Spirit and Truth Ministries
Biography of David Spakes
This web site contains a scrapbook and condensed biography of David Spakes,
Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville
and founder of
Spirit and Truth Ministries. In most cases, you can click on pictures
to see an enlarged photo in a separate window.
"The most important day of my life was the day that I accepted Jesus
Christ as my personal Savior. It was Sunday, March 2, 1980. I remember
that morning like it was yesterday. It was early. My mother,
Ruby Lea Spakes, was sitting in front of her make-up mirror getting
ready for church. On the other side of the room, the television
was playing a sermon by the Reverend Jerry Falwell. I was eight years
old at the time, and I wandered into my mother's bedroom and sat down
on the edge of her bed to wait for her. I had heard the story of Jesus
many times before, but that morning I prayed and accepted him as Lord
of my life. The picture of me below in my bedroom dressed for church
was taken at approximately the same age I was when I first became a
One of my most treasured possessions is a letter that I started to
write to the televangelist that day, probably right after my mother
stopped crying (although I don't remember). I didn't finish the
letter, apparently because I made a mistake and the letter was
written in pen. My mother rescued this fragment of the torn page
out of the wastepaper basket and gave it to me some years later.
Click on the letter to enlarge and read."
Joined the Church
"My family attended South Harriman Baptist Church where my
grandmother was baptized as a young woman in the early 1900s.
After I became a Christian, I joined the church. Here is a copy
of a letter that the church office sent to me after I joined the
church. To the right is a picture of me and my mother that was
taken at the church for the member directory."
Sang First Solo in Children's Christmas Play
"From an early age, I remember singing with my mother. I had a talent
and a love for singing, and I joined the children's choir at South
Harriman Baptist Church. My first solo performance in the church
was in December, 1982. The children's choir performed a musical
called 'The Christmas Factory,' and the song I sang was called
'The Evergreen.' Click on the link below to hear a recording of
Sang Solo in Children's Christmas Play
"One two recordings survive of my singing solo as a child at
South Harriman Baptist Church. The second of these two recordings
was made in December, 1983. The children's choir performed a
Christmas musical, and the song I sang was called
'Thank You Lord for Christmas.' Click on the link below to hear a
recording of that performance."
"The economy of East Tennessee in the early 1980s was very depressed,
and my family moved to Baytown, Texas to try to find employment.
Baptist churches are not as common that part of the country. We began
attending a non-denominational church called Victory Temple. The
core beliefs of this church were similar to what I was taught in the
Baptist church ('Trinity in doctrine'), but there was an added
element that I could never before have imagined
('Pentecostal in experience').
In this church, I was introduced to the concept of the Baptism of the
Holy Spirit and to spiritual gifts
(1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
At this point in my life, I was very much like the men in Ephesus
(described in the Bible) whom Paul asked, 'Did you receive the Holy
Spirit when you believed?' They answered, 'No, we have not even heard
that there is a Holy Spirit.'
These concepts are simply not taught in most Baptist churches, and I
was unaware of them because I grew up attending a Baptist church.
To me, the term full-gospel can be applied to any church that
teaches these concepts as things that accompany salvation
There are three memories I have from the time I attended this church that
stick out in my mind. First, I remember how Pastor Kyle spoke before
the offering was taken. He would always say the same thing. He would
inform the congregation that the money collected would first be used
to pay the church's bills and upkeep of the church buliding. Then,
whatever amount was left over was for the pastor and his family.
This, to me, is the Biblical model for how tithes and offerings are
supposed to be used. What impressed me so much about the pastor's
words was the open honesty and his humble demeanor, both of which are
extremely lacking in the majority of preachers I have heard since this
The second memory from this church that sticks out in my mind is that
of an elderly man who sat across the aisle from us on most Sundays.
At times during the service, he whispered to himself words that I did
not understand. One look on his face told me that he was bubbling over
with joy at these times. I understand now that he was praying in tongues
(1 Corinthians 14:12-15,28)
and doing so specifically as the Bible directs. There were times in this
church when tongues would be spoken aloud, and then an interpreter would
reveal the message God was speaking to the congregation in that instance.
However, when this elderly man spoke, there was no interpreter, so he
spoke quietly to himself.
The third memory I have from this church is the first time I ever lifted
my hands in praise to God. The Bible speaks about lifting hands in
1 Timothy 2:8.
At South Harriman Baptist Church, I never saw anyone lift their hands
during a church service, but at Victory Temple this was a common
occurrence. The first time I tried, my arm seemed SO heavy.
