"Maybe it’s appropriate that a guy who thought he was so smart had no idea what he was doing when he did the smartest thing he would ever do. What beautiful irony. I had answered an altar call without realizing it!"







"You're old habits you won't like. You'll get new friends and hang around different places. In a year's time you'll be listening to different music and thinking different thoughts. Everything will be new and changed!"






"When I heard this news it excited me. The prospect of having the
third person of the Trinity Living and active inside of me was awesome. I desired this experience to happen to me with a real passion. I wanted wisdom and understanding and I knew this could only help."

"I accepted the infilling of the Holy Ghost on my knees in prayer in the privacy of my own bedroom in the presence of just the Lord Himself.







"The very thing that water baptism symbolizes started out a spiritual desire and then gradually began to take on substance.





"It is my hope that the Father and the Son will be glorified for the rest of my life..."


Enter Into The Kingdom
                                                                                                                                       Terry Smith

It was sometime in late 1972 or early 1973 that God began to reveal Himself to me as a personage. Oh sure, I had gone to church, I had even been baptized and confirmed an Episcopalian. I had attended Bible classes regularly and studied the Bible - well the gospels anyway - but I had never felt the hand of the living God in my life and for that matter, I had never seen evidence of God's being alive in anyone's life. As far as I was concerned Christianity had always been just a lot of talk and nothing more. But I was soon to find out that there is a living God willing and waiting to work His transforming powers in any willing soul.
As it happened, I was living in California in May of 1974 searching for purpose and direction for my life when I was called home to Massachusetts for the wedding of my mother and her Jesus friend. They lived in my mother's home and I was forced to move in with them because of financial necessity. I wasn't too surprised to find my old home saturated with Jesus and talk of Jesus. I had come home to a totally different atmosphere. God had moved into my house!

First God Showed Me That I Needed Help
            Gradually, without me knowing, something began to work inside of me. My conscience, my spirit, my heart, call it what you will, began constantly tugging at my mind. The things my Christian parents read and said to me became tougher for me to deny. All I could do was try to block it out, not hear it, but that too, became harder, and harder, and harder to do. There seemed to be a vague but persistent sense following me around, hounding me and reminding me of God at the most inconvenient times. (I know now that this was God convicting me of sin and beckoning me to the Savior, Jesus Christ.) I was getting glimpses, here and there, of the truth about myself, and it wasn't flattering.
I started to avoid all Christians and any thought or talk about Jesus. I still liked my life and habits the way they were. I was an alcoholic, drug addict and gambler. I had committed adultery and stolen and lied as a matter of practice. I had been in jail, once briefly for felony charges and for so many misdemeanors that I can't recall the number of times. Even so, I was too numb to know I was hurting. It may sound hard to believe but like so many hurting individuals I thought I was doing just great. But God was beginning to give me some clues that I was in need of help. With each passing week, slowly, I was becoming more and more aware of my own unrighteousness.

