3Circles Church Communities

The Story

Spring or Fall of 1966 – My first wife, Bridgette, and I were staying in a hotel somewhere in West Virginia, where I was working as a Surveyor Rodman.  She hated staying in the hotel while I was in the woods surveying and eventually convinced me to leave.   While on our way back to Baltimore, my old car broke down again.   We started hitchhiking east when a fancy Lincoln Continental stopped on the opposite side of the road, heading west.  The driver, an impeccably dressed black man was motioning to us.  He wanted us to help him drive to LA.  He had just lost his wife and it wasn’t easy for him.   Once he told us he’d pay our way if we helped drive we said OK and dropped everything.   As a result we had some amazing experiences.  We stayed at the finest, most expensive hotels with carte blanche treatment.  At one hotel we were in the elevator and because I had long hair, my wife looked like a movie star and the black man was assumed to be our chauffer, we were invited to a party in Oscar Peterson’s suite.  He’s a famous jazz musician for those who don’t know. 

 

Spring or Fall of 1966 – We all traveled north to San Francisco where Bridgette and I parted company with the rich black man.   After experiencing some of the hippy scene in Haight-Ashbury, we decided to visit Morning Star commune, just outside of Occidental, CA.   Once there, we decided to stay and I began building a tree house between four redwood trees.   We were there a number of months and visited Wheeler’s ranch several times.   We then realized the total lack of structure at Morning Star was causing too many problems and left (the owner, former Limelighter, Lou Gottlieb actually deeded the land to God, but the court ruled that the land could only be deeded to God if God showed up to sign the deed).

 

Spring/Summer of 1967 (Summer of Love) – Returned to San Francisco and the Haight-Ashbury district in time to experience what the tabloids called the “Summer of Love”.  Eventually left when it began to turn ugly from too many speed freaks, who were ripping everyone off.   I moved to Camp Meeker in the Redwoods just outside of Occidental, CA, living in an old converted church and creating sculptures out of found materials with "Ace" White. 

 

Late Fall 1969 (because of the controversial nature of the following, this information is only being shared with members, not guests/visitors) – Returned to Baltimore to help further the peaceful revolution that [I thought] LSD was creating, selling medium to large quantities to drug dealers I knew.  These mid-level dealers would then deal directly with the little guy on the street and there would be less chance of me getting busted.  However, unbeknownst to me, my brother-in-law had already been busted.  Because my sister was pregnant he struck a deal with the cops to set me up.  When I was arrested my lawyer showed up and said, "They caught you red handed and because the laws have gotten a lot tougher now you're looking at a minimum of 10 years in jail".  From that moment until I fled the country, I began laying plans to escape. 

 

December 1969 (because of the controversial nature of the following, this information is only being shared with members, not guests/visitors) – My brother-in-law owed me big time and I told him so.  I wanted him to help me escape and he agreed.  My apartment was being watched day and night.  The night before I was to show up at police headquarters to finger the manufacturers of the LSD I was buying and selling (of course I had no intention of fingering anyone) I put my plan into effect.  I took a series of buses until I was certain no one could have followed, then I arrived at a pre-determined spot where my brother-in-law was waiting with his souped up,very fast car.  We sped off to the airport but I narrowly missed my plane.  So I took the next scheduled non-stop flight to San Francisco, which left only minutes after I arrived.  Then the unexpected happened.My non-stop Baltimore to San Francisco flight landed in Colorado.  No one knew what was going on.  Before the aircraft doors opened we watched as two long lines of automobiles sped across the runway and surrounded the plane in two circles.  The outer circle were the black cars, which we soon learned was the FBI.  The inner circle was made up of taxis, which we were ordered into.  They took us to an airplane hangar and the FBI began interrogating everyone.  I figured they must have thought I was a bigger dealer than I was to have gone to all this trouble!  I asked to go to the bathroom, where I flushed all my ID down the toilet, and quickly worked out a cover story.  After what seemed like an eternity, we were told it was a bomb scare and a false alarm, so we all boarded the plans and continued on our way. 

 

New Year's eve, 1969 (because of the controversial nature of the following, this information is only being shared with members, not guests/visitors) – I had friends in San Francisco, including my wife Bridgette, who was living with another man. I asked if they would take me to the border, so I could sneak across into British Columbia, Canada. I made it across, albeit with some rather comedic happenings (there are a LOT of amazing things that happened but space here is just too limited to tell them all). I stayed holed up in an attic of a friend of a friend for a few weeks, afraid to come out. Knowing I couldn't stay there for long, I began to check out hippy businesses in the Vancouver phone book, knowing they might be sympathetic and pay me "under the table". I noticed one store called "Shumway Organic Foods" and decided I should give them a call. The guy who answered the phone turned out to be one of the stores two owners and soon afer I began to speak, he surprised me by asking, "Is this Leroy Grey, I'm Al Baker from Boy Scout Troop 322 in Dundalk". I could hardly believe my "luck", and soon we were reminiscing about old times as boy scouts back in Baltimore... 3,000 miles away, on the other end of the country! I found a job and a home, with Al, his wife, their new born infant and another girl who lived with them and worked at the store too. 

 

Spring 1970    I am traveling in British Columbia with an older Romanian man and his two wives, learning the craft of wire beadwork.  He parked his “gingerbread house on a pick up” at a dead end road and we take up temporary residence in an abandoned, dilapidated lake front home.   While swimming I look out to the other side of the inlet and as my eye travels up the cliff I have an epiphany.   I feel caught up in a spiritual vortex.   I KNOW there is going to be a community of people taking up residence on the other side of this lake and I am to lead them.

