Best Decisions are made at a Pentecostal Altar

Some of the best decisions I’ve ever made were at a Pentecostal altar. Thirty-four years ago, at an altar, I met Jesus Christ. Not the Jesus merely portrayed on the stations of a cross, or the Jesus pictured in homes, nor the Jesus pinned around one’s neck, lapel, or on the dashboard of a car. No, I met the real Thing. Promised. Present. Right there; at the altar. My life was forever altered. Behind that altar I was baptized in the saving name of Jesus Christ. At that altar I later received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.


I found myself at the altar—every week. There, I started feeling the tug to Africa. Well, not really a mere tug, but a continual wave of African faces.

I said, “I do” at a Pentecostal altar. Now married for going on thirty years, I’m still saying “I do” and still building an altar in my home. I dedicated both of my children at a Pentecostal altar. Their eventual vocation selection didn’t matter. What mattered was, is, and is to come that they serve God and bow their knees to His name. At an altar!

I’ve had the awesome privilege of praying literally hundreds through to the Holy Ghost at altars spread across the globe.

Last night I found myself at an altar….again! I’m not ashamed of my weekly trips to a communal altar at my church. Neither am I embarrassed of the altar I invisibly build and sacrifice upon on a daily basis.

One of my favorite Scriptures, prayed and acted upon daily is: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

It’s my daily prayer. At times I drag myself on to that altar. Sometimes I fall off. What do I do? Pull myself back on to the altar again. God is concerned about my availability and willingness to be a living sacrifice. Paul felt it was so important that He begged us to offer our lives daily.

One African missionary tells of a thanksgiving service where many gifts had been placed at the front of the church including a huge basket. When it looked like all the gifts had been given, the pastor prepared to go on with the service. He paused as a skinny, frail old man made his way to the front of the church. Empty-handed he went to the large woven basket and climbed inside. With no offering to bring the man had decided to give the only thing he had–himself. It is the gift of gifts.

During this holiday season let us renew our commitment daily. Find your altar again today; stick with it, stay on it, and never stray from it.

3 Categories of Experiences – Part Two

Three Categories of Experiences

  •  Store-away
  • Give-away
  • Throw-away

Give-away (Experiences shared with others, i.e. testimony).

* “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

* “And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey” (Acts 22:6).

* Henry Poitras in his Fishers of Men Series writes, “A witness tells what they have seen and heard (Acts 4:20, 22:15). Your story of personal experience is captivating, inoffensive, indisputable, and most of all ‘salt’ that will settle in and create thirst. Remember we are witnesses not judges.”

* When anything good comes our way, we usually tell it. The early Christians were told not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. They responded, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20) The NIV translation reads, “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

* “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalms 107:8).

* Leonard Ravenhill said, “A man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.” It is difficult to talk someone out of what he has experienced (John 9:24-25).

* “Witnessing” is an effective means of evangelism, because you are explaining what God has done in your life. No one can argue with a transformed life or other miracles experienced. “And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it . . . What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:14, 16).

* In a more specific sense “witnessing” is telling others what salvation/eternal life means to you. It includes three parts.

* BEFORE: What you were like before receiving eternal life.

* HOW: How you received salvation/eternal life. This would explain how you came to obey Acts 2:38.

* NOW: What salvation/eternal life means to you. Here you would also declare the peace you experience now and your hope for the future.

* In your testimony you should always emphasize the positive by telling the great things that the Lord has done. Be careful not to give credit to the devil in the first part of your testimony. Begin by telling what your life was like before you met Jesus Christ. It is not necessary to go into a lot of detail. Keep your entire testimony to 3-5 minutes. Be brief and to the point.

* Phil Callaway in Who Put My Life on Fast Forward confesses that one of the greatest stresses in his life is “witnessing.” He writes, “When I told others about my faith, I was as clumsy as a carpenter with ten thumbs…A few years ago I made a surprising discovery: When I simply tell others what I have seen or what God has done, they listen…I used to count conversions; now I count conversations. I don’t have all the right answers, but I know and care about the questions.”

3 Categories of Experiences – Part One

Three Categories of Experiences

  1. Store-away
  2. Give-away
  3. Throw-away

Store-away (Experiences kept for future use)

  • “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalms 119:11, ESV).
  • “It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River. Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground'” (Joshua 4:20-22, NLT).
  • There is a story told of a old farmer who came under conviction one day and went out into the corn field and dropped to his knees and gave his life to the Lord. A few days later the devil began to harass him suggesting that nothing had really happened and that he was just deceiving himself. A few weeks passed and the old farmer got fed up with the harassment. He went to his barn and got a wooden stake and a hammer and said, “Devil, follow me.” The old farmer proceeded out into the corn field to the place where he had originally prayed and given his life to Jesus as his Lord. He took the hammer and drove the stake into the ground and said, “Devil, right here is where I surrendered my life to God, so be gone!” Writing and sharing your testimony is like driving the stake into the ground and saying to the devil, “Devil, right here is where God worked in my life, so be gone!”
  • “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).