Personal Testimony of Glenn Gilbert, Pastor of Celebration Station.
I would not ordinarily go into this detail, but it is relevant to where God has brought my life, that of my wife Pat and Celebration Station. God sometimes works in a persons life for specific purposes and callings. I cannot take credit for anything that has happen in my life for it is surely the grace of God and His sovereignty that has placed us where we are at today. I recognize the course of our life has been sovereignly directed by God and I am forever thankful for His continued interdiction in our lives to keep us on course.
In 1976, with my life on the edge and my marriage on the verge of separation, because of my evil ways, God had over a course of several months, through people and circumstances, brought me to a decision in Jesus Christ. Late one night, on a fire station couch where I was a Captain of an engine company in North Charleston, while I was reading Hal Linsley’s book “Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth”, I surrender my life to Jesus Christ. I had been reading the book for about a week and the Spirit was convicting me a lot. I was formerly raised by a strong Christian Grandmother into my mid-teens and moved in with my parents, and subsequently wondered away for almost 16 years. This one night after finishing a chapter there was a simple prayer at the end and I was moved to make a confession of faith through the prayer and when I had finished the Spirit of God came on me in such a way that consumed me with a zeal that shocked me. I didn’t know at that time what it was, but I now know that it was something super-natural and that of being endued with “first love”. The men in the fire department thought I had lost my mind as I was a totally new person in Christ.
Over the following years in the fire department, though I was set apart from among the men in Christ, the love of God emanating out of my life, brought forth an expression and life that cannot be explained in the natural understanding. I didn’t preach or harass those I lived and worked among, but the Spirit of God provided ample opportunity to share Jesus Christ. After about twenty years of continued service, that fire department was transformed, with many of the members being solid Christians and others coming into faith, but just needing a little bit more time for the seed to come to maturity, just as it happened with me. What was this that happen in the fire department over a period of twenty years? It was simply the manifestation of the life of Christ found in 1 Corinthians 4:12 at work in that fire department, “Death works in us, but life in you.” It was a Christian walk that lives to die and dies to live, that the life of Jesus would continue to manifest in the mortal flesh of the one dying, that the life of Jesus would flow into the darkness to those in whom that life touches and transforms.
In 1989 I had come to a point in my Christian walk that was not at all pleasant. I had lost my zeal for God and the hunger there of. I had no idea what was happening in my life. We were home group leaders in a large Spirit filled church, and was very involved in the ministry. I had an incredibly disciplined life of prayer and the reading and study of the word, two to three hours a day, sometimes more. I was at a point in my life, where if something didn’t happen, I was going to go back to the world lifestyle that I had left many years before. At the same time my daughters were growing up and one had gotten married to a young man that attended the same church who’s parents were also Christians, but lived in Texas. About a year after their marriage, my daughter came to us and told us that her husband had decided to move back to Texas. She was not thrilled with the idea, but knew she needed to be at her husbands side in this decision. I had and still do have very good relationship with my daughters. This news, combined with what was going on with my faith in Christ, really crushed my heart, but it was needed for God to show me what was happening in my own life. Early one morning, as was my habit, I was praying, my heart was reeling from the recent news from my daughter and I heard the voice of the Lord say, “that’s how My heart feels about you.” I was shocked and inside I said, “but Lord how?” Immediately the Spirit of God took me to Revelations 2:4 and said within me, “you have left your first love.” This word shook me, bringing swift repentance and a broken and a contrite heart and put me back on course. It has kept me on course ever since. I have come to understand that in all my discipline and works I was merely seeking the acceptance and approval of others and even God. Oh, how blind I had become in my desire to be accepted, but that is where the vanity of well intentioned religious works will bring us as the church of Ephesus found out. Revelation 2:4-5 – ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5) ‘Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place — unless you repent.
In September 1994 we traveled to Toronto, Canada to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Toronto Airport Vineyard Church. This impacted our lives even more with the love of God. We went there with the pastor and another elder and his wife from the church we were elders at and we were all impacted tremendously. Upon our return the Spirit of God was poured out in a powerful manner, touching many peoples lives. Three to four months latter the Lord spoke to my wife and I, confirming His instruction to both of us at the same time. It was time for us to answer His call and to start a ministry that would be fully based on a foundation of His love to touch the lives of those who needed it. His call was, “Take my love to those in need.” We were anointed and sent out by the pastor and elders of the church to do His work. It was not my desire to pastor a church or go into the inner city, but when your love for Jesus is in the right place you will gladly answer the call of God even against your own will for the love of God compels us to do so. In April of 1995 we started traveling into the inner city to share His love with those in need.
Ephesians 3:14-19 – For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15) from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.