Grady Embrey

Grady EmbreyJulian Awad: Grady Embrey has served for 34 years as an executive civilian in the Department of the Army throughout the U.S., SE Asia, SW Asia, and Europe.  He has also been preaching across the United States for the last 33 years, participating in prison ministries and teaching the Bible at his local homeless shelter.

   I want to thank everybody for inviting me to share my testimony tonight. As I go through my testimony, leading up to how God led me to the point of salvation, and then beyond after I was born again, how God led me to the different levels of growth in the Spirit just molding me in his image.

   I want to call to attention a scripture Isaiah 28:10, "Precept upon precept; line upon line; a little here, a little there." I just keep that in mind as I go through the progression. Pretty much the same thing happens when everybody gets saved. The same thing happens after salvation has gone, molds you into his image. It's precept upon precept, line by line, a little here, a little there. Little by little God is where he wants you to be.

   I was born in Alexandria, Virginia into a Middle-class home. I'm the youngest of 4 boys. I did the typical things growing up. I like sports, wrestling, a little late football, a little late baseball, and that sport of wrestling up until college and I coached for a little while.

   My parents were not Christians. I was not raised in a Christian household. My parents take us to a local Episcopal Church. Easter and Christmas, baby christenings, weddings, funerals, and that was about it. We have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. The first time that I'd ever heard the gospel, the first seed that was planted in my life; I was about 9 years old. I was at my grandparents' house. This was on my father's side.

   I live in Kensington, Maryland. If you're familiar with the DC area, we live in Alexandria. Kensington was about 30 miles around the beltway north of DC. We visit there quite often. I don't recall some of the details. I don't recall where we were gone, leaving my grandparents' house, and why we had to separate into different cars and everybody could get a ride to wherever we're going. I don't recall that part. This part I do recall, the important part.

   I was told to sit in a red Ford pickup truck with a shell on the back. I'm now 61 years old, I can remember that. The guys that I was told to sit in with, the driver was a 24-year-old man by the name of Jimmy Hawkins. He was a nuker in the daytime. I found that out later. He owned a small concrete company like footers for houses. I guess concrete platforms for warehouses, apartments, whatever. I was doing well. He was married to my cousin.

   There was another guy in the truck to this day I don't know who that was. I just don't know. But I recall the first time in my life; they were listening to either cassette tapes or 8-tracks. I don't know what they were listening to at that time, but they were listening to gospel music that struck me as odd because I've never heard that before. They started talking about Jesus and they asked me if I was a Christian. I said, "Yeah, as far as I know. I go to Episcopal Church." They said, "Well, are you born again?" They lost me there; I had no idea what they were talking about. That's about all I remember.

   As I go through my testimony tonight, I remember that guy, Jimmy Hawkins, that day. He was like Apostle Paul in my life. As we all know, we pick the Pauls in our lives, those men of God that we all look up to men that walk in the gifts of the Spirit. They obey God or have been into God and those are the guys that we try to emulate, guys and girls.            Then, we need the Barnabas in our life. Those are our friends, our contemporaries. Those are the ones that are praying with us. The ones we can confide in about [inaudible] hold. "Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens His friend's countenance." Then, we need the Timothys. God brings us to the salvation point in our lives, we get to say, God then grows us into his image where we become more obedient to walk in the Spirit. Those are the people that God brings into our lives so that we can [inaudible], we can minister and we can grow.

   I was 10 years old at that time. Let's start at the age of 13, I'm in 8th grade, my oldest brother is 12 years older than me. This is about the early '73. I was 13. He had been in Vietnam as a marine. He came out for a few years. I like to say he did things that young people did: partying, chasing girls, whatever. He had a job. All of a sudden, one day he got saved. He was born again. He came home and told the family. Remember, the Bible says that, "God sets the solitary in the family." That's the first one that gets saved in the family.

   If you were brought up in a family where your parents were Christian, you are extremely blessed. My mother and father will tell you about Jesus and raise you accordingly. In my brother's case, he was the first one in the family saved. He took a lot of grief for that. My father told him not to be a Jesus freak. I'm telling you, that stuck with him. We never looked back. He was 25 when he got saved. He's 73 now; he's still serving the Lord. So, he did what he was supposed to do. He started telling me about Jesus, telling me I needed to be born again and why I needed to be born again. He started taking me to church; we went to a Wesleyan Church. I don't remember much about the church except this. The church took us on a ski trip one time. Remember, we were in Northern Virginia; we went up to Houghton College in New York. I had never been skiing before I got on the rope tow, immediately twisted my knee. I figured out I was done skiing for the weekend. I had no lessons or anything. I didn't know how to ski.

