My Pentecostal heritage is a gift from God. It is available to whosoever will. I’m sharing my story to give people hope in a life-changing experience of a personal Pentecost based on the book of Acts.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John share the story of God coming in the flesh as Jesus Christ to become the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. These books share the birth, life, death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. God knew when he created mankind that they would choose to disobey Him. He knew that He would give His life on a cross to offer us salvation in this day. The book of Acts is the history of the birth of the New Testament church starting on the day of Pentecost.
In 1925, my father was 15 years old. His father was working in a factory in Indiana and a fellow employee began sharing the Acts 2:38 salvation message. He was relentless in inviting my grandfather to come to special services at his church in a town about 30 miles away. Finally, my grandfather took his family in horse and buggy to these services. When my grandmother heard the Pentecost message of salvation, she was baptized in the wonderful name of Jesus in a horse tank. She came out of the water speaking in a heavenly language being baptized in the Holy Ghost.
This impacted my father knowing his mother as a god-fearing woman and witnessing her salvation experience. He and the family followed her example and received their Pentecost also. God put a love for His Word into my father’s heart. He became a student of the Word. In his later teens, he would travel to Indianapolis, Indiana, Christ Temple Church that was founded by Bishop G.T. Haywood on Sunday afternoons and sit in a two-hour Bible class taught by the Bishop.
When I was born 72 years ago, my family attended Christ Temple then pastored by Elder Robert Tobin. My father loved studying the Word with his pastor. He became a lover of God’s truth. He did not know that God would put him in ministry as a pastor at the age of 42 years of age. My father (Elder Raymond G. Theobald, 1910-1995) became a self-taught theologian and Eschatology preacher/teacher. He called it anointed ‘treaching.’ After retiring as pastor, he taught Eschatology at Christian Life College, Stockton, CA., for Pastor Kenneth Haney and Dr. Daniel Segraves for six years. The students loved his Holy Ghost enthusiasm teaching on Eschatology.
I was six years old when my father became my pastor. I was baptized at six years old because of his teaching and received the Holy Ghost at the age of nine. It was a life changing experience deep in my soul. My brother, who was 11 years older, received the Holy Ghost on that same Sunday night – April 15, 1955.
My father did what Apostle Paul told Timothy, “Preach the Word.” He was in his office the majority of his time studying the Word. We had a ‘home missions’ church and he worked at times to meet the bills of the church as a welder and a builder but always sacrificed in time to prepare himself to teach the Word rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
I grew up watching the saints in the church praise God and rejoice in response to the teaching of the Word. My father never told anyone to praise the Lord. Praise was spontaneous from the hearts of the people. I took notes in church during the preaching and teaching as a young girl. That love for God’s Word was implanted in my heart by example.
The greatest testimony to God’s truth was living with parents who deeply loved God and loved each other. They lived godly in their words and attitudes to each other and the family. Someone said, “I would rather see a sermon any day than hear one.” I was blessed to hear and see sermons in real life on a daily basis.
The Word of God teaches us how to live godly. His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. When we hide the Word of God in our hearts, we will not sin against the Lord. If we love God, we will keep His commandments. The letters written to the church in the New Testament tell us how we ought to behave ourselves. John wrote to the church that if we continue in sin we do not know God and we are of the devil (1 John 3.) There is no excuse for sin. My father taught and lived by example – we must continually be eating God’s Word.
God who has kept my family for 94 years is the same God yesterday, today and forever! The main point of my sharing my Pentecostal heritage is this: If you come to know God today in the power of the Holy Ghost, this can be the beginning of your Pentecostal heritage that can survive the next 94 years in five generations of your family if the Lord delays His coming!
In the five generations down to my grandchildren, life has not always been a ‘bed of roses.’ In this world we shall have tribulation – Jesus spoke these words. But he said, “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” Jesus himself had to go through the pain of the cross, but he rose from the dead! It’s Jesus’ resurrection that gives us hope beyond this life!
Yes, we need our own Pentecost of water baptism in Jesus name and infilling of the Holy Ghost, but that is just the beginning of walking with God. We must learn how to be Holy as He is Holy. The justification for our sins is Jesus’ death on the cross. We are in the sanctification process from now until Jesus comes in the air to take His Bride into heaven. We must not walk in the flesh, but walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5). We must become Holy Ghost controlled. We will account to God for every thought, feeling and action. We are to do all that we do heartily as unto the Lord.
We must submit our bodies as a living sacrifice that is our reasonable worship unto the Lord. We cannot be conformed to this world or allow the world to squeeze us into its mold, but be transformed by renewing our mind with His truth (Romans 12: 1 & 2). Living for God is by choice! Even after our Pentecost, we must continue to be submissive to God and His Word.
We are living with a promise within us that will hear the sound of the trump of God when He calls from heaven – the dead in Christ will rise first and we that are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)!
In the midst of the storms of life, we have an anchor in God. We can say as Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him!” (Job 13:15). Job did not know why he was hit hard with adversity, but he had a relationship with God and was going to trust Him. It’s been 64 years since I received my Pentecost. We’ve experienced joy, peace, sorrow, excitement, grief, positives, negatives, gains and losses, but through it all our feet have been planted firmly in God. Nothing can remove us from the love of God (Romans 8).
If we had hope in this life only, we would be of all men most miserable (1 Cor. 15:9). Being baptized in the Holy Ghost is Christ in us the hope of glory! We are the temple (house) of the Holy Ghost. We are to glorify God in our body and our spirit (1Cor. 6:18-20). We are praying, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”
I had no idea that God would take a nine-year-old girl, fill her with His Holy Spirit, put
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