Throughout scripture the presence of the Lord has always been marked by an unmistakable entrance. Unfortunately, in many Christian circles in the United States an experience with Christ is considered non-essential. Or worse yet, it is considered a counterfeit from the Satan, arguing that the Bible alone is sufficient for conversion. But to the “rational Christian” who does not want to appear that dogmatic, a spiritual experience with Christ is often explained in psychological or scientific terms. And so, in an attempt to be non-judgmental, these fundamentalists often view the “Christian experience” as a self-induced, hypnotic, trance-like state that in reality is nothing more than an adrenalin rush, a dopaminergic surge, a flood of endorphins or just plain old fashion goose bumps. And if the “experience” occurs in a crowd, it is simply called mass hypnosis, special effects, stage craft or charlatanism.
And while attempting to placate what they believe to be a group of emotionally charged “baby Christians” these so called “seeker-sensitive believers” have reduced the Christian experience to a verbal affirmation of doctrine. To them, the initiate reiterates or paraphrases dogma in a quasi-guttural, semi-suburban dialect, which sounds something like “uh-huh” or “yeah.” Later when discipled in the faith the new convert is brainwashed to believe that only those lacking faith seek an experience. They are taught that one only needs to mentally ascribe to a set of prescribed religious formulas now codified as the FOUR SPIRITUAL LAWS in order to become a Christian. Like Nancy Reagan’s solution to addiction “Just say NO,” Christian conversion is simply “Just say YES.” In other words, “keep it simple stupid.”
Well, if you buy this schlock – hook, line and sinker, I’m here to tell you you’ve been robbed, lied to and cheated of your inheritance. The reason you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior is because you want to know Him. If He has revealed himself to you personally He cannot be denied. As a child I believed in God. I had heard Bible stories about Jesus and others first from my mother, then later in Sunday School. I believed these Biblical testimonies but I lacked personal experience. I even took my Bible to school every day to prove that I was not ashamed of the gospel. In retrospect I had convinced myself that an experience with Christ was simply emotionalism. Instead, I was memorizing scripture. I somehow convinced myself that I knew Him. But in reality, I really had not experienced Him, His presence, His power, His overwhelming love. Inwardly, I so desperately wanted to but Jesus seemed silent. I also knew from the Bible that “the letter of the law kills but the Spirit gives life” (2Cor 3:6). I cried as an adolescent for years in secret, desiring a confirmation of my faith – even though the preacher thundered from the pulpit that “an evil generation seeks a sign” (Mt 29:39). Night after night, as a young boy of ten or twelve I cried myself to sleep with tears of desperation: “Jesus, if you’re real show yourself to me.”
Finally, at age 18 when I was a high school senior, I was invited to a home Bible study and prayer meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting a friend of mine, Joe Sarnicola asked if anyone wanted to be baptized in the Holy Ghost. I did not! And when asked, I said “NO WAY.” To me that stuff was demonic-like and raw emotionalism. But out of shear curiosity I whispered to Jean Elam, the woman sitting next to me, “How does one get this baptism?” Part of me was curious because it was a blizzard outside and I thought that perhaps I was being challenged to wade into some freezing river nearby. But instead, in a southern accent Jean responded, “Why you just ask Jesus to baptize you in His Spirit He does the rest.” Well that sounded easy enough. Nobody needed to know that I was praying. I really didn’t expect anything to happen anyways. I then innocently prayed “Jesus, baptize me in your Spirit if this is of you.”
Within minutes I was standing, hands were being put on me, I was crying out for more of Jesus and suddenly, from out of nowhere, a power, a surge, a wonderful warmth that seemed almost like electricity and warm oil slowly worked its way down my body from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. All I could say was “It’s you Jesus, it’s you.” And without a shred of doubt I knew it was Him. The power was so great I fell backwards right to the floor. And while praising Him, I suddenly began speaking in tongues. It was an incomprehensible language that I could neither control nor did I want to. This experience has never left me and the same power occurs to me as the age of 60 approaches and as I speak in tongues daily.