 

Summer 1970 – I returned to Vancouver, BC and within two weeks of posting my desire to establish a community on the other side of this lake I have attracted 22 people, all the money and equipment needed.   As we are pulling out of the driveway to begin our adventure I get a last minute call from Allan Bibby, a world renowned videographer and adventurer who would like to include footage of us in a documentary on the family.  This was made into a TV special a year or two later.  My girlfriend happened to catch it on TV and came rushing into the room, telling me I was on TV. 

 

Late Fall 1970 – A first attempt to evict us from public “Crown Land” fails as I had obtained a mining permit and dug the required size hole to meet legal requirements.  However, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), after realizing the majority of us were from the US, decided to deport all the Americans, thus breaking up the community.   When they arrived I just happened to be away, so I was spared, but this ended our experiment in community living because it took 5 people just to paddle the large abandoned logging boat we used to get back and forth to the mainland.    One of the communitarians, Kris Stone, was part of the entourage that went to Vancouver to get supplies.   While we were in Vancouver we discovered what had happened with the RCMP.  Kris, her 6 year old daughter and myself then got together and decided to be a family.

 

Winter 1970 – Kristine and I rented a cottage on the ocean, far outside of Victoria, BC.  In the spring we planted a garden and began planning on traveling.   I converted an old van into a sleeper/workshop, complete with all the tools and equipment necessary for her to do her sandal making and for me to create all natural candies and yogurt, which we sold to health stores and crafts shops. 

 

Summer and Fall of 1971 - Traveled extensively throughout the interior of British Columbia, especially the Kamloops area, the Okanagan Valley and around Nelson, selling our crafts, candies and yogurt.  Sold our wares at a week long Renaissance Fair where crafts people gathered and built large, temporary, wooden store fronts to house their wares.  I met Joni Mitchell, who came over to introduce herself while practicing at the piano (one on one and not another person around). 

 

Around May/June during haying season we were told of the need of a Quaker family in Argentia, BC so we stayed there long enough to help with the haying.  They used the old methods, with horse and wagon and old time rakes to rake the hay into huge mounds.  The husband had been poisoned by pesticides and was a nervous and physical wreck, unable to do the haying himself.   We learned that Argentia became a community in in the 1930’s, when it became necessary for survival during the Great Depression.  They put in a small hydroelectric turbine to provide electricity and a communal freezer, but everyone owned their own homes.   When we visited, the hydroelectric turbine was still running and providing electricity and the freezer was still being used by the whole community, but other than that there was little left of their original community.   We also attended an old fashioned Quaker (or Friends) Meeting where the men sat on one side and the women on the other, there was no music, they don’t believe in pastors (since they believed all men and women were “members of the royal priesthood) and people wait in silence for God to inspire someone with the Living WORD for the day.  It was an awesome experience as I could sense God’s presence.

 

Early Spring 1972 – During the winter Kris and I were given access to an old farm in Antigonish, NS, on the other side of Canada.  We bought some canvas and then cut and sewed it into a large teepee for living in.  We arrived by train around May first and then walked to the farm, which turned out to be very remote.   A blizzard came that night and snowed us in. 

 

Winter of 1972 to Spring 1973 – Kristine and Amy left sometime that summer.   I moved to Halifax, met and became friends with Bill Smith, a musician, and then decided the next adventure would be to build a plastic covered A-frame on a lake surrounded by tundra near the ocean.   I wrote to the Canadian government and told them our plans, for me to write and Bill and I to make music together (I played blues harp).   To my amazement they agreed we could build it on public Crown lands, so long as we removed all traces of the building the next spring.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.  We could hear all of nature because there weren’t the usual walls to stop sounds.   The lake froze over for months and many a night we could hear ice cracks running across the ice, sounding like rifle shots that would go on and on, echoing through the night.  When the moon was full and there was a good breeze, we would be sitting against the plastic walls and they would breathe slowly with the wind, the entire inside space being bathed in an eerie, silvery light.  

 

Spring to Fall 1973 – Bill and I decided to move to Bear River, Nova Scotia, where we heard we could rent a cabin for $25 a month, which was really cheap even back then.  I put in a garden for food, since the only money we had was his unemployment check.  Bill left at the end of June, about the time his unemployment was about to run out.  I decided to stay, even though I had no money whatsoever, believing I could live off the land.   Since I didn’t have rent money I was told I had to move out around September.   I decided I would fix up the abandoned farm across the road and make it livable.  I found out the address of the owner and wrote to ask if I could live there for at least the winter.  He said yes.  All I needed now was some help with fixing the place up, as I had no money to tar the leaky roof, nor plastic to cover the window frames (there weren’t even any windows left, just the frames).   There was no electricity but there was an old dug well outside, with good water.  

