Pastor Harold Martin and his wife Becky and their two children, Travis and Aggie, came to Lake Marion Christian Fellowship from Abundant Life Church in Charleston, SC. Pastor Martin served as an elder at Abundant life Church until he was ordained at LMCF in 1990.
Pastor Martin is also part of the ministry / teaching team of Shiloh Place Ministries, which conducts Father's Love encounters and conferences in the US and throughout the World. The focus of these encounters and conferences is to impact the leaders of the ministries - to see their lives changed by the power of the Father's Love. - and through them, to impact their churches and cities.
I came into the ministry of the Father's Love as the result of a severe train wreck. Not the kind where real trains collide together but the kind where you come to the end of yourself - the kind where you crash into the reality of who you are, where you come to the realization of what is in you and in desperation you call out for the grace, the mercy and the love of God to change you.
It took a supernatural encounter with the Father's Love to change my life. That encounter did not just change my life - it changed my relationship with my wife, it changed my family, my approach to ministry and the church I now pastor. Everything in my life has changed because I did.
In 1978, my wife and I were facing divorce. I was faced with losing my family and everything that was important to me. My life was falling apart around me. A Christian friend of my wife's talked with me and led me to the Lord. As a result of being born again, my marriage was saved and my life was somewhat put back on the right track. Being born again is not enough - it is not the end, only the beginning.
I was called into the ministry in 1983, attended Bible College and served in a local charismatic church until 1990 when I was ordained and began to pastor a church of my own. The problem was the pain of the past was still ruling my mind. I had many ungodly beliefs that were controlling my behavior - attitude and actions toward others. After only a few years in the ministry I was a mess - all the bad things you hear about pastors doing, I was doing. That resulted in my developing a lot of self-hatred - an anger within me that was well on the way to destrying me and everyone around me.
I lived every day angry and did not know why. I didn't need a reason to be angry - only the opportunity to release the anger. Most of the time it was released against those that I loved - my wife, my children. You don't really want to hurt anyone, but I was hurt and wounded and was wounding others.
I was raised in the home of an alcoholic. It was often said to me by my mother and my sister that my father's drinking problem was my fault. I was told over and over again that he was a good father - he never drank like that until I was born. I discovered the reason for this was he never believed that I was his son. He believed I was the result of an adulterous affair my mother had. I never remember my father saying he loved me. Love was never demonstrated or expressed in any way. His physical touch came in the form of correction and punishment rather than tender affection. My house was a house of pain - a house of physical / verbal / emotional abuse, rejection and abandonment. All of this created wounds in my heart - love deficits that were crying out to be filled. I didn't know how to get these needs met by my heavenly Father so I looked for love - something to fill these needs - in all the wrong places.
I became driven to perform for the approval of others. The pain of rejection and abandonment caused the things that I did accomplish in life to be done out of a need to be needed. I became a manipulater and a controller in all of my relationships. When I became a pastor I ministered from that need to be needed. This is very dangerous because you manipulate people and perform for people just to get your own needs met. It is also dangerous because there are always people around that are willing to help met your needs in inappropriate ways. Who needs a pastor who cannot confront you about sin in your life because he has too much in his?
Finally in February of 1998, I could not tolerate myself anymore. My pain had exceded my shame and I was ready for a change. My heart was crying out for purity, crying out to know the reality of love, crying out to know God, not just about God. My heart was pushing me towards God, but the desires of my flesh were pulling me in the opposite direction.
I had heard about a man named Jack Frost who was ministering healing and restoration through a message of the Father's love, so in a move of despiration I went to one of his meetings. It only took 20 minutes in the arms of Jack Frost as he stood in for my father and walked me through forgiving him for his alcoholism, abuse, abandonment and rejection. He led me through receiving forgiveness for my wrong response to the wounding from my father - my rebellion, my my chasing after countrfeit affections trying to fill a void in my heart that only God could fill with everything except God. I received the Father's love - His love flooding over me and flooding into me. That 20 minute period in the arms of my heavenly Father - releasing the pain of the past and receiving His love - has changed my life forever. It has changed my marriage - Father is teaching me how to love my wife as Christ loves the church. He is healing the pain of the past. It has changed the ministry - I am no longer such a mess. I no longer minister out of a need to be needed - I minister out of a passionate desire to give the Father's love away. It has changed my family. Father is teaching me how to be a son - he is making me a better father to my children and husband to my wife. He is healing the pain I inflicted on my family - producing a greater degree of wholeness in my children.
There are a lot of places that you can go and things you can do to find out what is wrong with you: there is a lot of help available to identify the problem. It is only in the Father's arms that you are going to find the answer. Intimacy with the Father - receiving His love and giving it away - is the foundation for real freedom and lasting change in our life. I am convinced that without a foundation of experiencing the Father's love, you will struggle making every other part of your Christian life work.