God Tricked Me Into Acknowledging Him
            Then in October of 1974, my parents introduced me to a Christian carpenter who gave me a job with his crew. During the Fall of '74 Massachusetts was in the throes of a very bad recession and it was only out of desperation that I went to work for a Christian. Under any other situation I would not have been caught talking with him let alone working and eating with him.
            These Christians, (his helper was one also) brought their bibles to work, listened to a Christian radio station and talked about Jesus at lunch time. For a month or more they tried to get me to go to their Thursday night revival meeting. After a score of shunned invitations I ran out of excuses and figured if I wanted to stay in the good graces of the boss I had better go. I thought I was going to the meeting that night to save my job, but God had me going so He could save my eternal soul.
            Though it happened nearly many years ago, I relate what occurred that night just as if it had happened yesterday.
            My boss and his wife picked me up that night after work and we started the long and boring ride up to the meeting some forty miles away. I remember wishing that I was with my regular crowd drinking and partying rather than spending the evening with religious freaks. Besides, I didn't fit in, the whole ordeal made me uneasy. I was an outsider; everything about these people was strange and alien. I just couldn't see what it was that they saw in this Jesus stuff.
            Anyhow, when we finally arrived at our destination I saw my parents hustling by my car; trying to look invisible. I wondered if they were plotting against me, but quickly dismissed that thought and followed my boss and his wife into the meeting hall.
            Once inside the hall I heard music and singing and saw four or five hundred people standing in front of their seats. I was bored by the music. It wasn't my style. As a twenty-four year-old rebel I liked The Band, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, you know; the popular rock artists of the day. So when the music stopped and the preaching started I didn't much care one way or the other. I just wanted the meeting to get over.
            Now I was ignorant about revival meetings and what goes on at them, so when the pastor asked for all to bow their heads in prayer, I did it just so I would not stick out in the crowd. (And, I may not have had the sense of a mule, but I knew enough to fear God a little bit.) The pastor prayed about this and that, and then asked everyone to turn to such and such a scripture. I really wasn't even listening. Then, suddenly a bible appeared on my lap before my turned down eyes. My boss's finger was pointing to a verse. I heard the pastor reading it aloud to the congregation. He bellowed; 
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
            Then he said, "Anyone who believes this, please raise their hand?"  Well, I figured everyone in the place believed that and would raise their hand, so with my head still bowed, I too raised my hand, - Little did I know!
            While my hand was still raised I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked up to see an official looking man beckoning me. Then I began to notice a person on my right looking at me, then the people in front of me, and that's when I realized I was the only one in the place with a hand raised. As I glanced quickly around the place a wave of embarrassment engulfed me as I realized everyone, all five hundred people in the converted barn, with their five hundred sets of eyes, seemed like they were looking right past my flesh and into my heart. I was stunned, even flabbergasted; I must have shrunk in my seat and turned that special color of bright red that white folks turn when they wish they were invisible.
            I was tremendously relieved when the usher took me into a little room and out of the sight of all those smiling eyes and delighted faces.
            Out of those rows and rows of filled bleachers and folding chairs, I turned out to be the only person with his hand raised. And though I had no idea what I was doing, it was without a doubt, the smartest thing I ever did - or ever will do.
            Maybe it’s appropriate that a guy who thought he was so smart had no idea what he was doing when he did the smartest thing he would ever do. What beautiful irony. I had answered an altar call without realizing it! I had publicly acknowledged that I believed in God's saving power and God knew that in my heart I would never be able to pretend that it did not happen. It was certainly an unorthodox way for God to mastermind my being born-again. I had been running from Him for a couple of years and in an unsuspecting instant He had painted me into a corner where there was no escape.
            As God speaks in Isaiah 65:1 and again in Romans 10:20,
I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
As I entered that quiet little anteroom a bit dazed, I knew I had just been "saved," but I did not understand the first thing about it. I felt like I had just been struck by lightning! Inside the room the man who had ushered me out of the hall tried to calm me down as he explained the best he could what had just happened to me. He said; "Now that you've been saved, here is some literature for you to read. And don't worry about your sins right now because Jesus takes us the way we are. It's His work to clean us up. He will deliver you from all your sins and fears, in due time, all you need to do is obey Him."
            What a relief!  I really needed to hear that, because I still felt the same in that moment as I did on the ride up. I knew all my sins and desires had not departed in the instant when I had confessed that God would save me; I would have known it if they had miraculously dissolved into thin air. Thank God; the man had not only calmed me down he had given me something to think about too. But though the man had given me relief my test for the night was not yet over.
            My next trauma lay in trying to get back to my seat without being noticed. By the time I had found my seat though, the entire place was once again looking at me. I had about as much chance of returning to that hall unnoticed as we do of hiding our sin from God. I was in God's spotlight with no way out. This was it. I may not have known whether my sins and lusts were coming or going, or about whether I should be receiving revelations from heaven, or if there should be signs in the skies, but I knew one thing was certain - this - this very moment - was decision time for me. Would I reject what had happened or acknowledge that I believe that Jesus is my Savior.
            The meeting was soon over and people began to surround me. Men, women and children began congratulating me, hugging me, and shaking my hand. You would have thought I had been elected President, or set a world record, or made some important scientific discovery. My mother was clapping and dancing. I didn't know what to say; all I could do was mumble a sheepish "thanks" or "yeah." But I did not discourage the celebration or deny my confession. I had passed the first test.
            I was still in shock. I wondered why these people were so happy over such a thing. I later realized "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents" (Luke 15:10), and that those folks had been rejoicing with heaven over the return of a sort of "prodigal son."  In the midst of all that rejoicing, though, was me, and I was feeling overwhelmed.
            I'm sure I was literally scratching my head. My brow was certainly furrowed. And I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Where were the lightning bolts? Why didn't the moon turn red or the thunders talk to me? So I was happy when a young lady gave me a hint of what to expect.
 As it turned out she was prophesying!  She said; "You're old habits you won't like. You'll get new friends and hang around different places. In a year's time you'll be listening to different music and thinking different thoughts. Everything will be new and changed!"
            “Could that be possible?” I asked myself, “Is that what happens when Jesus comes into your life?” I thought.
 I could only wait and see, but somehow, down deep in my new heart, I believed it.
            It was on the way home that night that it began to hit me. Something had already happened. I had stopped resisting God. I had stopped fighting against Him. I was bewildered by all that had taken place but I was relaxed and relieved. It was as if a weight had been taken off of my shoulders. I had made a public confession for Christ and people had told me that I had been "saved" because of it. I know God honored that public confession, for as the Scriptures say, "Those that openly confess me before men will I openly confess before the
Father in heaven." (Matthew 10:32) And also, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)