 

I got this brainstorm to hold the first ever, Nova Scotia Health and Healing Conference, the first week of October.    I could kill two birds with one stone, getting help to fix up the farmhouse while providing a valuable service, the Nova Scotia Health and Healing Conference.   This is the second time I experienced that “vortex of energy” and that “knowing”, which gave me total confidence that what I was seeing in my mind would come to pass.  Given the fact I had zero cash and zero income, no car, no phone, and absolutely no experience, I’m sure it looked totally foolish to everyone but me!   But I believed!!   And that belief drove me to seek others with whom I could share my excitement and get to believe also.   I turned to my friends in the area and soon found some who would help, especially Mark and Beth Crosby, who spent an entire week prior to the week long conference helping me to pull it all together.  The local health store owners offered the use of an empty one room building they just bought, which was perfect for showing films.  I called Rodale Press and they sent some films on organic gardening for preventative health.   I borrowed a film projector from one of the two churches I was attending.   I was a member of the Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston, so I called and invited the founder, Anne Wigmore, to come up and offer her expertise on Living Foods.  I invited a friend who had gone to England to study to become NS’s first licensed Mid-Wife.  And I invited Dr. Hayhoe from St. John, New Brunswick, a licensed Naturopathic doctor who was immensely knowledgeable.   Many of my friends also possessed expertise in various health areas so they contributed as well.   We ended the conference by building an Indian sweat lodge and all gathering inside to share the ritual.   People came from all over and later told me that though they were shocked initially by the dumpy venue, once they got past the appearance they were astounded by the quality of teaching we provided on all sorts of health issues. 

 

October 1973 to February 1974 – I continued to live on my garden produce, some nuts, seeds and honey that was contributed to the Health and Healing Conference, greens I grew in the greenhouse bay window I built, and an abundance of apples from local abandoned orchards.   The farm house had an earthen storage cellar, perfect for storing root vegetables and apples.  I gathered leaves to cover them and retain their moisture.  I gathered and canned local raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.  I collected local nuts and stored them.  I heated with wood and by night read with the aid of an Aladdin Lamp.   I studied the Bible and other spiritual books while attending two local churches, which I had been doing faithfully since my first invite in April of that same year.   I would often walk home late at night in total darkness, feeling my way by the sound of the dirt road under my feet.  

 

During 8 months of intensive study I had this recurring experience of opening the Bible and “seeing” (with my mind’s eye) God’s light emanating from the pages and piercing the defenses of my brain.   Finally, on November 22, 1973 at a tiny little country church in Parker’s Cove, NS, I gave up my fight and surrendered to the truth that Jesus lives and is available to help any who invite him in.   That Christmas brought new meaning to the holiday.  With other youths from one of the churches I was attending I experienced the most joyous Christmas’s of my life.   It didn’t hurt that Bear River is called the “Little Switzerland of Nova Scotia”, with its narrow streets and Victorian homes perched along the steep hills overlooking the river, but it was also the caroling and invites into people’s homes for hot chocolate that really made it memorable.    In February of ’74 I left Bear River to travel to Halifax, so I could find work and buy seeds for another vegetable garden. 

 

February to May 1974 – I worked at a health food restaurant in Halifax till it burned down in March or April.  I witnessed to one of the friends I made there, Cindy, and with the help of Starr Courtney, a truly gifted black woman, she accepted Christ into her heart.   The last day of April we hitch hiked together to a Mayday festival we heard was happening at Qua Qua farm near Bridgewater, NS.    I then heard that a husband and wife I had met once, who were Hare Krishna devotees at the time, were now Christians.  So I decided to travel to their farm and Cindy tagged along.   When Joe Umidi and I met for the second time as brothers in Christ, God intervened.  Both of us experienced the presence of God in power and KNEW it was our destiny to start a Christian community on Joe and Marie’s farm.  Cindy and I dropped everything and moved to their farm.

 

June 1974 – On the day of summer solstice I experienced the most profound spiritual experience any human being could ever experience, I was literally taken to heaven.  It was not a near death experience it was a “near-life” experience.  Immediately prior to being taken to heaven I was fully awake, fully conscious and in perfect health.   I was in a car with three other friends, Joe, Marie and Cindy, and everyone experiences the first part, being surrounded by an intense white.   Joe pulled over and stopped the engine just as the light grew so intense, as to blot out everything visible.   This was not the fullness of God’s light, as I was to find out in a few moments, but it was beyond any light on this world.   My heavenly sojourn was simply a gift from God to prepare me for the work ahead, this work, the building of 3Circles Church Communities.   Please visit this link to read what I’ve written about this experience: http://www.3circles.net/heaven (PLEASE, do not pass up this opportunity to learn first hand what it’s like in heaven!).

 

