Pastor mike voight.

I grew up in southern California in a conflicted home.  My dad was an alcoholic which caused turmoil in the lives of my siblings and mother.  My parents separated and divorced when I was twelve years old.  I continued to live with my mom and sister throughout my teenage years, my brother was already grown up.

I had made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t turn to drugs and alcohol, but I reneged that commitment and found myself staring them in the face.  I managed to successfully get through high-school, graduating from Bellflower High School in 1968.
I started working for a contracting company right out of high-school.  I had spent two years in the contracting industry when I was about to be drafted into the Army.  I decided I would rather join the Naval Air Reserve than be drafted. In 1970, after training and boot camp in Memphis, Tennessee, I received orders to deploy to Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam.  I served there, working on aircraft until 1971.  Even though I didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ I would find myself praying to God that He would keep me from dying.  I had been raised in the southern Baptist church, so I had an awareness of God, just not a relationship with Him.  I returned home in 1971 and went back to work in the contracting industry.  I didn’t come back with any scarred memories and I’m very thankful for that.  I know there are many others that have gone through tremendous hardship in Vietnam and horrible complications due to their experiences.

In 1975 I was dating a young lady named Debbie. Debbie and I were married and had our first child, Mike.  When he was about one year old Mike had caught pneumonia.  We were in the hospital with our son who was in an oxygen tent.  Debbie and I found ourselves in the prayer room praying for him, this was a real turning point in our lives.  God had been knocking on the door of my heart and I finally started to listen.  I had started opening my Bible periodically and no matter what page I turned to, it was as though God was speaking directly to me.  I realized something was happening in my life, however, I didn’t know exactly what it was.  Looking back, now I know it was the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart to surrender my life to Jesus.

We had Pastor Chuck Smith dedicate our son to the Lord before we came to have a relationship with Christ.  The day of Mike’s dedication he pulled the cover off the microphone which prompted Pastor Chuck to pray, “Lord, give these parents great patience!”  After the baby dedication I went out to my car and listened to Pastor Chuck on the radio.  God was stirring our hearts, yet again.  It was August of 1976 and we finally decided to attend a Christian concert by Andrae Crouch at Melodyland.  Debbie’s brother and his wife had been inviting us to church for a long time, but we wouldn’t go.  We attended this concert to get them off our case.

About halfway through Andrae Crouch’s concert the pastor said, “There are people here that are empty inside.  They have done everything and tried everything and yet they are not satisfied.  God has been tugging at their hearts to surrender their life to Him.”  There we were, in the middle of a musical, and the pastor was having an altar call.  Without knowing it, both Debbie and I raised our hands at the same time.  God had a divine appointment for both my wife and I to surrender our lives to Him, simultaneously, which was very encouraging for both of us.  We wouldn’t still be married today without the hand of God upon our marriage or without His encouragement.  I’ll never forget, as we came to the Lord, they gave me a little cassette tape on how to walk with Him.  I played that over and over and over and learned how to walk with Jesus. It’s been since August of 1976 since I gave my life to the Lord and I thank Him for delivering me from the drugs and alcohol, along with the emptiness of partying.

We started fellowshipping at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa with Pastor Chuck in 1977.  I can remember the Sunday nights, going and sitting on the floor in the aisles because there were no more seats, as Pastor Chuck would teach for an hour and a half.  We fell in love with God’s word, we couldn’t get enough!  We would go on Sunday morning, Sunday night and to the midweek study.  We just wanted all the Word of God.  It was amazing to see the hunger people had for the Word of God. Truely, it was a time of great revival.
We had been fellowshipping at CC Costa Mesa for about a year when we moved to Bellflower.  It was quite a commute so we met with Pastor Romaine, Pastor Chuck's assistant Pastor. We wanted to know how to really live in victory in our marriage as Christians.  Pastor Romaine asked us, “Are you praying together?”  We answered, “Yes.”  “Are you reading the Word together?”  Again, we answered, “Yes.”  “Well, then you don’t need me!”  I’ve never forgotten that conversation.  In fact I share that with couples today.  If they will pray together and read the word together God will transform their marriage.  We had also asked Pastor Romaine if there were any Calvary’s closer to where we lived.  He handed us “The first bulletin from Calvary Chapel of Bellflower.  The pastor was here this morning and they started a Calvary Chapel in Bellflower."

We started attending CC Bellflower with Pastor Gary Ansdell.  There were probably a dozen people fellowshipping there.  We had Sunday mornings in a little real estate office and the midweek study was held inside his home.  God began to use us as we saw the church start to grow.  I have always had a heart for children and there was a great need for someone to teach the children’s ministry.  God taught me a lot through my teaching of the children.  I learned to grow in my walk and commitment to the Lord through studying and preparing to teach the little ones in the ministry.

