AlongTheWay

“Finding the True Light” - Mike Shreve - AlongTheWay 116

May 16, 2022 John Matarazzo / Mike Shreve Season 1 Episode 116
AlongTheWay
“Finding the True Light” - Mike Shreve - AlongTheWay 116
Show Notes Transcript

When Mike Shreve was in his 20s he was a notable Guru and Yogi with a growing yoga school. His passion for New Age led him on a search for the True Light. One day while he was hitchhiking along the highway, The True light of Jesus sent a man just trying do his laundry, to drive out of his way and pick up the young yogi. That encounter shifted Mike Shreve’s destiny forever. Hear how he finally reached the authentic spiritual awakening.

Mike Shreve

https://www.shreveministries.org/

thetruelight.net

Alternatives to Yoga

wholyfit.org

praisemoves.com


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Mike Shreve:

Two miles away from where I stepped out on the road hitchhiking, one of the members of the prayer group was walking into a laundromat. He was a college student wanting to wash his dirty clothes. And God spoke to him and said, Don't go in there, get back in your band and start driving. I've got a job for you to do. That's all God told him. God didn't tell him. The Guru that you've been praying for for a month is two miles down the road, and you're going to pick him up and win him to the Lord. God just told him get in your van and start driving. And a lot of people wait to get all the instructions before they act on what God tells them to do. It doesn't work that way. One step at a time.

John Matarazzo:

But we'll do along the way. I'm John better as your host and fellow traveler. Thank you for joining me along my way as I try to become more like Jesus every day. In this episode, I'm sharing with you the journey of a former Yogi guru, who well in his 20s with a growing number of followers decided to dedicate his life to the search for the true light. One day while he was hitchhiking along the highway, the true lead of Jesus and a man who was just trying to do his laundry to drive out of his way and pick up the young yogi. That encounter changed Mike Shreeves life forever. In this episode, you'll hear how he finally reached the authentic spiritual awakening that he was searching for. I'll get to our conversation in just a moment. But as always, I want to thank you for listening to along the way. I hope that you like what you hear and you subscribe. Please rate and review along the way on Apple podcasts or wherever you're listening. All of my socials and contact links are in the show notes. And you can check out all of my episodes and join my email list through my website along the way dot media, I would love to hear from you. I also have a Patreon page if you want to help me to continue to put up these along the way episodes. If you'd like to become a patreon supporter, simply go to patreon.com/along the way and select the level. The link to become a supporter is also in my show notes. And now here's my along the way conversation with Pastor Mike Shrieve. Well, with me today is Pastor Mike Shrieve. He is one of our podcasters with the charisma Podcast Network, and we connected a little while ago. And his story, I just got to hear a brief explanation of that. But it is an amazing journey of somebody that has gone from literally darkness into light. And now he's helping people understand coming out of Eastern religions and new age and things like that. But Pastor Mike Shrieve It is great to have you on along the way on my podcast, and I'm looking forward to hearing your along the way journey.

Mike Shreve:

Well, I'm very, very excited about being with you, John. And I've appreciated the experience of working with you on developing our podcasts on the charisma Podcast Network. And I've really been looking forward to having this session with you where I share my heart.

John Matarazzo:

Amen, amen. Yet, Pastor Mike is a he's a podcaster. He's got a couple different podcasts, but the one that we're going to really focus on and this whole, the whole theme of this podcast is the true light project. And he's got a book to go with that in search of the true light. And then his podcast is revealing the true light. And it is it is pretty powerful. I mean, we're going to talk about Mike's story in just a moment about how God brought him from a place where he was leading people astray without realizing it to now he's leading people into as a pastor into Jesus's marvelous light. So, Pastor Mike, I just want to get right into your story. How did you come to know Jesus, but let's back up quite a ways because you were pretty far from Jesus at a at a certain point in your life. I want to hear your story right

Mike Shreve:

