Sid Roth - This New Age Guru Couldn't Deny THE TRUTH
Sid Roth: My guest Mike Shreve, unbelievable, one of the top Yoga instructors in the city, four major universities, teaching Yoga, 400 students and he gets up one day and he says it's all wrong. It's a fraud. I want no part of it. This is amazing, especially since the whole city knew about him since the Tampa Tribune wrote an article about him. But Mike, let's go back to kind of the beginning. How did you get into this Eastern type of meditation?
Mike Shreve: Well the thing that precipitated that was a near death experience when I was a rock musician and involved in the lifestyle that went along with that I had an encounter with death because of drugs that showed me very clearly what I was living for went into the grave and had no eternal relevance. I did not turn back to the nominal church I was raised in because I didn't feel any reality there all the years I was involved in it. But I did meet an Indian guru that promised that through the study of Yoga and meditation we could achieve this wonderful place that he called God consciousness and that was what I longed for, so I totally devoted myself to that search. I dropped out of school. I had been attending Florida state university and devoted myself completely to the study of Yoga. From 3:30 in the morning until 5:30 at night we were involved in some kind of discipline: meditation, mantra Yoga, hatha Yoga exercises or something that was geared toward this elusive goal of reaching God consciousness.
Sid Roth: All right. Because I don't understand this, if someone does reach God consciousness, what does this mean?
Mike Shreve: Well of course it would be interpreted differently by different groups. But primarily the people involved in Yoga would say that achieving God consciousness is actually achieving a realization that we are God and that's based on a pantheistic view of the universe.
Sid Roth: Of course most people that I know that are involved in Yoga are in it for the exercise having just cutting off the religious side of it.
Mike Shreve: Most people are, but that's the front door that leads to some very different kind of ideas that all stem from Hindu Philosophy.
Sid Roth: Now interesting enough, the type of Yoga that you were teaching, it's Kundalini.
Mike Shreve: Kundalini Yoga.
Sid Roth: What does Kundalini mean?
Mike Shreve: Well the word Kundalini also means serpent power, which would be revelatory within itself. We know as believers in the Bible that the serpent is a symbol of something evil, a symbol of Satan. But within new age circles, the serpent is a symbol of esoteric wisdom and so I didn't pick up on the negativity of it when I was a Yoga teacher. But the Kundalini power, supposedly a dormant power, a coil at the base of the spine, which is like a latent divinity within every human being, new age.
Sid Roth: God is within everyone.
Mike Shreve: Right.
Sid Roth: Okay. Now you already told me about a little bit about your lifestyle. I understand that your hero at the time was mahatma Gandhi.
Mike Shreve: Right.
Sid Roth: And you tried to emulate him. What did you do?
Mike Shreve: Well that was definitely one of my roles. At that time in my life I was really seeking for as deep a level of spirituality as I can achieve and I thought materialism was counter to that, so I gave away everything I owned and kept just one or two changes of clothes and a few eating utensils, and that's all I owned. And then of course I had to walk everywhere and I had to hitchhike everywhere, so that proved to be beneficial later on when I had my encounter with God.
Sid Roth: Now spiritually, you were, did you read all the religious books, the Bible, the koran?
Mike Shreve: I certainly did.
Sid Roth: Why would you read all of them?
Mike Shreve: Because I thought all of them had elements of truth. And actually now as a Christian believer I admit that there are commonalities in all these scriptures bases of various religions, but I have discovered that those commonalities are at the base of what we would call theology because it deals primarily with character issues. And you find the golden rule, for instance, in every major religion, treat your neighbor as you would yourself.
Sid Roth: Which you say are all good things having to do with character, but let's take you back now. So you're fairly successful teaching this Yoga and all of a sudden you hit it big. The Tampa newspaper writes an article about you. Tell me about it.
Mike Shreve: Well it was a big half page article and I thought for sure my classes would double and triple in size. I already had about 400 students who considered me their guru. Incidentally, the word "Guru" means one who brings you out of darkness into light. But the problem was I wasn't really in the light yet. I thought I was, but I wasn't in the true light.
Sid Roth: Then you get a letter from one of your close friends that tells you this.
Mike Shreve: Oh yes. Well see, the Tampa Tribune article triggered something because there was a Christian prayer group in town that read that article and cut it out of the newspaper, and pinned it to their prayer board, and assigned somebody to be fasting and praying over me every single day. So I was being soaked with intercession and that certainly had its effect on me spiritually. But about two weeks into this time of being prayed for an old friend of mine, as you mentioned, wrote me a letter.
