Back by popular demand is Q & A With a Pastor! There was so much wonderful feedback on the previous one and now we have another. If you didn’t read it, go check it out! This time the same questions appear, but with a slight twist! So sit back, relax, and read this very thorough interview with my featured guests:
Pastor Manuel Washington III and Lady Cassandra Washington
[HOAPK/ME]: How did you know your purpose? Not just as a pastor starting out, but as a Christian.
[Pastor Manuel/PM]: My purpose was always spoken to me, growing up. My grandfather was a pastor. My grandfather pastored over 40 years in Beaumont, Texas. He would always tell me, “Boy, you’re gonna preach one day. Boy, you’re gonna preach one day.” So, at an early age, I knew that one day I would preach the gospel. I guess he planted the seed from what God showed him in the Spirit. And that seed in my life just guided me, now that I really think about it, it guided a lot of decisions I made, things that I did, and the way that I thought about myself.
Growing up, through junior high, is when I really became conscious of what he was saying. Through high school, college, even after we got married, we went right into ministry.
My purpose was a seed planted in my heart from my grandfather.
[ME]: Since you said it was a seed planted in your heart, how far back was that, like about what age?
[PM]: I would have to say as far back as 8 or 9.
[ME]: Wow, that early?
[PM]: Yes. It was like I was born for what I was doing. The Bible says that, 2 Timothy 1:12, my favorite scripture, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,“. He enabled me before I got here, because he counted me faithful. He knew that I would be faithful to the purpose and the call that he had placed inside me. He anointed me and I was anointed and full of the Holy Ghost as a little kid. I had no idea!
[ME]: Wow! Well since it started from you being a little kid all the way until now, what would you say was the toughest part about being saved at first?
[PM]: The toughest part for me was the Spirit of God was raising me up too fast. That’s something you probably won’t hear a lot of people say. The Bible opened up to me so clearly and so easily that I became arrogant. I got puffed up.
I had a guy tell me I’ll never forget. In 1986, I was working at Compaq Computer and I was just sharing with this guy about some things that the Lord was sharing with me. I got saved in January of ’86, and I met this guy 3 months later. And he said, “Man, I’ve never met anybody who could break down the scripture as well as you can at such a young spiritual age.” Which is when I realized, hey, I’ve got something here.
But God just opened his word up to me and because of that I began to take it for granted. I took for granted the wisdom and the revelation that God was pouring into me. I felt like I could step out and still stay saved. Step outside of the parameters of how God instructed us to live because I’m cool, because I know. When I got out there, my latter end was worse than my former. I backslid in all October of that same year. From that episode in my life, I had a 2 year drug addiction.
I went into that speaking in tongues, Holy Ghost filled, baptised with fire, full the Word of God. But because of the fact that God was raising me up so fast, I became arrogant and puffed up and I slid right back into a worse state than I was before I even accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Can I tell my testimony?
[PM]: I knew and I would tell her, because we were dating at the time, that you’re looking at a miracle and then would leave her and run and do drugs. But I would tell her, “You’re looking at a miracle” because God’s going to bring me off of this. It was during the crack era, when crack had first hit the scene. I would watch people, I went to Lakewood Church and my pastor at that time was John Osteen, come up and talk about how God had delivered them and set them free. They were on heroin, they were on different hard drugs, and I was like “God I ain’t on nothing, or shooting up, why don’t you deliver me like you’re delivering them?” Because I would cry out daily for deliverance, and God never answered my prayer. I could not understand why He would not deliver me.
Years later, mid-’90s, after I had gotten my life together, we had been married, and I was driving down the street. I’ll never forget it, I heard a Helen Baylor song, and in that song she was telling her testimony about her drug addiction. She hit the wall, slid down the wall, she was done. She said in that moment, God delivered her, she was completely set free from drugs. I’m listening to this song, and he answered my prayer in that moment. He [God] said, “Son, you know why I didn’t deliver you instantly?” I’m driving in the car and it seems like I’m experiencing it now. And I said, no Father, I don’t know why you did it. He said,” Because with you, I had time. Helen was behind my schedule, so when I had finally an opportunity to arrest her life, I had to deliver her right away because she was behind schedule.”
But He said, “With you, you weren’t. So I used the opportunity to teach you how to stand on my word and trust me. And by faith, step-by-step, day-by-day walk out of that addiction.” And that’s exactly what I did. I am so grateful to God that I was not delivered instantly. Because I can deal with some things that many people can’t deal with. God taught me how to stand on the Word, trust Him, and walk out of any situation. Amen.
[ME]: *Laughing and wiping tears away* Amen to that!
[PM]: That may be too much for the blog. *chuckles*
[HOAPK/ME]: No, that might be just what somebody needs. But besides your amazing testimony. I like to ask people, what is the easiest part about being saved?
[PM]: For me? The easiest part was living the faith life. That’s so easy. I don’t struggle with my faith. I don’t struggle to trust God and believe God. God has brought us out of some very hard places and it didn’t shake me. The easiest thing for us both is to trust God through any situation.
We got in some financial trouble years ago and our house was in foreclosure. They sent me a letter and said we’re going to foreclose on your house in 30 days. I held that letter to her, and I said, “You see this letter? We’ve got to hold on to this because nobody is going to believe that God did what he did in this timeframe.” And we stood on the word of God, we prayed, we heard from the Holy Ghost who gave us the plan of action. We followed it out and walked out the plan of action the Spirit of God gave us. In 30 days, God brought us out of a $30,000 deficit. Turned it around with no money. AND THEN gave us a check for $25,000.
