It was a true joy to hear your voice when you called me yesterday! What a delight for my heart. How Iíve missed being a part of your life!!! Iím so very grateful for the precious blessing to tell you I love you and to hear your voice again.
Dad, Iíd like to share my heart with you seeing that neither of us know what the future holds and all we can do is hope. This may seem a bit long and lengthy but Iíd rather share everything that is there than withhold anything that I may regret having not shared. Dad, this letter will hopefully cut through a lot of phoniness and religious chit chat and share with you what I believe.† My desire is for you not to believe what I believe, but just to hear my heart. You and I have ďprobablyĒ gone down different roads concerning our views of ďfaith in GodĒ or our understanding of Who He is.† So, this is just kind of a one sided conversation right now being that itís a letter. It seems like I can communicate better anyway through a letter than through verbal conversation.
Mom made Karen and I go to church when we were just kids which bored me to death! I found nothing in the formalities of church that was enjoyable or interesting. Than one day she sat us down on the couch next to her and shared the plan of salvation. John 3:16 ď"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.Ē It was like I was hearing it for the first time although it may have been preached at me from some stranger from a pulpit numerous times before. I was quite amazed that God would love me that much and then began to wonder why He had to give His Son for me. That is when she shared Romans 3:23 ďfor all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,Ē and then Romans 6:23 ďFor the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Ē I could hardly wait to give my life and the reigns of my heart into such a Loving God! I was about 9 years old at the time. Then within my teenage years I became hungrier and hungrier to know Him. I tended Basic Youth Conferences led by a Bill Gothard who led wonderful seminars into applying the Principles of Godís Word within our lives, I began memorizing a chapter of the Bible a week and sharing the 4 Spiritual Laws with others. It seemed like the harder I tried to get close to God the dryer I became.† It felt like the harder I tried to become spiritual, the more I felt like I wasnít. Than I ran into some Christians who had the Fruits of the Spirit (a phrase that may be foreign to you please try and look over those) which are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self Control flowing from their lives. I knew that is what I needed although I was already doing everything in my power to obtain them. It was after I started attending a weekday evening fellowship with these people that I began to see that these people saw things in the scripture that Mom had never shared with me and that was the work of the Holy Spirit as described in the book of Acts and many others thereafter. It was about this time of my life that I began to see a polarization within the Christian Faith, those that believed that the work of the Holy Spirit was still in effect to day as mentioned in the book of Acts and many others thereafter and those that didnít. I was raised with Mom who was raised within the realm of those who didnít. I tried her way with all of my might and found it lacking. Although I believe I did meet the Savior through faith in His Word, I needed something else to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk. That something else was the beautiful filling of the Holy Spirit, which I thankfully experienced. Let me tell you what happened. The Lord says in Matthew 7 ď20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.Ē He didnít say by their dress, or their talk or their religious activities, but by their Fruit which I listed above and is mentioned in &23† ď22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Ē Iíve learned that we as people are pretty proud and we donít like not being in control of ourselves or our own destiny. We even donít like not comprehending something that may be beyond our comprehension. It seems like that is the way it is even for those who have come to hear the Good News about Christ paying our price but even after that we tend to try and put Him and our understanding of Him in a box so that we can carry Him around and flaunt Him like a trophy with our works, words, or activities that we ďhave God!Ē oh wow!!! Hereís where I may get a little passionate, I guess because Iíve tried to live a life for God apart from the precious filling of the Holy Spirit and found out how dead it really is. I guess if you combine that with the fact that He has called me into a precious ministry of prayer with Him each morning makes me sick of hypocrisy and religious pride and arrogance. I feel that one of the most precious chapters in the Word is 1 Corinthians 13 ď1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.Ē We are so good at putting God in a box and yet I feel that He is FREE within the boundaries of Holiness and Love. Iím so glad that the thief on the cross wasnít baptized but even still there are those who feel that if you havenít been baptized youíre not saved. And Iím so glad that the thief didnít have the gift of tongues or miracles and yet there are those today who say if you donít have these than youíre not saved Ė hogwash! Iím growing almost daily in intimacy with Him and am continually learning how to hate religious pride and arrogance in myself and around me. Now let me tone it down a notch because I can get going. Hereís what happened on the night I got filled with the Holy Spirit Ė it was really cool! I was at the end of my own rope. I had memorized many, many chapters of Godís Word, shared with many of Godís Love and was feeling like I had hit rock bottom within myself. When saying goodbye to a neighbor friend of mine named Brian Brown whom I had led through in the prayer of accepting Christ, I asked him ďdoes it seem like Iím trying to be someone I canít be?