I wanted to skip ahead to talk about my My father before I continued with the personal accounts after my experience with the Holy Spirit. If you will bear with me it will be worth your while. Mike Gibney was a good father, very frugal and extremely clean. He looked like the actor Glenn Ford and had mannerisms like Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly.
The things I remember most about him was teaching us to swim in our pool and coaching us about baseball, waffle ball, stick ball, and football. He had a wicked curve in baseball and taught us how to run patterns in football. I loved when we would take to the S.I. ferry to Manhattan, then the subway and travel to Yankee stadium in the Bronx. We would always end the night with a large pizza at Victoria’s and playing the jukebox with crazy songs. He loved us, despite the fact we really provoked him at times with our antics. He loved us and was proud of his twin boys.
Dad had a sardonic sense of humor and a Irish temper and knew how to use them. He also drank a lot on the weekends. I can recall when I was very young after we went to bed, he would ritualistically play records, pace the floors and smoke and drink. He had been drinking booze since he was ten and he was a bartender in his twenties. He worked for thirty years at Twin County.
My Dad like us grew up in Roman Catholicism and later on I found out as rumor had it, he lied in confession so out of guilt he never returned. He sent us to church, of course. He wanted us to believe in God. After we got saved and started going to church the Lord started dealing with him. He fought the drawing of the Holy Spirit and he was getting more and more angry because of the guilt for sin he felt. This is what we call a “convicted sinner.” Why he would come to church with us I do not know. He liked the friendly people at Calvary Assembly yet he would come home angry he did not understand the worship, preaching and the speaking in tongues. He would get mad when we would leave him to go to church. He would get irritated when we would change the station in the car to a Christian station and leave tracts in the bathroom for him.
My brother and I would frequently visit the elders in church like brother Edgar Carlson. One time he would suddenly said to us, “Let’s go see your Dad.” It was only one mile but Edgar was a very old man and he did not walk he shuffled slowly. But this man of God wanted to witness about Christ to my Dad. My father told us how touched he was when he saw Edgar walking down the street. It broke his indecisive heart.
He would talk to my Dad and tell him, “Michael, you need to give your heart to the Lord.”
He would say something to the effect, “I know Edgar, I know.”
A big turn around began when after one night of drinking when he was able to get up and eat breakfast with us. He had a hangover and we were watching a very animated southern preacher on television while eating.
He told us to “Turn the rebel off.”
We somehow escaped without incident to get to church. But once again God in his own special way must have piqued his interest and he turned the television back on and started listening to the preacher.
At one point the preacher stopped, and pointed at the television.
He said, “You sir! Your wife and children have been praying for you and have just left for church. You have been out all night drinking! You need to repent and get your heart right with God sir!”
He told us later it was like he had been shot. God wounded my father with an injury only HE could heal.
Dad got very drunk one night. He was lying on the couch telling my brother, “I want to get saved, Mikey. I want to get saved.” Later, he went into his bedroom and the smell from alcohol was so dense my mom could not sleep with him.
Later we heard him screaming saying, “Get it out of here! Get it out of here!” Mom went in and found the mattress upturned against the wall and she claimed that he saw a demon and it terrified him. Was it a hallucination or demon? It does not matter. He never drank again after that. And people still ask me why I don’t drink?
After one awesome service, to which my Father again for some reason came, I was sitting at the table and my Dad was washing a glass out. I asked him, “Dad did you feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit in service today? He was stunned by the question and shook his head, “No.” but in his heart it looked like he wanted to say, “Should I have? Did I miss something?”
It took three years, but my father got saved after an the invitation to come to Christ that was made at church. He was baptized with the Holy Spirit and I watched him progressively face the challenges of his life. By the power of the Word and Spirit he overcame life long addictions to nicotine and alcohol. He was penitent when he sinned. He loved the Bible and prayer. I watched him pray with Mom in the back room every night at eight. He would read his Bible during lunch at work. His temper began to disappear. I have never seen a man so completely changed by God’s grace.
I have to mention one time when my Dad was putting together a Hibachi grill. It was not going well. The old way of thinking came up in his mind and he said, “I need a drink.”
Then he remembered some one had bought him a nice bottle of scotch for the holidays and it was in the trunk. He got the bottle, poured it into a Styrofoam cup pursed his lips and stopped.
He looked at it and said, “Oh God, forgive me! He poured the cup and bottle into the sink. Not but a couple of minutes passed when the phone rang.
The voice on the other side said, “Hello Mike, this Pastor Elstad from Christ Assembly.”
“How are you brother Elstad?”
“Mike, I know it’s short notice, but would it be possible that you could come tonight and talk to our men about how you overcame alcohol?”
My father at that moment was keenly aware of what just happened. He passed a test. He also realized Satan had his eyes on him. The devil must have had a fit that day.
My father through the years became a teacher of the scripture. I have all his notes. He spoke at my church in Pennsylvania several times. I was so proud of him.
I was there the day he died of heart complications at only 55 years of age. I caressed his face still warm and I cried out, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
At his funeral my brother Mike and I got to sing and preach and testify to my unsaved family of God’s work in his life. I look forward to seeing him again in glory.
Now, back to High School and how I learned to preach in hell.
©2015 Rev. Stephen S. Gibney, give credit where credit is due.