Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International
FGBMFI - VOICE - January / February 2007
Building Houses and Watching Out
For God’s People
In my youth, I was a member of a small town church in upstate New York, where I was introduced to stories of the Bible and the life of Christ. When I left home to attend college I also left the church, returning only during the holidays.
While I was away at college my Dad received an invitation to a Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International breakfast meeting. At the meeting he heard about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Even though my Dad had attended church all his life and served as a church elder, he had not known about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This experience with the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International resulted in my Dad becoming born again and receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit. At that time both he and my mom began to pray that I would come to know Christ.
Eight years later, I was visiting my parents from my home in Rochester, New York. I was reading the international news and giving my mom a prognosis of where the world was headed. She looked up from what she was doing and said, “That’s interesting, many Christians believe that is what is predicted to happen in the Bible’s book of Revelation.”
Upon returning to Rochester, out of curiosity, I dug out my Bible. As I read through Revelation I became intrigued by what was written, even though many of the things described seemed impossible to understand. So, I purchased a couple of books written about the book of Revelation. While the authors used different approaches in their interpretation, they both indicated that the keys to understanding Revelation were contained in the rest of the Bible.
Over the next four months, I read through the entire Bible. Somewhere in the epistles of the New Testament I realized that by God’s perfect standard I was in serious trouble with the way I was living my life. At the time I was pursuing a successful career in corporate management and living an upwardly bound social life style which involved partying, drinking, drugs and women.
But, fortunately, I also realized from Scripture that there was a solution and I needed what only Christ could provide. I accepted Jesus Christ for who He claimed to be and asked Him to be my Lord and my God. He immediately began to make changes in my way of life and more and more I realized my need to repent of what I was doing and follow what He was saying.
For over twenty six years the Lord has been leading and teaching me about Himself, myself and His plans. At times in our relationship He has had my undivided attention while at other times I have wandered, distracted by the cares of life. However, He never allowed me to get very far before He would give a gentle tug or a strong reprimand as needed, calling me to pay attention and obey. Spending time with the Lord has given me direction and purpose for my life which I never had before we met.
President Carter, Rosalynn and Richard
In 1985 He took me out of my career and led me to join Habitat for Humanity International. At Habitat I had the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life. Over the ten years I was with Habitat I even had opportunities to work with President Jimmy Carter on building projects from Washington, DC to Plains, Georgia.
My first six years with Habitat I was assigned to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, While I was in Central America, the Lord taught me day by day how to rely on Him. I had the chance to see the Lord and rely on Him in ways that would not have been possible had I remained in my own culture.
One principal lesson that He taught me is captured in Proverbs. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6). This principal of trusting in God, became my key to survival, since I often had no idea how to deal with the issues I was facing in a completely different culture and language.
Richard, pictured in Aguacatan, was with Habitat for Humanity
In Guatemala, I was involved in leading and developing Habitat for Humanity into a national organization with a Habitat National Board and nine community housing projects. Without the Lord’s guidance this would never have been possible. Relying on my own understanding was totally inadequate for accomplishing what was accomplished in those first four years in Guatemala. Next I was transferred to Costa Rica and then Nicaragua where I helped with the development of their Habitat for Humanity national programs.
Even at that time as I searched the Word of Truth, the Holy Spirit would give me insights into biblical prophecies, the Last Days and the return of Christ. 1n 1991 when Habitat transferred me to their corporate offices in Americus, Georgia, I was still studying biblical prophecies about Christ’s return. It was also at Habitat that I met my future wife, Christian. That’s right, God met all my needs, He even provided me with a wonderful wife, who has been a blessing and help mate since 1995.
Richard and Christian Perry
As I became more familiar with Scripture, I saw an increasing number of connections between Old and New Testament prophecies. These connections revealed a comprehensive picture of what God was foretelling about the future. The key elements of the End Times became clear and understandable as the prophecies of Daniel came into greater focus. I could understand Jesus’ discourses to His disciples about His return at the end of the age. Then finally Revelation came into focus as the prophetic puzzle became complete.