now. I was, well, I was raised Roman Catholic. And I never met Jesus, I never was born again. I never developed a personal relationship with him. And all those years, I was an altar boy. I was very fervent, probably in church four to five days a week, and serving under priests and go into parochial school, where we were taught by nuns. I never had any bad experiences though. All the priests and nuns I served under were wonderful people, kind, gentle, Meek individuals who were really concerned about serving God and serving others. So even though I had that wonderful character building example in front of me, it was insufficient to really meet the need in my heart. And consequently, I guess that was part of the reason I drifted away from Catholicism all together as a teenager, and I became a rock musician. That's a huge leap admit. Yeah, and ended up having a near death experience. At the age of 18, because of my lifestyle, and I literally felt my soul leaving my body and going out into a throbbing tunnel of void and darkness. And my soul felt like it was speeding up at this incredible speed as I was transitioning from this world into the next world, and that was a very, very frightening experience, because I knew I was not ready. I had not devoted anytime at that point in my life to developing any kind of worldview that dealt with eternal things. I had kind of left that all behind. But because of that experience, I decided I'm going to start searching. And right about that time, an Indian group visited Florida State University, a man named Yogi Bhatia, who came from India to teach a sect of yoga called Kundalini yoga. And I really resonated with what he was teaching, which was a very extreme, disciplined yogic lifestyle that would usher you into experiences like God consciousness, which would be a conscious awareness of God. Of course, in that particular worldview, it means a conscious awareness that you are God in manifestation. And so it's the antithesis, the total opposite of the truth. But anyway, I became very devoted, I dropped out of college, to study yoga on a full time basis, and joined an ashram. And we were involved in some kind of yogic discipline, whether it's breathing exercises called pranayama, or physical exercises called asanas, or meditation, or reading the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita, etc. We were involved from 330 in the morning till five o'clock every night in the ashram, wow. And then at night, we were teaching yoga classes locally. And then eventually I started my own ashram in Tampa, Florida. And that's where I finally had an encounter that changed the direction of my life all together. And I'll summarize it in a few key happenings. Sure, the main thing that shifted me was an article in the newspaper, the Tampa Tribune, K, send a reporter out to one of my yoga classes did an interview with me. And they talked about my beliefs and how I was teaching in four universities in the area and had about 300 students who consider me their quote, unquote, guru. But the word Guru comes from two root words Gu and Rue. That means out of darkness into light. And so a guru is someone who's supposed to lead you out of the darkness into the light, but there was a huge problem. I was not in the light yet. So how can I lead anyone else there? I didn't know it. I thought I was but I wasn't. I figured that that article in the newspaper, it was a half page article, a larger article, I thought it would increase my class attendance. Yeah. And it wouldn't bump up over 1000 people for sure. Instead, it alerted a local prayer group to start praying for me. Your program is called along the way. There was a huge amount of spiritual activity going on along the way to my discovery of Christ. I didn't know that there was about 30 people who had a 24 hour prayer chain, that had somebody appointed to be fasting and praying for me every hour of every day. So me up to God. So I'm being soaked with intercession. How can he escape that right? And, and then some key events happen. Totally out of the realm of my control, I didn't know that the Holy Spirit was causing these converging things to come in to grip me and bring me into a kingdom experience. But I got a letter from an old friend of mine. And he and I had left college at the same time for the same reason and that was to study yoga, and hopefully achieve God consciousness or self realization or Christ consciousness or self awareness, that love names for But anyway, he wrote me and said he had walked into church and heard an audible voice. They said, Jesus is the only way and he said he felt the Spirit of God fall on him, and he was born again. Well, I pondered his letter for days until finally I decided, well, you know, I wrote him back initially and told him I couldn't handle the idea that Christianity was the only path that all paths would take people to the same ultimate reality. Today, but I finally concluded I'm a truth seeker. So if I dismiss this and don't try it or open my heart to it, I might be excluding the very thing from my life that would be the answer to my need and my the cry of my heart. So I decided to dedicate one day to Jesus. And I decided that I would do no yoga, no meditation, I would read nothing but the Bible. And I decided the two books I would read were the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. And the book of Revelation is a pretty heavy book to start out with for your initiation. Yeah, it really is. And then I prayed all day long, Jesus, if you're the answer, give me a sign. Come to me show yourself supernaturally. And then I would read the Gospel of John read the book of Revelation. And nothing happened all day long, I was somewhat disappointed. I was expecting a vision and an audible voice, some kind of supernatural phenomenon. But that afternoon, I was hitchhiking to University of South Florida. I had to hitchhike everywhere, because I owned no material things. It was part of my discipline.

John Matarazzo:

So you really did say you really did forsake everything to become a yoga instructor or a yogi or a guru.

Mike Shreve:

Let me interject here, John, that I'm glad you said that because it quick in this to my mind. I believe the Holy Spirit was working on me a long time before I became a Christian. After that bad near death experience I had, I felt what later on as a Christian I would discover is called conviction. Because Jesus said, that it's necessary for you that I go away, because if I go not away, the Helper will not come to you. But it becomes he will. Different versions say a different ways. He will reprove the world, he will convince the world He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. And I believe the Holy Spirit began convicting me of sin. I didn't know anything about being born again. I'd never heard that term. So I didn't know to turn to Christianity. But I felt terrible about my lifestyle. And I withdrew from the things I used to indulge in. After that near death experience. I never used drugs again, I never smoked pot, I never drank alcohol, I never date. For the period of time where I was involved in yoga, I never dated, I never went to a movie. I never watched TV. I didn't involve myself in any entertainment. I withdrew from all of those things, and was concentrating completely on connecting with God. And again, I believe that was God moving in my life before I recognize that as God,

John Matarazzo:

amen. Before we go any further, I just have a question about your near death experience. I am curious, I got to know what you were in rock and roll. And you just mentioned about drugs and alcohol and stuff. What triggered this near death experience?

Mike Shreve:

Well, I took some LSD that apparently was cut was some kind of poison. And as I remember, several people in the community that were into drugs died that night. And I think it was probably the same batch. But once I had that experience, I thought never again, I'm throwing my life away. This is a waste. I'm not going to take this kind of chance. This is Russian roulette. You never know when what you do may be the last thing you do so

John Matarazzo:

so how did you get pulled out of the near death experience?

Mike Shreve:

I don't know. I don't know. Unless it was the fact that when I was a baby, my mother who was not saved at the time, in fact, I was blessed to win her to the Lord. She was one of my first converts. She I was dying at six months old. And she lifted me up before the Lord. And she said, God, I don't even know if I know you. But if you'll spare my child, I dedicate him to the ministry. And I'm the only one of all my siblings involved in ministry, like and, and so I have a feeling that prayer stuck. And it probably thinks it protected me from some very stupid choices I made in life. Wow.

John Matarazzo:

Wow. Okay, so now we gotta go back up to where you're being involved in yoga and everything. I do want to ask, like, what is actually going on because it's Yoga is not just exercises that you see people doing in the park somewhere or tai chi or whatever it is. It's there's a lot more to it that people are just unaware of. Can you kind of paint the picture of what's actually going on and how spiritual this actually is?