Shortly after this glorious event and a few months before I planned to go to college I witnessed the visible and tangible Shekinah Glory of Christ. I was invited by a middle aged couple from my new church, the Auburn Assembly of God, to go to a Kathryn Kuhlman meeting in the old Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg. Hundreds, even 1000’s were simultaneously healed as repeating rings of a luminescent fog emanated from her in all directions. These clouds rolled over us and through us, one after another like ripples that form when a pebble is thrown into a still pond. Toward the end of the service the four of us sitting some 25 feet from the stage witnessed the regrowth of leg muscles on a 20 year girl who was wheelchair bound. Calf muscles that did not exist appeared before our very eyes. It was like watching balloons being filled with gas from an air tank. Within seconds she was walking with ease.
The power in each doughnut shaped cloud that passed through us was so intense it was difficult to remain standing. We were literally jolted as each wave of power swept by. Like the Baptism of the Holy Ghost it again felt like warm oil and a wonderful electric-like power that invigorated, renewed and healed all at the same time. All Ms Kuhlman did was stand on stage and sing “Hallelujah” in her post-menopausal, cracking and almost guttural voice. People everywhere were jumping up like popcorn, screaming that they were healed.
I went with George and Dee Oaks and Pearl Hamilton who was in her late 70s at the time. We all saw and experienced the same thing. We got there early, about 4am. You had to – to get a seat. Doors didn’t open until 10am or 11am. People came in wheel chairs, ambulances, with IV poles, and some with nurses in uniform. In the end what was a mean nasty crowd that trampled each other to get in, was after a 4-5 hour service that went by like half an hour, a totally transformed people. Almost everyone got saved, crying, begging for Jesus. As great as that was, it does not compare to what we are entering into now.
About a year later while at Houghton Wesleyan College in Upstate New York I encountered some students that I considered “heretics” because they believed and preached a word that they claimed was from God, but these were different from my beliefs. Basically their beliefs challenged my traditional Christian ideas about rapture, tribulation, trinity, etc. Their beliefs seemed altogether different from the beliefs I was taught since childhood. So I warned others about them and secretly wanted them expelled from this “Christian College.” Then one day I encountered in a dormitory foyer, Lee Gilchrist and Nancy Paine, two followers of these heretical doctrines. They again gave me a summary of their heresy. And in the midst of my arguments I suddenly understood everything they were saying. In fact, I wasn’t even listening to them. In my mind I was trying to think of my next argument to counter their beliefs, when suddenly I fully understood. What I previously thought was heresy I now knew as Revelation. In that split second I received an expanded comprehension of the Lord Jesus Christ, my destiny with Him, His eternal purpose in me, and for that matter, His purpose for all creation.
This experience was not revealed as separate doctrines but was a Divine Revelation such that “the eyes of my understanding were enlightened” (Eph 1:18). It was as if the words of the song were suddenly true for me: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of The Lord” and I saw that He was coming to be glorified in His saints (2Thes 1:10). My theology, which I have shared openly in my posts did not come from Bible School. It was imparted by the Holy Ghost. In that moment I experienced joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Pet 1:8). As one of His sons I was called not only to be conformed to His image (Rom 8:29) but I was also called to be ONE with Him (Jn 17:21). I understood that I had adopted a spirit whereby I cry Abba Father (Rom 8:15) and that one day I will adopt a new transfigured body (Rom 8:23). But I also understood that beyond adopting promises, I am NOT an adopted son. Instead, I am being born again of an incorruptible seed (1Pet 1:23) and Jesus was the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29). Indeed, the whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain for the MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD (Rom 8:18-22). In my previous experiences with Christ I had known Him as the WAY. Following this moment of Divine Revelation I came to know Him as TRUTH. But I still did not know Him as the LIFE.
This occurred about nine months after the impartation of “Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph 1:17-18). Many trials and tribulations were occurring and I think it is fair to say that I was going through the worst time of my life up to that point. To escape my troubles I visited a friend in Tulsa, Oklahoma who prayed for me under the anointing and power of the Holy Ghost. During the prayer I was levitated and thrown across the room by an evil spirit. Immediately afterwards a raspy guttural voice came out of my mouth that said, “No I won’t go.” Not only had I suddenly lost control of voice, but my body was stiff and paralyzed. Once again my theology was challenged because I did not believe it possible for a Spirit filled believer to come under such demonic influence. My friend continued to pray in the power of the Holy Ghost until the wretched spirit of fear that had haunted me my entire life completely left me. I was then again filled with unspeakable joy and flooded with the sensation of His abiding and dynamic love. It was beyond thrilling. The Kingdom Walk had begun. I was delivered out of my Wilderness and I was now in the Promised Land.
