Surprised by the Love of God
by Adam Wittenberg
He had never felt God’s love before, until the Lord broke in at Onething!
After nearly ten years of trying to pursue God and feeling like he “wasn’t really getting anywhere,” Jeff L. came to Onething.
At the invitation of his son, Tyler, Jeff drove from Rockford, Illinois, to Kansas City, Missouri, for the Onething conference in 2014. What the 62-year-old investment advisor didn’t know is that it would change his life and walk with God forever.
Tyler, who was working in the Partners department at the International House of Prayer, scheduled a prophecy appointment for his father with Ed Hackett and Chris Ferguson, two leaders at IHOPKC.
But instead of simply speaking encouragement over him, Chris and Ed sensed the need to get to know Jeff a bit first. When they asked, Jeff said he was feeling “stalled out” in his walk with God.
This prompted Ed to share a dream he’d had. In the dream, Ed was a defensive football player who picked up a fumble, but was immediately attacked by four large linemen as he started to run toward the goal line.
In Ed’s dream, the coach (representing God) shouted from the sideline, “Keep your legs moving and fix your eyes on the goal!” By doing this, Ed broke free and eventually reached the end zone.
As he crossed the line, the Lord highlighted Hebrews 12:1–2: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
What Chris and Ed didn’t know was that Jeff coached defense for a high school football team in Rockford.
The men connected, and Ed shared his own journey of how he felt like he had to work his way to God until he had a radical encounter with Him.
“When you don’t know if you’re walking with the Lord or not, there can be a heaviness, and of course sin comes in there and tries to take us out,” Ed said, recalling the dialogue.
He then asked Jeff, “‘Is this the day you want to drive a stake in the ground for Christ?’” Jeff replied, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
When the men finished praying, the shift was evident.
“It seemed like his countenance was just bright,” Ed said. “You know the change when someone knows that they know—it’s not about your words, it’s what Christ has done.”
Jeff knew that things were different, too.
“Before that, I’d never had a deep feeling of God’s love for me,” he said. “At that particular moment, it started. I could feel something, and it’s only gotten better and better since!”
From there, Jeff went immediately into the prayer room, which is held at the Kansas City Convention Center during Onething, to spend time with Jesus.
“Usually my dad’s always like ‘go-go-go,’ but he was in there for hours, just sitting there. He didn’t want to come out,” says Tyler.
Jeff then attended Onething sessions with Tyler and Tyler’s wife, Katie Jo. This blessed Tyler, who had been praying for his father “for a really long time.”
“I had my dad on my right hand and my wife on my left hand, and we were just worshiping the Lord,” he recalls. “Just to be in the presence of the Lord with both of them like that was really special.”
Since the conference, Jeff’s experience of God’s love has only grown. It carried him through an emergency heart bypass surgery in February (“He got a new heart spiritually, and then physically,” Tyler says. “We both had peace before the surgery”), and now he wants to transition from his career and football coaching in order to pursue God more.
Jeff also wants to come back to Onething and bring his friends, most of whom “aren’t big believers and wouldn’t understand unless I brought them there. I tell them, ‘You have to be in that environment and you’ll feel it.’”
And to anyone who has never been to Onething, or is thinking about coming, Jeff’s invitation is just as encouraging.
“You’ve got to come to this because it’s life-changing, for you and your family,” he says. “You’ve got to get there. You’ve got to see it for yourself.”
Prophetic ministry is offered to Onething 2015 attendees. Registration opens December 28 and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Learn more about Onething 2015 »
A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. He also serves in the NightWatch (overnight prayer hours) and is active in evangelism. He, and his wife Stephany, have a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.