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Faces on Faith: The real deal

October 10, 2018
By REV. DR. DARYL DONOVAN , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

I was in my mid 20s when I became a full-time senior pastor at a rural congregation in Missouri. I was wet behind the ears when it came to pastoring and my theology was still a work in progress. The church people were so patient.

About three years into the ministry, I was studying in my office, when I had a strong sense God was speaking to me. I sensed God saying, "I want you to announce that Wednesday night you will be teaching on the Holy Spirit, and how to be filled with the Spirit." I argued with His nudge and reminded Him of just how clueless I would be to speak on that topic. He persisted. I felt like He said, "Don't worry, I will give you the words."

That Wednesday, as I shut myself in to prepare for what I had announced, it was as if God were writing line upon line of the message for the evening. The Bible verses flowed as God was orchestrating His message for that night. About 70 folks showed up, which was really good for a mid-week service.

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Rev. Dr. Daryl Donovan

I gave the "inspired" message, but didn't know what to do at the end. So I prayed a closing prayer. Just as I finished, it was as if a wind blew through the sanctuary. A woman began speaking in tongues. My first thought was, "Oh my, I have lost my job here!" I said nothing. After she got done, again, I didn't know what to do. So, again, I tried to give the closing prayer.

At that moment a young woman I did not know spoke up and said, "Wait. Don't stop yet. I came here tonight because I heard what you were speaking about. I came to refute your message, because our church does not believe in people being filled with the Spirit, and we for sure don't believe in speaking in tongues. But I know what this woman is saying." The young woman proceeded to give the interpretation! As she did people began to weep. Every person dropped to their knees. I saw relationships mended, marriages healed, people transformed as God Himself ministered to us. One woman who came that night with a death-sentence of terminal cancer was healed. That church, and this, then young pastor, were forever changed.

Folks ask me sometimes how I continue to hold the faith after all the years of seeing suffering, church fights and the evil of humanity. I suppose it is because I know that God is the real deal, and He is still working in spite of what we might think or perceive. He is our loving, supernatural, wise Father Who continues to amaze me.

The Rev. Dr. Daryl Donovan is the senior pastor at the Sanibel Community Church.



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