This week’s guests, Josh Acosta and Michael Louderback, both share come from hard beginnings.
Josh grew up in a dysfunctional and abusive home. He found himself addicted to drugs, alcohol, and lust as a teen. He tells the story of his mom, who was at this point a believer in Jesus, being led by the Holy Spirit to the house he was partying at one night and finding him passed out, on the brink of death. She got him to the hospital in time to save him. He continued his lifestyle, unfortunately, and felt depressed and empty.
He went from girl to girl until, one day, he found out his girlfriend of 3 months was pregnant. The two married but she didn’t understand the level of his addictions. Nor did she understand his addiction to women. Soon he cheated on her. They moved to a new state. He cheated again. The marriage was over and he found himself more depressed than ever and hopeless.
By the grace of God, Josh’s mother encouraged him to go to church and cry out to God. He brought his daughter to a service at a local church he’d heard about. He felt exceptionally welcomed and loved at the service and the message seemed to be tailored directly to his life.
He gave his life to Jesus, joined Celebrate recovery and today is growing strong in the Lord with an evangelism ministry.
Michael was born into a rough family. Both of his parents were distant and addicted to substances. In spite of never feeling mothered or fathered, he did what he could to teach himself how to be a man. As he got into his late teens, he found himself partying with the cool kids. Partying gave way to hanging with tougher and tougher crowds. People around him were involved in gun violence and theft.
This led him to look for a new crowd of people. He found some guys who seemed more tame than his previous crowd. It turned out these were backslidden Christians who partied but, from time to time, they were good to one another and he’d never seen that. It was through this group that he met a guy who was genuinely trying to live his faith and spoke to Michael about Jesus for the first time. Michael ended up getting connected with Martin’s friend group and even moved in with a few of the guys in it. It would take years of hanging around these guys and even casually attending a Bible study with them, but eventually he had a few experiences that led him to know that God was real and the Bible was true.
The most significant thing that happened was that Michael woke up with bloody noses every morning, as a side-effect his partying lifestyle, and one day a man at the Bible study offered to pray for him. The bloody noses stopped after that moment and he never had one again. This was the shifting point for Michael. He got plugged in with a church and devoured the Scriptures.
After a while he noticed the group of friends he was hanging around were fairly lukewarm with their faith and he longed for more. The Holy Spirit spoke to him to move to another state in order to get plugged in with a specific church where people were walking out their faith with a lot of passion. Michael was obedient and moved there. At that church he encountered many miraculous works, including healings and prophecy, and this experience matured and deepened Michael’s faith greatly.
Today, Michael and Josh co-lead an evangelism ministry where they witness to people on the streets and are used by God to heal people as the Spirit leads. They each share a powerful story at the end of the episode demonstrating how God is moving through the ministry.
- Michael shared a story of an old man who got healed of a health issue he'd had since he was 12 when Michael prayed for him at the mall.
- Josh shared a story of witnessing to a man from a similar background as his and the man giving his life to Christ. The man pulled out his crack pipe and through it on the ground and crushed it with his foot.
- Next week, we will be sharing part 2 which is just stories of miraculous encounters in their street ministry.