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Bob Slosser
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BOB SLOSSER

You Need Faith to Be in Israel, Dont You Smith?

By Bob Slosser
CBN.com Columnist

CBN.com – The Lord doesnt need anyone to tell Him how bad things are in His beloved Jerusalem. Despite Psalm 122, there is no peace. Suicide bombs shatter the hope for it almost daily, but we must keep praying. Leviticus 26:6 still stands:

I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. (NIV et al)

think its amazing that the Israelis do not seem to be afraid. They seem so grateful to American Christians who pray for them. Prayer keeps them alive, and they know it.

I re-read just yesterday memories of one of the most important experiences Ive had getting to know David duPlessis intimately in three straight days of talking . . . alone, uninterrupted except by sleeping at night. It was an amazing time, producing a close friendship with "Mr. Pentecost," a friendship that hasnt ended despite the natural death of David several years later, and teaching me the meaning of faith, the kind needed in Jerusalem now. It may have been the most transforming friendship Ive had, sealing the fact that I really was a Pentecostal since rebirth and still am. You might say I was born into that which I once mocked and scorned.

I remember well the time in Presque Isle, Maine, way, way up north almost as far as you can go in the United States, when I lived with my family 50 yards from a Pentecostal meeting house. There, I "endured" many, many Sundays and weekdays of loud trumpet playing, joyful singing, and other sounds of happy people. It was many years before I said, "Hallelujah!" with reverence and no ridicule. And Im the guy who, after coming kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of God, soon idolized (well, almost) folks like Smith Wigglesworth, duPlessis, and Harald Bredesen.

Ordinary products of the charismatic revolution of the second half of the 20th Century have been known to roll their eyes at my occasional excessive behavior "can this be Bob Slosser of The New York Times, journalist, the president of a significant graduate university in Virginia, the Cavalier state, and author of 15 books, some best-selling?"

Yes. But Id rather be Smith Wigglesworth. Or Smiths friends, David duPlessis and his dad, who showed the meaning of faith, I believe. Those conversations with David that I mentioned above led to a book entitled "A Man Called Mr. Pentecost", published by Logos International, founded and headed by Dan Malachuk, another of those I came to admire and to love. Following are excerpts that show my point on faith:

My father maintained the discipline and meticulousness right up to his death. One day early in 1961 he said to my younger brother, Justus, one of the three of us who became preachers, "David may come to South Africa again this year, and, if you write him, tell him, if he is coming, to make it before Ascension Day. Ive asked the Lord to take me home on Ascension Day."

Justus was startled. "You cant do a thing like that, dad!"

"Well," father replied. "I dont say Im doing it; I only discussed it with my heavenly Father. And if He approves, that is my desire. And Im going to prepare for that day."

Dads getting senile, thought Justus, and he never wrote to me. Neither did any of the other boys.

Late in the morning on Ascension Day, a few months later, a pastor came to the house to pick up some of his camping gear that had been left there. He stopped to talk to Dad sitting in the sun on a patio.

"Grandfather [everyone called him that], do you still have some communion wine?" Dad loved to grow grapes, and his vines were magnificent. He made unfermented communion wine that was a favorite of everybody.

"Yes," dad said, "Ive got a gallon left and youre welcome to it."

Then he said, "You know, this is Ascension Day."

"Yes."

"Well, Ive asked the Lord to take me home today."

The pastor assumed he was joking. In that case, grandfather, please bring me the wine before you go."

Dad went into the house, fetched the wine, and gave it to the pastor, who paid him for it. Then dad said, "I wont go into the garage with you. Its open, and you know where your things are. I feel just a little tired, and Im going to sit down."

"Thats fine," the pastor said, and walked away. After only a few steps, he heard a strange little sound a "hallelujah." He looked around to see dad slumped in his easy chair. The pastor rushed over to him in the bright sunshine of the morning and found dad unconscious.

Just then, mother came out of the house, peaceful and serene, and walked toward them. The pastor was excited. "Grandma, grandpas fainted."

Mother, smiling and calm, continued her slow pace toward them. "No, pastor, he hasnt fainted. Hes gone home."

"But, grandma, you take it so easy!" he nearly shouted.

"Oh, its all right," she said gently. "I expected it. You see, he said goodbye to me at breakfast. He said the Lord might call him and he wouldnt be able to come and say goodbye."

Guess what David said in New York at Kennedy Airport bound for Jerusalem when he was told. Remember Justus never told him dad said he was asking to go on Ascension Day. "Thats just like dad. He waits until Ascension Day, and he goes up, too."

Faith. Dying. Heaven. Peace. Everything. Those are the kind of friends to have. Bless you, David. Bless you, Grandpa. Bless you, Smith and Harald and Dan and Jamie and Kathryn and Oral and Benny and the wild and woolly beauties.

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