ACH Study Groups
Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders
7659 Gingerblossom Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
This is a letter to our friends –
My experience with the Holy Spirit
I Thought I was a Christian. After all – I was an American and I went to church on Sunday! I knew there was a prayer-answering God who sent provisions when needed and protected me in tight situations.
In 1964, Fremont, California in a Conservative Baptist church, the pastor said, “The Bible is the word of God; Jesus is who the Bible says He is: and all the things Jesus says are true.” Suddenly it dawned on me how long God had been patient with me! The Holy Spirit peeled me naked like peeling a banana! I did not know it was the Holy Spirit then, but I was “born again”.
When I got home, someone had rewritten the Bible. Before that, the Bible had been bone dry! Now it was alive. I couldn’t get enough of it! Our situation changed. We moved to southern California just as the “Jesus Movement” was blossoming. We got to sit on the front row and watch it happen!!
There were home prayer meetings going on everywhere! I saw spiritual power going on around us that I did not understand. Our Conservative Baptist church seemed unaware of what was going on throughout southern California. Fran and I were teaching high school classes at church. Every now and then we would take the kids to Costa Mesa to a little church that was beginning to explode. That was the beginning of Calvary Chaple.
We had just purchased our first house. I lost my temper at the same time my boss lost his – I got fired! I phoned our dear pastor who sent me to Psalm 96. I cherish that Bible with its tear-stained pages on Psalm 96. As I prayed the thought came to me, “Call Dan Krikorian”. Dan and I were both on the Board of Teen Challenge.
I told him what the Lord told me. “Well,” he replied, “John (another Board member) and I are driving to the beach today. I guess you are supposed to go with us.” As we drove, I pulled out a tract that had impressed me, “Have you seen these? I would like to get a bunch. They are written by a guy named Shannon Van Druff.” Dan drove to Shannon’s home in Yorba Lynda. It was impressive with a double hand carved front door.
As Shannon opened the door and shook my hand he said, “Do you know the Holy Spirit?” I answered, “What is that?” The four of us sat for an hour with open Scofield Bibles as Shannon went over the accounts in Acts of various transactions involving, “baptism in the Holy Spirit”. I had been seeing Spiritual power and authority around me that I knew I did not have. I sincerely wanted it. Part of the Holy Spirit package in Acts appeared to include “tongues”.
We all prayed and I asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They were expecting me to begin speaking in tongues. I did not. On mt left shoulder as if a little devil whispered, “phony, phony”. On my right shoulder was a response, “If you were truly praying sincerely, nothing can get between you and God.” “What you asked for has been done.”
Two days later, alone, chatting with Dan in his kitchen, I sensed what seemed like a belch coming up. Suddenly I was speaking in a language I did not know. Dan chuckled. I sat alone in his living room with God, praying in my new language for an hour.
The next day I was seated behind three unruly teens at a Teen Challenge “Praise In”. The Lord said, “Put your hand on her head and pray.” I thought, “No Lord – Everything in order. It isn’t the time to pray. I’ll look like a fool.” At the close, I was at the door handing out flyers. As the unruly girl passed, I asked her to wait in the yard. Later I came up to her, “Have you given your life to Jesus?”
“No” she replied. I shared my testimony with her as I had done many times with others since being born again. This time it was different. It was as if I were across the lawn watching me witness with new power and authority in my voice. She declined. I heard that she accepted Christ about a week later, but the Lord used it to teach me about obedience and timing.
From that point the adventure and learning curve went exponential. Witness opportunities, deliverances, healings, miracles, seemed to become a family lifestyle.
Looking back on all those years – I suspect the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” and all that goes with it is part of the “tool kit” that comes with the born again experience. You just have to trust in the Lord and ask for it. Many are afraid of being phony with God. Each of us knows in our hearts the depth of our sincerity. Nothing can separate a sincere heart from God!
These columns are archived since 12/10/09