Fall 1974Joe and Marie have ended our Northwood Christian Community by moving to another house nearby (they owned the land and it had no home on it).  Cindy and I got engaged and moved down on the Bay of Fundy but I have doubts she and I should be anything more than friends.  I am invited by the owners of Qua Qua farm/community who have also chosen to follow the example of Jesus Christ, to teach what I know and help their community make the transformation to Christianity.  I turn them down at first, believing I’m too new a Christian to teach anyone anything, but they insist and I decide to help however I can.  We have a lot of meetings to sort things out, plus daily bible studies.  They decide to rename the community, “The Garden of Jesus”.   Eventually, the owner has a dream and asks for help in the interpretation.  I pray and believe I have been given understanding, but the owner disagrees with my interpretation.   I believe if he interprets it his way the community will suffer so we are at an impasse.  Rather than being patient, continuing to pray and waiting on God’s answer, I decide that at the next meeting I’m going to do everything in my power to get him to see it my way.  At the meeting we start with prayer about the issue.  During this prayer time I’m going over and over in my mind what I’m going to say and how I’m going to get my interpretation accepted by clever argument.   Suddenly, while all of us are still in prayer, I sense God at work in me.   I try to move and I cannot.  People are coming out of prayer now and I try to do the same but I cannot speak either.  God has struck me dumb and immobile and I feel totally helpless.   I am not afraid and continue reflecting on what God is trying to tell me.   Everyone is talking and I’m still under God’s power.   The general consensus is that the community should follow the owner’s interpretation of his dream.   However, because another 10 minutes or so have gone by and it seems to everyone else that I’m continuing to pray, they begin to talk about my still being in prayer.   God is teaching me a lesson I will never forget.   Mark tells everyone that we should follow my lead and continue praying.  Everyone goes into prayer for a much longer time and God’s power is sensed by everyone.   Slowly and unbeknownst to me, their minds are being changed by God, as God delivers the power of his Living WORD into each of their hearts.   After what seemed like a long time, we all come out of prayer about the same time.  I am able to move now but God’s power has worked deep into every part of my mind and body, transforming me by its glory.  I still can’t speak, and just listen as each and every person tells the others that they agree with my interpretation of his dream, including the owner and his wife.   I am in awe of God’s presence and power and I finally get up in silence and go to the other room to stoke the fire.   Cindy comes in and falls to her knees, weeping profusely.   She tells me how she and everyone else were against me and talking behind my back.   She repents for having disrespected the authority that God had obviously entrusted me with as a leader and for not wanting to submit to God’s order of things, for not wanting to accept the biblical idea of wives submitting to their husbands as the final authority where there is an impasse over a decision.

 

All of us were totally unfamiliar with submission and I struggled with the idea of submitting to God’s authority and the authority of my wife.  For although the bible does say for women to submit to their husband as unto the Lord, it also says we are to submit one to another.   Any man who can’t realize his wife could have the right idea or right decision on any given topic and thus treat her ideas and opinions with the utmost respect, even to the point of modifying to letting go of his original decision in order to embrace hers, is a man who doesn’t yet know what it means to be a leader and a true husband.   There is certainly far too many men who are tyrants in their home instead of leaders!  

 

But likewise, there are far too many women who try to be the resident tyrant, in their own way, threatening a lack of sex or a prolonged separation if the man doesn’t go along with her decision.  Neither way is conducive to a sound marriage.    And in those marriages where the man just goes along to get along, because the woman has become the tyrant in their marriage, there is even less hope for a successful, lifelong marriage.    In such cases the woman usually sheds her God given place as nurturer.  But a woman doesn’t just nurture her children, she nurtures her husband as well, in the process making of him a much better man then he could ever be if she was not there to counsel and balance out the man’s often ego-centric and bullish nature.   Working together in this way, with two heads instead of one, they will inevitably make the right decisions and choose the right paths for their family.   But for those women who insist on being the dominant one, the one who is most aggressive and most vociferous in their demands, she will have taken on the mantle of protector, a role that by nature belongs to man.   In such a home there can never be true harmony, and at best only a false peace.  The key for a woman today, nearly every one of them infected by the leaven of feminist lies (which lies are always intermingled with some compelling truths to win them over) is to seek God’s help in learning to renew their trust.  If a woman can learn to trust God, then she can learn to trust her husband as final decision maker on matters they disagree on.  I’m not saying women shouldn’t fight for what they believe and try to convince her husband if she believes he is wrong.  But in every marriage there comes a time when no amount of debate is going to sway their mate’s decision and someone must make a decision.  In such cases the husband and wife who have accepted the roles God has given by reason of their individual genetic makeup, can move forward without bitterness over the final decision, knowing that in due time it shall become abundantly clear as to who was right! 

 

All of us at the Garden of Jesus were in our 20’s.   I was the oldest at 28.   We had much to unlearn as well as learn and in community learning is always accelerated.   One day when we were all in a meeting I began to notice how often the women would be the first to speak and even more often would cut off the men in mid-sentence.  The meeting was typical and it suddenly dawned on me that our meetings were always marked by tension and confusion.  I’m not sure who spoke up first about this but it soon became obvious that God was speaking the same idea to all our hearts, including the women, for I remember the women taking a leadership role in agreeing that there was a lack of order and they could see how they were contributing to that by not being patient and being too quick to speak.  We all eventually decided to experiment with the men opening the meeting, the women not interrupting, and the men showing they valued what the women thought on any given matter by their making sure they were heard.  This literally changed our lives because the meetings were no longer marked by tension and confusion but by harmony, purposefulness and joy.  It was like the difference between night and day.

 

Spring 1983 – After marrying Cindy, 4 children later, we are caretaking a friend’s farm in Boswell, British Columbia.    During the winter I was working in the city but increasingly disturbed by the fact that every time I called home the next door neighbor was “visiting”.   I figure they’re having an affair and I return to protect my kids (he’s a stranger who lives in a teepee with a known whore and though in his mid-thirties he’s never had a relationship that’s lasted more than a couple of months).   I discover the truth but before I can act she does, calling the police and lying to them that her and the children’s lives are in danger.   I am immediately kicked out of the home without a trial or a hearing and seek help from the local church I’ve been attending.  Several families put me up for a week or two at a time, but after the second family no one steps forward and the Pastor informs me I’m on my own. 