A Promise to Take All the Rottenness Out of Me
As I rode home that night, quietly thinking in the back seat, I suddenly found a piece of my tooth had broken off in my mouth and just as suddenly, for the first time in my life, I felt the still small voice of God reverberating in my heart. It was clearly saying to me; "I am going to take all of the rottenness out of you.
Now I was excited! This was the promise of a miracle to end all miracles. This was better than any thunder bolt from heaven or any miracle in the sky. I had tried to straighten out. I had tried to clean up my act and it never worked. I had wanted to be good and righteous in the worst way but I was a miserable failure every time I tried to do something about it. I had no self-discipline. I was a captive of my own lusts and addictions. But God's first response to my accepting him was to reassure me that He had the power and loved me enough to clean me up and make me able to live a pleasing life for Him. What excitement, what faith, when I felt that in my heart that moment. Though I was travelling in the back seat of a 1969 Chevy I rode the rest of the way home that night cruising along on a heavenly cloud.
What gave me a spiritual birth and made me a partaker of God's salvation is what happened inside of me. I had surrendered!! I had admitted to myself, and to God, that I was not the beginning and the end. In fact, in the book of Revelation Jesus makes it very clear three times in the first chapter alone, verses 8, 11, and 17, that he is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending."  I had recognized in my heart that it was Jesus who could make me a whole and good human being. Only He could fill my needs; only He could offer me true moral health and mental stability. I had decided (though I was prodded by God's little trick) to ask in my heart, in the very depths of my being, for Jesus to take day to day control of my life - the same one who had humbled Himself for my sake and subjected Himself to shame and ridicule, the very same Jesus that is described in Philippians 2:6-8: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross.
Although I did not fully know this about Jesus as yet, I nevertheless had asked in all earnestness for this living Jesus to take the reins of my heart and become the controller of my destiny.  I had committed myself to searching out His ways and doing the things He wanted me to do. And that was the real conversion that took place that evening, one of the inner man. I had experienced, I believe now, something vital to salvation, a sort of John's baptism, the baptism of repentance. In fact we must all undergo repentance if God is to work in our life in a personal way. The dictionary defines repentance as "A turning with sorrow from a past course or action" and that is what I had done; I had turned around sorry for my inadequacies and sins.