Mike Shreve:

The word yoga means yoke in Sanskrit. And the implication is you're being yoked with If ultimate reality or the oversoul, called Brahman, in Hinduism, and ultimate reality in Hinduism is not a personal God, it's an impersonal force. Now, a little over 50% of Hindus believe that some Hindus believe in a personal God being ultimate reality. But I believe the majority are of the other mindset. And people don't realize it. But even the physical exercises and the breathing exercises are all attuned toward one goal. And the aim is the awakening of the Kundalini. And the word Kundalini means serpent power, it's a coiled energy at the base of the spine, in the form of a coiled serpent. And they teach that through meditation through the physical exercises, through the breathing exercises, through meditation, all these things work together to awaken that Kundalini. And then that energy in a serpentine kind of way, goes up your spine to your third eye, and I don't believe the Third Eye exists, I believe it's just imaginary, that it goes up the spine to the third eye, and then to what they call the crown chakra. And that's when you merge with the oversoul, with Brahman, and you become one with God. And so the whole goal is spiritual in nature. I tell Christians not to practice yoga, not to go to a yoga studio not to do yoga lessons anywhere, because it's walking too close to an area of great spiritual deception. In fact, on my website, the true light.net I have an article and a video teaching, where I teach on the gods, the various deities that different yoga poses are dedicated to, and how when you assume those poses, and they're just physical poses, like Warrior Two is a certain pose you take during a yogic exercise regimen. But you're invoking a certain day AT T and inviting that day at T to manifest in your life. And it's an open portal to the demonic world. Wow.

John Matarazzo:

So is there an alternative for the exercise benefits, there's the stretching and things like that, that you would recommend?

Mike Shreve:

There is, I have two friends. And both of them were formerly yoga teachers that were enlightened about this. And they formed groups that are very popular one is called holy fit, W H, O L Y, Holy fit.org. And the other one is praise moves, and is praised moves.com. And in fact, the latter one is a lady who was a hatha yoga teacher for about, I don't know, probably close to 20 years. And then she got saved and quit teaching yoga all together, and decided that after two years, she felt like God spoke to her to offer a Christian alternative. And so she is she does, and they are both very strong and speaking out against yoga. So they're not just cloaking yoga in biblical terminology. I feel there's another group called holy yoga that I believe merge tries to merge Eastern beliefs, New Age beliefs with Christianity, and I encourage people not to do holy yoga.

John Matarazzo:

Okay, so I just had to ask about that. Because I mean, I know a lot of people that do it, I've, I've done a few, you know, yoga videos, myself, just because I thought, Oh, these are good stretches. But I definitely need to look into some alternatives that you just mentioned there. So thank you for that. Because there's there seems to be there's a health benefit to the stretching, but it's I don't want to play around with fire. Well, I

Mike Shreve:

will send you a copy of this booklet. I have a booklet called seven reasons I no longer practice yoga. And it really summarizes it would be a whole podcast just to go into this.

John Matarazzo:

But I might have to do that. I might have to do that.

Mike Shreve:

I think you're probably safe. Just watching a video on a TV screen or something. You're probably not in a as dangerous a position. But when you actually go to a yoga studio and participate in the class I've had for instance, some Christians tell me that when they start chanting ohm in the class, I just start speaking Jesus inwardly. Well, I don't want to be around the chanting of ohm. Because that word ohm is an invocation to three deities is actually three syllables merged together as one, a U M, the A represents Brahma, Brahman, or Brahma rather the Creator God. And the you represents Vishnu, the preserver God and the M represents Shiva the Destroyer God. And so when you are chanting the word ohm, you're invoking those three gods, which are the main Gods at the head of the Hindu pantheon. Wow. And that would be like going to an idol Temple to worship God, I'm not going to walk in a temple where they've got idols, and try to worship Jesus, I'll go there to witness. I've been in Hindu temples, many times to witness, I go there to talk to them, but I'm not going to worship in that atmosphere. And if they're focused on awakening the Kundalini, what really happens when the Kundalini is awakened, is a person becomes demon possessed. And if you're in an atmosphere of the demonic like that, you're in a very dangerous position where you could become contaminated to with demonic manifestation. And I have people call me from all over the world, literally from all over the world, begging me to pray for them, because they were participating in yoga classes and started having these spontaneous Kundalini awakenings, this energy purging are flowing through their bodies, and they can't control it is keeping them awake, it's running them, nearly insane. Wow. And so it's nothing to be played with by any means.

John Matarazzo:

Okay, so you've just painted a really good picture of all the spiritual stuff, or not all of it. I mean, I'm sure there's a lot more to it. But you just painted a really good picture of just the general things of what people don't normally know about yoga and the life of a guru or a yogi. But we haven't picked up on your story yet of how you, you were in that life. And then how God brought you out of that. You have this group of people that are praying for you around the clock that are fasting. Let's finish that story.

Mike Shreve:

