The following is a guest post from Sandy Shaw.
This is a very personal story. It is part of my spiritual journey and testimony–yes, only part–but as one significant experience took place 45 years ago this Sunday, I thought it expedient to put it down in back and white.
What I share with you is real and it lasts!
It brought me amongst leaders from various parts of the world. These were men of God who knew what leadership was all about and what was involved, and it has been a tremendous privilege to have learned from these men, particularly in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Let me take you back to one Sunday night when I was 8 years of age. I was in bed but playing at ministers, announcing Psalms and Hymns and reading the Bible.
My mother came through and told me to “Go to sleep.”
I asked for “five minutes more,” which I was granted.
In that period of five minutes I had a vision of God – a vision of Jesus Christ – when I was called to the Ministry. Yes, these are rather adult words. I knew I was called to be a minister. I told no-one for 9 years.
Let me now jump forward to 15th June 1959, when my examination results at Perth Academy came out and I had failed. My father was lying dangerously ill.
On 17th June at 3:10am, Perth Police came to our door to inform my mother and me that my father had died. One Friday he was at his work – the next Friday he was in his grave.
When I went back to School on the Monday, I discovered that to go into the Ministry you had to do six years at University. We had no money. I completed Sixth Year at Perth Academy, but still did not have sufficient passes to get into University. My problem subject was French. I failed it three times.
I had to get a job and was offered two. One with the Gas Board at £320 a year and another with a leading Motor Insurance Company at £230 a year–yes–a year!
Knowing I had to go to night classes and that the Motor Insurance Company, General Accident, was only 300 metres from our home, I chose Motor Insurance and that first morning I was informed that there had been a typing error and the 230 ought to have read 320. I went to night classes and finally gained entrance to Edinburgh University.
On 1st May, 1968, I was ordained in Cowdenbeath West Church, but by December my life of faith was becoming drier and drier. Christmas and New Year were terrible.
In January, 1969, at our local Fraternal Meeting, which was held in Kinross, a colleague who was to become a very close friend, Jim Kincaid, walked into the room and said, “I have just been baptised in the Holy Spirit.”
Five or six of us met with him at the close of the Fraternal. “This is what we need.” I had always known there was more, but I did not know what it was.
We met over these next Monday mornings. We were seeking, searching, hungering, and thirsting. Jim took us through the Scriptures. Nothing happened.
On 16th March 1969–39 years ago–I came out of the pulpit in Cowdenbeath, saying, “That is it!” I was preaching that afternoon in Edinburgh at a Crusader Rally for young people, and God wonderfully upheld. I have never reneged on a meeting.
On our way to Edinburgh I called in at Jim’s Manse. “Jim, it either happens tonight or I go to the Forth Road Bridge tomorrow and, in the Name of Jesus Christ, take off my collar, drop it into the water, and return to Motor Insurance from whence I came.
Around 7:30 that night, Jim came in. He prayed, spoke with me, read from the Bible–nothing. I insisted, “Jim–I’ve got it all wrong–this call thing–I’ve got it all so very wrong!” But Jim persisted. “Let me pray with you once more.”
“There are words in your mind which are not English. In the Name of Jesus speak them out.”
This I did–two words–and at that moment I was filled with the Holy Spirit.
It was like someone putting two cycle pumps on my toes and blowing me up. The Spirit of God came up my legs and body, and I overflowed.
I started to “speak in tongues.” I could not stop speaking in tongues–praising God in that language I had never learned. Jim got up and left, saying, “See you in the morning,” and I went over to my desk and began to write in tongues.
When The Fraternal met that Monday morning, Jim said, “Tell them. Tell them what happened last night.” This I did.
We always had a prayer time as part of our meetings, and Jim Kincaid is a man who is always receiving visions from God. On this occasion, he saw a mountain with a source of water in the centre of it and the water was flowing down– rivulets of blessing–and his word was: “Wherever you go, you will be a blessing.”
I saw exactly the same vision and I remember saying to myself, “Well, if you weren’t making up speaking in tongues last night, you are certainly making this up,” until I heard God speak to me. He said, “Son, look at the water.”
In my vision–in my picture–the water was flowing uphill to the summit! It was like holding up a hose and the water was sprinkling all over the place; the same consequences but a different method.
Then came the voice again: “From now on, your ministry will be uphill.”
I move forward two years to Guildford University in 1971 when I attended a superb Fountain Trust Conference. On the Saturday morning, at the final meeting, we were to meet in denominations. I had considered leaving the conference early, but my wife, Elspeth, said, “Oh NO! We have been at everything. Let’s go along.”
There were five Presbyterians present, including one of the main speakers: Rev. Professor Rodman Williams from Austin, Texas.
In 1972, there was to be the first European Charismatic Leaders Conference in Germany with five representatives from each nation and denomination. Around three months after Guildford, Rod Williams asked me to choose and lead the Scottish delegation.
There was some money available at that time and I was later informed that, following the German Conference, I could travel to any part of the world and tell of what was happening in Europe!
In this interim period, Jim and Val Kincaid had gone from Crossgates in Fife as missionaries to South Africa. I chose to go to South Africa and a three week preaching tour was arranged which later incorporated, as I travelled home, a brief visit to Israel, and a week’s teaching in Cyprus.
Germany, South Africa, Israel, Cyprus–what was happening in the life of a wee boy brought up in Perth? Various international ministry visits followed.
Let me close with words from the Word of God as we have it in the Bible, part of which I have read every day since the age of eight.
We have in the book of Acts the record of Paul’s life and ministry, and we have his testimony three times. He never changed.
He never modified it. He never suggested that he had moved on from that and what happened was too simplistic. In Acts Chapter 26, Paul tells us that he was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.
In II Timothy Chapter 4 verses 3, 7, and 10, Paul has a word for the world and a word for the Church. Paul was faithful to the end. He fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.
If we do not keep the faith, it is unlikely that we will be able to fight the good fight or finish the race. With Paul, too, it was real and it lasted!
Meet the Author:
Alexander “Sandy” Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland.
Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness on the Moray Firth Coast–not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are grounded in the Word. Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
“Word from Scotland” Copyright 2012 © Sandy Shaw. “Word from Scotland” articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each story, along with their complete bio and a link to http://www.liveasif.org/ 2) “Word from Scotland” content may not be arranged or “mirrored” as a competitive online service.