A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
After I had sat in pews and choir lofts for nearly 40 years, the Lord decided it was time we were formally introduced. He arranged a series of events to get my attention and then changed my status from gentile churchgoer to Born Again Christian.
I Have a Gift For You
Soon afterward, a business associate introduced me to some friends of hers, all members of a Charismatic Women’s group. They were disappointed that I didn’t speak in tongues, but believed I would begin to as I grew in my faith. My main concern was that with all my time in church I didn’t know beans about the Bible. While they prayed for me to receive the gift of tongues, I prayed that the Lord would open up my head and pour His Word into it. I guess He thought my prayer was more to the point because as I began teaching people began listening. It was clear to all that the Lord had gifted me in that department.
Is That You Lord?
These dear sisters got me appointed as an advisor to their local chapter even though I still couldn’t meet their main requirement for membership—tongues. One spring about 15 years ago their organization held a regional meeting in Salt Lake City, and they got me on the agenda. I was to speak on the way Hebrew wedding customs mirror events of the Second Coming (we now have the audio recording of this! You can listen to it on our audio page, called The Bride). Apparently, the Lord wanted to hear this as well, because during my talk He showed up and this room full of women began weeping and moving out of their seats to kneel or lie on the floor. By the end of my talk, all the leaders on the platform and many of the women in the audience were bawling their eyes out, many on their faces on the floor. Not long after, I was told that the group had dropped their requirement that members manifest the gift of tongues.
I Have Another Gift For You
At another of their meetings several years later, a woman with the gift of prophecy spoke on Spiritual Gifts. As she wrapped up her teaching, she began calling people out of the audience to inform them of their gifts. Being the advisor that day, I stood in the back of the room listening. My first prayer was that she wouldn’t call on me. I was very skeptical and didn’t want to embarrass her or me. But as the meeting progressed, my silent prayer changed to a fleece. “Lord,” I said, “If this woman is legitimate, let her call on me and tell me I have the gift of healing.” One by one names were called, people were prayed over, and many were “slain in the spirit” (I’ve always had trouble with that one). Finally, she called my name. As she prayed over me, she said I had the gift of healing, and the biggest skeptic in the room went down like a ton of bricks.
I went around praying over the sick and injured. I did a study on spiritual gifts and another on healing. Frankly, some folks got way upset over this and left our ministry. Some of the people I prayed over got better and some didn’t. A man with prostate cancer called two years later to say he’d been healed in one of our services, but a baby mangled in the birthing process never regained consciousness, and a young mother died of a brain tumor after a year of fervent prayer.
Don’t Do That, Lord
An associate of the ministry had left us during this time and caused quite a stink. We didn’t see him for six months, but one Sunday he and his family showed up at a joint meeting with a sister fellowship. A woman who wasn’t a member of either group, but had attended my Bible studies in another town, was also there. She stood up during our prayer time and gave a word of knowledge that cut this man to the heart. With his family in tears around him, he stood up and asked the Lord and the group for forgiveness. Members of the sister fellowship were furious and soon severed all ties with us.
I Am The Lord Who Heals You
Then, one Sunday morning, a woman visiting our service let out a shriek and keeled over with an epileptic seizure. A doctor and an EMT ministered to her to no avail. Someone called 911. I asked everyone who believed the Lord could heal her to join me in praying over her. Her breathing had stopped, and her face was turning blue, but as we gathered over her and I asked the Lord to bring peace into her heart, she sat up suddenly. When the paramedics arrived, they spoke with her but said she was fine, so they didn’t take her to the hospital. She later told me that she had dreamed these exact events in advance, and knew the Lord had healed her. Against my advice, she threw her medicine away, and when her doctors tried to induce a seizure during an exam, they were unable. It’s been several years now and no more seizures.
So I guess I agree with Paul. The Lord sealed the Holy Spirit within me at the moment of belief, determined what gifts I would need to make my unique contribution to the body, and invested me accordingly. From time to time, for His own purposes, He has also caused the Holy Spirit to “come upon” me to perform a special assignment. My talk on “The Bride” and the healing of the epileptic are two dramatic examples among many. I don’t pray for tongues anymore. He suggested I stop whining about the gifts I don’t have and focus on the ones I do. Good advice.