When I was approximately, six years old, dad would drop me and my sister off at church, so we could attend Sunday School. When we were a little older, we would attend church periodically, with our neighbors. When I became a teenager, I realized that I loved God and wanted to learn how to reach Him, so I could talk to Him. I decided to ask my dad about becoming a Nun. He told me there were many ways to serve God, and he handed me the Bible and told me that it answer all my questions about God, so in the evenings, I would read the Bible under one of the lamp posts, a few yards away from my home. When I turned fifteen years old, I succumbed to peer pressure and I pursued the wrong group of friends and my life began a downhill spiral.
It wasn’t until I was nineteen years old, that things started to fall into place regarding my relationship with God. It was Spring time, and I remember driving down the highway looking at all the beautiful flowers, while at the same time, I was wondering what could I do to feel as pretty inside as those flowers looked outside. I felt so dirty. After I became a Christian, I realized that dirty feeling was the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
A few days later, I was ironing and watching TV. I was listening to Pat Robertson, the host of the 700 Club. Pat asked a question that got my attention, immediately. He asked, “Is there anyone out there who has not asked Jesus Christ to come into their heart, and to forgive their sins.” He then extended an invitation to the audience to pray with Him, to ask Jesus to come into their hearts, so I prayed, too. When we finished praying, Pat asked all those who prayed the “Sinners Prayer” to call somebody and tell them what we had just done, or to call the 700 Club to let them know. I wrote down the number of the 700 Club, and called them.
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:10 (NIV)
The lady who answered the phone was happy for me, and then she asked me the following question: “Have I received the baptism in Holy Spirit, since I believed?” I told the her no, and asked her to mail me more information about the Holy Spirit.
As the days passed, I began to read my Bible regularly and found that I needed to be baptized. (Water baptism is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.) I had no church affiliation, and I didn’t know which church to call to baptize me, so I decided to open the telephone book to churches, close my eyes and point. When I opened my eyes, my finger was on a church called: Full Gospel Fellowship. I called that church, and asked the Pastor to baptize me in water. He was happy to do so, and he told me what time to be at the church service for the baptism. When I arrived, the people there were very friendly. I was baptized, and began attending that church on a regular basis.
After a few weeks, one of the elder’s wives approached me, and asked me if I would like to have a Ladies Bible Study in my home. I had a hunger to learn more about the God and His Word, so I told her, yes! At the end of my first Ladies Bible Study, the Elder’s wife whose name was Tina, asked me whether or not I had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit? I told her no, and then she asked me if would like to receive the Holy Spirit. I was a little embarrassed because I didn’t know what to expect, so I told her no.
After everyone went home, I began to think about her question. I came to the conclusion, that if God had more to offer me – I wanted it. I got down on my knees and prayed, asking God to baptize me with the Holy Spirit and God answered my prayer.
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a blessing from God which causes ordinary people to become extraordinarily effective as witnesses for Jesus Christ (Acts1:5-8). By it, God equips believers today with the same power we read about in the New Testament. Since the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) God’s plan has been to supernaturally equip every believer, so that the ministry of Jesus Christ may continue through us (John 14:12). His ascension into heaven (Acts 1:9) did not mean that Jesus’ ministry on earth stopped, but rather it was an essential step which released even more of His ministry. As the Head of His Church He now directs growing multitudes of Spirit-empowered men and women to carry His Gospel around the world (Luke 24:45-49). The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the impartation of this necessary power so that God’s servants can carry out their calling.
In Christian † Love, Susan Osten