Peter Spreckley

Peter Spreckley   Interviewer: Would you just like to tell us a little bit about yourself? You seem to have had a very special start in life. The best school, privileged background, university, qualified as a solicitor...

   Peter: Well it's true. You would say I was dealt a very good pack of cards and everything seemed to be good. I had a lovely home in Wiltshire. My father taught in college. I had a good education, and then after college, I went to a Swiss University, got married at a very early age, qualified as a solicitor, got out of London very quickly, and arrived in New Hampshire. I was a newly qualified solicitor and very green behind the ears. I was determined to build an empire. I worked extremely hard and put a lot of thought into it. I built a reputation as an advocate. My practice expanded, and I wanted to impress my clients and the world in general with my abilities.

I fox hunted and was chairman of committees and local councils. I was a pillar of the Church and I was involved in the Parochial Church Council (PCCs) and at one stage I was a churchwarden, not because of any spiritual depth on my part, that wasn't a qualification necessary, but because I was good at mowing the churchyard. I was regular with my services, and I was helping at Christmas weaving the chairs and waxing the candles.

   Interviewer: Amazing. So, underneath all of that, Peter, what was going on?

   Peter: I was successful, I wore a suit, a waistcoat, and to the world at large I was a respectable solicitor. Inwardly, something was going dramatically wrong. I have a lovely wife and three lovely children, a beautiful home and respected by my family and friends. But something I thought was lacking which I had to look for outside my marriage. And that led me to be unfaithful. But I was in church on Sunday morning.

   Interviewer: Peter, tell me, how did things come to a head? I mean, what really made you look at all of this and thought that "something's got to change?"

   Peter: Well, I think the most important thing was that my wife, Mary, had a deep faith the Lord, and wonderfully she took the view that what I was up to wasn't really me. Therefore she didn't sue for divorce, but she prayed. And she got other people praying. She even got a passing bishop to pray. One way or another, I was brought to the point of a minor breakdown, returned home to my darling wife who was able to forgive me, unconditionally and received me back into the matrimony that I had disqualified myself from. At that stage but I had the intention of returning and living as a faithful husband. I had returned to church-going, and one day I was mowing the churchyard and I stopped and I said to myself, "Is this really all I should ever be able to do?" In fact, I really don't know why, but I feel very good about helping. Shortly after that, again at the church, I stopped and had this thought, "Is God real?" And that's a very difficult question for someone who has been in church as I had been. And I could not think of anyone in all my church-going that had ever spoken to me about the reality of God. I had heard a thousands of sermons, said, "Amen" to all the prayers.

   Interviewer: Do you think that... sorry... Do you think that that was because somehow you didn't hear, or that actually nobody had done so?

   Peter: That's a very good point. I certainly didn't hear, but I think that if anyone had spoken to me about the reality of God I would have pricked up my ears and wanted to know more about that. So what does an Anglican do if he wants to know about the reality of God? He, of course, goes to the public library and looks up "God." And that's exactly what I did. I took out books, started with the hardbacks, like St. Augustine, but I ended up with the paperbacks - the stories of people alive today who have met Jesus and have had miracles in their lives, and I discovered what I was really looking for. The wonderful thing about these books was that they pointed me to the Bible references. In all my church-going years I had firmly stuck on the shelf gathering dust. I took it down and I started reading for the first time.

   Interviewer: Where did this lead? Did it lead you to go to some Evangelistic rally, raising your hands, saying "Glory!" and inviting God into your life?

  Peter: Absolutely not. It led to me learning some extraordinary things that I hadn't realized before. The first thing I learned was that I needed to be born again. If I had heard that expression in church, it would have gone right past me. The concept that I could submit my life to Christ and receive the Holy Spirit was foreign. The thoughts of a new beginning and have all my past washed away by Jesus and that really excited me. I was hungry for God and wanted everything that He had for me. The first time prayed for salvation, I truly expected that the heavens would open, and there'd be choirs of angels and trumpets. I had read that all the angels were rejoicing in heaven when one lost sinner comes to Jesus. That was the beginning of my new walk.

   Interviewer: And somehow you got involved with a group of men.

   Peter: I met someone at a dinner party who invited us down a rally in Portsmouth. I went down full of expectation, and when the person who was speaking asked for those who want to give their life to Christ, I put up my hand and went down. She asked the people to come forth and to be prayed for, I was out of my seat and I ran. I tell you that because it just shows how hungry I was for the things of God. You see, as an Anglican, I would have normally expected to put up one finger and hope nobody saw it, and then when it would be time to go forward I would have headed to the door and hoped that nobody would have noticed that I'd gone. But that was all forgotten.