[PM]: So, trust in God! That’s the easiest thing for me in my Christian walk. I’ve seen Him do too many things for me. Nobody can tell me any different.
[Lady Cassandra/LC]: That’s the same for me. During that time when we were going through, he came to me with the letter and he was like, ” Baby, you with me?” And I said, “Yeah, I’m with you.” He said, “Even if we have to go live under the Pierce Elevated?” I said, “Yeah! And we’ll still be praising God, we’ll still be tithing, and we’ll still love God. ” So he was like, “Okay, let’s do this!”
I think we even prepared. We started getting boxes to say “okay, if He don’t do it, we still love Him, but we need to prepare to go somewhere else.” But we were still trusting Him to stay in our home. That’s what we wanted, but we were using wisdom, you know. God turned it around.
[PM]: We were even looking for rent houses. The Pierce Elevated here in Houston is a place where all the homeless people gather. It’s downtown on Pierce Street. Highway 45 is elevated above Pierce Street. All the homeless people live right under there, right next to the Greyhound bus station.
So I said, “Hey, if we have to live under the Pierce Elevated, we’re going to keep tithing, we’re going to keep trusting God, believing God, nothing is going to change. Are you with me?” And she said, “Yeah, let’s do it!” And I thank God for this woman because she said, “Yes, I’m with you! If we have to live under there, nobody will know we’re under there. We won’t go to no man for anything. We’re going to trust God.“
[LC]: And I trust the God in him. God sees us through.
[ME]: For people who are struggling in faith right now, specifically a dry season, like a wall in faith, how do they rekindle that? What do you do first, then what should others do?
[PM]: When you hit a wall of resistance, the first thing I will fall on is the Spirit of God, praying in the Holy Spirit. Jesus said I’m going away but I’m sending you another comforter, a helper (John 14:17, 16:7). So the job of Holy Spirit is to help us.
I believe in baptism of Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. With that said, I live with the reliance of Holy Spirit, but I put a heavier reliance when I hit a hard place and I pray in the Spirit. That testimony we just shared was a hard place.
But that’s not what you’re asking, you’re asking what do I do when my faith is not working and I feel like I want to give up. You have to do like David and the Bible says, “He encouraged himself” (1 Samuel 30:6). Because a lot of times when you hit that place, nobody knows you hit it. Nobody sees you or the hurt you’re really experiencing. So in those moments, you have to rely on the God that you know. Man… not the God you heard other people tell you about.
A lot of times, the God you know is different from the God people tell you about. People will tell you about the God that they have experienced. So, when you hit a hard place, you have to rely on the God that YOU know.
With that said, steps to come out, because I’m that kind of guy:
- Praying in the Holy Spirit.
- Youtube is our best friend in our day and age. Find ministers on Youtube who are preaching faith or preaching on the subject that you are dealing with and plug yourself with the word of God. Anybody dealing with any situation can find somebody on Youtube that is preaching about that situation. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word” (Romans 10:17). You need to hear the word as it relates to that specific situation.
Back in my day, we didn’t have that privilege or avenue. If we didn’t have it on the cassette or already have access to it, you had to get on your knees and open your Bible. No smart nothing! You had to find the concordance, go through the Bible, and you write out those scriptures and stand on the word of God.
[LC]: And surround yourself with like precious faith.
[PM]: Amen! Who you hang around is extremely important.
[LC]: And don’t isolate yourself. The devil will try to destroy you in isolation.
[ME]: So, since you said to be with people of like faith. Who do you normally turn to?
[PM & LC]: Each other! *laughs*
[PM]: I have pastor friends who I turn to, but mostly it’s just us.
[ME]: So that’s why it’s important to marry somebody who’s of like faith.
[PM & LC]: Yes!
[PM]: That’s why the Bible tells you, “Be not unequally yoked” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Because when I’m down, I’ve got someone that can pull me up. Who believes what I believe, who stands for God the way I stand for God. That’s very important.
They can be as cute and fine as they want to be. That’s gravy, but that’s not the meat of what you need in a relationship. You know what I mean?
First Lady just got blessed!
[ME]: *laughs* So, just to wrap it up, since this is the end. If you could, both of you, give just one snippet of wisdom to a younger Christian, not in age but faith.
[PM]: The one snippet of wisdom I would give is to read the book of John, three times. The entire gospel of John, three times. That’s the first thing I tell everyone when they get saved. All 4 Gospels are similar except the gospel of John because John had a different relationship with Jesus than all the other disciples. He had a more intimate love connection with Jesus that the other ones did not have.
When you are newly born again, you need to connect to the heart of God. The book of John connects you to the heart of God in the way that none of the other epistles or gospels does. John calls himself the one that Jesus loves. How are you going to say that? But that’s how he felt. That’s the heart, with just getting saved, that you need to adopt to fall in love with God and to hold on to that love. God is love, and you need to connect to the love and heart of God.
[LC]: That’s pretty much what I would say.
[PM]: And stay in the Word. Devour the word.
Pastor Manuel Washington III and Lady Cassandra Washington are the pastors at Rhema Word of Life Church. They are located at 16730 Hedgecroft Dr #306, Houston, TX 77060 and you can visit their website at https://www.1rhemaword.org/ .