 

I had only enough money remaining to afford several nights in a motel.   It runs out and I have to vacate the next morning, so I am desperate to find a solution.  I am on my knees most of the night, crying and pleading with God for mercy.   An answer comes but at first it makes no sense.  I am told, “Go and buy a car”.    At first I think it’s my mind speaking to me and disregard those words.  But the same sentence keeps being repeated over and over until I begin to believe it’s what God wants me to do.   I then decide that if it is indeed God speaking to me, there must be a way to buy a car but I just don’t know how.  So I begin thinking about my resources.   I don’t have any personal money but I do have money that was given to me a few months back with the promise that I use it only for that purpose (my landlord/friend fancied that in the future we could work together to make his farm profitable, so when we found out about a Tissue Culture course that was being given by the agricultural research station in Saanichton, BC, he gave me the money to attend).   I quickly did some calculations in my head…. “OK, I have $700 for the travel expenses, the course, accommodations and meals.  If I buy a car I don’t need the money for traveling there and I can sleep in the car to avoid paying for accommodations.   I can shower at the local university gym.   I don’t have to eat out and can live on peanut butter sandwiches, boiled eggs, cheese and fruit during the week long course.  That means I could knock $200 off the bill.”    Suddenly I got excited.   I can buy a $200 car and then when I return I can live in the car!    The next day was Saturday  and I had until noon to get my stuff and leave the motel.  I left early to find a used car dealer who would sell me a car for $200.   I stopped at every car dealer in town and was crest fallen when some of them laughed.  Most of the cars were going for around $1,000 and up, none below $500.   I returned to my motel with the intention of finding discarded building materials and building a shack in the woods.   As I was crossing the street to the motel I looked down the road and saw one last used car dealer I had missed.  When I got there he was beginning to close up.   I said, “I’m looking for a $200 car, do you have one”?  He said, “I just might”.   He then showed me a car that was just traded in by an old man who took pride in keeping all his cars in perfect condition.  It was an old station wagon but had new tires, new brakes, a recent engine tune up, new muffler, basically a completely overhauled vehicle.  I told him I’d take it and as I’m signing the paperwork he says, “I don’t why I’m selling this car to you for $200 when I know I could get a lot more”.    But I knew he was an answer to prayer, a fulfillment of God’s prophetic WORD to me.

 

Early summer 1983 – I’ve been living out of my car for a few months, down by the Goat River at the end of a dirt road.  Almost no one bothers to travel this road and though I’ve been looking for any work I can get, finding a job with no phone and no permanent address isn’t easy.  I figure farm work is what I’ll end up doing, since farmers ask few questions, caring only that you are a hard worker who gets the job done.   But the beginning of fruit harvest season is weeks away.   In the meantime I’ve been spending my abundance of free time studying scripture.   I’ve started meditating again, something I stopped when I got saved 10 years previous, as no one in the traditional church meditates.   One day I come across this passage about Jesus going to pray in the garden of Gethsemane.  He asks the three disciples he brought with him to wait outside the gate and pray for him there.  Twice he comes to the gate to check on them and finds them asleep.  When this happened a third time he said, “Could you not watch with me one hour”?   The Holy Spirit gave me understanding as I read that passage, that one hour is the minimum time we are to meditate and this is a universal minimum time to meditate.   We are all similar in our need to let go of our troubles and quiet the mind.  So I began meditating for longer periods, making sure it was at least an hour.  Suddenly, after about three quarters of an hour I experienced this break through into a realm of great joy and peace.  I felt like I was being infused with God’s light.   This was happening on a regular basis. 

 

Then one day I was reading II Corinthians chapter 3.   This chapter talks about the differences between the written word and the Living WORD, which comes directly from God by his Holy Spirit and is “written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God; not in tables of stone [the law, the 10 commandments], but in fleshly tables of the heart… for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”.   This chapter goes on to tell us that mankind wasn’t ready to see the glory of God in all its power, so when God’s glory came upon Moses on the mountain, he was told to put a vail over his face, lest the people see through to the end of the law and the letter, a time when people would experience spiritual liberty and partake in God’s glory on a regular basis.  

 

According to II Corinthians 3, the people’s “Minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ… when it [their heart] shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  But we all, with open face [all our social masks removed] beholding as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”   After reading these passages I had an epiphany, finally understanding that what I had begun to experience could be experienced by anyone likewise meditating long enough to break through to God’s transformational glory.  It’s like looking in a mirror, but instead of seeing ourselves we see Jesus in his glorified body, that glory being transferred to us and transforming us, “from glory to glory… by the Spirit of the Lord.”  I realized this was the foundational principle upon which the church was intended to be built, the principle upon which our 3Circles Church Communities would be built.   The beauty of this process is that not only do we receive God’s transformational glory, but we also connect directly to God’s ultimate vehicle for delivering truth directly from the source, the Holy Spirit.   The truth thus delivered is God’s Living WORD, which supersedes the written word.   In other words, we can either choose to filter the Spirit’s Living WORD through the limited perceptual framework of the written word, long tainted by man’s religious mindset, OR we can choose to filter the written word through the Spirit’s Living WORD, sent to each man and woman’s heart, directly from God.  This is actually, according to the scriptures, what Jesus told us should be the case, for he said he would send God’s Holy Spirit to “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

 

January 1984 – I’m now living in a rented house and have arranged regular visits from my kids.  However, my heart is troubled by the facts.  My wife called me one day, asking if there were any natural cures for genital herpes.  She contracted a lifelong, very severe case of herpes from her now ex-boyfriend (thank God I never slept with her after she was unfaithful!).   My oldest, Zoe, has confided in me that she misses her mom praying with them at bedtime.  When I raised this issue with Cindy, I assumed she would start praying with them again, but instead, she refuses and gets very angry, telling me it’s none of my business. 

