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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Connections: Heath Adamson
April 21, 2013

Season to Receive

Heath Adamson was appointed director of National Youth Ministries for the Assemblies of God in 2012. Adamson served as student ministries director for the Iowa Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God and as a youth pastor. He spoke recently with
Pentecostal Evangel Editor Ken Horn.

evangel: Tell us how you came to know the Lord.

HEATH ADAMSON: I was not raised in a home where we went to a church that preached the Word of God every weekend. I did anything but believe in Christ or Scripture. I studied the occult and got my hands on some evil things at a very young age. In the sixth grade, I was getting great grades, I was an athlete, and I was very well liked in school, but I was as far from God as you can possibly be.

In response to a friend’s invitation, I attended an Assemblies of God church for the first time on Super Bowl Sunday night in 1995 as a junior in high school. I didn’t understand things like speaking in tongues, and I left that church determined never go to church again, let alone an Assemblies of God church.

Six or seven months previous to the church service in 1995, when I attended parties or did other things I shouldn’t do, the Holy Spirit was convicting me. I remember getting out of cars in the middle of the winter walking home thinking, I can’t do this anymore. I can no longer get high. God is real. Steeped in substance abuse, bondage, and the results of an occultic lifestyle, I sensed something on the inside drawing me to make a change.

It’s interesting because I didn’t know the gospel. I didn’t know what sin was. I had attended some classes at a younger age, at a different church, just because some things were going on in my family. But I didn’t know John 3:16; I didn’t know any of that.

A few weeks after Super Bowl Sunday in 1995, I went back to church, this time on a Wednesday. I walked in, and I remember I had a huge marijuana leaf on my Grateful Dead tie-dyed T-shirt. The other kids had to be wondering, What in the world is he doing here? People like him don’t belong here. They knew what I was like at school, they knew what I was like out of school, and I walked in and I felt right at home.

There was no sermon that night, there was no worship set. The youth group was sitting in chairs in a circle, and everything was out of control because of a crisis in the church. I would have felt very uneasy had it been a prim, proper, polished service, but instead I thought, Everyone else has problems too. This is OK.

The dad of someone at my high school was the interim youth pastor. This dad was a truck driver, and he was filling in on Wednesday nights until they could hire someone. He gave an altar call, and something inside of me — which was obviously the Holy Spirit — said, Stand.

I can take you to the spot in Des Moines, Iowa, where I stood up in this little room and I walked forward and it was in that moment God delivered me from all of my drug addiction, healed my body of some things, and just changed my life and inserted a sovereign hand into my world and took my breath away. Everything changed.

evangel: How did God continue that miracle in your life?

ADAMSON: I remember going home that night, and I couldn’t sleep. I dug out a King James Bible my mom kept in a little cedar box with a picture of Jesus on it that I think my grandmother gave us. I didn’t understand most of it, but I stayed up that night and just read through Scripture and talked to God.

When I went to school the next day, I didn’t have anyone telling me, “You no longer can do this,” or, “You have to do this now that you serve Jesus.” I just knew intuitively it is not right to abuse substances; it is not right to do certain things. I wanted to follow the One who filled my world with color.

People often say things like, “The Word of God is black and white.” I am more of a believer that it is full-color. The Lord doesn’t come to take the color out of our lives; He comes to saturate our world with color, with hope. He breathes life over dead places, and that’s what happened in me.

evangel: God also did something powerful through a friend.

ADAMSON: For some reason after school that day (the day after coming to Christ), I checked the mail. I never checked the mail. What 17-year-old checks the mail? I remember going to the mailbox and opening it up. In the mailbox was a letter from Ali, my best friend in the eighth grade. Page after page after page, she wrote this letter to me answering all of the questions I used to ask her about God. She gave me Bible verse after Bible verse, sharing Christ, basically sharing who God was to her.

A few months before that the Lord had taken her breath away. She had grown up in church but simply through reading the Gospel of John she fell head over heels in love with the One who makes life worth living. She decided to reach out and let me know about Him.

Ali had no idea I had given my life to Christ the day before. In that moment I realized I was not alone. The rest is history. Ali and I have been married for 15 years and have two children.

evangel: Your testimony reminds us a youth service doesn’t have to be perfect for people to get saved. You just have to have the Holy Spirit work.

ADAMSON: We want to make sure we do things with excellence. We want to make sure we honor the Lord in all of the details of ministry. We want to reflect the creative fabric of who our creator God is. But at the end of the day there is nothing so creative, nothing so relevant, nothing so catchy and glamorous that it will change lives.

It really comes down to this — we are dead in our sin, and God in His sovereign mercy through His Holy Spirit reaches out to us and convicts us. Scripture is God-breathed, and when we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, He illuminates truth. We owe everything to Him.

evangel: What do you see going on among the youth of the Assemblies of God, and what is your vision for the future?

ADAMSON: The Lord is doing so much more behind the scenes than we can possibly fathom. When I meet youth pastors, parents, leaders, and especially students in our Movement, I see students who are hungry for God, who are fasting for 40 days, who are memorizing books of the Bible, who think it’s normal to sacrifice and give entire paychecks to fund the harvest through ministries like Speed the Light.

The greatest days are ahead, and it’s a privilege to not only be a part of, but also have a front row seat to the Lord pouring out His Spirit again on students. Another awakening is not just coming; it is here already, and I have a feeling we are about to be surprised by the Holy Spirit in our day.


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