I was saved when I was nineteen years old. Afterwards, I never had a strong spirit to follow the Lord. At that time I didn’t know what my human spirit was. I knew of God but I didn’t know how to contact Him. As I began to read the Bible, the Lord began putting Christians in my life to help me in the ways of the Lord. The more I contacted the Lord through His Word; something within began to get stirred up. I began to talk to God from deep within. I remember sensing this feeling growing up in a Catholic environment. Even then I felt somewhat separated; somewhere during my teenage years, I lost contact with God. As a result, I began to have a deep longing to have a profound relationship with Jesus. I didn’t want something superficial; I longed for something deeper than anything that I had experienced previously.

It wasn’t until I met my wife that the Lord answered my prayers and satisfied my longings. She became the “open door,” by which I entered into that relationship with the Lord. Through her I met brothers and sisters in Christ who were genuinely seeking and pursuing after God. The more I met with them, the more I realized how rich God was to me. Their portion of Christ was attractive to me. I wanted and enjoyed their portion. My heart found peace in their speaking. One weekend, I went to watch video messages on the book of Isaiah. It was held in a brother’s house in Nashville, Tennessee. I didn’t recall the exact words a man named Witness Lee said, but I was deeply touched. Later that night, I felt a peace that I had never felt. I found myself calling upon the name of the Lord. Hallelujah! I was liberated. This was the breakthrough my heart had been longing for those past years. Within there was joy deeper than any feeling of mind, emotion, or will. I knew I could not excuse this experience, it caused my life to change dramatically.

My wife and I have three girls and are in the local church. It’s not always a “smooth road,” but the Lord has taken care of us in every aspect of our living. I have enjoyed Him more than ever. I cannot say enough about the printed writings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Their writings have helped me in seeking God’s heart, knowing and experiencing Christ daily, exercising my spirit (I Timothy 4:7-8) for the growth in life, matters regarding the church, being built up into the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16), becoming His universal expression (Revelation 21:10-11), and ultimately preparing for His return (1 John 3:2) by matching Him in life and nature but not in the Godhead and becoming the bride He desires. I can only sum up my local church experience through the following chorus of a hymn that I’ve sung:

I love the church life, eating, drinking, breathing Jesus.

I love the church life, taking in God’s word.

I love to hear those “O Lord, Amen, Hallelujahs!”

I love the church life feasting with the Lord.

The local church has been a real feast in the spirit. A feast that I enjoy with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

John Cortez