It’s early January and I’m living in Canyon, BC, just outside of Creston, with spectacular scenery all around, including a 2000 foot canyon wall rising up to the left of my rented home.   One evening, as all this was weighing heavy on my mind, after having sought God’s help all day, I go for a moonlight walk on the snow covered road.  Along the way I begin to sense God’s presence and I continue praying.  Suddenly, I begin to see my whole life flash before my eyes, like an extremely fast, fast-forwarded movie.  What was most amazing about that experience was God saying to me repeatedly, as important events flew by, “I was there… and I was there”.    I realized that most of those scenes, such as when I started that commune in British Columbia, occurred before I was reborn in Christ.   This was humbling, shattering the widely disseminated Christian belief that until you accept Christ, you are not in God’s will and therefore God cannot guide you.  Immediately after this life movie I was shown a vision of computers and satellites connecting people around the world.  Remember, this is 1984, ten years before the World Wide Web began to transform a Corporate-University-Defense only research network called DARPA into the publicly accessible Internet we know today.  The WORD that was delivered to me during the vision was that I must learn this technology because it had a vital role to play in the development of our communities.

 

March to September 1984 – Unable to stay in Canada (my wife was my sponsor) and nearly destitute, I return to the US in March and head for Baltimore where my family lives, certain I’ll be able to find work there.  Along the way God speaks to me and tells me not to go to Baltimore.   It makes no sense, but I obey.   

 

I stop in Kaiser, West Virginia and go to a Christian book store.  While there, God speaks to a woman and she tells her husband, that they must help me.  They introduce me to a woman from Social Services, but I tell her I can’t go on welfare, since God spoke to me about that too, that I was not to take welfare.   As a result, they ask more questions and find out I was working as a seasonal farm worker the year before.  They setup an appointment for me to get tested by the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Association.   I test high for what they normally see and they suggest I get retraining as a blue collar worker.   I tell them I can’t work as a blue collar worker because God showed me a vision of computers and told me I was going to be working with computers and networks. 

 

For the first time in their history, the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker’s Association made new rules to accommodate me, offering to pay my tuition and a stipend if I can find a suitable school.  There are no computer schools in WV so I go to look in Maryland and Virginia around the DC Capital area.   I keep finding computer schools but no one knows about satellites or provides related training.   No one even knows what to call it.  Finally, as time is running out, I pray and ask God to guide my finger as I open the yellow pages.   I open to the computer schools section, close my eyes and drop my finger.  It lands on “Capital Institute of Technology” (later renamed Capital College).  I call them and the guy who answers the phone tells me right away that what I’m looking to learn is called Telecommunications and their school is the only one, south of New York City, which offers training in computers and telecommunications.    I enroll and start school in September of 1984.

 

Summer 1985 – During the ’84-’85 school year God begins to show me the importance of Principles.  During meditations I see that one of the laws of electricity, Ohm’s Law, is actually a spiritual principle outlining the relationship between God, man’s will and the power that is generated by lowering one’s resistance to God’s will.  It has profound implications.  This is the beginning of my meditations on principles for 3Circles Church Communities and over the next two decades I outline about 44.   There are many such lessons I’ve put into my journal and I see how important it will all be the future community.  

 

I’ve been working two jobs and taking 18 credit hours so I decide to take a well deserved vacation during the Memorial Day weekend and go to the beach.  The very first day I leave my stuff in the car to go swimming.   When I return, my window is smashed in, several hundred dollars has been taken from my pocket and my briefcase is gone.  In my briefcase I had the originals of my journal and the principles it contained.   There were no copies.   I decide that if it was truly God’s will that I learn to meditate to hear his Living WORD and my journal is full of that WORD, then those papers are vital to the furtherance of the work God called me to do.  I prayed a prayer that went something like this, “God, I know you are real and that my journal and its principles are vital to establishing these communities.  Therefore, if you want me to carry on, if you want to make it known to others that I am indeed doing your will and speaking the truth, then I am going to expect that somehow you will return those papers to me”.    I gave the police my number and address and left it in God’s hands.   Months later I got a call from one of the policemen.   He asked if I wanted the papers that were in my briefcase.   I then asked him how they were retrieved.  He told me that he was hiking around a lake and came across this briefcase that floated to shore.   There was nothing inside but papers but after reading some of them he realized they might be important.   You see, he was a born again Christian too.

 

1986 to 1994 – During this eight year period I start and run two different computer businesses.  The first is successful, at least until the computer industry meltdown in the late 80’s. 

 

1995 to 1996 – The Internet begins to emerge in 1993 and I decide that the Internet is exactly what God revealed to me in my 1984 vision.  So I try to find books to read about how to become an ISP (Internet Services Provider) but there are no such books yet.   I realize that to establish my own Internet business I’m going to need a lot of study and planning time.   Winchester, VA is offering incentives to entrepreneurs who establish their Internet business there.   So I move to Winchester and begin looking for a super cheap office/living space and a part-time (30 to 32 hour) flexible evening job that makes me decent money.  I discover that Rubbermaid is opening up a retail store in Winchester so I go to apply.  I have no retail experience but I continually return to convince them I’m a fast learner and great worker.  They decide to hire me if I give them two months of 10 to 12 hour, 7 day work weeks.   In return, I get the flexible hours I ask for, at the end of the two months.  I find an office/living space for only $200 a month, but its bathroom is at the end of a hallway and has no heated water, no bathtub and no shower, just a toilet bowel and sink.   I take sponge baths for the entire year but manage to save money and learn enough about the Internet to feel I can establish myself as an ISP using banks of modems and a T1 connection provided by the local telephone company.

