I have written (much) earlier that I grew up in a good church. It was a traditional church. We loved Jesus, we praised him and tried to serve him. We prayed fervently, but particularly, about healing, we didn't expect anything from God. Healing was for doctors. Certainly, we didn't believe that the Charismatic Gifts weren't for today; they disappeared after the Apostolic Age. We (I) was comfortable with this belief -- I thought. But there was something missing in my relationship with God -- he just wasn't real to me.
Worship at my home church was almost micro-managed. We would start on time, end on time and everything would happen on time -- no interruptions. One Sunday, as usual, I was seated in the choir loft. Our biggest chore, other than singing, was to look awake and interested in what was happening. Well, on this particular Sunday, we were awake and interested. Early in the service, Mr. X, got up from his seat and walked to the foyer. He was clutching his chest. As he got to the foyer, he lay down on a couch (there were windows to the foyer, so we could see everything.) One of the ushers quietly entered the sanctuary and got Dr. Y. The service went on -- most people didn't notice anything. Dr. Y looked at Mr. X and shook his head. During the sermon, the undertakers arrived and took possession of the body of Mr. X and left. The sermon continued, followed by all 150 verses (yes, I am exaggerating; it just seemed that long) of Just as I am and then, finally there was the benediction. At this time, before dismissing the congregation, the pastor said, "During the service, Mr. X expired and his body is now at the Z funeral home." No prayer, no seeking healing, because nothing could stop the service. I don't mean to mock my church. It was a good church, but this is just the way it was; a Super Traditional Church.
Linda and I moved to San Diego, along with our infant son, Ricky. I had attended both First Baptist Church of San Diego and First Presbyterian Church of San Diego, while I was single. I assumed that this is where we would worship. But my long time friends, John and Paula Pletcher had other plans for us. They wanted us to attend the First Baptist Church of Chula Vista. But, they also warned us that the pastor, Ken Pagard(sp) was a Charismatic, "you know -- He speaks in tongues." Well, I had been in those kind of churches before -- story another time -- and I wasn't going back to one of those churches again. John and Paula were patient and gracious. They started by taking us to a party with people our own age. We liked them, so we began to attend church. No one started rolling in the aisles or screaming -- they just worshipped the Lord. Ken was a wonderful Bible teacher and there was just something about him. I was hooked. A few years later when the gifts of the Spirit manifested in the service, I was not offended. Linda and I still had not experienced this -- but we were opened. We had been rescued from the traditional church.