So all these things are working together. As I mentioned, the near death experience. And then that grew on me. And through that grew on, I moved from Tallahassee, Florida, to Daytona, Florida, where I lived in my first ashram and then I went to Tampa, Florida, where I started an ashram and taught in the four University. So it was my involvement in that group that positioned me in Tampa, Florida, where the prayer group was not that God authored that particular journey. But I believe he used it and was positioning me for the revelation of who He really is. So what happened is, this article appeared in the newspaper, the prayer group was praying for me, I get a letter from an old friend of mine, all these things weave together. And then one day I dedicated day to Jesus want to do nothing but seek His face and read the Bible. That afternoon, I was on the road hitchhiking. And two miles away from where I stepped out on the road hitchhiking, one of the members of the prayer group, was walking into a laundromat. He was a college student wanting to wash his dirty clothes. And God spoke to him and said, Don't go in there, get back in your band and start driving. I've got a job for you to do. That's all God told him. God didn't tell him. The Guru that you've been praying for for a month is two miles down the road, and you're going to pick him up and win him to the Lord. God just told him get in your van and start driving. And a lot of people wait to get all the instructions before they act on what God tells them to do. It doesn't work that way. One step at a time. But anyway, he got into his van and started driving and whenever it felt an impulse he would turn and he saw me hitchhike and he told me later on, he lived by a cardinal rule that he never picked up hitchhikers, but felt compelled he said it was almost like invisible hands, grabbed the wheel and forced him over to the side of the road. Wow, I opened the door and remember, I'm still praying while I'm hitch I can Jesus, this is your day. Show me if you're the only way. I opened the door to his van and looking at my heart jump, because on the ceiling of the van was a picture of Jesus. And I knew it was my answer. Wow. And I was sitting on the edge of my seat. A few minutes later, he popped the question. He said friend can ask your question. I said yes. He said, Have you ever experienced Jesus coming into your heart? I said no. But when can I? And I surprised him I was so positive and my response immediately. He said the you can come to our permitting tonight. I said, I don't want to wait for a permit. If I can find Jesus. I want to find him now. So he pulled his van over to a parking lot. And I've always thought it was quite amusing that God was working in his behalf as well as my behalf because he happened to pull into the parking lot of another laundromat. Wow. So he gripped his dirty clothes and said I'll be back in a minute and he went in and put his clothes in and came back It led me to the Lord. And I knelt down with him in the back of the van and prayed and accepted Jesus. And it was so real John, it was so powerful and undeniable that I finally found the truth. That That afternoon, can't the guy who wanted me to the Lord came with me. And I went back to my class at University of South Florida and told them that it would be dismissed from that day forward. I was shutting down my ashram and canceling all my classes. And we went to all my classes that we can said the same thing. Jesus is the only way. And most of them were in total shock, that their guru had become a Jesus freak. Overnight. What year was this? That was back in 1970, the fall of 1970.

John Matarazzo:

So was this a hippie van that pulled up and picked you up? It was

Mike Shreve:

kind of a hippie band. He was kind of a hippie van. Yeah, he wasn't a full fledged hippie.

John Matarazzo:

Yeah. Yeah, he wasn't a full fledged hippie. So I was just he was, yeah. So I'm just, I'm just picturing this scene. Here you are. You've dedicated a day to the Lord, to Jesus to say, prove yourself, and you read John and Revelation, and you're not getting anything from that. But God literally sends somebody out of his way. He had other plans, but he was obedient. And he then picks you up. But he had been one of these people that had been praying for you, Brian, how long into him picking you up? Did he realize that you were the guy that you had had been praying for? Well, I don't

Mike Shreve:

remember exactly how long it took for him to make that connection. But I've always marveled and so has he, at the impossible odds of that happening. Oh, yeah. Oh, that we would be at the same place at the same time, within about a five minute window of time, out of over a million people in that region. For him to pick me up pitch I can, and I, and this is even more intense. I had heard about him, because he was supposedly the only person in Tampa that was more deeply involved in yoga than I was. And he had come out and become a follower of Jesus. And I'd heard about it through the grapevine and wondered how he could ever opt for a lesser path like Christianity. And so I had heard about him, and he had heard about me, the genius of God had to set all of that. The invisible one on the mayor's room was the one who was invisibly working behind the scenes to set that.

John Matarazzo:

Amen. So you then shut down your classes, which I would say you had four different schools, about 300 people, you're pretty successful in that. But you thought you would go up to 1000 and stuff. So like, but you shut everything down. I mean, that's, that's quite an immediate transformation.

Mike Shreve:

Yeah. And it was not easy. What happened to you next? Well, I never charged for my classes, but I left a little basket at the back. And that gave me enough money for rent. And the people that lived in the ashram with me supplied rent money, too. Well, that all dried up immediately. So I had no place to live. Thankfully, one of my yoga students owned a barber shop. And he told me, I could sleep on the floor of this barber shop until I found a place so for about two weeks in a sleeping bag, I slept on the floor of a barber shop. And I've often told people that was really a hairy experience.

John Matarazzo:

scenario, a horrible joke, horrible

Mike Shreve:

joke. I'm sorry, I apologize. But it really happened. I really did. And then I heard about a Christian commune over in Central Florida. And I went and join that community. And, you know, it really fits in with the theme of your program to show how God gets involved in our lives and visibly, and how he's so watchful in every event. Because shortly after, I joined that Christian community in Central Florida, I started feeling this longing, this deep desire to get closer to God and being a former Catholic, I thought the way to do that was to become a monk. And so I was on my way to the monastery. There was one particular monastery outside of Atlanta called Monastery of the Holy Spirit that was supposedly charismatic and they believed in the gifts of the Spirit. So I thought I was going to go there because they were more of the same mindset. Because I believed in the gifts of the Spirit. So anyway, I stepped out on the road hitchhiking and I'm going to weave together two stories here, okay. God kept me from religious deception to more times, and this is one of the two he brought me out of one false religion, but almost went back into two other false religions, but he prevented it. So I'm on my way to join this monastery to become a monk and to embrace Catholicism, because at the time, I did not realize there were so many unbiblical beliefs in Catholicism. This God picked me up hitchhiking. And long story short, before I knew what was happening. He pulled off the road into a field and he went out in the middle of this field at a high rate of speed. Not, you know, I'm very suspicious. I'm wondering what the world's going on. And at first he told me it was he wanted to show me a place that the construction crew he was working with, was working on. Then he started speeding up going over these, I guess it was rose where corn used to be so that okay, back into the car was just bouncing real bad. And he got out to this little grove of trees in the middle of the field, slammed on his brake, pulled out a knife and proceeded to tell me he was going to rape me, rob me and killed me. Oh my gosh. He told me to look over in the bushes that there was a dead body of a man he killed three days ago laying over there and I was next. Well, two words went through my mind, the first word was run. But I thought that's a stupid choice. Because he's got a car, he could run me down in this huge field. The next word that went through my mind was preach. Well, I've never preached a sermon, I've only been saved about four weeks, four or five weeks. But I'd heard plenty of sermons. So I launched into a sermon. I mean, full blast, I said, buddy, you're gonna face God on the day of judgment and give an account for every deed done in your body. And apparently, you're gonna split hell wide open, and you better repent of your sins and get right with God. I didn't even breathe. I just kept pumping out the words, hoping to just shocked the guy in the listening. And finally, much to my surprise, he broke down crying, and said, You sound just like my mama. and handed me the knife, turned around, knelt down on the floorboard, and said, Pray for me, I need to be prayed for I cast the demons out to him, and prayed for him. And Jesus saved him. And forget his sins. Oh my God. The devil sent him to destroy me. But God, knowing about all of that, behind the scenes, orchestrated it, where instead of him destroying me, I would be used of God to destroy the whole of Satan in his life. And about

