Andrew was born on November 22nd, 1990 in a small house on the corner of Tennessee Street in Vallejo, California and then later moved to Michigan. He grew up in a Christian home, where he was schooled at home his whole kid life. Most his pleasure was found in making forts, imagining, tv shows, video games, and playing sports. After he got in his teenish years, Andrew found his main time spent in friendships, volunteering in church, political endeavors, toying with technology, working, and making everyone feel welcomed, loved, and happy.
This is the social look and feel of his life in those years. Socially and outwardly Andrew was, as his Dad always said, "A gentleman and a scholar." Although, we don't really know if this was true. Records in the scholarly department have mysteriously disappeared. What we do know is that through these years of growing up, there was a wrestling going on in the young man's soul.
At five years old, after a talk with His sister, in childlike honesty, he realize the mischievous ways of his little heart, saw the reality of Hell, and desired to go to heaven. So, as his sister instructed, he prayed to ask for forgiveness and to invite Jesus into His heart to save him from hell. Yes, most of the prayer and conversion experience was un-doctrinally sound, but it appears that God had started a work in his heart.
Although it wasn't realized at this point, the journey of Andrew's life had just begun. There came a stirring inside of Andrew that had never died. And yet, it wasn't enough. There was a hunger within his soul for something more in his life than just a ticket to Heaven when he died. In his mid teen years, Andrew heard two sermons that drastically changed his life. The first was called, Shocking Youth Message by Paul Washer. If he were to look back on it he would say, "that it wasn't necessarily the message of the sermon, (although that hit me hard), it was the fact that I beheld something in Paul Washer that I didn't have. Paul had such a passion for Jesus Christ and a realness of Christianity far above anything I'd ever seen at that point. I can still remember how moved I was when Paul began to tremble and cry before God in prayer."
The second sermon that greatly impacted his life was, Ten Shekels and a Shirt by Paris Reidhead. This sermon gave Andrew a huge kick in the pants on where his allegiance lied, what he was fighting for, who he was serving, and what was the end goal. He realized that Christianity wasn't so that he could go to Heaven, but that Jesus Christ would receive the reward for taking the wrath of God on the cross in our place.
Christianity was something more radical than Andrew had ever realized and it drove him deeper towards Christ. But it still wasn't enough. Because deep inside he was getting torn apart by sin in lustful thoughts and actions. "I was a slave to satisfying my sensual desires, and I was rotting inside." This lifestyle of destructive habitual sin had ruled his life from a very early age. "I had tried everything from programs, vows, cold turkey, scripture memorization, beating myself up, writing fake testimonies of freedom, and crying out to God."
Two other Paul Washer sermon also impacted Andrew causing him to yearn so much more for something real. "The Presence of God and the Power of God" & "How God Views His Bride Part 1 & 2." A burning inside got hotter and hotter, to where he could not stand it any longer. Then in June 2010, Andrew ended up emailing Paul Washer. Here is his letter:
"I don't even know if this is your email address, but I will try anyway, and I will be brief and right to the point. I'm a nineteen year old brother, in Jackson, MI. (Raise Baptist ..etc.) I'm writing you an email because of one of your sermons online that has been haunting me. It was on the topic of a "love relationship of God and His Brides", (found in Song of Solomon). In the sermon, you shared your testimony how you sought GOD for months, crying and throwing rocks toward Heaven. And after months of nothing, "God finally came," and you have been living in a real...REAL relationship ever since with God. God finally became real to you, and you feel His presence.
IS THIS TRUE? Because I have been seeking out older men and asking them about their relationship with God, and I haven't found anyone that has a relationship like that. Can you really feel God's presence? Because I feel conviction, I feel a tug at my heart when I read Scripture, I see fruit in my life, but when I seek God and cry out to Him for His presence, to have a bride/groom relationship, and to begin to know Him in a relationship like we will have in heaven, I feel like I'm just talking to a wall sometimes.
Everyone I know, doesn't pray to spend time with God, they pray to get there LIST heard and get their prayers answered. IS THERE something special that I can SEEK for, like you described in your sermon? And if so, how do I have it? Why is it so difficult that I can't find anyone with it, even older saints? Why does God make it hard for His children to have it? If you could answer any of these questions...I would be very grateful!"
Paul Washer responded back:
"I am in the midst of setting up the office in Virginia, and cannot give you but a brief note on the matter in question. The fact is that many believers do not have a life of prayer. Those that do pray are often more involved with intercession than seeking God for God. We can live with a special sense of God's presence and power in our lives. For such to become a reality, we should seek God in prayer and in His Word. We should cry out to Him in hope that we might know Him. I recommend that you read Tozer's book "Men Who Met with God" and also Ian Murray's book "Pentecost Today?" I think they will be helpful. I would also caution you to seek God more than a feeling. We must seek God for God's sake. Also, the experiences of one man may not be duplicated in the life of another. Do not compare yourself or your experience to other men, but to the Scriptures themselves. I greatly appreciate your questions and your seeking after God."
As you could imagine, this didn't fully satisfy Andrew, who was looking for the key to unlock all his problems. "If you have ever watched a movie like Rocky, where when the character needs to get into shape for a match, some epic workout music would turn on and within 3 minutes he would be in shape and ready to go. That is how I wanted my Christian walk to look."
Even still, Andrew pressed in, hoping to know God and abide in His presence. The next few years, he tasted a little bit of real prayer and a little bit of freedom. But it still wasn't enough. He tried to give up and fully embrace the world many times, but by God's mercy he didn't continue in the muck for long. "I was done. Either God and the Bible was not real and I'd better use my time living it up while I still could, or God was real and He was worth giving my life wholeheartedly spent for His kingdom."
Then in September of 2011 Andrew went to Reunion of a Conference for a three day weekend. "The event was truly orchestrated by God. All of those who came were seriously hungry to seek God. There were a lot of guys and girls and hardly any staff, but everyone was so focused on seeking the Lord, that there were no problems. Not even with flirting. There was no wasted time and yet it was never rushed. I was so hungry and so ready to be done with sin. I wanted to know God, see his power, and feel his presence.
At this conference Eric Ludy, who was the main guest speaker, thundered forth the gospel. He brought a huge amount of clarity defining terms in the Bible like Grace and Faith. I saw something in Eric that was so powerful and so concentrated that could only be explained by the life of Christ living inside of him. Eric actually believed the Word of God and walked it out with an unflinching growl. That weekend, for the first time in my life, I saw the power of the gospel to set men free. There were so many sermons in those three days that greatly impacted me. One of them was called The Costly Gospel, and it was then and there that I fully surrendered everything to God, including my job, and threw myself to Christ as my only hope for my life. It wasn't just a surrender of spiritual things, but a surrender of every crack and cranny of my spiritual, physical, and mental life.
God birthed in me the beginning of a growl to live out the radical truth that I saw in Scripture." "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20 This became the growl of my heart and the truth of Christ in me that has empowered me to live a life set free!
Here is some powerful Ellerslie Sermons by Eric Ludy that I would reccomend:
The Tree - The Gospel
The Costly Gospel
Reckoning With Truth
Manly Almight Grace
The Ellerslie Experiment