   That night we had a prayer meeting. All the people that went on the ski trip from the church, we had a prayer meeting. My brother asked for prayer for my knee. I was a little embarrassed by that, very shy at the time. I would guess there were 30 people there, from what I recall. I remember the lady that laid hands on my name, her name was Lin Zorak. Everybody prayed, she laid hands and pray that God would heal my knee. Nothing happened that night; I left back to my room and went to sleep. The next morning, I woke up and my knee was as good as new. I just thought that was odd. I didn't jump around praising the Lord. I just thought, "Well, this is odd. I wonder if that prayer had anything to do with this." By that time, I'd already been wrestling about 4 or 5 years. I started early. I was injury-prone. I had a lot of injuries. Injuries always took me a long time to heal. I thought this had an impact on me. We'll leave it at that.

   Fast forward through high school, I started believing that I needed Jesus as my savior, but like many people, I put it off. I thought if I got saved, it just wouldn't be any fun for a young person. So, I was putting it off. Had a couple of friends in high school get saved, that heavy impact on me. Remember, "Precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, there a little". God brings these things into our lives and they have been [inaudible]. A lot of times, and we're getting out to the salvation for it. We don't realize it. When we look back on it, we'll say, "Wow! God, that's pretty amazing how you did that."

   I remember those 2 guys in high school getting saved. I remember another guy named Mike.   He was on the baseball team, very good player. I remember seeing him passing out tracks from his locker in high school. I said, "Oh, that's amazing." I think what drives that guy to do that. I just didn't know. Fast forward, aged 20 when I got saved. I knew the Holy Spirit has drawn me and I knew it was time that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, commit my life to Him. So, that weekend from Alexandria, I had off work. I was working at one of the local giants stocking shelves at night. I drove down to North Carolina, got into a hotel by myself. Got the Gideon’s Bible out of the drawer and started reading it and gave my life to Christ today. The best way to get saved, I asked God forgiveness for my sins. I said, "I want to get saved. I believe that you died for my sins on the cross and shed your blood for the remission of my sins. That you were buried in a tomb and on the third day, you rose again. I said, "Lord because you live, please live in me." That's the best way I knew.

   I went home to see my brother and told him that I had gotten saved. I asked him what time mass was the next day. I didn't know anything about the church. He said, "We don't usually call it mass. That's more of a Catholic term. We just call it church service." We have services Sunday morning at 9 and 11. This was a small Pentecost... in reality, house for church.

   The pastor was a country boy from Danville, Virginia, and he was a man of God. He operated in gifts in the Spirit, and he could roll when we would start preaching and anointed would come on, and it was nice. Overtime... God started introducing me to people. There was one impact. Her name was Shirley Glassgow. I'm 20, she's about 45. She works at another giant store in the deli department, and Shirley was a witnessing machine. The pastor would compliment her from the pulpit saying, "The giant food store now."

   We were 20 years of age. He's still friends with me today. He's now a mailman near the end of his career in Sterling. Robin the porter and his wife and their baby brought in the night crew. I believe they call him the captain. He's bringing him in [inaudible] to explain everything that's going on in a Pentecostal church. They had frequent messages in tongues. The gifts move freely in this church. That's the message in tongues.

   The guy and whoever the woman was that spoke in tongues and was given the gift of interpretation of tongues, so, that I could understand. I said, "Whoa, how do you get there, guys?" He goes, "Well, that's the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When you're ready, the pastor preaches on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They'll invite people down. He'll have an altar call and ask people to come down, to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The spirit guides you." But I didn't fully understand that. I said, "Okay, that sounds good." I did that a few times; I didn't receive the baptism, got a little discouraged and then Shirley and two other women and one of the ladies was about 70. Her name was Sister Moses. They started taking me and my buddy Greg, the other guy that was my age that Shirley witnessed too and got him in the church and then ultimately say. Started taking us around to different churches around Northern Virginia, seeking out men, who allegedly had the gift of laying on of hands for people that wanted to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

   Honest intentions, well-intentioned what appeared to be, as they were trying to teach us to speak in tongues. That's not the baptismal Holy Spirit. When the power of God hits you, he tells you that Holy Spirit, the tongue is flown. By describing it like a river flowing up inside you, the tongue starts to flow. Greg quit [inaudible] back in time. He was shy. He just didn't go. I went 2 or 3 more times, and then I quit going but I continued to pray for the baptism. I wanted more of God. I didn't understand much, but I knew that I wanted more of God. If I was going to live this life, I needed whatever God has to continue to pray.

   One day, I was lifting weights at my parents' house, probably age 21. God just decided to send down the fire and he baptized me in the Holy Spirit in my parents' bedroom.  Tears were flowing from my eyes, and then my tongue started to flow. I don't know how to describe it better that happens today when I pray. Every time I pray in the mornings, I'm usually in the flesh. I'll start slow praising the Lord, and I started thanking God for everything He's done in my life. I started praying for everybody I know. I pray for this country. This country is in dire need of a lot of prayers. Then, the Holy Spirit will come upon me the tears will [inaudible] and the tongues come down. That's just how it works for me. That's an interesting side.

