackle Mike from the chains that were keeping him bound. Those prayer warriors knew that God could break those chains and set him free.
And then God used Kent, a member of that prayer group, who had recently converted from the yoga scene. He asked Kent to do a few crazy things that didn’t make sense to him at the moment, but God used those things to bring wonderful results.
In addition, it took Kent’s continued willingness to follow up on his new convert by attending Mike’s yoga class with him to support him as he testified about what had happened. I imagine Mike felt strengthened in his conviction when he had his newfound friend standing beside him and giving him support in prayer as he told all his students that he had unintentionally misled them and that he had found out that there is no other way to God except by Jesus Christ. He then went on to announce that he would no longer teach the classes and that he was also closing his ashram.
The story is not over, it continues! Mike tells how his departing from the yoga lifestyle and his witnessing so publicly about his change of heart in answer to the prayer group’s petitions brought many of his students to accept Jesus too.
It won’t be until heaven that Mike will fully realize the impact that his life-changing decision had on so many. The first wave of his converted students was followed by those whom they in turn led to the Lord, and on and on it expands, powered by the force of the love of God. And who knows? Even heaven may just be the beginning!
Another point that stood out to me is that when Mike and his new friend Kent were beginning the salvation prayer, Mike had many questions. Kent, who was in the process of leading him in the salvation prayer, led by the Holy Spirit, told him, “Don’t worry, just take Jesus. And then you’ll understand.”
Of course, I’m not implying that the Lord will tell everyone the same thing in their witnessing. But that principle is very important, and in some cases, that will probably be just what the Lord wants us to say. Other times we may have to answer a person’s questions and explain salvation further. We have to follow Jesus, do what He shows us to do at the time, and trust Him for the results. Then He will do what we can’t. Praise the Lord!
If you listen to Mike Shreve’s full testimony on YouTube, I think you’ll be blessed. For me it was such a wonderful reminder of God’s amazing workings and the important job that He has called each one of us to.1
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.—1 Corinthians 3:6–8 KJV