John Matarazzo:

no weapon formed against me shall prosper. Oh, my gosh, that's amazing.

Mike Shreve:

And that was not the only reason I think God intervened like that. Because I took that as a sign that I wasn't supposed to be a Catholic monk. And so I decided not to go that direction. So God used that incident to steer me back to a pure biblical worldview. And both of my kids have told me they're very glad I did not become a monk.

John Matarazzo:

I'm sure they are. Yeah, they tell you.

Mike Shreve:

But I told you, I would mention to Yeah, please. The other thing I did not mention a while ago, is that my friend, and this is confusing to some people. And I don't have time to really back it up with all the information I need to. But the man who wrote me a letter that told me walked into church and her to audible voice was a Mormon. And he and he had left college that same time, I had to study yoga, and he'd walked in a Mormon church. And you heard the voice say that Jesus is the only way in the Mormon Church is the only true church. And so not only did I pray that Jesus would give a sign, but if a few days before that, I actually went and visited a Mormon church. And I had long hair, and past my shoulders, and a long beard. And so I looked the part of Easter mystic. And I was sitting in the lobby of this big Mormon church, and people walk past me over and over again, and never bothered to ask me why I was there. And I was a very withdrawn person. So I never tried to converse with any of them. I was waiting for one of them to converse with me. But it was like that was a shield. And God prevented me from coming out of one cult and going into another, because Mormonism is a cult. And I believe the voice that spoke to my friend was not the voice of God. And I don't know if he had a genuine born again, experience or not. That's kind of a mystery to me. And because Mormons don't believe in the same Jesus that we believe in, it's completely different concept. Jesus had a beginning point, he was the spirit son of our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Mother is so weird, weird and

John Matarazzo:

that Jesus and the devil are brothers and

Mike Shreve:

yeah, it's crazy. Mormonism is not compatible

John Matarazzo:

with To close, and it looks the same from the outside. But once you get in, you realize this is very different.

Mike Shreve:

Yeah, very different. But anyway, God kept me from becoming a Mormon. And God kept me from becoming a Catholic. So I came out of one cult. And God prevented me from just coming out at one and going back into another. And again, I didn't understand it at the time, but I can look back and now see how God was protecting me.

John Matarazzo:

Wow. So what happened next? I mean, you're, you've just been saved from these two different cults and saved from murder to whatever happened to that guy, you go to jail? How did he

Mike Shreve:

you know what, I would deal with it differently now, but I was a new Christian. And you know how when you're first converted, you're confused about how to act and react to certain situations. Because you're always wondering, would this be what God wants me to do? center and center? And I thought, if God forgave him, and if God delivered him, who am I to turn him into the police, so I never pursued that. He just took me back out to the road. He told me, he said that he had threatened many people, but I was the first person who never followed up on his threat to and he drove off and I never heard from him again. Now, if, if something like that happened to me now, I would say, Hey, fella, let's go to the police station together. I'll help you through this. You need to turn yourself in. But I didn't really have that understanding back then. Sure.

John Matarazzo:

Sure. You were only a Christian at that point, like four weeks. So that's understandable. Yeah. What else happened after that?

Mike Shreve:

Well, about a month or two after that. Yeah, I'd say about a month, I was sitting around a campfire with one. I was sitting at a campfire alone with one other brother in the Christian community I was part of, and he was all excited. He was just on top of his game, so to speak, he was just so excited because he'd gotten some revelation that day. And he said, Oh, man, I've been reading the Gospel of Luke today. Look at this scripture. And he showed me that discipleship call in Luke chapter 14, where Jesus said, Except a man for say, call, he cannot be My disciple. He said, You know anybody doing that? I said, No, I don't. He said, Let's do it. I said, Okay, I'm game. Let's do it. And of course, I didn't have a wife and didn't have a family. So I quit my job. The next day, I had a construction job. And he and I both gave away all our material possession. By that time, I had acquired some material things and I gave them all away. We gave all our money to the poor, because Jesus said except a man forsake all he can't be my disciple. We did feel a little condemned, over fudging, and having one change of clothes. But we found out later on having that change of clothes was real helpful when you had to wash your first change clothes. Very true. We get one change of clothes and a Bible. That's all we allowed ourselves. Okay. And we had a little cardboard sign that said, going for Jesus. And we stepped out on the road hitchhiking to go from Orlando, Florida, to Bloomington, Indiana, where I preached my first sermon on a street corner. My first sermon besides telling you God, that was murder me need to get right with God. But the first full sermon was on a street corner to about 70 hippies in Bloomington, Indiana. And that's a story within itself. That would take about 10 minutes.

John Matarazzo:

Why why Bloomington?