As all these prophecies about the future began to fit together, I could see how we needed to recognize the signs of the times which Jesus described to the disciples. As it turned out End Times prophesies were not hard to find with more than 20 percent of the Bible written on the topic of Christ’s return and the coming Kingdom. It also became clear that God wants us to understand and be ready for what is ahead.
Of the hundreds of other books I have studied over the years, on the topic of the Last Days, none are as straight forward as the Bible itself. While the Bible can be read and understood, it’s also clear that we each must faithfully seek out the Truth for ourselves. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).
The Bible reveals that at some time in the near future the whole world will find itself rapidly approaching the end of this age. Jesus wants His Church to be waiting, watching and ready for that day to arrive.
In 2001, at about the time of 9/11, I was teaching a couple of an End Times Bible Studies in Athens, GA. At that time the Lord woke me, early one morning, and told me to pray. As I was praying He said, “See Dr. Schaefer.” Now, the only Dr. Schaefer I was even aware of was a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Georgia. He has won awards for his academic excellence and was also known for his leadership in the University of Georgia’s Christian Faculty Forum.
The next morning I called Dr. Schaefer’s office. When I reached his secretary, she asked what the call was about. At first I told her that I was not sure, but then I explained what had happened and how the Lord had told me to see Dr. Schaefer. She said she would give him the message. That afternoon, Dr. Schaefer returned my call and after we talked, he said we should get together.
During our meeting I explained what the Lord had been showing me from Scripture. He indicated that he also had taught through the book of Revelation several times in church, and he questioned me on the topic. During the course of our conversation he said, “You should write a book.” We continued our discussion for about an hour, and, as we were closing, I thanked him for the opportunity to meet and talk. Then I said, “I don’t know why the Lord put us together but I appreciate the time you have given me.” He paused, looked at me and said, “I believe you are supposed to write a book.” Then he said, “Perhaps I said that because, for years my friends have told me that I should write a book about science and faith. Last week I finished the manuscript on that book.” He retrieved a copy from the table saying, “Here, would you like a copy?”
Within a month, I began to write the book I believed the Lord wanted. The book developed into a comprehensive biblical study and commentary on the return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the end of the age. While I was writing the book, another Christian brother suggested that I put some material from the book on a web site. This idea developed into the website www.lastdaysmystery.info which contains material from my first book, power-point presentations, articles on prophecy, Bible studies and current events.
It was also during this time that I joined the Athens Chapter of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. I am currently the Vice President and Gene Allen is President under Bill Bacon our International Director.
In July 2003 the book, Of The Last Days: Listen, I Tell You A Mystery, was published. Each time I attempted to promote the book, the Lord held me back. So, I began to seek the Lord about what I was to do with the book. After several months, He indicated that I was to take the warning that He had given me, to the pastors. So, I contacted several pastors. However, after meeting with about twelve pastors, it seemed that no one was interested in the message, so I stopped. Several months later, while study through the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, the Lord admonished me for not finishing my assignment.
I immediately put together a list of all the pastors in Athens, GA. The list included 160 pastors and I began to call the pastors one by one. Over the next year and a half I have met personally with 86 pastors and related to them what had been happening and gave them the message. To the pastor that did not meet with me, I sent a letter with the message.
In November 2005, with only one pastor remaining on my list, I felt the Lord was saying, “Finish this assignment, I have something else for you to do.” That same month I was contacted by a literary agent, who asked if I would be willing to write a book for Penguin Group publishing on the Last Days.
Penguin Group contracted me to write The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to the Last Days. With a very tight schedule, I wrote the book over the next four months and they produced the book which was released in November 2006. The book contains the warning the Lord told me to give to His people.
The Lord taught me, as I built Habitat houses and Habitat programs, that apart from Him I can do nothing and all my labor would be in vain. But in Him all things are possible and hundreds of houses were built by the Lord.
Lately, the Lord has been teaching me that unless the Lord watches out for His people, the watchman watch in vain. But as He has led, I have listened and written what He wanted me to write.
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.