   Moving forward about 6 years later — I do want to say 1 funny thing. When I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I started calling everyone I knew to tell them what happened. I called my brother and then I called my church but nobody answered the phone because it was lunchtime. So, I called this church it was for my small Pentecostal Church. The name is Christian Academy. A church and a Christian school. I got the lead pastor on the phone and I'm excited as all get out, I'm thinking all churches are like this.

   I said, "Hey! I just received the baptism." I heard him pause for his silence on the phone and he says "Wonderful", and that's about the end of the conversation. I just got back, "Okay, thanks. Bye." I got back on the phone and called everyone I knew. I want to [inaudible] labor the baptism to [inaudible] others as I've never witnessed before. Before baptism, when I would try to witness I was very shy, very timid, usually with a witness.

   Let's move forward about 6 years. Remember, precept upon precept, line upon line, you keep seeking God, keep moving on. Eventually through this time, He's going to take you deeper in the spiritual realm, and He's going to show you great and mighty things which God knows about.

   At about age 26, my mom came down with cancer of the lymph nodes. She was in the hospital room 1 evening, I went into her room and just heard my father in there and she shared a room with another lady. There was a curtain separating the 2 beds. The other lady had a family of about 8 people in the room. They were talking as I walked through and you can hear everything on both sides of the curtain, what was going on. So, I asked [inaudible] "Are you ready to lead through the seniors' prayer?" he said, "Yeah." I did that, led my mom to the Lord. I didn't think much of it at the time, but later down the road I thought about — I was there with 8 people gathered around their mother's bed, and they heard everything I said, so I wonder what kind of impact that had on any or all of them. God brings everything together, precept upon precept, line upon line.

   My mom got saved. She continued to deteriorate. I was praying and fasting. She wasn't getting healed.  I called my mother in Kensington and asked her for Jimmy Hawkins's phone number. Remember, he was the guy in the red pickup truck. At this time, now we're — I believe was 16 years. I'm 46 now. I was 9 the last time I saw him. He had a concrete company. There has been the Bible College. He's been on the game. I believe he's an evangelist at this time. My grandmother said, "Call Jimmy Hawkins. He's a man of God. He can pray for your mother." We've talked. He asked me where I went to church. I told him I went to Reality Gospel Church. He said, "Yeah, that's Reverend Earl Cox. He's a man of God." I've been to that church, that's a big church. He goes, "I'll come and pray for your mom." He came to my mother’s room and anointed her with oil and said a prayer for the sick. Meantime, the doctor is talking to my father. My mother's on life support. He told my father that, "Your wife only has a short time to live, and we don't know whether she'll ever come off life support. If she does, her brain was probably dead. So, you're going to have to make a decision whether you want to unplug or not."

   We went home and prayed. That's all happened the same day Jimmy Hawkins came in prayed for my family, went home and prayed. The next morning, we woke up at the hospital. My dad went in to talk to the doctor and told him to unplug, and the doctor said, "You can't unplug her because she made significant progress last night." We all went into her room. She's sitting up in the bed talking to us and was getting stronger and stronger; we took her out of the hospital. She was a housewife. She resumed her daily activities as a housewife. She liked to walk around the neighborhood with her friends. Everything was great. About 6 months later, she deteriorated rapidly, and she died in her sleep 1 night. Answered our prayer and gave her back to us for a period of time. Just to bless [inaudible] to die, that we saw that miracle. God was showing you Jeremiah 33:3, great and mighty things.

   It wasn't long after that, I got a job as a civilian with the department. I had to move to Texas. At the tail end of my career, I'm about 8 months out from retiring. But through my time with that job working for the department, the army I've moved through many states and overseas, 3 different tours in Korea, 1 tour in Germany, and 1 tour in Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield, Desert Storm. Each of those stops along the way. I've got things to say that I'm going to try to highlight to keep this to 30 minutes.

   When I was in Alabama, I felt strong; I felt small- started feeling the call for a preacher. That was my first stop with this job. I got involved in prison ministry, held Bible studies there in Tennessee. I moved to Alabama. Alabama was very significant for me. At the time I was in Alabama, I worked with 2 guys. They were local guys born and raised in the Alabama area. They both pastored in very small churches. I told the 1 guy and said, "I believe God's calling me to preach. The pastor asked me, "Are you sure? I said, "I'm pretty sure." He goes, "Come preach for me Sunday night." I said, "Well, no, I have to go to Bible College first." He said, "If God's called you to preach, pray. Ask God to give you the [inaudible] for the 7 o'clock Sunday night." So, I did. Precept upon precept, line upon line, that sermon lasted all of 12 minutes.

