Russell Woods

Russell WoodsRussell Wood: Actually, I’m on off mode. I’m in relaxation mode and I hope that’s okay. I speak probably 46 times a week. And a lot of times I have to do a lot of preparation and everything to avoid over-talking but tonight, let’s just go hear your story. I thought, “Yes! Because I never get to do that!” So that’s amazing. And I sat there and I was asking the Holy Spirit I said, “What part of my story should I tell?” Because there's so many parts. There is the one when I actually got born again. When I was straight-up drug dealing, drug-using which was horrible truck ban money I ever did? Because I was using every penny that I had.

I was racing cars; I was fast and furious before fast and furious was a big hit. I mean that’s the thing I did. We were doing a quarter mile in Dallas and we would sit there and wait and when the coast was clear, we would hit free lap, free lap, free lap, and free lap. And I am very fortunate, it is by the grace of God that I am not living, breathing prison or I am not dead.

And so, when I found the Lord, which is really one of the first nuggets of my testimony. And in our school, when we’re teaching people to share their testimony, we have them write the whole thing down guys. Because some of our testimonies could be 3 sparks and 2 bunch long. And then go in and actually highlight those nuggets is what we call it. Like your salvation moment or your calendar moment that you have. And then you never know when sitting next to someone in an airport, a gas station, or wherever you’re at and all of a sudden, their testimony aligns with yours and you’re able to pull that portion of your testimony out and share it with them.

But to be honest with you, I think the main one of my own somewhere in this squirm, I don’t know if someone else has seen a video, I don’t know. But I do know that this is the component that God told me to talk about tonight. My personal story. It wasn’t my selfish moment. I encountered Jesus right off the streets. And as soon as I encountered Jesus, I’ve been right into total legalism, the craziest for Whitefield. I was a fundamental, I was a reformed Anabaptist. I didn't believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I would apologetic with debate people. Instead of people with different religions, I would debate with tongue talkers.

Well guess what, the Holy Spirit decided to get her being himself. And I had this radical encounter with the Holy Spirit. Now I forgot to tell you, I was a pastor of a church, of a Fundamentalist Church. And so, 6 months in, I left and the Lord took me on a long journey. Because I always had the Evangelistic heart and so he goes, “I want you to go into Evangelism” and so I said okay. About the time he said that, I got this crazy email. They told me I have been invited by one of the world's top Evangelistic coming in this Evangelism School in Orlando, Florida. Now, I’ve really never heard of him, but all the friends were telling me, “You got to go, you got to go. He doesn't just send those out. You’ve got to go.”
I get in the truck and I go home, and I get home, I walk in the house shaking. My wife’s like, “You’re back” So, he was a man by the name of Reinhart Bunkie that was doing Ministry in all over Africa and then all over the States as well.

I get this thing and I go, and I’m standing there. Now I'm at the school and I'm just experiencing everything. That's so amazing. I've got so many stories of like the first time I met Bunkie. I'm doing my Reinhart Bunkie impression both. So, I call these people and I'm literally going, “Halleluiah! Blessed be the name of Jesus.” And all of a sudden, their eyes get as big as saucers. And I go, “He’s standing behind me” he says, “yes.” And he taps me on my shoulder and said, “That was pretty good.”

So, we went to dinner after that. So, I got the opportunity to be trained and then to work by Reinhart Bunkie. And I come back home guys and I am great. I think God’s about to break free. No, I didn’t tell you this but I was an Electrician and most of the time that’s how I made my living. This subcontractor would contract us as an electrician after I left the Baptist Church. And so, I was new with Evangelism but I was doing leg work because I was working fulltime.

I go home to school, I come back and I go, “That’s it, Full time ministry for me. Here we go.” Well all of a sudden, I begin to have difficulty breathing. And I’m not kidding you guys, I could walk from here to that door right there and I would have to stop and I would have to catch my breath. Something was wrong. I was way too young to have something like that, that was affecting me. And so, I was like, “Man something’s off!” And I’ve reached this point where I’m sitting here left and right for it to leave. Because I’ve seen miracles left and right. I’ve seen cancer fall off from people, I’ve seen people heal from diabetes, and I’ve seen people heal from just excruciating things. And they come to the altar and they’d leave like a hundred bucks. I’ve seen it.

I’m sitting over here but nothing’s happening. I’m rebuking it. Now my wife, she’s so smart. She says, “Let’s review this until we get to the hospital.” She gets me a card, and we’re driving to the hospital, we get to the hospital, we go inside, the Doctor’s there. I don’t know if anyone has ever had this done but they stood this 2, about the size of a party post on my nose and they said that they wanted to see what was around my vocal cords and my throat. As soon as he put it in, he pulled it right out and it was horrible. He says, “I can’t touch this, you’re going to have to see a specialist.”

And I go, “What are you talking about? We’ll talk!” and he says, “You have an enormous mass, a cluster. Looks like cancer cells wrapped around your vocal cords.” And I said, “Are you serious?” This is after I came back from my house. I come back from school from one of the major evangelisms and I’m ready to go out and start preaching. I’m going to be serious and he goes, “yeah.”