 

1996 to 2002 – It turns out that Winchester couldn’t deliver on their promises (such as a free T1 from AT&T for one year).  So I relocate to Romney, WV about a 45 minute drive from Winchester.  I open my doors for business, April of 1996.   I ran into many obstacles, not the least of which was an $8,000 expense for specialized equipment.  

 

However, when I first meet with Dave Pancake at the Romney Development and Planning Commission I had that same KNOWING happen…. I knew I could do it and it was going to happen, regardless of the obstacles (of which there were many).   Another major obstacle was a total unfamiliarity with setting up the CSU/DSU’s to interface between the telco’s T1 and my router and Internet servers.   I eventually talked the telephone company into buying our $8,000 equipment as a tax write off and an opportunity to dramatically increase the number of phone lines sales.  After I had all the equipment and was at a total loss as to how to get it all to communicate with one another, I setup a booth at a local country fair to tell people about the launch of our new Internet services.   A lady befriended us and later came by to tell us her friend could help.  He just happened to be visiting and had already setup equipment for two other ISP’s.   We were introduced and he agreed to do the job for just room and board.  It took nearly at least a week of day and night work to get it all up and running.  

 

Finally, in order to provide the cash flow to see us through the first few months of operations, when cash would be scarce, I offered a deep discount to those who paid for a full year’s service up front.   I eventually sold the business around the end of 2002.   There were three competitors who were interested in buying.  I decided to sell to the highest bidder.   But the owner turned out to be a crook with a history of cheating ISP’s.  I was cheated out of half of the original agreed price of $60,000 by a last minute contract change that seemed innocuous.   The loss of $30,000 of the sales price leaves me financially strapped.   When the IRS came down on me and demanded $35,000 in taxes, I was ruined (my CPA lost her father and had a nervous break down, failing to do my taxes for 2000 until October 2001; unlike other years, where I made a decent salary and paid all my bills, 2000 and 2001 proved to be very profitable years; the money I set aside each year for taxes proved to be far less than was needed… multiplied by two!).

 

April 1997 – I had a very powerful dream I knew would be prophetic regarding the woman I would eventually marry, Vonda.  I knew this because of the power of God’s presence, which caused me to wake suddenly.  I was surrounded by that “peace that passes all understanding” and felt that “joy unspeakable” in my heart.   Unbeknownst to me at the time of my dream, Vonda would succumb to a bug induced viral infection just 5 months after the dream, in September of 1997.   This viral infection would inflame her brain, putting her in a coma for two months.  She fought back from the brink of death, only to find her self wheel chair bound.  The doctor’s told her she’d never walk again, but she proved them wrong and after 5 years began to walk with the aid of canes!   You can read about how God helped us to find one another and then worked miracles to remove many obstacles, by going to this webpage: http://www.3circles.net/testimony

 

July to October 2003 – I use my Internet expertise to land a state contract job that pays $55 an hour, moving all the states websites from old Windows NT servers to the newer Windows 2000 Advanced Server.   However, although I still had my car and enough money to buy gas and food, I didn’t have enough to stay at a hotel.  I wouldn’t see my first check for 4 or 5 weeks.  So I decided to live in my car until I got my first check.  Then I moved my old RV down to Charleston, renting a great place to hook up from Bob Williams, a man who was outside doing lawn work when I stopped to ask.  The job was supposed to last six weeks but continued for twelve. 

 

November 2003 to September 2004 – The well paying state job ended in October, 2003.   I found employment soon after, at Lowe’s Nursery department, but it wouldn’t start till mid-February, 2004.  In between, during December, January and early February, I wrote a book based on Matthew chapter 13.  This chapter was an answer to many years of prayer about why it’s so much harder for someone poor to get free of debt or launch a successful business.   I gave it the title, “$ecret$ - 12 Principles of Prosperity for Spiritual Entrepreneurs”.   The subtitle is even more descriptive: “Twenty Years of Meditation Uncovers God’s Totally Awesome & Unique Principles For Breaking The Rich/Poor Barrier & Creating Families That Endure.  You can find out more about the book by going to this link: http://www.3circles.net/dream/biz/home.htm.  

 

No need to buy the book if you decide to become a 3Circles Church Communities member, because I give a free copy to each person who signs up.  I also had a dream in September, just one month before I met Vonda online.  I actually had three dreams in a row, on the same night, with the same woman in each (VERY unusual, having never happened to me before).  During those three dreams I was given the certainty that this woman in the dream would be my wife and I would meet her soon.  I felt that God was speaking to me, that both she and I were being made ready for one another and that the time was near at hand.

 

October to December 2004 – I met Vonda online, at Christian Café, a Christian dating site, at about the same time I started a new job with FEMA (mid-October).  FEMA hired me as a Research writer assisting with disseminating info about what FEMA was doing to help with the WV flood.  The job was temporary, being tied to flood relief and scheduled to end just before Christmas.  God worked plenty of miracles to make it possible for Vonda and I to find one another; for me to get the money needed to travel to Tennessee and setup home; and for me to convince all of Vonda’s family that this was indeed God’s will.   You can read all about it here: http://www.3circles.net/testimony. 