Ē and he said yes. Well, that was it for me, I knew it, others knew it and I had it. I went into my bedroom and knelt and prayed ďwhy God!!! Iíve tried so hard to be what you wanted me to be?!!Ē Then Bill called me into to eat dinner with him at the bar in the kitchen. No one else was there and I could hardly hold up my head to eat dinner and Bill then said ďWhatís the matter? Religion is suppose to make you happy.Ē I then said ďReligion is just what made me the way I am, Itís only Jesus that can make me happy.Ē At that very instant being totally at the end of my own strength and very, very down, something beyond my ability to describe with you happened. It was like God within my spirit told me to look up and then this incredible presence of Godís Beautiful Holy Spirit filled me with more joy and laughter and peace that can be described. I was so overwhelmed with this indescribable encounter, I just fell onto the floor off of the chair and was bawling and praising God for His incredible touch of Love upon me. Bill just mumbled Holy Roller and kept eating. You really canít blame him it was quite fascinating and unbelievable. I tried to share with Mom the joy of the filling of the Holy Spirit that I had experienced and she was just blown away. It was like I was telling Mom that I had decided to worship satan or something. She said something like donít you ever talk to me about that again, and so I didnít but that didnít stop me from growing in my new found walk with Christ which was in the filling of His Precious Holy Spirit. Now I found that the fruits which I had strived so hard to produce in the past began flowing from my life. I was very, very grateful that the Lord allowed me to see the impossibility of walking the walk or talking the talk apart from this precious walk with Him.
Now, does all this mean that Iíve led a rose garden experience in my life up to now? Hardly!!! I have learned the Joy though of learning how God can see us through some very painful situations in this world ďyes even a divorce OUCH!Ē Iím continuing to learn how much I donít know and want to draw closer and closer to knowing Him. Iím very sorry that our paths couldnít have crossed sooner and taken different directions so that I could have grown to know you better. I missed you very much and needed some deep healing from the scars that were left from loosing you which the Lord performed on my heart while I was in a Spirit Filled service in the US Air Force. That was also an incredible encounter with His Infinite Love and Gentleness. The leader of the service suggested we all gather around in a circle and hold hands and worship the Lord together and then He suggested we pair off with one other person and pray. I paired off with a guy I never even seen before and we knelt and prayed. He began to say as if a wonderful revelation had entered his heart ďI have a Father! A wonderful loving Heavenly Father!Ē Thatís all I needed to hear and wammo! God laid me out on the floor and filled me with this incredible indescribable waves of Joy and Love and Healing that were just consuming me. Iíve never been drunk on liquor in my entire life but that night I think I experienced something like what drunks experience because my body was as loose as a goose and felt so relaxed. It was awesome. Like I say Dad, a lot of this may be absolutely Greek to you but I just wanted you to know† more about me and my love for you. I pray that God will be a very present help for you in your very present battle against these old bodies of clay that do wear out. I love you Dad and May the God of Incredible Love, Joy, Peace and rest be yours and May His Son fill your heart.
Love you much DAD!
The following is my Dadís response to the above
Letter to him and then my response
back to him.
The response of my Dad to me opening my heart about my life and my experiences with Christ were something to the effect of ďSon, my Dad was a preacher for 16 years and I was made to live in an environment of God and I left home to get away from that and if we can continue our relationship without mention of God, then we can continue and if not then I guess we just have to let it goĒ.† The Following is my response to his response.
Iíd like to offer my deepest apologies for offending you. My intention was not in converting you or leading you to an altar, or leading you into prayer. It was solely for the purpose of sharing with you who I am, where Iíve been, and why I am who I am. If who I am bothers you than yes, by all means I need to stop communicating with you for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and I dare not offend you any more. Thank you very much for the opportunity to hear your voice once more and tell you of my love for you. My best to you and yours, and although you may not believe what I believe, because you are my Dad, you may always share what you believe or donít believe and why, that will not change who I am. In other words, youíre always welcome to call and communicate with me and share your lack of faith or whatever.
Love to you and yours,
Kevin K. OíConnor
September 1, 2002