I Wanted The Holy Ghost To Indwell Me
            In the days that followed I began to pray and read the Bible. But I was still struggling with old things and the desires of my flesh.
            Then, after what I am sure my parents felt was a reasonable amount of time (about a month) they told me about the gift of the Holy Spirit. What happened was very much like what is recorded in Acts, 19:1-6. 
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them; Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them; the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.
            When I heard this news it excited me. The prospect of having the third person of the Trinity living and active inside of me was awesome. I desired this experience to happen to me with a real passion. I wanted wisdom and understanding and I knew this could only help. I did not know enough to think that this experience was not for today's believers and it never occurred to me that one would have to go through a ritual or some kind of a rigid procedure in order to receive the gift. All I knew was that I had repented of my own will and had decided to forgo my own ways. I wanted everything God wanted to give me. I wanted the power to overcome my own sin and live a life that was both rewarding to me and pleasing to God. It seemed like that was one of the Holy Ghost's functions, to give us that power. So I accepted this baptism, this immersion, in the Holy Ghost with the same child-like faith I had accepted salvation. The only difference was that it was not as spectacular as my altar call had been for I accepted the infilling of the Holy Ghost on my knees in prayer in the privacy of my own bedroom in the presence of just the Lord Himself.
            Very often this gift is received, as the men of Ephesus received it, by the laying on of hands or some public display but after my very public debut into God's kingdom it was His mercy, I believe, that allowed me to receive the baptism of
the Holy Ghost without fanfare. I had prayed earnestly, and with faith, really believing God that the Holy Ghost would come into me. And having so asked, I waited expectantly.
            The following morning the Lord was already at work. My mother felt impressed to play
a cassette tape for me by a man named Joe Jordan. The name of the tape was "The Value of Praying in Tongues." I listened to it solemnly not knowing what to expect. I was touched by the numerous testimonies and Mr. Jordan's own low-key but powerful exhortation. Once again I was innocent of the controversies surrounding this marvelous gift from the Holy Ghost, just as I had been innocent of the ways of a prayer meeting and had answered an altar call unexpectedly. So, just as I had received the "promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4) by asking in child-like faith for His Spirit, I also in like manner, accepted this powerful prayer gift and offered my tongue to Him so a heavenly language could be supernaturally formed by His Spirit.
            I felt a little foolish at first but somehow I sensed that God didn't see it as foolishness. My spirit bore witness with God's spirit and I knew I was speaking directly to Him, and that no one - not me, no, not even the devil himself could know what I was saying - only the Lord knew. I didn't know exactly what this all added up to (just as we never know about conditions of faith until we step out and are obedient to God and His Word) but I did know in my babe-like spirit this was an important development in my relationship with God. The prospects for spiritual power and maturity were thrilling. I felt, and quite rightly, I could always pray a prayer of faith, a prayer that was pleasing to God.
            For the next ten days or so I was strolling on a cloud of bliss similar to the cloud I rode the night of my salvation. For the first time I started to realize how much God really loves me. It was wonderful. I felt like a school boy in love for the first time. I felt untouchable, invincible, saturated with joy, absolutely secure in Christ. I guess I felt enlightened too. Yes, I think that too; it was as if I had a new lease on life. The whole universe was open to me now because I knew and had a relationship with the omnipotent Creator of all things. The world seemed to have changed overnight, but of course it was me and not the world around me that had undergone a change. I was now steeped in the power of the Spirit of God.
            In the weeks that followed I noticed my thoughts and attitudes were gradually being transformed. I read the Bible with not only a believing mind and spirit but an enlightened one also. I began praying regularly, at least once a day, usually at bed time like a youngster. I started to witness, timidly at first, about Jesus to my friends. I shared my thoughts with other Christians and found myself enjoying their conversation and company. Gradually, as my knowledge of the Bible increased, I gained boldness to witness. It was as if the Word of God was stored somewhere deep down inside of me and the Holy Ghost could bring it to mind at the appropriate times. I know it was the baptism of the Holy Ghost that made this gift from God manifest in my witnessing power.
            As the Bible says, "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, this is the covenant I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and their iniqu
ities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 10:15-17)
            At the end of a year my life had done an about face. I did not do the same things, listen to the same music, go to the same places, see the same people or think the same thoughts. The girl who had prophesied on the night of my confession for Christ had been absolutely right.