For many of us after we began the Kingdom Walk, we were immediately involved in healing the sick, raising the dead and casting out demons. But unforeseen consequences occurred. We had become totally full of ourselves, totally enamored with our “high spiritual standing.” Essentially we become what Oswald Chambers calls “spiritual prigs.” Though we were involved in signs and wonders we are oblivious to our arrogance, pride and blackened hearts. And so our great intercessor, Jesus, the Son of the Living God, slowly begins to reveal how deeply offensive we really are, how very shallow we had become, how truly unlovely we appeared. Many of us fell into gross sin and debauchery. But we thought it was okay because we were praying for people who got healed. This was exactly my situation. And so once again it was necessary for God to break me and mold me afresh. I was again brought back to my loving Savior so that God could rebuild me, like Zachariah’s Temple that needed to be rebuilt when the Israelites were released from 70 years of captivity. Essentially, while I was performing mighty miracles I was at the same time carried off to Babylon. Decades passed but God is faithful and He has brought me back to a land of promise. This time He gave me careful instruction and he revived my soul with a new fire. He was again recreating and restoring, but this time He spoke to me about a promised land in different terms. It did not involve man, movement or ministry. Instead the Promised Land was JESUS, my true inheritance.
I will be 60 in 4 days. In the recent past, that is the last 3 to 4 years, I have been experiencing the Baptism of Fire. Many Christians in the USA have never heard of this. However, this fire-concept has captured the imagination of many popular charismatic ministers today. Though they pray for individuals to receive the Fire of the Holy Ghost they describe the purpose of this experience as one that causes the believer to become more fervent in their faith. That is, they equate this fiery experience to a renewed passion for Christ, for improved soul winning, for a deeper and more fervent prayer life. Many of these ministers have merely defined the Baptism of Fire with a secular definition associated with the phrase “a burning passion.” The problem with this anemic, co-opted, secular definition is that it hardly mirrors the authority associated with Moses and Elijah described in Revelation 11. Here we read of witnesses who are already baptized with the Holy Ghost and have already received “dunamis” or power described in Acts 1:8, 2:38 and 39. In Revelation 11, two witnesses receive the double portion: “exousia” or authority known to us as the Baptism of Fire. You and I are one of the witnesses and Christ in us is the second. Recall that Jesus said “I am one that bear witness of myself and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (Jn 8:18). And even as the ministries of Moses and Elijah were not simply a demonstration of a burning passion, neither is the individual baptized in the Fire of the Holy Ghost simply more enthusiastic. No doubt a burning passion existed with both Moses and Elijah, but their ministries encompassed far more. They were empowered with a divine authority that superseded the kingdoms of this world, the flesh and the devil. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost has been available for about 70 years to believers in large numbers. Christ is now pouring out on spirit-believers who desire more of Him this Baptism of Fire.
Please understand I am not opposed to a believer acquiring a burning passion for Jesus. Indeed, this may be a prelude to the promised fiery baptism. What I am simply sharing with you is that we are indeed at the end of the “Age of the Gentiles” and the Baptism of Fire is no longer just available to a few medieval saints. The Fire of the Holy Ghost is being poured out to all who ask, seek and knock. In Malachi 3:2-3 we read, “But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord and offering in righteousness.” He will indeed “do a quick work unto righteousness” (Rom 9:28). During the earth’s darkest hour, soon to be upon us, he will give authority to his two witnesses. I guarantee that you will see in the very near future many Christians who are walking in incredible authority. (Of course they will be accused of being false Christ’s.) Even now God is leading many a spirit filled believer to boldly declare many things in the name of Jesus.
When He first began to pour out His fire upon me I literally cried every time I heard His name or thought of Him. This occurred on a daily basis and it went on for over a year. At times I cried uncontrollably in public. Though I am not longer given to these uncontrollable outward expressions I continue to cry from my heart for Him day and night. I’m drawn to Him like never before. I now understand the words of Martin Luther King the day before his death: “I only want to do God’s will.” It seems that almost everyone in the world even knows we are entering into the end of the age. I am now constantly seeking fellowship with those “of like precious faith” (2Pet 1:1). It would be fine with me if I were to be raptured, but I would rather be Enraptured by Him, Possessed by Him: “That you might be filled with all the Fullness of God” (Eph 3:19). If He’s in me and I am in Him (Jn 17:23), “it matters not if I am abased or abound” (Ph 4:12). Pre, Mid or Post-Tribulation: “Thou my inheritance now and always.” I don’t plan to die and go live WITH Him. No! “I shall know as I am known” (1Cor 13:12). There is no “with” about it. Instead, it is Christ IN me (not with me) the hope if glory (Col 1:27). Keep the pearly gates. He is the pearl of great price I seek (Mt 13:45-46). Forget the streets of gold. He is the treasure in earthen vessels (2Cor 4:7). It’s not about me. It’s all about Jesus, the lover of my soul (Mt 16:26).