   Interviewer: I'm sure the listeners will be very interested in that because this is not a normal picture of a very reserved churchman, solicitor. When did your faith become public?

   Peter: Well, it's a continuation of what happened that night, that was recorded, I bought a tape, and as we were playing the tape, I had gone forward for prayer, and I didn't mention that I was prayed for that moment as I was sitting on the edge of the bed, the power of God fell on me in an incredible way, I was flattened on the bed for half an hour with this power going through me. It was kind of like an electric shock, and I found myself speaking in a language that I didn't know I could speak. Finally, the power left me and I couldn't stand up. I couldn’t stand and staggered against the wall, and you would have said I was drunk, and I would have said "Yes I am drunk, but not on wine, but on the Holy Spirit." At that point, it was as if God had pumped me up, to the point where I could walk beside Him. Until then, I had been quite private about it.

   Interviewer: Was Mary in the room with you?

   Peter: She was in the room. She saw it all. I wasn't making it up. For her, it was real as well. I described myself as being like a balloon, blown up and full, and if you let it go without putting a string on it, it goes all over the place and makes a lot of noise. That's exactly how I looked, and I rushed around telling everybody, and I had to learn a lesson. Some people aren't very excited about somebody else having an experience with God.

   Interviewer: Just keeping it with Mary first, what was Mary's reaction?

   Peter: Well, to be honest, she was quite frightened to begin with, because she saw her husband completely transformed, and she was nervous. It was as if there was someone else in my life. The children found it very difficult. Everything changed for me. I found for instance that I couldn't watch things on television that I had been watching before. I didn't want to read things that I had been reading before. And so my attitude towards everything in the home started to change, and they found this quite disturbing.

   Interviewer: Have any of them come to faith since?

   Peter: Yes, wonderfully. Our eldest daughter came to faith. She serves at a church in London. Our second daughter came to know the Lord, and she's married to a Vicar in the church. Our third child is a son, he said in the beginning "Dad, this is embarrassing, please don't talk about it." Our fourth son, the young one, also is a praying man.

Peter Spreckley FGB UK and Ireland Life Stories of Men in Business from FGB UK on Vimeo.

   Interviewer: Well that's a wonderful transformation of a whole family, simply because of a husband coming to faith. There must be lots of men who've been through the same experiences that you've been through. Is there any way that you can talk to these men and say to them that there's nothing to be frightened of in searching for God? I mean, you may have had some unusual experiences, but it has enhanced and enriched your life. Is that right?

   Peter: Absolutely, what I've discovered for myself was that I needed to be born-again, but I had to come to know the person, the power and the role of the Holy Spirit. What I came to understand and experience is the power of God to move in people's lives, in terms of changing their personality and being transformed.

   I had a drinking problem that was removed. God spoke to me one day and said, "Give up drink." I obeyed, and somehow I developed an aversion to drinking. I don't want to drink. But, I suppose the greatest change within me was my understanding of fatherhood and marriage. I came to understand what it was to love my wife in a new way, to put her consideration before mine, and from that day on we have grown closer and closer. We only had a formal relationship with our children.  I started to embrace the children, kiss them, and tell them I loved them. They started responding, and we grew closer together. There was one instance which I have never forgotten of our younger son, aged 10, he and I were standing together, and he turned around to me and said, quite unprovoked, he said, "Dad, I love you." And he put his arms around me. At that moment, I would have done anything he asked.

   Interviewer: Now I can just see this picture, this solicitor, very prim and proper, going back into the office. And, I mean it obviously happened over a period of time, but how did your partners adjust to this new man?

   Peter: Well, I said I was like this balloon making a lot of noise and going in all sorts of directions, and one of the places where I made a lot of noise was in the office. And, it took me some time to realize that my partners were finding it very difficult. And I had to take down the notice that I put up in the waiting room about Jesus. But in the end, they came to respect me and when we had a crisis in the office, they would turn to me to resolve it. It was my faith that carried me through.

   Interviewer: What about your clients?

