Bishop Gregory Holley and his wife Diane were my delightful radio guests. Gregory was raised in poverty in north St. Louis. And Diane eventually became one of his girlfriends. Growing up with his mother and siblings, he lived in well-known St. Louis Pruitt-Igo housing project before it was completed.
His past lifestyle was a pattern I have seen in several of the impacting black pastors … involved in some level with alcohol, drugs, women, gangs, etc. … the whole range of bad activity. And like several of these friends, they had a meaningful, life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Their lives have been radically impacted, turned around. Then they go back into that world, now sharing a “… ministry of reconciliation …“ with those who are still a part of it.
He and Diane’s brief and powerful story can be hard … right now by clicking on the mp3.
As a “drug lord,” he often took in $10,000 a day.
As he and others were getting high on drugs in a St. Louis hotel, his and Diane’s six-week-old baby died … which shook him to the core! He was grieved and gripped by the thought that “… Here I am, off getting ‘high’ when my baby died … I am just a drug dealer!”
But, Jesus entered their lives.
And now they are on the “… front lines …” of the inner-city of North St. Louis. Now in his street ministry and as a pastor, Bishop Holley says that … “We want the worst of the worst! Bring’em on.” They have a food pantry, do ministry to the homeless, “druggies,” ministering to the gang bankers, and those in or just out of prison.
He was a positive part of the Ferguson crisis in 2014 and beyond. (A few weeks after the worst of the Ferguson conflict, I remember taking my Kansas City son, Stephen, down to ground zero of Ferguson. There was Bishop Holley, leading a group in cooking and providing meals on a street corner for whoever needed one.)
Diane points to a specific prayer ministry she conducts. Several married couples, infertile and unable to conceive, for whom she prayed. Several wives among them then became “with child!”
The Holleys and many others to whom they have ministered are now “reconciled” to God. Now, because they were convicted of their sins by the Holy Spirit, they are now in harmony with God … and have been called to the “… ministry of reconciliation …,” to share with everyone, especially the people in the lifestyle from which God recued them! Read about it in Second Corinthians 5:18-20. Also, related truths from the Word of God …
“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!” (Romans 10:12,13) What a wonderful offer! And …
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (II Corinthians 5:17) And …
“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him (Jesus) who know no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:21)
Think of it! Gregory Holley … with all his past … because he has experienced faith is Christ, God looks down at him and (as far as guilt is concerned) sees on him the righteousness (purity, goodness) of Jesus! All guilt from his sins is gone! It is no more!
“On the front lines where we serve, you can’t play church! … I know the Bible is true … and they can’t argue with my testimony!”
And think of this: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9: 27, 28) Those who have received the righteousness of Christ, they stand before God at death, pure, forgiven, and to receive Heaven and eternal life.
Those who have not received this wonderful gift of forgiveness in Christ will appear before God … with the weight of every sin they ever committed on their shoulders … to spend eternity without God!
Bishop Holley can be reached at 314 629-5842.
Pastor Phil Brownlee of Peace Tabernacle Church in south St. Louis is co-founder of the Pastoral Fellowship group that meets every second Saturday morning. Bishop Holley and Diane are usually there. To hear … “Pastor Phil Brownlee in STL County jail listened hours a day to Bible teaching on Bott Radio Network” … click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2016/08/24/pastor-phil-brownlee-in-stl-county-jail-listened-hours-a-day-to-bible-teaching-on-bott-radio-network
The other co-founder of Pastoral Fellowship is Dean of Students Mike Higgins of Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. To hear … “Col (retired) Dr/Pastor Mike Higgins; Dean of Students, Covenant Seminary; impacting ministry with humor” … click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2017/01/10/col-rtddrpastor-mike-higgins-dean-of-students-covenant-seminary-impacting-ministry-with-humor/
Other friends I see upon my visits to St. Louis Pastoral Fellowship on 2nd Saturday mornings
To hear … “Renee Higgins leads Precept” Bible Studies for years. Husband Mike: ‘She is the Black Kay Arthur!’” … click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2017/02/27/renee-higgins-leads-precept-bible-studies-for-years-husband-mike-she-is-the-black-kay-arthur/
To hear … “Tom Kraeuter learned of a great move of God behind ‘Iron Curtin,’ wrote THE GREAT SOVIET AWAKENING” … click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2016/10/07/tom-kraeuter-learned-of-a-great-move-of-god-behind-iron-curtin-wrote-the-great-soviet-awakening/
To hear … “Zina Hackworth: 7 of her 13 children are Eagle Scouts; creator of ‘This Race Will Self Destruct’” … click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2018/03/01/zina-hackworth-7-13-children-eagle-scouts-creator-race-will-self-destruct/ … and …
To hear … “David Claybrook re late wife’s book, ‘Let’s Decorate the Christmas Tree;’ Gospel made clear for tots” … click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2011/11/29/david-claybrook-re-late-wifes-book-lets-decorate-the-christmas-tree-gospel-made-clear-for-tots/.