When I was a lower-classmen at Center Street Elementary school a neighbor frightened me. Our walk to school took us by a little white church. He told me “holy rollers” met inside. He said they shouted and rolled on the floor, jumped on the pews and swung from chandeliers. Naturally, I was horrified. In fact, when I walked past the building I walked faster. You never know what dreadful things might happen if you linger!
I attended a church that told me that Jesus was sweet and kind but I didn’t get much more. I was part of a congregation that sadly had a pastor so deceived that he did not believe Jesus rose from the dead. I didn’t come to know the Savior in a church.
My last year in high school a friend told me that Jesus was coming back. This was both disturbing and stimulating. I began to read the New Testament. Jesus seemed to be such an attractive and powerful person! My last month in High School a man told me, if I confessed Jesus as my Lord and believed in my heart that God raised Him from the dead I would be saved. I would have eternal life! You may find this incredible promise in Roman 10:9-10. I remember no rockets in air or bombs bursting in air. I do remember a distinct peace and sense of bedrock security when I said, “Yes” to Him.
As a new believer I voraciously read the bible and began to connect with others that were riding on the Jesus movement of the early 70’s. I found fellowship with other young believers at a Christian coffee house and also in a college ministry.
I told friends that I would love to go back in time and walk with the Lord Jesus. They told me, “No, it’s better this way because Jesus has gone to heaven and has given us His Holy Spirit.” I had no personal knowledge of the Holy Spirit. True, we did have some “warm fuzzy” experiences sharing together but I would have traded them in an instant to be face to face with Jesus. Jesus might be known in the past, or in the future. I wasn’t sure about the Spirit. Then I was ambushed!
I was part of the choir and came to church, not knowing practice was canceled. I saw a light on in the fellowship area but found it vacant. I walked through the dark hall to the sanctuary’s double doors and cracked one open. There was no light except for what came from the street outside. I thought, “Maybe I should go in and pray“, at the same time I thought, “I have a lot of homework to do.” In that moment of indecision I was gripped at my chest as if an invisible hand grabbed a fistful of my shirt. I was literally pulled into the sanctuary about a dozen feet! I stood in the dark room totally astonished. I laid my left hand on a pew and then received another surprise. How do I put it into words? I felt a power like electricity or surging water going through my body. Had I not been holding the pew I might have fallen. I felt holy awe!
My greatest “spiritual experience” up to that time was a sense of joy as I sang praise songs at the local Christian coffee house. This was off the grid, out of any paradigm or speculation about spiritual things! I stood still and silent. After a few minutes I felt drawn to one of the wooden lecterns up front. I walked to it and placed my hands on either side. Again, suddenly, unexpectedly this electric-water feeling came over me, and again if I had not been holding on I might have fallen. There were no words but I felt I was beginning to perceive His voice.
Had I become… a holy roller?