I had been going to a denominational church for two years while going through the motions of being a Christian, which meant staying under the radar of religious commitment. So it came as a surprise even to me when a friend invited me to what he called a Spirit filled service. Not wanting to be seen ignorant when he asked if I had ever been to a full gospel church, I said "Yes." My friend Dave was a sort of hero to me, and had helped me find work in the restaurant we worked in. At the time it seemed to be the right thing to say since I just wanted to be friendly to Dave who had done so many things for me up till now. So it was set for the following Monday night at seven.
The next day I thought about it and realized it was a mistake, I was fearful of becoming what everyone around me said were crazy people who spoke in tongues and rolled on the floor. I came up with several plans for not going. Every time I met Dave he would ask if things were alright to which I always replied "just great." But the fear was eating me up so I had decided not to go. I never mentioned this to my family or coworkers believing they would not understand. To my way of thinking I had as much of God and religion as was needed, this thing about the full gospel and the Spirit filled life sounded like it came right from the pit.
When Monday rolled around I volunteered to help clean the restaurant where we worked before going home, this would take care of the church service. I usually got off at six and drove straight home, but tonight I would not get off till eight, which would be too late to meet Dave in church. I felt happy for the first time in a week, knowing that everything had worked out perfectly. At eight I got into my car to drive home but decided to go by and see how the church service had gone, that way Dave could see that I had at least tried to make it.
But the service was not over and I could see the people inside singing and clapping. I parked and walked to the store next to the church as if to buy something. As I looked through the window of the church I could see the pastor walking up and down from the pulpit and pointing to different people, wanting to see who those people were I got closer to the door which was made of glass and peeped in. As I was looking a person grabbed me from behind and threw me into the church with such force that I turned to say something, but to my surprise there was no one there. Years later I would know that this had been the Holy Spirit.
I landed in front of the pastor who just looked at me and kept on speaking as if nothing had happened. I could not get over it, and just smiled looking around the church building at the people who seemed so happy to be there. The first thoughts to reach my mind were of God and his mercy. Out loud I said, "This is the house of God, "than grabbed a chair and sat right where I had landed which was the middle of the isle. No one seemed to care and the service continued as if nothing had happened.
An older lady gave a message in tongues and another person gave the interpretation which I had never seen. But every fiber of my being told me it was from God. As I looked the pastor was talking about Peter walking on water and I don't know how but I could see the pastor walking on water right before my eyes. I knew this was all real and I would never be the same. After the service everyone left including Dave who waved as if he knew something I didn't. The pastor came over to me and put his arm over me and started to tell me what he wanted me to do for the next service as if he had always spoken to me in this manner. Of course I said yes to everything he said as if I had known him for years.
Back at the house I told my wife what had happen and to her credit she was very glad for me. As we lay down to sleep that night I said a small prayer that went something like this. "God if those tongues were from you, then please give them to me, you can't give to one and not another." The next morning after breakfast I left the house and as I got into the car remembering the prayer from the night before, I started to say something to God about him not giving me the tongues when it felt like the top of my head blew off and I was speaking in tongues. The joy that accompanied the tongues was beyond human reason, I was crying and speaking as if I had been raptured to heaven, I could not stop even when I tried, it became like an addiction.
I went to work with the tongues going a mile a minute sometimes out loud other times in my head, after three days I learned to control them and used them only in prayer or very quietly in my spirit. Dave left the restaurant and I never saw him again but the evangelist Roy Porter who had been the speaker that Monday night gave me the job of advertising his meetings at the full gospel church of which I was now a member.
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