My heart was pounding. Finally, I mustered my courage and lifted one
arm heavenward. Looking back, it is hard for me to imagine why this
was so difficult to do, except that I know that by embracing this new
expression of praise, I was also breaking away from a silent and still
method of worship that I had been taught by example in the Baptist
The pictures below show the Victory Temple Church building and sign
in Baytown, Texas. The last picture is a high school class photo of
me that shows how I looked during the time we attended this Victory
Received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Gift of Speaking in Other Tongues
"In 1988, my family moved back to Tennessee. We did not return to
South Harriman Baptist Church, but instead we looked for a full-gospel
church to attend. Coincidentally, we ended up attending another church
having the name Victory Temple.
I had been praying for a long time about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
I wanted to experience what I had seen in the Victory Temple church that
I had previously attended, and on the day of God's choosing, I did
receive Him. I was attending Roane State Community College at the time,
and after classes were over for the day, I drove along Highway 70
to my grandmother's apartment in Kingston. I was praying as I was driving,
and suddenly I felt an overwhelming wave of emotion come over me. Tears
began to well up in my eyes, and the feeling of joy and love in my heart
at that moment was so intense, it was all I could do to take my pickup
truck out of gear and come to a stop on the side of the road. I sat there
perhaps ten minutes barely able speak because I was crying uncontrollably
and my lower jaw was vibrating intensely. I could only say 'Hallelujah!'
There are some full-gospel believers who would say that it is not possible
to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit without the evidence of speaking
in other tongues. There are some full-gospel believers who would say
that my vibrating jaw was a form of speaking in other tongues. In my
heart, I believe that I did receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit there
in my pickup truck on the side of the road, but on that day I did not
speak with other tongues. For several months after this, I prayed that
would be able speak with other tongues just as I had witnessed the elderly
man do in the Victory Temple church that I had previously attended.
During the week of November 30, 1988, we attended a revival at
the Victory Temple church in Lenoir City, Tennessee. The guest speaker
was Elaine Holmer, and there came a point during the service when she
asked for anyone who desired to speak in other tongues to come forward.
I responded to her summons, and she laid her hands on me to receive this
gift from the Lord. Doctrinally, I don't agree with her method, because
she spoke aloud in other tongues with no interpreter present while she
ministered to me. However, I can not deny that on that day I did receive
A video recording was made of the revival service that night, and I have
below a link to the clip during which I received the gift of speaking
with other tongues. Two frames of that video are shown below. In the
first frame, after the evangelist had walked across the sanctuary
(right circle), I followed her across to the other side (left circle).
The second frame shows the evangelist with her hands on me ministering
(2 Timothy 1:5-7)."
Gift of Tongues
Elaine Holmer to David Spakes
WMV Video - 1,356 Kb
Click to Watch
"Sometime near the end of the year 1988, I began to feel God speaking
to me, and I was given an assignment. Without hearing any audible voice,
I knew in my heart what I was supposed to do. God told me to make a tape
seven minutes long containing a message about the Body of Christ
(advocating unity and cooperation among different kinds of churches
1 Corinthians 12:12-31 and
At the same time, God told me that I would hear people from all Christian
denominations give some testimony about how they were lowering
denominational barriers in their hearts.
I had no idea what I was supposed to do with the tape after I had
made the recording, so I took it to my pastor and told him what God had
told me. The church I was attending at that time had a daily half-hour
radio program, and I thought perhaps that after the pastor had listened to
the tape, he might play my little sermonette on on the radio. This did not
happen, but a few weeks later, the pastor announced from the pulpit that
I had been called to preach. I wasn't sure at first if what he said was
true. After much prayer, however, I began to feel that the pastor was
correct and that God was calling me to preach.
Not long after this, the Assistant Pastor,
Jeff Schrimsher, spoke a
prophetic word to me during the course of a sermon he was preaching.
I received the word with gladness, because it confirmed what I already
felt in my heart. Here is a picture of Jeff and a recording of the
prophetic message that he spoke to me."
Jeff Schrimsher to David Spakes
MP3 Audio - 305 Kb
Click to Listen
Street Preaching, Lenoir City, TN
"My first opportunity to preach came in the Spring of 1989 when the
church I was attending opened its doors on Saturdays and had street
preaching. The church was located in the old downtown area of
Lenior City across the street from the main Post Office, and there
were always plenty of pedestrians within earshot of the church's
PA system. The meetings usually lasted two hours or more, and there
was constant preaching during that time, because when one of us would
finish speaking, another one of us would take over and continue.
Here are two short clips of me preaching on two different
Saturdays. The second clip is my favorite, because you can hear me
addressing some of the passers-by."
"I was very nervous the first time the pastor of our church asked me
to be prepared to preach during the mid-week service. I laugh about
it now, because I know that I must have tortured the congregation with my
extremely long sermon. The title of the sermon was
God Shut the Door, and I delivered it on Thursday, May 25, 1989.
