In 1981 I was as ignorant about the Bible or religion as any person could possibly be. Although I had always believed in God, I had not once ever prayed nor had any conversation whatsoever with anyone regarding God, the Bible or religion. Literally, I was clueless. Until I was 27, I had not ever heard the term 'Son of God' or the story of the crucifixion of Christ in my life until my mother told me about 1 week before I was saved. She had accepted the Lord about 30 days before I did and was excited to tell me of her new experience. She said she 'had been saved!'. In my ignorance, my respectful response to her was, 'Saved from what?'.
After I listened to her tell me in her living room about the 'Son of God' I was immediately 'all ears' and fascinated that I had not ever heard these things. More importantly, I was immediately stirred spiritually and wanted to hear every detail about this new person "Jesus" who I learned for the first time was written about in the Bible. I had never given one thought as to what the Bible was about until my mother told me.
All this occurred about 7 days prior to my powerful experience. My mother had given me just the New Testament and told me to focus only on the 4 Gospels. I immediately began diligently studying with more concentration that I had ever had in my life in terms of reading a book. For the next 7 days, even at work, all I could think about was reading those Gospels and gaining more information about the life, words and self-claims of 'Jesus'. After work, I absorbed myself completely in my search of the truth about Him because of my intense burning desire to want to 'believe' in what I was reading. My business mind also caused me to search with a healthy eye for any discrepancies of which I found none.
The experience - April 17, 1981 @ 10:30am
On the 7th consecutive day of my readings it was Good Friday which had no meaning to me whatsoever. I had never given it a thought.
At 10:30AM, I mentioned to my staff that I would be in my office if anyone needed me. After sitting down in my swivel chair I leaned back and started to open the scriptures to take a quick look for a moment during my break. I leaned all the way back, closed my eyes and slowly closed the Bible, resting it in front of my chest. I perfectly remember what my immediate and sole thought to myself was, thinking: 'I don't have to read even 1 more word of this! I believe completely that this is true about Jesus being the Son of God'.
Then, my very next thought to myself and still without saying any word out loud I thought with all of my heart and everything within me these exact words: 'Jesus, I believe you are the very Son of God as you say, and that you are alive right now, resurrected from the dead like this Bible states; And since I believe this, then I also believe that you can touch me right now in a way that I could never be able to deny it; and so I am asking You to touch me right now and let me know that You are alive and that You are the Son of God.....'
Immediately, and without ever having spoken one word out loud, God's presence of LIGHT blasted my entire being as a person might whip a sheet outside to shake off the dust. Instantly, any trace of sin or guilt in my concience was gone. The intensity and reality of this incredible blast of God's light locked me into place as I still was leaning back in my seat and with my eyes also locked closed. My immediate awareness of Almighty God was instantly recognizable to me as was His unexplainable nature of peace and comfort which overwhelmingly saturated me in an instant.
In that first one moment, I felt divinely transparent with the tan- gible presence of His light. No light like this could ever be any- thing other than God which I knew instantly. Christ's virtues of life and truth and purity were also keenly evident to me and within my physical body, all present within His awesome light that had instantaneously purified and filled me.
I also knew perfectly right then that God was a personal God and that Jesus is His divine Son. Just based on this very first moment of this divine encounter with the risen Christ I immed- iately knew that everything I personally could possibly need to know or to experience to become convinced about the reality of God or Jesus was virtually just accomplished in me. He was alive and He is the 'Lord' and I knew it, exactly like my heart had directly asked Him to show me just moments before.
I remember thinking to myself, 'I'm clean!' although I never opened my mouth or eyes once for the next 45 minutes being frozen in awe. Amazingly, no one knocked on my office door nor did my phone ring during these life-changing 45 minutes. I know this cause I asked around the office later still amazed at what I had just experienced.
Next, after what seemed like about 30 seconds from the divine instant cleansing, I suddenly heard a wind coming from my right side at a distance. Still, with eyes locked shut and immobile in my seat, I remember specifically thinking, 'That coming wind sounds like being in the forest and then hearing the wind swirling through the trees about 30 seconds before it actually arrives.' At that time I had never heard about Pentecost and the scriptural nature of wind on that mighty day. Later in my studies I would be blessed and humbled again learning of the parallel of Pentecost and my own experience.
From the moment I first heard the wind coming, it seemed to take 15 seconds to get to me as it came horizontally through me from right to left. As it passed through me, it took about a full 10 seconds to pass through every fiber of my being as I sat in awe. Being accustomed to breezes and wind speeds I can say that it seemed like about a 15 mile an hour wind. It was not violent but was a strengthening & mighty purifying wind, per- fectly tempered and divinely soothing in nature.
I distinctly remember thinking in astonishment, 'That was even more purifying than the 1st blast of divine light & cleansing that hit me just 1 minute before!' I knew at this point by experience that only God could create unmatched spiritual waves like this within a human being, and then be able to top it again.
2nd and 3rd Winds
Then, about 30 seconds after this 1st wind passed through me I suddenly heard a 2nd wind coming. Once again, it was coming from the right side and in the exact same manner and pace as the 1st wind. I remember thinking to myself, 'I don't know how this next coming wind could possibly be more purifying than the 1st wind!' But, I knew it would be.