   However, it led to other opportunities to preach, and I started getting pretty busy down in Alabama preaching in small churches. On Wednesday nights, I got to preach it in my home church. The one interesting thing that happened here was Sunday after church I was eating at a barbecue place with 3 friends of mine. The place was very busy, very crowded. I had never been to Alabama. That's the creative choice.

   This pastor said, "Go home and study because you're going to preach tonight." I had nothing planned to preach that night or anytime soon that I can recall. I was just getting used to hearing the voice of God, seeking God, asking God to speak to me, guide me in what direction to go in like that. God wasn't audible. I don't know how to explain the difference from your brain or your heart, but the spirit connects the two. I went home and started to study. At that time, we didn't have internet. It was in the early 90s that you had 3 books – the Bible, the Commentary, and concordance. I had them open on the floor, praying to God for the message. Within 30 minutes the phone ring, and Mike Medley, who's an evangelist around the local area was very hoarse. He calls me and he says, "Brother Grady, this is Brother Mike and he says, I'm preaching revival here in the Wooten Chapel. Can you come to preach for me tonight? Can you come to pray for me tonight?” I said, “Yeah, God's already told me." He acted like that was just normal. He's saying that, "As you grow with God, receptive and present, God will take you deeper into the spiritual realm, into the supernatural realm, and he will show you great, mighty things."

   Fast forward, I met a girl in that church in Alabama. I married her. I'm going to fast forward. It did not work out. We got divorced. At that time in the Assemblies of God, they were very- on people getting licensed and divorced. It didn't matter what the reason. I got to tell you, I'm a believer in strong standards. I believe they've eased a little over time based on circumstance. At that time, I was out. I continue traveling around my job. When you go receive, you don't have many choices where you are going to go to church. It's pretty much the chapel on the army base.

   Some of the chaplains, both male and female are men and women of God. However, the government ties their arms where they're very limited on what they can preach very little movement of the Holy Spirit in the chapel.

   So I'm starting to dry out pretty good. I'm not reading like I shared. I'm not praying like I should. I'm definitely not witnessing because I don't feel the victory in my life.

   I'm in my office 1 day. This is between 2000 to 2003 during my second tour in Korea. I'm in my office on a Friday afternoon, and the office was empty except for me, which was not unusual because [inaudible] of the logistics because most people in the office were technicians. They would go out and teach the army how to fix their weapons and equipment.

   So I heard the door open, and the gentleman is a black guy about 65 years at that time. It was a little rough looking like Mikey and hard life. When he entered my office, he sat down on the couch. The only thing I remember is that he kept talking about the goodness of God and he kept telling me, "Don't forsake His greatest gift of salvation." That's my takeaway, don't forsake the greatest salvation. Then he left, I think I saw him one time after that.

   I sent him over there that knew me to talk to me. In case I would have thought that they wouldn't come with him. That's just what happened. I can't explain. Once God saves you, he doesn't take his hand off you. If you're going outside of the boundaries, that'll pull you back in whatever it takes to bring people into your life.

   Fast forward, I met a woman. I met her at [inaudible] States, January 2007, and we moved here where I lived outside of Harrisburg. We started attending an Assembly of God church which we're still attending, about 8 years I was in that church.

   I attended church. I attended Sunday school. I would contribute in Sunday school because I read the Bible pretty well, so plenty of opportunities for me to speak out on occasion, but I did nothing. I didn't get involved with anything. I wasn't learning anything. About 8 years in, my wife tells me, "You have a background in teaching and preaching, and you are taking classes to be licensed as a minister."

   I said, "No, I'm not going to tell anybody that. I'm not going to say that. If God wants me to teach again, he'll put that on somebody’s' heart, and he did.
I got a call 1 day and a guy asked me if I wanted to take over the beginner’s class and adults. I said “yeah," I jumped at the chance.

   Since that time, I've taught 2 or 3 of those beginners’ classes, adult’s classes, and then I taught 1 other Sunday school class. One thing led to another in a year and a half, a guy was leaving the destination in Harrisburg and asked me if I would take over his spot there on Monday nights. So that brings you up to date on where I am on my testimony.

   So let me leave you with this. The whole point of all that is to let you know the process that God has taken me through to salvation through both the good times and bad times. You'll have high highs with God and you'll have low lows. Not everything is peaches and cream when you serve God. Sometimes it goes in really tight spots, and that's done purposely where God is holding you in those tight spots.

   I want to say this in closing. In Acts chapter 2, the disciples were in the upper room 120 when the fire fell on the sacrifice. This story is First Kings when Elijah and the prophets of Baal were watching, when the fire fell and consumed the sacrifice on the altar. When the right sacrifice is on the altar and that is you and me, "God, cleanse will cleanse us the Holy Spirit will move through us.

   We must be empty vessels and clean vessels, and that’s when in His presence can come into us. We put ourselves on the altar in that condition, that's when the fire will fall.

Grady's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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