Dear cyber space,
I told you guys a few weeks ago how I wanted to start a new blog series and here it is…
today’s interview feature is a pastor, drummer & a defender of the Christian faith. He’s the type of guy who can relate from the stage & might make you feel intimidated but none the less loved. I’ve known him for a few years and every time I hear him speak or hang with him, I always get hungrier for the Gospel (if that makes sense.)
His name is Eric Hernandez & this is his response to a few questions:
What was your dream?
Well to be fair, my original dream was to become a garbage man. I just loved how they would hang off the trucks as a job. I used to practice at the grocery store with my mom pushing the cart. Now as a young adult, I don’t know if I’d so much call it a dream, but more of a calling. And I’m not even so certain that it was something God asked me to do but rather a need that He made me aware of in this world. So now my goal, desire, and “dream”, if you will, is to be able to travel the world and preach the gospel and defend the faith. To teach theologically, apologetically and philosophically. I have a passion for preaching and a passion for public debate.
Where are you?
As of now, I do not feel that I have fulfilled this dream but each day I am increasingly closer. I am continually humbled by the stages that God has and continues to place me on. I have preached in a few countries and last year alone I spoke in so many new churches, cities and states. I also was invited to debate at the University of Houston ( http://www.uh.edu/) and San Jacinto College (http://www.sanjac.edu/ ) against professors of an atheistic worldview. And recently I was on a one on one debate with a well known atheist philosophy professor which took place at Christian Temple Church (http://www.ctchurch.tv/ ) . (I did not put the event together.) A few pastors saw my last campus debate with us on the panel and after the debate, invited the two of us to consider a one on one debate. I do not feel I have arrived at my destination just yet. In fact I feel far from it. But the more I see God opening doors, the more encouraged I get. Its not so much that I want my face to be known, but rather I want what God has shown me to be known. Every time I get invited to speak on apologetics at a church I always hear the testimonies of people who were deeply impacted and challenged to get closer to God and have even seen atheist give their life to the Lord.
How did you get there?
It wasn’t easy. One would think that as an aspiring young teenager eager to do the work that God has called me to, that I would have absolutely every ones support. I was wrong. There was, first of all, a lot of red tape. I didn’t realize how much protocol there was to being a minister. Its not like many young people think. You just wake up and get a sermon from God and that somehow automatically demands the pastor give you the pulpit one Sunday morning. No. God is a God of order. In a nut shell, God opened many doors that connected me with great men and women of God that had been where I had not. That is something I learned early on. To glean from those that have been there so that when I arrive, I know what to expect and look for. Also I educated myself. I studied up on apologetics and learned from the material of many renown apologist. As well I earned my bachelors degree in theology. I never did like bible colleges. I have my reasons but when God spoke to me I was more willing to give into the idea because the pastor that was opening up this new institute was one of the men of God I admired. Little did I know that college and relationship would do so much for my ministry. Emotionally it wasn’t easy either. I wish I could say that every friend and family member supported me but that would not be the case. To this day I still know of people bitter towards what God is doing in my life and people that are just waiting for me to slip up. But once again, I learned early on that if it was God that hired me, only He could fire me. And that it wasn’t mans word that determines my future but God’s. When one can truly learn to rely on God and much less rely on emotion, the ride becomes much, much smoother.
Who inspired you?