   Peter: At first my clients were concerned, well, I have a list of clients whose lives have been changed because they came to me with their problems, and heard something more than the answer to their problem, because it was an opportunity for me to share my faith. I found that my honesty and truthfulness was very important. I've learned that if you tell a small lie, you often had to cover it with a bigger lie, but if you tell the truth it's much easier. Nobody minded to hear the truth and would say, "Thank you for telling me." My life was really much more relaxed, and I became more sensitive to my clients.

   Interviewer: I suppose the cynic would say that there's no such thing as an honest solicitor. I don't want to be disrespectful towards your profession, but people think of the legal, finding loopholes and kind of working their way around. Did you find that people avoided you? Yes, because they thought that you wouldn't do the kinds of devious things?

   Peter: Well I don't know about who avoided me, but there was one man who sat down in front of me and said, "I must tell you that I've been told not to come and see you because you're a crazy Christian." And, there he was, and he came to know the Lord and his case had a miraculous outcome. So, I can't really answer your question. There was a married couple going through a divorce. I shared the Gospel and they prayed to receive Jesus Christ. There was a man who came with a broken arm, and we prayed for his arm to be healed. There were a lot of good stories.

   Interviewer: So I can just imagine your parish priest throwing his hands up in the air and saying "Wonderful! I've now got somebody in the church who really does believe!" What was the reaction when you went back?

   Peter: One of the lessons I've had to learn was that experiences of God are rare in certain parts of our journey. There are people who said "I must warn you, this could be very dangerous", so that wasn't very helpful. During a period of ten years, I stayed with the church and helped and did all I could, and gradually people come to accept me.

   Interviewer: Why, Peter, bearing in mind what you've said about church, where did you get the mentoring or the help to know a little bit more about Christianity?

   Peter: Well, it all comes back to the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship. After that meeting in Portsmouth, something just touched me about the men I saw there, and openness and joy and love.  I knew I had to join them. So, the next day I rang the secretary at the fellowship and said that I want to join. She said "I will send you the papers", and I said "No, I want to join today." She said, “No, I'll send you the papers." and I said, "I want to join today. I'm coming over now." and I joined on that day. I've had teaching, I've been able to mature, and experience the power of the Holy Spirit.  This fellowship there's a dynamic which I have not experienced in a church.

   Interviewer: And Peter perhaps you could explain that it is a non-denominational group.

   Peter: Just that. You have people from different churches; you don't really ask them what church they belong to. They have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and ministering in the gifts. We're in the business of seeing life change.

   Interviewer: Now you've just been elected as the national chairman of the National Council of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship here in the UK and Ireland. Would you like to just tell us what you are hoping for?

   Peter: My plan is to give God a blank sheet. My immediate task is to see a passion come back to into the fellowship, to see the early days which were so exciting to see all the miracles. I was overwhelmed by the power of God, because this fellowship has a significant role in the future of this nation. Full Gospel Business M en's Fellowship's vision is for an army of business people sharing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the workplace, in their homes, in their churches, wherever they are, just telling their stories, not preaching, and just sharing their encounter with Jesus. And, when this vision has been fulfilled, then our nation can be changed, and that is the vision given to Demos Shakarian.

   Interviewer: The autobiography of our founder is in the book called "The Happiest People on Earth". I read it recently while I was in Serbia, and it was interesting. Demos summed up his last few years, and he actually said this: "This fellowship is all about people, and the impact God can have on the life of people." So maybe you could just share, as you look at the camera now Peter, just, what it really means to be a Christian, and how through something like Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship people can express and live out that faith.

   Peter: Well, what is it like to be a Christian? It's a life-transforming experience. It's to wake up in the morning and know the joy of your Lord in your life, to have peace, to know that you can make an impact on people's lives. It's a whole new experience. How do we come to that experience? Well, if you're a traditional churchgoer, what I would say is this, "Never be satisfied." And start to look outside your church. Start to look outside your parish, and see what God is really doing around you. Know how God is moving in an amazing way, and when you hear and see that, I think you'll just want to be a part, and our fellowship is one way you can experience this amazing power of God. So, as I said, don't be satisfied with where you are, because God has a plan for each one of us, and for each one of you who are watching this video. It's a plan that you'll want to fulfill just as soon as you've met Him. Our trouble is, perhaps we're ignorant and we don't know, and we accept the little that we have. But God says that if you look for Him and the door will be opened. We have to take the first step and come running towards Him. I just encourage you, get out, seek God, and experience the wonderful things that he has for each of your lives.

 

Peter's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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