We acquired a building and along came an assistant pastor named Steve Mays.  Steve and Gail became very close friends to Debbie and I and our kids were the same age.  Eventually Pastor Steve received a call from Pastor Chuck about the need for a senior pastor at CC South Bay.  He took the position.  There were probably about fifty to seventy five people fellowshipping at CC South Bay at that time.  Pastor Steve had asked me to be on the board for CC South Bay.  Debbie really felt lead to go to CC South Bay, but God hadn’t shown me, so we stayed at Bellflower.  About six months later God made it very clear to me and really confirmed we were called to CC South Bay.

I spoke with Pastor Gary about this transition and he was very supportive and encouraging.  It was a wonderful transition.  When we arrived at CC South Bay I was not involved in any ministry.  As time progressed we got involved in children’s ministry.  Pastor Steve asked me to oversee the ministry for the children.  I started working in the children’s ministry as I was still working full time as a superintendent in the construction field.  During that time there was tremendous discipleship and training at South Bay to raise up and prepare people for ministry.  We had Word studies, verse studies, book studies, and discipleship.  In Pastor Steve’s gifting he raised up several assistant pastors that have gone on to be senior pastors elsewhere.  Pastor Steve had a wonderful vision to Win, Instruct, Send and Encourage.  We’ve taken that same vision for New Horizon Christian Fellowship.

In 1986 I went full time into ministry and received my ordination at CC South Bay.  I was the children’s and teen pastor when Pastor Steve asked me to be the assistant pastor.  Pastor Steve went through some illness with Epstein Bar.  There were times I would get a phone call an hour or two before the service saying he was just too sick to make it.  I found myself in the pulpit teaching, being stretched by God and seeing it wasn’t who I was, but who the Lord is and the power of the Holy Spirit giving me the ability to minister to people.  Prior to becoming assistant pastor I had told Pastor Steve I didn’t want to deal with the sheep, I wanted to stay with the lambs.  My heart has always been with children, even to this day.  If a ministry is not directed towards our children we are truly missing the blessing of seeing children growing in Jesus.  Children are a gift from the Lord.  Children’s ministry, I believe, is the most important ministry in the church.

It was clear my wife and I had a calling on our life.  As I was serving alongside Pastor Steve we would come up to Oregon to visit my brother.  We would come up every year and see how beautiful Klamath Falls was.  We had actually bought four acres of property in Bonanza in 1975 hoping to move here at that time.  But the doors were closed on us.  We had been in Klamath Falls even before the Lord was in our lives.  We loved it here and finally the Lord put it on our hearts to make the move.  I spoke with Pastor Steve and he was very supportive of the move and was there to help us and encourage us in ministry here in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  We had waited from 1975 until 1989 to move to the beautiful town of Klamath Falls.  In coming here we thought the same movement of God’s spirit would take place.  Little did we know God had ten years of  difficulty, trials, growth and brokenness for us to go through.  I think that’s so important, people think God is going to raise them up and use them, but without the brokenness, without the complete dependency that God desires to develop in your life, true ministry doesn’t take place.

Through those ten years we served the Lord in different capacities and ministries here in the basin.  At times we found ourselves fellowshipping at Applegate Christian Fellowship, driving a long way just to get fed and ministered to.  

We started a home fellowship in our basement in 1999.  The county courthouse had some pews they were getting rid of and asked if we would like them, so we had seven pews in our basement.  That’s where New Horizon Christian Fellowship started.  As we grew, we stepped out in faith and leased a building across from Big R.  God did incredible things there.  In 2003 the property on Homedale became available.  God truly opened the doors for us to acquire it.  The ministry here has grown tremendously in a short time because of the work of the Lord.

One thing God has revealed to me is that this is His church.  It’s a great place to rest in the Lord and to see His hand touching people’s hearts.  We believe in the Calvary distinctives, where God guides, God provides.  We are lead by the Spirit.  Our emphasis as a ministry is to simply teach the Word of God, simply. From Genesis to Revelation, verse by verse.
As I’ve matured and grown in the Lord, God has spoken to my heart that the most important thing for all of us as believers is that we would learn to love the Lord in a greater way and truly love people.  If we do those two things, that’s what God has called us to do.  He will build the church and raise up the leadership.

In sharing my testimony, I feel there is a danger.  Many times when people share their testimony and the ugliness of it, they begin to glamorize that testimony.  There is no glamour in living a life of sin or a life unpleasing to the Lord.  I do not see any glamour in my past.  I was completely empty inside and lead so many people astray with my lifestyle.  I thank the Lord because He leads people to the cross through me.  My past is behind me!  As you read this testimony, it’s all about Jesus, His forgiveness and His goodness. "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." 2 Peter 3:18
My hearts desire is that I would run this race and finish well.  God has truly blessed Debbie and I with our two children, Mike and Danielle, and seven grandchildren. After 43 years of marriage and serving Jesus together, we are blessed beyond measure to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s exciting to see what God has in store for us.  One thing that really keeps me where I need to be before the Lord is knowing He is faithful and He is the reason the church is where it is. As Paul was able to say in Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

This is who we are, this is why we’re here, God has a calling on our life.  Praise the Lord!  Jesus loves you!