As this coming 2nd wind took about 15 seconds to touch me I remember contemplating for a moment the awesome fact that God was carrying out a powerful awesome life-changing transformation upon me. I specifically thought to myself that 'If I receive just one more degree of intensity from all of this, then it seems like I could disintegrate!' .
Still, as the 2nd wind rushed through me and was noticeably more purifying than the 1st, I sat completely paralyzed in my execu- tive chair having not opened my eyes nor spoken a word.
Within moments, I heard what I knew was the 3rd wind coming. Then, the 3rd wind came and purified me again. This was now the 4th purifying wave: the initial blast of intensified light plus the 3 ensuing winds of increasingly purifying intensities.
It was about the time of the 3rd wind when I thought to myself that this entire divine experience I was having was a demonstra- tion of God's greatest intent for my life, my soul and my very being. Namely, to give me eternal life, according to what He had planned for me all along. For me personally, I could never forget that God really does know a person's heart. This is my own testimony because of the fact that at the one-and-only time I had ever thought within myself to 'believe' in Jesus was the exact instant when God responded and hit me like a ton of bricks, saturating me with His divine presence and changing my life forever.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit
Once again, it seemed like 30 seconds had gone by after the 3rd purifying wind had passed as I still sat completely silent, total- ly stuck in my position, relaxed and overwhelmed in my chair.
Then, at the very top of my head it felt as if an invisible hand made one twist, like twisting the top off of a syrup bottle. This is the way I've always described it when giving my testimony because of what actually occurred next.
Then, I suddenly felt a warm syrup liquid-like substance slowly being poured into the very top of my head as it very slowly filtered down through my being and saturating me from head to toe. Although I had never heard the concept of being filled with the Spirit, I immediately knew by God's presence within me that I was being filled with the Holy Spirit. This actual experience is as clear and real to me as if it happened just 2 minutes ago. I can say from experience that heaven must be something like this indescribably overwhelming presence of holiness, peace and purity and life which is divinely and continually more 'filling' moment after moment. It is truly called the 'gift' of the Holy Spirit which I received directly from the Lord Jesus Himself.
As I was being filled with the precious divine Spirit of God it seemed to take about 5 full minutes as I now bathed in what seemed like the totality of God's presence being poured into a human vessel. My senses were so illuminated that when the very last pore in the bottom of my foot was 'filled' with warm oil of the Spirit I actually thought to myself, 'I've just been filled with the Spirit!' . I actually had a moment's thought at this point as to how there could possibly be anything left for God to give me since God's Spirit Himself had now filled me to overflowing, literally with a spiritual river of life.
Baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit
Then, it seemed as though about 30 seconds had passed after I had been filled when I felt a sudden flame of fire ignite with- in the deepest depths of the spiritual core of my very being. This fire I had never experienced or even heard about although I knew as sure as I was sitting there that it was the fire of God. At first, it was a small fire about the size of a baseball. However, the unmatched mighty power of it was instantly recog- nizable to me as divine.
Immediately the fire began growing steadily larger within me so that over the next 60 seconds or so, it had completely engulfed my inner being and was now also literally resting on me in an all-consuming fierce flame of fire. It was as real as if I was literally catching on fire although this fire's prime nature was one of divine power. I knew this because I could feel its immeas- urable explosiveness and incomprehensible capabilites within me.
Without any doubt at that moment I knew I received the power of God. For me, the intensity level of the experience of being baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit and literally feeling it always 'resting' on me is a reality that I have been aware of moment by moment and every day of my life since my inital impacting experience in 1981. Spiritually, I'm on fire.
After all of this took place, it was exactly 11:15AM when I opened my eyes. Although when adding up the total time of the actual waves of glory themselves would seem to be maybe 10 minutes, somehow 45 minutes had passed. After just sitting perfectly calmly in my chair in silence and in total awe for about 5 more minutes or so, I finally stood up and walked back into my department, aglow and a brand new man in Christ Jesus.
Good Friday, April 17, 1981
Later that night when I visited my mother to tell her my unbeliev- able experience, she wept because of my being born again and filled with the Spirit on 'Good Friday' and at the very time of day which Jesus Himself had also hung on the cross. After asking her to explain the meaning of Good Friday, I myself wept with great humility and gratitude to my Savior and Lord for dying for me and, in fact, for the whole world.
For me, I had very much a 'road to Damascus' experience with God. My mother had given me the instruction [clearly by the Spirit of God upon her] to go study the Gospels and that I was to 'believe' in order to be saved. Although I knew no- thing more than to only 'believe' in Jesus as Savior and Lord on April 17, 1981, God somehow chose to whitewash me with forgiveness, purify me, save me, fill me with His Holy Spirit and then seal me with a consuming fire which never dims, but in fact, is alive within me and upon me every moment of every day, ever since. Also, being water baptized a few weeks later add- ed its own special experience to all of this as God's Word portrays for the believer.
This is my own testimony which is true to the detail as I have written it here and is as fresh to my memory as when it hap- pened. I've also learned through the years that each believer in Christ has a unique and mighty testimony of their own. This is because when a person meets the risen Christ as Savior and Lord and becomes filled with His Holy Spirit, then that person becomes a new creation in Him. That person's sins along with old and past things have passed away. And then, only in Christ Jesus, new things and a new life have come while being made brand new as a person.
In life, this is God's greatest desire. That is, to reach out and come to each person with the fulness of His divine presence and His life so each of us can be a living witness of God and His most beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.