Sid Roth: So the prayer triggered this old friend to write you a letter.
Mike Shreve: I believe God orchestrated all these events, but God does nothing except he does it in response to prayer. And he wrote me a letter much to my surprise, because he and I both left college at the same time for the same reason, to study Eastern religions under different gurus. And he had walked into a church, and he said the power of God fell on him, and he heard an audible voice say that Jesus is the only way, and he felt that he had been born again.
Sid Roth: And the thing that had to upset you was the only way, not that Jesus is a way, the only way.
Mike Shreve: Which I couldn't receive at first. I wrote Larry back and I said, "I'm very happy for you that you found Christianity as your path". But I said, "I can't confine my beliefs to one religion". I said, "There's no way I can do that". But his letter just weighed on my mind for days and days, and days, especially the emphasis he placed on the cross, what the crucifixion of Jesus bought for the human race, forgiveness for sin, which were all concepts different than what I held at the time.
Sid Roth: But guess what? That prayer, 24/7 had an effect. He just kept thinking about Jesus. Don't go away. We'll be right back.
Sid Roth: Hello. Sid Roth here with Mike Shreve and here he is, one of the most successful Yoga instructors in the city and he's challenged by a good friend that did same thing as him, went that same road. And this friend said he bumped into such a great power and it had to do with Jesus, and then he wrote him a letter, and he says Jesus is the only way and Christians are praying 24/7, a prayer group, because they saw an article about him in the Tampa newspaper. And so Mike, this all led you to be fair minded about Jesus.
Mike Shreve: Exactly.
Sid Roth: What did you decide to do?
Mike Shreve: Well I decided if he really did die on the cross for the sins of humanity, which was opposite to what I believed at the time. I believed it was just an example of obedience to a destiny, but had no atoning power for sin. But I thought if he really did do that then I owe it to him to at least open my heart up to the possibility that he's real and that he is actually the Savior of the world, because I was not a closed minded individual. Even though it made sense to me logically, I thought I'm a seeker after truth. I'm going to open my heart to the possibility. So one day I ran a Yoga ashram, by the way, which is a commune where people are discipled on a more intense level. And I sent all of my students up to the front of the ashram, and I went into a back room and took just a Bible with me. And I made a commitment. I said, "Jesus, I'm not going to use any other method of prayer. I'm not going to chant any mantra. I'm not going to read any other source of information except the Bible and this day belongs to you. And I believe that this day if you're real and if you're the only way you'll show me". And I prayed about seven or eight hours and read the Bible.
Sid Roth: Most Christians don't pray seven or eight hours and here you are praying seven, eight hours.
Mike Shreve: We started every day at 3:30 in the morning and would meditate for three hours doing Hindu chants and things like that. But anyway, nothing happened and I was expecting an audible voice a supernatural visitation. But for me, God had a different plan. That afternoon I was hitchhiking to go teach at university of south Florida and one of the members of the prayer group was two miles away walking into a laundromat with an arm full of dirty clothes. And the Holy Spirit spoke to him and said, "Don't go in there. Get back in your vehicle. I've got something for you to do". Most people would not change their direction.
Sid Roth: Now this is the prayer group that was praying for you.
Mike Shreve: Yes, the prayer group that was praying for me.
Sid Roth: Okay.
Mike Shreve: And he obeyed God on that little bit of information. He got back in his van and he said, "Okay Lord, where do you want me to go"? And he felt impressed to drive a certain direction and every half a mile or mile he would feel that impulse and turn again, and then go up a quarter of a mile and turn again, and the Holy Spirit led him to the very spot where I was standing there hitchhiking. Now the odds of that happening are incredible.
Sid Roth: There are no odds.
Mike Shreve: Yes. One member of that ten-member prayer group that was praying for me in a city the size of Tampa, now I had only been out there on the street hitchhiking about five minutes, so it was awesome. It was a divine setup. And he pulled over to the side of the road and I opened the door, and my heart started racing because I knew this was not a coincidence. It was a God incidence. I looked up on the ceiling and there was a picture of Jesus that he taped to the ceiling.
Sid Roth: And you're praying is it true about Jesus.
Mike Shreve: Oh yeah. And here's there's this picture. And this guy introduces himself and it's somebody I had heard about. He was the most advanced student of Yoga in Tampa other than myself. He was very revered in the Yoga community, a student of Yogananda, who was a very famous yogi, and he had, according to our little group, fallen away from the faith and gotten hung up with some Jesus freaks on the other side of town. So I had heard about him and he had heard about me because this prayer group was praying for me. Well we launched into a conversation that didn't last very long. I said, "Listen, if you're the answer to my prayer I'm ready to find Jesus". He said, "You can come to our prayer meeting tonight".