Mike Shreve:

Well, if you want me to go into it, I will. We're there. Let's do it. We had an invitation to preach at a, an old time Pentecostal church up in Bloomington, Indiana, that was out in the woods that was attended by the same little group of people that had kind of a hard nose, fundamental approach to religion. And if we had preached there, I don't think we'd have reached anybody Hartley. But when we got to town, we hitchhiked 500 Miles went days without food, because we had no money. And every now and then someone would give us an offer and we'd buy a little food. But we get out there and the pastor sent one of his deacons to us and said, I've changed my mind. We're not going to hold the revival. And that discouraged me to give up everything you own. go days without food, sleep in the woods. There were times we slept, kids run that journey, and then have your first revival canceled before you even preached the first sermon. That's discouraging. But Bob had been a Christian longer than I had and he slapped me on the back and said, Mike, we came to Indiana to preach so we're going to preach and I thought, Okay, I'm with you, but I'm not happy about And so we took off walking down the road. And we came to a field near the University of Indiana, that the yuppies had bought. The hippies were hippies that got politically oriented and were political activists and, and they had bought that field and then it was called the People's Park is still there to this day. You can look it up online, the People's Park in Bloomington, Indiana, and there was a great big billboard in the middle of the field. That said it was the for the free use of all the citizens of Bloomington. And it was a statement for socialism and communism. Everybody owning that together. And so Bob looked at me and said, that's our church. That's our church. And I thought, well, there's no big steeple, no beautiful carpet, but we got lush green grass for a carpet and starry dome overhead of the universe for a ceiling. So I thought, what better place so and I told Bob, I said, if we're going to have church, we gotta have advertisement. So he said, Follow me as I follow Christ. And he walked across the road and bought a, I don't know how much it was 10 cent neck Magic Marker. He had a few coins in his pocket. And then he walked over to a Pizza Hut kind of restaurant. And he said, Mike, I feel led for you to climb up in the dumpster. And that's a you fit. For me. Well, he was a bigger guy. So it would have been harder for him. I was a little skinny guy back then. And he said, I feel bad for you to climb up in the dumpster and get some old pizza boxes. And I pulled out several white pizza boxes, and he bent them over and wrote revival, old fashioned street preaching in the name of Jesus miracles, signs and wonders, casting out devils healing the sick, raising the dead every night at 730. And then down at the bottom, it said no snakes, references making lean churches, you know, and we stuck those at each of the four corners of the field. And also, he said, Mike, we got to have something for people to sit on or there'll be sitting on wet grass. So I climbed back up in the dumpster and got a bunch of Pabst Blue Ribbon boxes, cardboard boxes that we broke down and lay them on the ground so people could sit on the cardboard. So I've often told people that communist bought my first church and a beer company supplied the first pews.

John Matarazzo:

Oh, my goodness, that's funny.

Mike Shreve:

And about 70 Hippies showed up and preached my first sermon. And I remember the text to this day, except a man lose his life for my sake. And for the Gospels. They shall not find it as something Jesus said. And I gave an invitation and almost every one of them gave their hearts to the Lord. Wow. And that was my beginning. And from there we We hitchhiked around. Uh, well, it was shortly after that, that Kent, the guy who picked me up hitchhiking joined us, and he had a band and we started traveling around the country. In that van preaching on college campuses during the Jesus movement era. It was an amazing time. Yeah, you could walk on a campus and stand up and start preaching and 1000 people would sit down and listen to you. And it was just amazing what God did during those years.

John Matarazzo:

Yeah. Wow. So I mean, you're you're now a pastor, and you're an author? How did you go from literally giving up everything to you know, now earlier, you had a little bit of a, a different outlook on life, I guess, like, how did God lead you to where you are now from there?

Mike Shreve:

Well, after about two months, traveling around the way we did, I walked into a tent meeting conducted by Pentecostal evangelists. And the move of the Holy Spirit was really something attractive to me, I'd never seen God moved quite the same way. So I prayed for seven days, that God would make a way for me to travel with that evangelist. And the seventh day was the last day of the tent meeting. And by faith, I packed my satchel and brought it with me to the tent. And he called me out and gave me a word of knowledge and said, God has spoken to him. I was supposed to travel with him. I said, I got my bag with me, I'm ready to go. And so for about 20 years, I worked with a tent ministry. And we traveled all over the US, and little, and then about a year later, I started a youth group. And our youth group was different than youth groups are, for the most part now. Not all I'm like YWAM gets pretty intense and some others, but in our youth group, the kids would travel together all summer long for three months. They would live in pup tents and camping tents and campers on the back of a truck or Something like that. We were very strict, they were not allowed to date the whole summer. And all we did, we never had basketball or swimming or any of those kind of entertainment things. All we did was have a Bible study every morning. And then after lunch, we would go out on the streets witnessing. And then after, every night, we had church in the tent. And then after church, the older ones would go out to the local bars and drug districts and witness to some of the more down and out people. And we shook some cities back then it was incredible, incredible what God did. And then little by little churches started opening their doors to me. And then pretty much self taught in the Bible. But I eventually became a teacher with a Bible college called Christian Life School of Theology. And I earned a bachelor's degree. And then I was awarded a Doctorate of divinity degree later on, because of my, the book that I mentioned a while ago, in search of the true light, the study of over 20 religion, because of my work in the area of comparative religion, I was awarded that honorary doctorate. And so I have, I am no longer just focused on St. Ministry, not by any means, because I've done a lot of open air crusades over in India and Guyana, South America and Africa. And so we, we've seen tremendous results over over in India, especially, we build some open air crusades where it was common to see 1000 people get saved every night. Wonderful thoughts, because they could relate to me, they could relate to me when you told them I once embraced Hinduism and studied under one of their gurus.