First and foremost, my mother. She is truly an incredible woman of God. Her faith and spiritual zeal was and still is something that is so genuine. My parents continually prayed for me and for that I am where I am today. Of course my Pastor. He not just spoke to me from the pulpit, but through his life. I once saw a whole sheet of wall that we were trying to put up at church fall on his head (and keep in mind he was around his late 60s at the time). The reason it fell is because the youth were helping out and after many warnings to stop playing around because someone would get hurt, our Pastor got hurt. And after he wiped the blood from his head, he said in the calmest voice, “See, this is why I tell y’all to pay attention and not play around while working. Now, lets pick this wall back up and try it again.” He NEVER brought it up after that. Pastor Suan from Coat of Many Colors Church (http://www.coatofmanycolors.org/ ) has been a huge influence and strong support in my life as well. It was never about what he could do for me but I must say he has done so much. Our relationship went from mere gym encounters and short conversations when visiting his church to a developing friendship that I am honored to have. And through Pastor Suan I have met other great men of God such as Abram Padron (World’s Apart Ministries) and Dr. Ray Vinson (http://www.iblcentral.net/) who have also had significant influence in my life. God truly does know who to place in your life. Non personal inspirations have been men of God such as T.D. Jakes ( http://www.tdjakes.org/ ) and Jesse Duplantis ( http://www.jdm.org/jdmDefault.aspx ). My first exposure to, as far as, apologist and philosophers, my first exposure to apologetics would be Dr. Kent Hovind. Then shortly after I began to study the more philosophical side of apologetics and became deeply influenced by Dr. William Lane Craig( http://www.reasonablefaith.org/william-lane-craig ), John Lennox ( http://johnlennox.org/ ) , Frank Turek (http://www.crossexamined.org/ ) , Dinesh D’Souza ( http://www.dineshdsouza.com/ ), and J.P. Moreland (http://www.jpmoreland.com/ .) Studying their material has been so enlightening.
Why did you choose to keep on keeping on?
Because I found it necessary. The Bible says “To him who much is given, much is required.” Luke 12:48. I feel like what I have learned, people need to hear. I legitimately believe that and I think any preacher that would say otherwise shouldn’t be preaching. Its more than just learning what God did but rather and more relevant, why He did it. When you get to know someone, you get to know their character and what they are like. There comes a level of maturity where you don’t have to pray for every single decision because you have become so familiar with God’s heart that you already know what He would want. Its not just thinking about God but knowing how to think about God. And now I simply know too much to turn back to. As Peter said, “Lord to whom shall we go?” John 6:68. And I feel that the Lord has put me in front of too many people that I know I am being read like an “open letter” (2 Corinthians 3:2). Although people should not look to me for their walk to be stable I am still aware that sometimes the only testimony of my faith people will get from me isn’t from my lips but from my walk with God. So turning back (from ministry) to me would do much more damage than good. Sure I’d have loads more time, possibly more money, less stress and a lot less accountability, but aside from breaking God’s heart, I know a lot of people would lose hope as well, especially the new Christians. I am fully aware that people should not put their hope in me but the Bible itself affirms that we shouldn’t do anything to make our brothers stumble.
What was one thing you’ve had to overcome to get where you are?
As I have stated earlier and as cliché as it may sound, I have learned to trust and depend solely on God. Now I’m not just talking about stuff like, paying bills or providing for a mission trip or getting those new pair of kicks. I’m talking about that feeling of complete and utter isolation and deep doubt that brings you to your knees, sobbing and yelling at the top of your lungs for closure. I’m talking about the people closest to you doubt you, ridicule you, turn their back on you or simply don’t understand you. The devastating pain of knowing that God is perhaps the only person that you could talk to because no one else sees the vision that you do. When you are let down by the people you love and trust most. When you have to as David did, “encourage himself in the Lord” simply because no one else could or would. 1 Samuel 30:6 It goes way beyond trusting God for provision. It even means trusting God, that trust you, yet you don’t even trust yourself. Its about asking for forgiveness when you don’t feel you were in the wrong. Its about saying hi with a smile your face knowing the person doing the same was just gossiping lies about you last week and they think you don’t know. Its about being the bigger person and not holding grudges, not being quick to anger and always trying to make peace. Its not about how I feel, its not about how many people agree with me, its not about who likes me and much less about what they say about me, it should always be about, what has God asked of me. If we can understand that concept, we could do so much more for His kingdom.
if you would like to have Eric come minister to your youth, young adults or church, you can find him on Facebook or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for checking out this weeks #feedbackfriday!