Click on the document icon below to read a copy of my notes.
Prayed for the Sick at the Hunter Healing Explosion, Knoxville, TN
"On June 9, 1989, an event called the Hunter Healing
Explosion was held at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum (shown in the last
two pictures below). The evangelistic team responsible for this event
Charles and Frances Hunter of Kingwood, Texas. The general public
was admitted free of charge. After the Hunters delivered a sermon, the
people in the audience were invited to come forward to receive prayer for
their sicknesses and physical impairments. Local event participants who
administered prayer on the coliseum floor were required to watch fifteen
training videos, to read two books published by the Hunter
ministry, and to attend a live briefing held at
in Knoxville a day or two before the event. I was privileged to be able
to be one of the participants in this event. The first four
pictures below were taken at Redemption Church on the day of the
briefing. We broke for lunch in the middle of the day, and some people
from the church where I attended invited me to eat with them at their
Helped with a Tent Revival, Harriman, TN
"From July 14 to August 4, 1989, Victory Temple
Church conducted a tent revival beside the ACE Hardware Store in
Harriman, Tennessee. I helped to raise the the tent a few days before
the revival started, and I also helped with the advertising (through
this effort, I became acquainted with Uncle Jody at WBBX Radio Station
where I would later have my own weekly program).
The pictures below show step-by-step how we raised the tent.
- We had the land bushhogged. I was amazed when we found an
old rusty pickup truck completely overgrown and concealed
by the weeds. We had no idea it was even there until the
tractor was right on top of it!
- The old church bus holding all of the tent materials was
towed to the site, and the rusty pickup truck was towed away.
- We stood the main poles on end and secured them with ropes.
This took several attempts, because they kept falling over.
My pickup truck had manual transmission and didn't provide
enough control to stand the pole up and then stop in time.
We ended up using the pastor's van for this task since it had
- We unloaded the folded tent sections one at a time from the back
of the bus onto the bed of my pickup truck. Each one was
incredibly heavy! Then, one at a time, I hauled each bundle
to its place, and we unloaded it onto the ground. There was a
large square section for the center and a semicircular section
for each end.
- We unfolded the tent sections and laced them together.
- We hoisted the tent cover to the top of the main poles with ropes.
- We lifted the sides with small poles and secured the edges with
ropes tied to stakes that were made from automobile axles!
- Finally, we mowed the grass underneath and around the tent before
setting up the chairs."
Taught Adult Sunday School, Lenoir City, TN
"On September 3, 1989, the pastor of our church was scheduled to
preach a revival in Atlanta, Georgia. After that event had been
scheduled, Assistant Pastor Jeff Schrimsher announced that
he was moving in order to take over as pastor of a church in
Fayetteville, North Carolina. The pastor asked Danny Stimmie and me
to conduct the church service as normal during his absence. Danny
would preach the Sunday morning sermon, and I would teach the Sunday
School lesson in Jeff's place. The teaching responsibility lasted for
several months. Here is a list of Sunday School topics that I taught
for the next several months."
|Sunday School Topics (1989)
||Live the Wisdom of God
||Defender of the Faith
||The Secret Place
||The Body of Christ
"In the Spring of 1989, I made a short trip to Florida with some
of my fellow high school students to compete in a national DECA event
in Orlando. While the trip was being planned, I convinced my teacher
to add nearby Cocoa Beach to our itinerary, because my paternal
grandparents lived in that city, and I wanted to meet them. My
grandparents asked me to come back for longer visits, which I did
several times over the next couple of years.
During one of my early visits, I learned that my grandmother was an
ordained full-gospel minister, and for twenty years she had been active
in prison ministry. Pictured last (below), her ordination certificate
hung on their living room wall. Her life and testimony were an
inspiration for me then and now, and I was pleased to be able to
have her certificate after she passed away.
I spent the Christmas of 1989 with my grandparents at their duplex in
They attended a church called Beach Christian Fellowship that met in
the Freedom 7 School building. I enjoyed very much attending
church there, partly because they sang beautiful praise and worship
songs, and I had never heard 'Praise and Worship' music until that time.
The first picture below is one of me from about this time wearing a
Beach Christian Fellowship hat. Next to it is a picture of the duplex
where my grandparents lived.
After my grandparents would go to sleep about 8:00 or 9:00 o'clock, I
spent several hours each night reading my Bible and praying, usually
past midnight. I wrestled with the decision about whether I should
continue to attend the Victory Temple church after I returned home
to Tennessee, because my mother had already decided that she was
going to look for another church to attend closer to our house in
Harriman. During one of these nights, the Lord gave me a sermon
to preach called 'Redigging the Wells of Abraham'
Spirit and Truth Ministries /