John Matarazzo:

Yeah, so Miko something that I'm seeing as we're talking here is that you really have a heart now for people that have been deceived. You talk about comparative religions, and you came from a new age background. There's people that are really searching for truth. They're searching for the true light as your book is called, you know, I just want to take this opportunity to ask you to, you know, share about that true light and how people can receive that true light of Jesus?

Mike Shreve:

Well, it's very simple, and I believe God made us simple on purpose. Just like when he gave a design for an altar in the Old Testament, He said, just pile up a pile of dirt. Don't use chiseled rocks, don't use something ornately designed by craftsmen. Just pile up a pile of dirt, and offer your sacrifice there because God wanted to be accessible to the simplest people with the simplest understanding. And so some people think it's too simple to have a prayer of salvation. Now, I personally believe it worked this way for me. Some people say inviting Jesus into your heart and praying a prayer of salvation or it has been called the Senator's prayer is not biblical. I understand where they're coming from, but also see scripture supportive of it, where Jesus said, Behold, I stand at the door, knock, and if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him. And I believe that inviting the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your heart is a fulfillment of that invitation he talked about in Revelation chapter three. And then Ephesians 317 says, Christ will dwell in your heart by faith. And so if you believe and if you repent, and that's a key factor, because repeating a prayer is not what will save you. Because 1000s of people have repeated the prayer, and even maybe even gone and gotten baptized that weren't genuinely BORN AGAIN yet. So there has to be a true sincere commitment, a discipleship commitment that takes place, but I encourage people to just focus their heart on the Lord Jesus Christ and say, Jesus, receive You as my Savior, come into my heart, wash me in the blood you shed on the cross for the sins of humanity, fail me with your Holy Spirit. By faith, I received the gift of eternal life. And I asked to be born again. May the Spirit of God dwells in me from this point forward, and I will serve you all the days of my life. If someone prays a prayer like that, and it says it was sincerity, and humility. And they really intend to commit their lives to God. That can be the beginning point.

John Matarazzo:

Amen. Amen. And if you want to do that, I just want to make sure that you know that you can reach out to me and to Pastor Mike, for more information about that decision that you've just made. And we want to make that available. I'm gonna put links in the description so that you can communicate with us, because we don't want to leave you just out there. We're going to we're going to help you the best way that we can. But Pastor Mike, I want to hear about your along the way moments with Jesus were just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were walking with Jesus but had no clue that it was him. Here comes this traveler. That it, they're just they're having this discussion and I hear he comes in, he's explaining things to them. And they finally sit down at a table, Jesus blesses the food breaks the bread, their eyes are opened, and then poof, he's gone. And then Luke 2432, they turn to each other and say, weren't our hearts burning within us along the way, as he was revealing the Scriptures to us? You know, basically, we should have seen that we should have realized that this was Jesus here this whole time. But you know, hindsight is 2020. Where do you now look back at your life and you say, You know what, I didn't see at the moment. But Jesus really was right there with me.

Mike Shreve:

Well, I believe in every stage of my journey, that Jesus was there behind the veil. It was needful for me to go through the stage of being a Roman Catholic. Because whenever you come out of a certain kind of darkness, you earn the right to deliver someone else from the same darkness, knowledgeably, and compassionately. And so I can reach a Catholic the way a Protestant can. And in like manner, I believe God was with me all the years, I went through Edgar Casey prayer groups and New Age meetings and yoga and meditation, because now I can reach back and deliver someone else from the same darkness. Because I've earned the right and they can resonate with what I have to say, because I understand where they're at. And I can relate to a rock musician, I can relate to an overdose victim, I can relate to those kinds of people. So God is an amazing genius at taking all the negatives in our lives and turning them into positives. He, well, I love to put it this way. God doesn't always call the qualified, but he always qualifies the call. And one of the main ways he does that is through life's experiences. And so I think it's intriguing when I look back to my days as a Catholic, and remember, I won an award for a paper that I wrote, on fulfilling your vocation. And it was all about a conversation with God, and with the devil and with myself over all the excuses we make, in not fulfilling our vocation and a vocation is a Catholic term, meaning your calling. And, and so I had this paper that I got an A plus on and didn't know the Lord yet, and didn't know I had a calling yet. And yet I wrote a paper about it. And that's just another way of identifying a moment I think we're invisibly subliminally God was moving on my heart and given me insights. I go back and read that paper that I wrote, and it's full of wisdom that I now embrace. And I thought, Where did that come from? It must come from the Holy Spirit.

John Matarazzo:

Amen. Amen. You know, my follow up question to that is, Mike, if you could go back in time, and visit your younger self, somewhere along your journey. What advice would you give yourself? And what's going on in your life that you would want to receive that advice?

Mike Shreve:

Oh, wow, what a question. What a question. What a question. It's hard to say, in a nutshell, I would tell myself to be even more radical, in being a disciple, to separate myself even more completely from the world, and to always obey the voice of the Lord. Some of the hardest things to deal with other times, I believe I missed God's voice. I'm not talking about ramping terrible sin. I'm talking about times I could have had a real outbreak of revival or a real move of God and miss the voice of God. And have you know, my mom beats me up about those times for decades since. And, and I would tell my younger self, pray until you get more sensitive to immediate response to the voice of the Lord, even when he tells you something you don't anticipate. Thank God for the man who didn't walk in the laundromat and wash his clothes anyway and say, Oh, that's crazy. God doesn't care about me washing my clothes. Well, he did care, because there was something more that God wanted to do than just get a batch of dirty clothes clean. And sometimes we do God's thinking for him. And I think we need to act in obedience even when it doesn't look logical. Even when it doesn't seem we have enough money to do it. Even when it doesn't seem we're qualified to do it. If God says, do it, jump in the fray, fight the battle and advance the Kingdom of God.

