Today we finish the series on the Holy Spirit’s work in my mom’s family. Part 1 was the story of how my grandparents became hard-hearted because of the religious hypocrisy they encountered. Part 2 includes how my mom gave her life to Jesus and my grandmother and many uncles also turned to Christ. Again, I’m writing in the first person, as my mom speaking. As mom is telling the story to me, she calls her mother “Grandma,” her father “Grandpa” and my dad “Pop.”
We had stopped going to church, but Burt started going to the Lutheran church again after the crusade. I, Grandma, Noel, Danny, and Art followed.
Burt was also going to a Saturday night meeting called “Maranatha Cave.” It was full of young people speaking in tongues, raising their hands in worship, and filled with the Holy Spirit. When I visited a man prayed for me. He looked like an angel glowing, and my body shook all over.
Grandma was baptized in the Holy Spirit in the ’70s at a Catholic Charismatic prayer group. She soon started attending Advent Christian Church, which broke away from its denomination over the baptism in the Holy Spirit. She soon persuaded Grandpa to go with her. He liked it and said it reminded him of his mother’s church.
Are Tongues From The Devil?
I was soon attending both the Lutheran church and the Saturday night Maranatha cave meetings. I was also involved in a Lutheran organization called “Ongoing Ambassadors For Christ.” We sang in nursing homes and went door-to-door witnessing.
I asked for prayer to be baptized in the Holy Spirit at the Maranatha Cave, but there were no manifestations. They taught me to receive it by faith, regardless of manifestations.
When the Lutheran pastor heard I was going to Maranatha Cave, he was concerned and looked worried. He asked “Is this Charismatic? Do they speak in tongues? Please, stay away from this. I’ve seen churches split over this, and anything that makes churches split and causes so much division can’t be from God. I’m really concerned about you.”
His concern was genuine and loving, but I thought “Oh my! I hope he’s not sinning against the Holy Spirit!” His words confused me and I wasn’t sure what to think.
The next week I went on a youth retreat with the Maranatha Cave. They gave an invitation to receive prayer and said “Some people here have prayed for the baptism of the Holy Spirit but haven’t received tongues.” Then a girl named Karen Brown stood up and said “The Lord is saying: someone here has been told that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and tongues are from the devil, and you’re afraid to get prayed for. You need to know that the same Jesus who saved you is the Jesus who baptizes you with the Holy Spirit and gives you the gift of tongues. Don’t be afraid!”
She was speaking right to me! I went up to receive prayer and I received the gift of tongues. That same weekend I was water baptized in a cold mountain stream. The water was so cold that I was jumping when I came out. When people saw me on film they said “Look! She’s full of the Holy Spirit!” Maybe they were joking, but the truth was that I was really cold.
My brother Danny also gave his life to Christ. I think it may have been when he was in a Christian school. Burt used to talk to Paul about Jesus, but Paul said “Burt, you always have your fling. This is just another passing trend.” Burt’s Jesus “fling” never did pass, and Paul eventually ended up turning to Christ.
“God, If You Really Want To Thrill Me…”
Grandma continued to drag Grandpa along to church. He knew how to go through the motions, but his heart was hard. He continued to struggle in secret with alcoholism. Grandpa was so cynical and critical towards Christianity that it seemed impossible he would ever give his life to Jesus. Yet I prayed “God if you ever want to thrill me, let me see my father give his life to you.”
On New Year’s Eve of 1981, in my sophomore year, while I was dating pop, Grandpa asked me “Are you going to church tonight?”
I thought “This is new! What happened?”
Grandpa wanted the whole family to go to church that night. At the end of the service, the speaker asked “Does anybody have something to share? A testimony?” Grandpa raised his hand.
I couldn’t believe it! Grandpa was very shy, and he stuttered and mumbled when he spoke. It was unusual for him to speak in public.
The speaker was wearing thick coke-bottle glasses and he was looking around but didn’t notice my dad’s hand in the back. I prayed “God, please let him see my dad’s hand.” He saw it immediately and said, “Paul Clocksin, you have something to share?”
Grandpa stood up and said, “I just want to make a public confession that I’ve recommitted my life to Christ.”
I was shocked! I said to Pop “Pinch me! Is this real?” Then I remembered how I’d prayed “God if you ever want to thrill me, let me see my father give his life to you.”
I hadn’t known that Grandpa ever gave his life to the Lord before that. It was only later that I learned how my father had asked God to save him at a young age but later became embittered against the church.
Grandpa immediately stopped smoking cigars and drinking when he rededicated his life to Christ.
If you have unsaved family members or friends whose hearts have been hardened against God, may these testimonies encourage your faith. Do it again, God!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Go to Heaven Now