Water Baptism Was An Act of Obedience
I was even now a prospective family man! I had become, in December of 1975, engaged to a young Christian widow with a one year old boy! It hit both of us almost at once that God put us together, but that is much too involved a story to go into here. What is important here is that the Spirit began to speak to me about an act of obedience and faith; the Christian experience of water baptism. It had come up before but I was standoffish, even outright opposed to it because it sounded to ritualistic, too much like what dead churches did. I was against it from the outset of my Christian experience. But during the time of my engagement, about three months, I was being convinced by the Spirit, through a number of Scriptures, that this is God's will for all Bible believing Christians. Acts 2:38 commands believers to "be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus," Colossians 2:12 told me that believers were to be "buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead"; so it became increasingly clear to me that water baptism was not only an act of obedience but an opportunity to openly show my faith in the resurrecting power of God through His Son Jesus Christ. But the most convincing evidence of all was the way Jesus responded to water baptism Himself. Jesus' remarks reflect His thinking quite clearly. Matthew 3:13-15 tells the story: Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him.
The water baptism of Jesus is mentioned in all four gospels (along with the account of Him being filled with the Holy Ghost) and in fact Jesus had His disciples baptize the multitudes with water too. John 4:1-2 shows that Jesus had been baptized, accounts of believers being baptized are given in Acts, and the Epistles exhort us to be baptized in water, so; after a long period of wrestling with it, the Holy Ghost convicted me that water baptism was a righteous act and an integral part of the Christian experience.
            After I had made a firm decision to be baptized it became apparent the Holy Ghost wanted me and my wife-to-be to get baptized together. Jesus had arranged that we start our marriage by being jointly obedient, making a confession of faith together as one flesh. And the fruits of our obedience were just what might be expected.
            The very thing that water baptism symbolizes started out a spiritual desire and then gradually began to take on substance. It first began to surface in the
form of prayers that my wife and I began to pray for ourselves and each other. My wife was led to pray for us the Scripture from 1 Peter 2:5 (she of course personalized it) "ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus."  To me the Spirit gave this prayer; "He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”(John 7:38)  The Lord had led us to pray that we be living stones in God's spiritual house bringing forth life giving waters.
does that mean? Well, as our baptism had symbolized, we were being invited into a very intimate and unique fashion to share in the ministry of Jesus Christ; to die to ourselves and be raised in the likeness of Him. For it is stated clearly in the Word that Jesus was that rock from which water flowed in order to keep God's people alive in the wilderness and desert (Ex.17:6 & 1 Cor. 10:4). So we also were praying that we would be like Jesus, little stones to bring forth life giving waters. The Spirit had us praying before it had really taken hold in us that we should be raised up from the filth of the world in the likeness of Jesus Himself.
            I was being called to true discipleship.  Jesus' statements like "whosoever doth not bear his cross, and co
me after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27) and "whosoever he be of you who forsake not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33) became literal spiritual commands. I was seeing how very important it is that a Christian be able to say with the apostle Paul, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20).
            It started to get from my head to my heart: as a disciple of Christ I was to die to myself so that Jesus might live in me. I am convinced that my obedience to being water baptized was instrumental if not all important in bringing these things about discipleship to light and making them less an unattainable goal and more a spiritual must.
            Today, many years later, as a Pastor and writer for the Lord, these basic experiences, of repentance and being born-again, being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and conforming to Christ's death and resurrection as acted out in water baptism are at the heart of my faith and doctrine. It is my hope that the Father and the Son will be glorified for the rest of my life because of these true spiritual happenings in my life and that it will encourage other lost or uncertain souls to trust in the love and power of Jesus Christ.

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