John Matarazzo:

Amen. That's great wisdom right there. Pastor Mike, I do have another question for you that it just I've been wanting to ask this from whenever you said this earlier on, was that you used to get up when you were a yogi at 330 The morning and meditate and do everything till five and then you had classes in the evening and everything after you came to Jesus, what happened that next day that your body just want to get up at 330? And then what did you do instead of what you had been doing?

Mike Shreve:

Well, of course, I quit doing all yoga practices. Instead, I started reading the Bible and praying, as I learned how to pray, I didn't really know how to pray. But I read the Bible a lot. But my schedule changed, eventually. Not too much. But within a few weeks, I got a construction job. So I had to be up about 530 to go there, and of course, work all day. And then we had the community I lived in. We were all radical ex hippies, ex druggies, ex, New Agers, etc. And we were all minded toward being radical in our commitment to the Lord. And so we had church seven nights a week, we would eat dinner after we got home from work and start church about seven o'clock, and never end till after midnight. Oh, wow. And, and consequently, we didn't sleep much, but we didn't need sleep, we'd get so fired up, but the presence of God the power of God. So I continued in a discipline life within a different kind of framework, etc. But it wasn't mechanical. When when meditation when a person's attempt to reach God is to mechanical, or mindless, or mundane or monotonous, like the repetition of a chant over and over again, it's not the right approach. Because even Jesus said, use not vain repetitions like the heathen do, you would not approach a fellow human being by chanting the same phrase 1000 times, to try and communicate what you want to a fellow human being that turn you off after three or four times. And God's a lot more intelligent than that. And so chanting mantras to him is an absurd way of approaching God.

John Matarazzo:

Yeah, that's, that's, I'm just blown away at the, the the amazing change that you went through, because you were searching for God, you're searching for that true light. And then the true light found you. Jesus found you. And I love that now you're helping people understand? How about how they can find the true light of Jesus Christ, and you have the true light project? Can you just tell us about that, and how people can get a hold of those resources?

Mike Shreve:

Well, as I mentioned a while ago, I have, actually I have several websites. One is our ministry website, which is Shreeve ministries.org. But we have an outreach website called the true light.net. Be sure to put the article th e at the beginning the true light.net. And on that website, we have stories of people who have been converted from other non Christian religions, primarily Eastern religions, or New Age spirituality. We have video stories, we have written stories, we have articles, we have podcasts, we have TV programs, and all geared toward this theme of comparative religion. We've had hundreds of 1000s of hits from all over the world. And I'm very excited, I've got a downloadable booklet called the highest adventure, encountering God that tells my story in greater detail than I even shared with you today. And it's on the second panel on the homepage, when you scroll down, you'll see the highest adventure encountering God in eight different languages other than English, it's there in Spanish and Hindi and traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese and Japanese and Portuguese and, and polish. I don't know if I covered all of them, but it's there. And oh, also German. And we get a lot of visitors to the website from Germany. But many, many 1000s of people have downloaded that booklet is free. And it tells the story of my journey out of Eastern religions into becoming a follower of Jesus. And so I invite all your listeners to come to the true light.net and download that mini book. It's a mini book about 64 pages long and is yours free of charge. Share it with somebody that needs Jesus.

John Matarazzo:

Amen, amen. I'm going to make sure that I put links to all that stuff in the show descriptions attached to this episode so that everybody can find it really easily. Just click the link and it'll take you right there. Pastor Mike, before we wrap up here, this next stage of your journey along the way with Jesus, what is God using to encourage you right now in this next phase of your journey?

Mike Shreve:

Well, I plan on getting more involved in media work than I ever had. I've travelled for over 50 years. And I don't feel as compelled to travel all the time as I used to my inner impulse now is to go as passionately as I can into television production, I would love to have a weekly show up, not a daily show in India, and in Pakistan, and it's called The show is called In Search of the true light. And I've got a couple of examples on the website. And that really, would be the focus I would like to take in my journey right now. And of course, I'm into publishing too. I'm about to publish a book, as I mentioned to you called the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church. And the subtitle is 25 Questions from a former Catholic who loves Catholics. And I hope to send that out free to 1000s of Catholics across the country. That's awesome. I've got a big vision that keeps me awake at night. And pushes me along the way.

John Matarazzo:

That's wonderful Pastor Mike, you know, I really appreciate your story about how God has brought you to where you are today and how he's met you along the way. And it is super encouraging just to hear that, no matter how far away from the Lord that somebody can be, that God can send a hippie in a van, to go pick them up and divert the, you know, divert their laundry day a little bit, to go pick up somebody whose life is going to be changed forever, so that your life can affect other people. Anytime that I hear stories like that, I'm just encouraged. With my faith, I know that God really is all along the way with the journey for us. He's all in the journey with us. And so I just want to thank you for allowing me to join you along your way.

Mike Shreve:

Well, thank you very much for allowing me to participate. And I just pray that your podcasts will reach an impact many, many 1000s of people, John, I believe that's your heart. That's your heart cry. And I certainly pray God will open doors you never expected.

John Matarazzo:

I hope that you enjoyed my conversation with Pastor Mike Sree. I'll be providing his information in the show notes. Thank you for listening to along the way. If you've enjoyed joining me along my way, please share this with a friend who you think will be encouraged by this podcast. Also, please rate and review along the way on iTunes. That helps more people discover along the way. And subscribe to this podcast wherever you're listening. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and through my website along the way dot media. I hope that you've enjoyed this part of my journey. And may you realize when Jesus is walking with you along your way. Along the way is honored to be part of the charisma Podcast Network. You can find tons of spirit filled content from the vast catalogue of podcasts, including my Monday through Friday news stories for the charisma news podcast. Go to CPN shows.com To see the full list and latest episodes