Victoria’s Secret

Nicks conversion was phenomenal. His father was an intellectual atheist and Nick was no different. Nick had never attended a church in his life and showed no interest in doing so. It took a dramatic demonstration of love from a sworn enemy to soften and change his heart, and God knew how to bring it all about. The brief introduction to Nick can be read in the story titled “Sworn Enemies.”After Nick’s conversion, he applied his intellect and reasoning to the scriptures. It wasn’t long before he discarded all his pornography, Victoria’s Secret magazines, and other items he knew were dishonoring to God and destructive to his spiritual growth.

Mount Kilimanjaro Though this mountain is located in Tanzania, the picture was taken by Bentng while in Kenya at the Amboseli National Park. December 25, 1981

Mount Kilimanjaro
Though this mountain is located in Tanzania, the picture was
taken by Chet while in Kenya at the Amboseli National Park.
December 25, 1981

Nick saw that the scriptures proved that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was for him, and he began to earnestly seek that baptism.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.” (1 Cor. 14:39)

“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Cor. 14:1)

To accommodate his desire, I took him to a friend’s apartment in East Boston (our ship was at that time being overhauled at the Bethlehem Shipyards, next to the Logan Airport) for a Bible study and time of prayer. After our Bible study we had Nick kneel in the center of the room and we all gathered around him and prayed for him to receive the “Promise of the Father.”

Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Lk. 24:49)

Just a few moments later, while kneeling, and with his arms outstretched to God, he was dramatically Baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was amazing to see this former atheist praising God in tongues—and prophesying; just like the Holy Spirit baptized new believers in the Bible.

When Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6)

Nick attended church with us in East Boston. On some Sunday mornings in this large congregation, Nick would release a prophetic utterance that would send chills down the back of every congregant, and many would have tears streaming down their faces as the result. This was because we all knew it was a message directly from the throne of God!

Nick was a new Christian, and a former atheist, never having been to church in his entire life! And here he was speaking messages from God that pierced the hearts of everybody in the sanctuary! The strange thing about this was that Nick didn’t know anything about prophetic utterances, nor did he have any idea about the theological depth of what he was prophesying about—it was clearly the work of the Holy Spirit.

Gate #10 at Newport, Rhode Island Naval Base April 1981
Newport, Rhode Island Naval Base
April 1981

Today prophetic utterances are thought of as being delivered only by the spiritually mature. But in the Bible, and during the USS Barry Revival, we clearly see that prophecy, and any of the spiritual gifts, does not indicate one’s spiritual maturity, it only means that the person exercising the gift is willing to be a vessel for the Holy Spirit to work through.

During our private prayer times together, outside of church, Nick would begin praying, and his prayer would at times turn into prophesy, with him quoting verses from the Bible of which he had no knowledge of! It was dumfounding to me, to be kneeling beside him and to hear those scriptures pouring out of him like that!

How did I feel about Nick prophesying and stirring the spirits of worshipers in a large congregation? Jealous! I didn’t know why God would use a new convert in such a way. I was immature and full of spiritual pride—I wanted the attention and the glory! That was exactly why God never used me like how he used Nick. Nick was ignorant of spiritual truths, and though ignorance shouldn’t be glorified, it’s often the immature and new believers that are the most productive in personal evangelism because they know they have nothing in themselves with which to affect lost souls.

We saw this played out some 32 years later during our ministry overseas, where my wife and I served for a number of years. One illiterate “jungle man,” who had never been to any type of school, was more effective in his evangelistic efforts than those who had been to Bible College for four years or more!

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