We get up there with the specialist, looks at me, he goes, and “We have to do surgery by now.” And he goes, “Mr. Wood we're going to tell you this, the surgery, it's not a normal surgery because we can’t incubate you. In other words, we can't breathe for you because we're going to be actually cutting in the area that you would be breathing from. The way that we do it, is we go in with a laser and we cut out and pull it out and we'll shoot air down your lungs and then we'll take it out and cut some more we shoot air down your lungs. I want you to know there's a risk at this.

And so, I'm like, “I can't breathe. I have to do whatever you got to do.” They go in and remove it. I remember waking up in Recovery, and I remember looking around the room and I see my wife and my wife’s there, smile on her face and I'm breathing. It's the first thing I noticed. I'm breathing and I’m “Oh thank you God!” I get home and it's kind of a strange recovery time because you start coughing, you feel like you have an irritation in your throat the whole time. And then you start coughing, it irritates until you start bleeding. I had to make sure that I just sat there nice and calm.

Two days later, the nurse calls us because they get a biopsy of what they removed. And the nurse calls, “Mr. Wood I need you to sit down for a minute.” And I sat down, I put the phone on speakerphone mode, my wife there and she says, “Mr. Wood I have to tell you that we found radical cells, you have cancer.” By the time I got back there and they checked it, it had already grown half to where it was when I had the surgery.

Because it was in my airway, one of the main things that make cancer and radical cells grow quicker is air, oxygen. It was growing fast. I am sitting there and I wish I could tell you that I was super strong in this but being very vulnerable and transparency. We have a bunch of men in the church. They quit saying, “How are you doing today? I'm blessed. Probably favor.” I actually start saying, “I am not really good right now.”

I didn’t know what to do. I was staying strong because I have 5 children, I’ve been married for 23 years and I was doing a really good job guys, until one day my wife’s sister calls her on the phone. My sister-in-law you can hear her over the phone. And my wife’s talking with her and she says, “I know how Russell’s doing, but how are you doing?” And I see one small tear come down my wife’s cheek.

I lost it guys. I ran out my room, I start running my wheel, I’m a missionary, and it didn’t take long. I jumped in my truck; I take her off down the road. I am not good. I am not in a good place. I’m in a place where I’m mad at God because I’m saying, “Why is cancer falling off everyone else but I have to walk through this. What’s going on?”

All of a sudden, my phone rings, it’s this crusty street evangelist. He calls himself crusty street, I didn’t know why and he goes, “Hey brother, how are you doing right now? And I go, “Not really well.” And he goes, “Well God just told me that I needed to call you right now.” It’s hard for me but I said, “Man, I can’t go with this right now. My wife’s crying and my children are going to be left without a father. I'd already begun to embrace it.” Maybe some of you are super spiritual and super holy that you've always been like “Hallelujah!” Not me.

I’m sitting in my truck, I’m sitting at this carwash, and I’m a mess. I’m ugly, crying, don’t care. I’m about to die. All of a sudden, he says, “Who am I talking to right now?” And I say, “What do you mean man?” And he goes, “ I want to know who I’m talking to because since the moment I met you, you have talked about who your father is, you have talked about this, you have preached this to me and everyone else and right now you’re acting like a little orphan.”

Some of the hardest words come from those closest to me. He tells me that and I go, “Alright, what do I do?” And he goes, “The Bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue.” The brief there actually says the power of life and death is in whatever the tongue lays hold off. Or in other words, whatever you breathe at, that’s where it’s either going to be life or it’s going to be death. And he goes, “I want you to repeat after me. I will live and I will not die.”

I just said I will not die. He goes, “Now say it again.” And I said, “I'll live and I won’t die.” “Say it again.” This went on for 20 minutes until he knew that I meant it. And guess what guys, the more I began to say it all of a sudden something began to happen. And I began to believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. And I’m standing up now at the back of my truck. I am like an idiot. I’m the guy going, “I will live and I will not die!” standing at the back of my truck. All of a sudden, he says, “Alright man, talk to you later.”
and I go, “I don’t think so.” I go sleep, I wake up the next morning and I listen to the Gospel. I wake up the next morning. Everything has changed. I can breathe. No problem. My voice came back because it was something like this the whole time. Because it was around my vocal cords remember?

I came back and we’re on our way to radiology. We get to the radiology clinic, we walk in, and we’re sitting down. Now I’m shaking. My wife goes, “Are you okay?” and I say, “No.” And she goes, “What’s happening right now?” I said, “Janet it’s gone, it’s done. I’m going to walk in that room and they’re going to tell me that it looks like nothing was ever there. And then I’m going to walk out here and I’m going to preach the Gospel to everyone in this waiting room.

