This is the testimony of an unworthy sinner saved by the loving, incredible grace of God.
I was driving down Parris Bridge Road, making a delivery for my part-time employer, Shertech Corporation, when I clearly heard the Spirit stop me and demanded that I pull up and listen. This is what He said. “Are you prepared to do what I tell you without spouting off? I need for you to get over your stupid, unwarranted pride and total belief in yourself and Follow Me. Are you ready to do that?”
I was stunned. I couldn’t believe that the Spirit came over me like that. I pulled over and humbly prayed and said, “Yes, Lord. I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”
“I want you to become a man of action, not just words. You write books about the problems that everybody knows exist in this world, but don’t say anything about My saving grace. Right now, I want you to go back to Calvary Baptist Church where there is a great need to rebuild My Body.”
I immediately picked up my cell, called Rose, and told her that we were going back to Calvary. She sounded surprised but didn’t question the decision, even though both of us had truly loved the elegance and beauty of Boiling Springs First Baptist, and the powerful, gospel sermons of Pastor Hank Williams.
Calvary’s fellowship welcomed us back with open arms. We had been there, earlier, when the old building was sold in downtown Spartanburg and the new building was constructed. Now the fellowship had lost their pastor and had hired a new, young pastor who brought exciting, encouraging messages on Sunday. But still, something was missing. Even though there was a minor effort to reach out into the many neighborhoods surrounding the church to increase attendance, there were no real, firm results that showed that we were even touching the high percentage of people who never crossed the thresholds of a church on Sunday.
I started to pray for the fellowship every day, asking the Spirit what I should do next. Again, my pride got in the way. I was elected to the deacon board and made treasurer of the church a month later. Boy, that was fast, I thought. I got caught up in the financial dealings but somehow felt that wasn’t what the Spirit expected from me.
People problems, the color of the rugs, the movement of the chairs, the way members of the fellowship were picking small, insignificant things in the building or the way they were greeted on Sunday began to again reduce the size of the fellowship. No action was being taken and suddenly, the second pastor resigned.
I still didn’t hear the Spirit in my morning quiet time and I wondered what would happen next. Rose and I thought the Calvary Fellowship was a friendly, lovable group of believers, but new visitors did not seem to be responding to the Bible, gospel messages, and strong invitations towards redemption and acceptance of Jesus as personal savior had not been given after sermons, so nothing new seems to be happening.
Then, a true, young, passionate, national evangelist who had been considering going to Seattle, Washington, to establish a new church, became interim pastor of Calvary. The atmosphere began to change. The love of the fellowship began to show when the pastor, a people loving man, began to bring exciting new messages. At the end of a special invitation, the pastor invited those who wished to come forward and pray at the altar, to do so. The response was incredible. People came forth and fell to their knees. THE SPIRIT WAS TAKING OVER!
I jumped up, walked quickly and fell down on my knees next to a complete stranger who had just moved into town from New Jersey. It was a fantastic response and the new pastor said he was amazed at the number who responded.
I went home ecstatic that Sunday.
Then, the deacons meeting began to get exciting. Our new pastor was going to stay with us for awhile and not go to the west coast. I went home satisfied that everything was going well, not realizing what would come next.
Suddenly, my legs and feet began to swell. I figured that is was just old age taking over. I ignored it for a while, but things kept getting worse. I prayed heavily about it and then finally when I couldn’t lift my leg to wash my foot, I went to the doctor. The doctor had me tested for heart troubles, but found my heart was fine. Then, he had an ultrasound done on my stomach area. An hour later, he came in to see me and said it was CANCER. My whole world had changed. Tears ran down my face as he said, “I hate to have to tell you this.”
That night I stayed up most of the time and prayed, asking God why and then, it hit me like a rock. Paul had said in the Bible that we would be tested and face persecution and trials in our lives but not to worry because to be on earth is to love Christ and to leave earth and go to our heavenly home is to gain, not lose.
Now, my life is completely controlled by the Spirit of my Lord and Savior. He wants immediate ACTION, NOT JUST WORDS. The Spirit has said to have a five day revival to be given by five different area pastors, supported by local, gospel singers. The revival would begin in the first three days at Calvary Baptist Church with three of the smaller churches. As the momentum builds, it would move to Boiling Springs First Baptist Church on day four, and then, on day five it would be held at the Spartanburg Sports Complex, led by First Baptist Church of Spartanburg with all preachers and joint choirs involved. The Spirit has directed me not to hesitate to ask the participants to take part in this. It is not necessarily a means to build attendance at any church, including Calvary, but to begin a revolution of bringing the saving Grace of God and His Salvation to those who do not know Him or deny Him in Boiling Springs and Spartanburg.
If you are reading this letter, stand up and praise our Living God!
Whose ready to build the Kingdom of our Lord?