Sid Roth: What?
Mike Shreve: I said, "I don't want to wait". He said, "I can pull over to the side of the road now". And so he pulled over into a parking lot and we sat down in the back of his van, and discussed things for a little while. And I had a couple of mental blocks that I might have mentioned. I told him, I said, "I could never quite believing in reincarnation". He said, "Don't worry about that. Try Jesus". I said, "Well I could never believe the Bible is actually God's inspired word". He said, "Don't worry about that. Just try Jesus". I said, "Well I'll never believe in hell". He said, "Don't worry about that. Just try Jesus". He knew that if he got me embroiled in a theological argument he might lose me. He kept bringing me back to the main issue and that's the supernatural experience of an encounter with the Lord Jesus that proves everything else. And so I was willing. I knelt down and prayed a very simple prayer, so simple my mind rebelled against the simplicity of it. I said, "Jesus, if you're there and if you died on the cross for my sins, and if you truly are the Savior of the world," I said, "Come into my heart right now. I surrender my life to you". And Sid, it happened. I was, to use Bible words, I was regenerated. I experienced spiritual rebirth. What does that really means? It means that the Spirit of God came back into me after 19 years of being separated from God.
Sid Roth: What is the different between what you're describing and what you used to believe in reference to the presence of God, the Spirit of God?
Mike Shreve: A huge difference.
Sid Roth: What's the difference?
Mike Shreve: It's a huge difference because in Eastern religions we were taught that God was already internal and therefore a spark of divinity. And so in order to find God you look within. But the Bible teaches something we call theism, which is the belief that God exists external or in a sense outside of physical creation or apart from physical creation. So that when you have an experience of unity or union with him, he comes into you from without.
Sid Roth: What did you feel?
Mike Shreve: It's hard to describe. It was a warmth. It was a sensation of the personal presence of God, which is again a part of the huge difference between I believed before and what I believe now. God in Eastern religions is just an impersonal life force, a cosmic energy and you meditate on that energy, but you don't really pray to that energy. But when I encountered the true and the living God, he was a personal God that expressed his love to me in a personal way. It's a relationship and that's what Jesus came to offer.
Sid Roth: Yes, but guess what happens? He then tells his 400 students he's been leading them down the wrong road. We'll be right back. Don't go away.
Sid Roth: Hello. Sid Roth here with Mike Shreve, and Mike, so you have this encounter with the Holy Spirit. It actually turns out to be what you were looking for your whole life.
Mike Shreve: Absolutely.
Sid Roth: You had a sincere quest to know reality in the spirit realm. You find it. Then what did you do with your 400 students at four different universities and the classes you're conducting?
Mike Shreve: Well the man that led me to the Lord went with me to all of my classes and I told them that unknowingly I had misled them and that Jesus really is the only way, and that those classes would be dismissed from that point forward. And of course, that was very shocking to them, but also my primary students all became Christians also.
Sid Roth: Now just out of curiosity though, this was your income base. Didn't you, weren't you concerned?
Mike Shreve: No I never really considered that. I just inwardly and intuitively knew that God would take care of me. But definitely I was without a home for about seven or eight days. Thankfully though, this is a little humorous, one of the members of my ashram was an owner of a barber shop and he let me sleep on the floor of his barber shop the first six, seven days I was saved, which was a hairy experience to say the least.
Sid Roth: You've come a long way. You pray for people and miracles transpire.
Mike Shreve: Oh yes.
Sid Roth: But what I want to know and what a lot of our audience wants to know is because you have this understanding, but you treat it, I must say in your book, with so much love that anyone in any of the areas we're going to be talking about will read it as opposed to trash it. But the question I have is, what is the major difference in your opinion between Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, new age, Christianity?