Yes I am ordained but I work in medicine. God made it clear to me that he did not want me involved in “church work.” He wanted me to be with the sick and the dying. There are some ministers who live a comfortable life and spend their time trying to impress people with how important they are as they work on sermons and public appearances. Ministers with similarities to those in the entertainment industry frequently gain the attention of news media. But I believe the true servant of God is one who is willing to go to go to places where ministers of religion often do not want to go; to deathbeds, to prisons, to speak to sinners and love them. This is what I believe Jesus did. This is why he was always thrown out of the synagogue.
Many are aware of the work that I have committed to for several decades. Although I work 6 to 7 days a week, I rejoice as the Lord has put me in a position to minister to those with great need. Basically, I provide counseling, comfort measures and medications for those who have been abused or neglected. Two days a week I travel some distance from my home and stay overnight in a large metropolitan area. Here I work in several clinics where I share the love of Christ with refugees who have been tortured or who have witnessed the slaughter of their families. Most are from the Middle East. I typically see about 30 people in a 12 to 15 hour day. Although my days are long the Lord is faithful to renew my strength. The Lord is also faithful to provide me with an opportunity to share the gospel and pray for many of those who have suffered beyond what is imaginable.
I also have a private practice where I see individuals who live within a 100 mile radius of my office. Many live at the poverty level and are individuals who have been sent to me for mental health treatment. Others are children who have been abused or neglected. A large number are also women who have been victims of domestic violence. Though I often prescribe medication to address their trauma, most are content to see me on a monthly basis because I take the time to listen to their concerns, share the gospel and pray for their healing or deliverance.
Finally, within the past year I have also been challenged in my private practice to open a new program where I treat individuals who are addicted to heroin. Medications such as Suboxone or Subutex are now available to prescribers. These medications can effectively interrupt the constant desire and cravings for heroin, which is now associated with the death of many young people throughout the United States. I am sure that many of you are aware that heroin addiction is considered an epidemic not only in this country but in countries throughout the world. At first I see these individuals alone or with their family members. However, in order to remain in treatment and received these medications those addicted are required to come to group therapy sessions held every Sunday night. Here, after sharing their tragic stories some have invited Christ into their lives and experienced the power of His healing and deliverance.
The time involved with my work is often overwhelming and exhausting and my busy schedule often takes me away from my family. I have a lovely wife of 40 years, four beautiful adult daughters and 8 wonderful grandchildren. Please know that I am not seeking financial support but I covet your prayers. Likewise I am holding you up in prayer that God will meet those specific needs in your life. Also know that you are loved by me in Christ our Lord. I pray His blessing and anointing rest upon you mightily and that you be used of him in a profound way that brings glory to his name.
I am also truly grateful that God has raised up a generation that is not deceived. This generation seeks to know Christ, to experience His presence (Ph 3:10) and fully comprehend His love (Ep 3:18). For the believer who asks, seeks and knocks (Mt 7:7), nothing less than His abiding presence will suffice. Only after we have tasted of Him (Ps 34:8) do we know this to be true. We worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (Jn 4:24). The doctrines of men are no longer sufficient. We study to show ourselves approved unto God (2Tm 2:15) and He leads and guides into all truth (Jn 16:13). We need that no man should teach us for we have an unction from the Holy One (1Jn 2:20,27).
What is equally exciting to me is that the waiting is almost over. In fact, have you noticed that when you pray now He answers immediately or at least much sooner than ever before? So then, we stand on the edge of Kingdom Living, where time will no longer be the deciding factor of truth. Eliminate from your thinking the axiom “time tells all.” Instead, Jesus tells all. He is the Truth. What we now wait for is that we might be filled with ALL the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19). He longs to fill us with Himself. I pray we are so moved to agree with His desire.