 

January 2005 to 2008 – Vonda and I married legally on January 13, and then spiritually with her family members and friends on January 15, 2005.  I originally decided to start my own in-home computer repair business, which I did from January through March.  By early April the calls for service ended overnight, when all the ISP’s began giving away Anti-Spyware software to their customers for free.  And about the same time Vonda nearly had an accident in the shower while I was away.   I realized for the first time, the potential for her to have an accident that could be life threatening.   We sat down and talked it over, agreeing it would be best if I was home full-time, working a home-based business from my computer. 

 

Over these past three-plus years I’ve continued to receive revelations from God regarding the Church, the Bible, Christian history, and some really amazing understandings about things I thought I already knew or had never questioned.   For instance, during these three years I discovered that the New Testament is NOT what everyone thinks it is (it is NOT the 27 books in the bible we call the New Testament).  This fact is irrefutably stated in the Bible itself, but conveniently overlooked by everyone.

 

Also I came to a realization that all Christian leaders have, for at least 16 centuries (and probably longer) chosen to sit at the feet of other men in order to learn about God, choosing the reward of credentialed acknowledgement by their institutions of “higher learning”, rather than obeying Jesus Christ who told us clearly we have no need of other men to teach us the things of God.   Jesus told us he was sending us the Holy Spirit, to lead us into all truth.

 

Here is another shocking truth I learned recently.  ALL the references to scripture in the New Testament are references to the Old Testament scriptures.   As with almost all contemporary writings, they are not afforded the same degree of reverence as the classics of old, which in this case is the ancient scriptures of the Jews (our Old Testament containing most of those same scriptures).  There is not one use of the word “scripture” or “scriptures”, which refers to the New Testament letters written by Paul, Peter, John, etc.   Do a search for yourself, and read every passage where either the word scripture or scriptures is used.  Out of 52 references, there is only one that could be construed to assign the word scripture to the New Testament books.   The passage is from 2 Peter 3:16, where Peter states, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction”.   However, interpreting this passage that way would be a mistake.   Remember, Paul was a “Pharisee of Pharisees” by his own admission.  And as such, he was very familiar with the scriptures, including, as we see in his writings today, many references to the Old Testament scriptures.   So, what are the “other scriptures” Peter refers to?   Is it Paul’s other letters?  No, because the context of that statement, “speaking in them [in Paul’s epistles] of these things”, is referring to Old Testament scriptures that point to Jesus Christ as the messiah, something Paul writes in his letters again and again.   Simply reading all of Paul’s references to “scripture” or “scriptures” proves this point, because he himself ALWAYS uses those words in reference to the old Jewish scriptures now found in our Old Testament.  Remember Paul’s background was dominated by his being “A Pharisee of Pharisees” by his own admission.  He was very learned, an expert in understanding the scriptures.   And if this line of reasoning isn’t proof enough, then look at the proof of 51 other references to “scripture” or “scriptures”, for each and every one of those 51 undeniably refer to the scriptures of the Jews and NOT to the letters of the apostles and other disciples.  The significance of this is in showing how the Catholic Church’s canonization process, which took place over three centuries after the death of the original apostles, involved not only their decisions to deny canonization of books considered inspired by almost everyone else, but also their decision to give to the Apostles letters more importance than they themselves ascribed to them. 

 

Today’s Christian leaders are not taught how to meditate nor is it mandatory for them to take classes on the art of being still.  These so-called men of God have been trained to be modern day Pharisees.   They are unable to receive of God’s spirit of truth, God’s Living WORD, because they are so preoccupied and focused on the written word about the WORD.   Like the Pharisees of old, they know about God, but they truly do not KNOW God.  If they knew God, their focus would be on the Spirit of God rather than on the letter.   It is their pre-disposition towards erudition and arguments over each letter of the Bible that kills the very Spirit for which they profess to be an expert.  Paul said it so very clearly, “[God] has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life (II Cor. 3:6).

 

So I have come to this inevitable conclusion, that today’s Christian leaders know almost nothing of God outside of what they have read and been taught by other men.   Abraham had no Bible, no Talmud, no scriptures of any kind, and he had no teacher.   So how could he hear the word of God?   It is obvious he did not hear it by reading the written word of God, he heard it by hearing the Living WORD of God.  According to the Bible, Abraham was one of the greatest men of faith.   And it was that faith which allowed him to believe in God’s Holy Spirit.  I do not believe that the Holy Spirit only came with Jesus, but rather than the Holy Spirit has always been there to teach and to impart God’s Living WORD… for all who had the faith to listen, to hear what God would say. 

 

A Spirit-Centered life goes hand in hand with knowing how to “Abide in Christ”.  There is a deep mystery here.  Jesus promised to those who learned to abide in him the same oneness with the Father that he experienced (read John 17: 11 and 21).   If Christians understood the importance of meditation and abiding in Christ there would be no disunity, nor would there be a lack of love.   These divisions within the Church flow naturally from men who “Have a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof [the Spirit]… For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power”. 

 

Jesus told us the Scribes and Pharisees knew not how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and receive God’s Living WORD.  Therefore they could not instruct those they taught about how to enter in either.   That is the exact same situation we have today.   And it is this leaven of today’s modern Pharisees, their hypocrisy of proclaiming to know God when they do not, that continues to spread like a cancer throughout all of Christiandom, preventing their congregation’s members from knowing God as well.   Hear the words of Jesus you so-called men of God, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in” (Mt. 23:13).

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Leroy E. Grey

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