Mike Shreve: That's a big question. Islam, let me start of that. Islam has such a view of a distant and austere, and holy God that man could never have a relationship with God. Man worships God from afar, but can't ever offer his heart as a place that God could indwell. Much the opposite, new agers not only say that God is already indwelling us, but that we are God. And as I mentioned earlier that's based on a pantheistic idea that the whole universe is an emanation of God. God avails himself in the appearance of physical matter, so that that's not really a tree. That's not really a dog or a cat, or a flower. That's God appearing as those objects. So if the dog and the cat are God it's not a quantum leap of logic to say that we are God. And then Hinduism is very similar to that in their mindset. But most of the religions of the world including Judaism to a certain degree base their sense of being right with God on justification by works. You achieve a place of perfection. You achieve a place of acceptability. And the guru I studied under taught us that it may take 20 or 30 years to reach God consciousness, and then again he said it may make two or three lifetimes. And the whole idea of reincarnation is based on achieving salvation or liberation through self-effort because you have to rid your life of all evil karma and achieve a place where you're free from it.
Sid Roth: So would you say all of the ones outside Christianity are based on self-effort.
Mike Shreve: Salvation.
Sid Roth: To obtain intimacy. They wouldn't even say intimacy, but obtain being right with God.
Mike Shreve: For the most part. Now Sikhs do talk some about the grace of God, but I earnestly believe that that's through the influence of Christianity that they've absorbed that into their belief system more. But for the most part it's all self-achieved salvation. But see, all of the religions of the world are man's effort that are to reach God. But Jesus is God's effort to reach man and God came down to this earth in the form of his son in order to bridge the gap. And when we go to him at the cross it's not about us achieving salvation through our works, but through the atonement that Jesus provided through his blood. You know one thing I might mention, Sid, is that the guru I studied under used to tell us that Jesus was an avatar.
Sid Roth: What is that?
Mike Shreve: Avatar, A-V-A-T-A-R. It's a Hindu for a manifestation of God. Of course they teach that Buddha was an avatar, Krishna was an avatar and they put Jesus in the group. But he said, because Jesus was an avatar he could only speak the truth. Well that triggered my curiosity later on and I thought I had better inspect what Jesus had to say. Now the guru I studied under also taught us that Jesus' death on the cross was just a tragic death of a good man that showed us how far we should be willing to go in order to fulfill our destiny, but it did not provide atonement. Then I looked at the words of Jesus and Jesus at the last supper passed the cup to his disciples and said, "This is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins, for the remission of sins". He did not say as an example of obedience. And so I take him as the final authority on why he died.
Sid Roth: And from their belief if he spoke the truth you've just heard the truth. You know, as Mike is sharing this with us I'm thinking about myself. You know mike, coming from a Jewish background I got a little booklet. It was called the four spiritual laws. Have you ever seen that? And so I read, I was by myself and I read law 1: man is sinful, law 2: man is separated from God, law 3: Jesus came, just like you were saying and paid the price for it. And then say this little prayer. Well so what? I'll say this little prayer. I mean, that's the way I felt. What have I got to lose? And I read that little prayer and the same thing happened to me that happened to Mike. Nothing. No lightning, no feeling. I mean, I had feelings when I was involved in the new age. You had feelings, I'm sure, in lots of things you were doing.
Mike Shreve: I had many experiences, yes.
Sid Roth: So but nothing. However, God heard your prayer. God heard my prayer. And guess what? God is going to hear your prayer. Whether you feel anything or not, the Creator of the universe will begin to move on our behalf. If you will say this prayer with me and mean it to the best of your ability I don't care whether you feel wonderful things or you feel nothing, you have made a divine connection with the living God who has been waiting all your life for you to do this, and you've been waiting all your life. You might not have been as aggressive as Mike in seeking God in the way that he did, but in your heart of hearts if you're honest, you know, there's no audience out there, you can say life is pretty hard. Life isn't what Hollywood says it is. There must something more. Would you say this prayer with me and let this be the same start that Mike had, the same start that I had. And I'm going to tell you something. God is not a man that he should lie. You've been lied to by man. God will not lie to you. Repeat after me: dear God. Say it out loud. Very important to say it out loud. I'll teach on that some time. The spoken word created this earth. The spoken word is going to move the hand of God. Out loud: dear God, I am a sinner against you and you alone have I sinned, and I'm so sorry. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and by his wounds, by his blood, I was healed. My sins are forgiven. I believe that Jesus now, because I am clean, can live inside of me. Jesus, come inside of me. Become real. In the best way I know how I make you Lord of my life. What happened to me, by the way, after that prayer, is several days later I was at the end of my rope and I yelled out a two-word prayer: Jesus, help! The same thing happened to me, Mike. His spirit invaded my room. And I'm going to tell you something. He hasn't left me since.
Mike Shreve: Hallelujah.
Sid Roth: And I am so excited to say that Jew and gentile, one way to God. No other name in which we must be saved but the name of Jesus, Yeshua our king.