I go in the room, there’s a radiologist, there’s an oncologist and there’s a physician and a nurse. I sit down on a chair; they spray that stuff on my nose and stuff a tube back up there. And I’m just watching moving that nose up and down. And I’m sitting there the best I can. And all of a sudden, they just pull it out and just walk out the room. I go, “Okay that’s strange.” So then 15-20 minutes went by and I’m like, “Hey! Remember me?” And he gets up and goes, “Sir, I don’t know what to say. You’re not going to be seen today. You have some physician because it doesn’t look like anything was ever there.”

I walked out that door, Kory asked, “When did it freeze?” My salvation moment was the biggest moment ever for me. That is the biggest miracle that takes place in scriptures of salvation of a man’s soul. But this moment right now, when it hot, there were several impounder moments. Like Mary had impounder moments, like the man with the withered hand had an impounder moment, like Matthew the tax collector had an impounder moment with Christ. There are several impounder moments that we all have.

And I have this impounder moment because when I walk down into the room, when I open the door going into the waiting room all I see was a bright light. Do you guys know what a bright light is? And it was coming right at me. And it was hot and it hit my heart. And the only thing I've ever said was Acts 4:20. And it was when the disciples were standing before the rulers and they looked at them and they told them to quite speaking in the name of Jesus and they say, “You do not get it. We cannot help but speak of the things that we have seen and we have heard. And so immediately I knew the Holy Spirit was saying, “I saved you, I healed you, what now? What are you going to do with this?”

I’ll be honest with you, right after that we decided we’re going to take this evangelism thing to a whole new level. We had the Honor starting in school. Richard is my six days, one of our students. And this year we got to take 10 shifts at the State Fair Booth with all of the students coming in. And they were so excited about the classes. But that moment right there, that moment was a very pendulum moment that’s slumming all the way around. I’m saying, “Okay, now I know I'm going to preach the gospel, but I'm also going to lay hands on the sick and I'm going to watch them recover. I'm going to preach the kingdom and heal the sick, heal the sick and preach the kingdom.

And guys, once that switch is cut on, you guys know you’ve had these moments. Once it gets put on, there isn’t no demon in hell that can put it off because I know he saves and I know he heals that means I'll say it out loud from the pulpit, right here, right now. I was never worried about covid. When you've been healed of cancer every other disease, all of a sudden, you're not really that worried about. Okay. Why? Because God paid for every minute of it on the cross.

I believe that he was either a Lord, lunatic or a liar. Isn’t that what we hear all the time? I believe he’s Lord. In that moment, for me, was life changing. Right before that do you want to hear the steps? Right after the salvation moment. That same street preacher, the one who called me on the phone? I had begun to research Holy Spirit before I had my encounter with the Holy Spirit How many of you know he’s attracted to hunger? I’m researching Holy Spirit. I wanted to know more about this. I would watch 14-15 men come together on a Saturday morning and they would pray and there were tears and they would cuddle all at the altar.

I knew something was happening. But I felt like my prayer was kind of plateau, like I hit something. I ran into that crusty street preacher and I told him what was going on and he goes, “Have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?” And immediately I went back into apologetic mode. I was ready to start debating and then this is what he told me, “Hey! I’m not going to debate you.” He didn’t have to. I wanted to ask him to give you everything the Father asks you and ask you to baptize you with love. And I thought, sounds safe.

I went on I said, “Holy Spirit, if this is real, I want to know you.” I prayed that prayer and I was talking to him and all I can tell you that at that moment I felt like a warm pitcher of water pour down at the back of my neck. And I had sat down and I had opened up my Bible, got on my knees. When I opened my eyes after I felt that I was open to Jeremiah 3. Now many of you have probably read Jeremiah 3. It’s not the easiest passage to teach or preach about love. Who would ever accept you back?

I begin to cry. I don’t know guys; I cry every time I preach. I don’t care. I begin to cry and I said, “Okay. Alright.” Then all of a sudden, my heart started pounding loud. I hear most people tell different stories of their encounter and some have one or two works. That’s great. When I open my mouth, I had like this language the whole thing. Some people have different opinion of different theological views on why that is. But after it came out, I'm telling you guys, everyone thought I was crazy. My wife thought I was crazy, my kids thought I was crazy. Why did Dad just jump out of the car and ran to a homeless person and hugged them? Why?

Because I believe when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, we get a party district. And so, we began to see things to through blood-soaked lens of a cause. I don't know why; I was supposed to share both of those stories with you guys. I don't know if there’s someone in this room that has been struggling with this ongoing illness that needs to take a look at Matthew 8. When the lever walked out of the woods, this is immediately Jesus. Remember that? When the leper came down out of the woods, Jesus laid his hands on him and he said 3 words, “I am well.”

I hope that blessed you and I know that the story about the baptism of the Holy Spirit that was for one person in this room up here. But other than that guy's, I've been married 24 years. I got five kids. We have a school of ministry in Dallas-Fort Worth. We have about five outreaches they go out per week. And I love the state fair evangelism Booth. Amen.

Russell's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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