sword_of_spirit“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).

This part of my testimony shows how God still was using me despite all my internal struggles. I know most preachers chuckle at how God used Balaam’s donkey (I do not think they would laugh if they realized how close the application of that story was for them) but it was more than that. God works through weakness and imperfection. he was use all my issues one day to be a platform for me to help his children.

Now I was born to preach. I love it. It is what God made me to do. I always think about it. I even preach when I am alone. I dream about preaching. You see, it is God that ordains preachers. Preaching is not learned, it cannot be taught it is a vocation, a sacred calling. You are either called by God to be a preacher or you are not one. A real preacher of the gospel is a strange creature. He must preach from what is in his heart. He must feel the presence of God when he preaches or he is deeply grieved. God’s Word burns in his heart like a fire.

During my early years as a Christian I would attend as many church services as I could. The Cops for Christ were meeting in my church and of course I attended and I listened to them talk. Two policemen John Carlo and Bill Salvia were there and I got to speak with them. I am not sure what happened, (I probably rebuked them for something as i was prone to do) but they wanted me to meet their Pastor and they asked if I would like to come speak at one of their Sunday night services. I accepted. Pastor Joe Demola was very encouraging. This was an Italian Pentecostal church and the people were very warm. On May 23, 1982 on Sunday night, was the first time I stood behind a pulpit…ever. I preached on Deuteronomy six and called for repentance and obedience to God’s Word. I was only sixteen and I think people were surprised.

There were some small churches on Staten Island that loved having us come and preach. I might be visiting with Pastor Tyndale on Jersey Street and would come up to me and say in his West Indian accent, “My brother, you are preaching tonight.” Brother Demola would do the same.  I would go see Brother Elstad in Castleton Corners and he would have me preach on the spot. Brother Sanchez in Jersey City would invite me to preach. It was not like today. I had to be ready at all times. The Holy Spirit had these men training me. I miss these men. I was too young to completely appreciate them, but I weep at how gracious God was to me. They called me a young evangelist and they encouraged my gifting despite my inexperience.

One time I will never forget at an end of a service at Brother Elstad’s they brought up a homeless man. He was bound by alcohol. He did not say a word but I looked into his eyes and there was another presence there. It was a demon. I reprimanded this demon for its hold on this man and immediately and without a question the unclean spirit left. He professed faith in Christ. Brother Elstad told me later that man was serving the Lord and was a deacon in his church.

My brother and I would go out and preach a lot. He called us “Bookends for Jesus” because we were twins. My brother would sing and I would preach.  We went to preach in one place and Mike sang one too many songs, not leaving me much time to preach. I was preaching on repentance and the Pastor stopped me midway. he still laughs about it. The people seemed to want to hear more but he ended the service abruptly. He was angry and he brought us into his office and rebuked us and asked me if I was reading any Leonard Ravenhill’s books because I sounded like him. I had never heard of him. But I thought that maybe I should read them after that.

I remember street preaching in Manhattan right in battery Park. I was working there temporarily and about a quarter of a mile a way I hear this large booming voice.  I went and there were these guys that were preaching under a huge American Flag to the people eating lunch. One guy looked like he could bench press 400 pounds and his voice was the one I heard. He could say, “Jesus Christ” better and louder than anyone I ever knew without a sound system. I had seen one of these men before and he asked me if I wanted to preach. Of course I wanted to. This was a new experience for me. Once again, I could see people as souls. There they many business people sitting on the benches eating lunch and we got to preach to people who had never heard of the new birth. 

One of the great things I got to do was work at WPOW in 1983 as the chief announcer just before I went to Bible College. My father jumped up and down when he heard I got this position. It was very early hours but I enjoyed it. I had the opportunity play Christian preaching and music.

During that time there was a young woman that my brother and I met. She attended a large Baptist church. She was a lovely Christian in her twenties and she would drive us home sometimes. My brother and I were speaking to her about the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

One night we were talking in her car about the Holy Spirit and she screamed “I’m afraid! I’m afraid!” Her church so poisoned her mind about this biblical experience she was terrified.

I placed my hand on her and said, “I rebuke this spirit of fear in the name of Jesus Christ and I command you to leave her alone.” Immediately she was at peace and not but a week later the Lord baptized her in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.

The Lord would also give me the opportunity to go to the Mid West and West Coast and preach-some amazing things would happen-things I never expected to see.

©2015 Rev. Stephen S. Gibney, give credit where credit is due.

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