Matt O’Neil – My New Life Story
2 Corintthians 5:17
Matt O’Neil – Chaplain
Mississippi County Work Release Prison
My new life story began sometime late May 1974 after leaving my home in Sterling, Illinois and moving here to Blytheville, Arkansas. I had met a girl at a Sterling High School street dance in 1973 and she moved here to Blytheville and I followed her. It did not work out between us and me not having a very good job and not knowing anyone to help me, caused me to have to sleep in my car. I had been born and raised a Roman Catholic attending church and school at St Mary’s Catholic Church and school in Sterling, IL. I graduated from Newman Central Catholic High School, Sterling, IL in 1973. That year, at age 18, I did not feel I needed church anymore so quit. A man that I was working with here in Blytheville, a God changed alcoholic, kept inviting me to his church, the First United Pentecostal Church. One night I did attend with him and what a shock it was to me as the church services were definitely different than what I was used to having grown up Catholic. Being used to very quiet church, they praised the Lord vocally, clapped their hands and sang the songs with all their heart as if, well as if Jesus really meant something to them and come to find out He really did. Needless to say this was pretty unsettling to me being used to quiet church, but I felt something there that I had never felt in church before. Later I learned that this was the Spirit of God that I felt. I never knew you could feel such a presence of God like I felt. They invited me to the altar to pray at the end of the church service and even though I was not used to this type of church service I went forward to pray. When I got to the altar, my then pastor asked me if I wanted to pray with them and I told them that I did not know how to pray. All my life we just repeated memorized prayers and nothing from the heart as they were doing. He then explained to me that praying is just telling the Lord what I felt on my heart. That night I asked the Lord to forgive me of my sins and I still remember to this day the load that was lifted off of me that very first night.
The church showed me they really cared for me despite the shoulder length hair, cigarettes in my pocket and the obvious odor of not having a bath in a few days due to living in my car. They looked past what they saw on the outside and saw a heart that so desperately needed God.
They then explained to me that I needed to be baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ following what Peter said on the day of Pentecost, the very first day of the church. This was after they had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:38. Up till then I had only been baptized as a baby 18 years earlier by sprinkling and not going under the water as the only way the bible records it to be done. They also explained to me that baptism was only done in the name of Jesus in the bible and not the titles Father, Son and Holy Ghost as most churches today teach. Well I did not understand all this at that time as I had no idea what the bible taught as I grew up not reading the bible as my parents were not taught to read the bible either. But something happened to me at that altar that changed my life so I got baptized by immersion having the name of Jesus called over me.
Also during this time they were telling me how I could receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost as recorded on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. They were telling me how Acts 2:39 says this is a promise to all believers. One sunday evening, in May 1974, I did receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost, just like they did that very first day, with speaking in tongues. I was laughing and joyously crying all at the same time. I could hardly believe God really loved someone like me so much as to give me the very same experience that he gave to the apostles and Mary the mother of Jesus at Pentecost that very first day of the church and all recorded in Acts chapters 1-2. God gave me this experience even though I had no idea what the bible taught. They then started teaching me a home bible study, explaining the bible to me. Since that very first year I have continued to do the very same thing that they did for me by continuing to teach home bible studies and I have continued to verify that what I received that very first day is in actuality what the bible does really say. Even today I am in awe that not only do I understand the bible but I can teach it. I knew absolutely nothing about the bible before I received His Spirit in my life. I still continue to teach to others that there are so many more things that God is trying to reveal to us that maybe your church does not teach. Acts 17:11 speaks of a people “more noble” because they 1) received the word of God with mind open and just as importantly, 2) searched the scriptures daily
to determine whether these things were so. 2 Timothy 2:15 says to study (the scriptures) so you can” rightly divide the word of truth(God’s word the bible)”. Dear reader, it is your duty to study the scriptures below to see if your experiences and beliefs line up with the word of God. It will be the word of God(bible) that we will be judged by at the judgment day. John 12:48 & Rev. 20:22.
Scriptures referring to water baptism in Jesus name: Compare Matthew 28:19 and Luke 24:47 both in red spoken by Jesus. Acts 2:38, 8:16, 19:5, 22:16, Romans 6:3, 1 Corinthians 1:13-15, Galatians 3:27. Most churches use the Father, Son, Holy Ghost baptism but the only place that it is found in the entire bible is Matt. 28:19. This doctrine is built on only one scripture and if you study the above scriptures, the apostles only baptized using the name of Jesus. They actually did everything “in His name”, Reference Mark 16:17- 18, John 14:14, Acts 3:6 and 16, 4:7 and 10-12, 10:43, Colossians 3:17, Phillipians 2:9-10 and James 5:14.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus told his disciples that they will receive power “after” the Holy Ghost comes upon them. It was fulfilled in Acts 2:1-4 and they knew it by the speaking in tongues much to the utter amazement of those that gathered to see what was going on. Acts 2:17 says He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh and Acts 2:38 says if you will repent of your sins, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:39 says it is a promise to as many as the Lord will call and that includes you dear reader.
Some churches today say this is not for our day but I have literally seen thousands receive this experience since I first received it and some churches also teach that it is not essential to have this experience but why would anyone say they love God with all their heart & not want everything he can have from Him; especially since God promised it to you.
Scriptures on the Holy Ghost with speaking in tongues. Isaiah 28:11-12, Joel 2:28-29, Matt. 3:11, Mark 16:17, Luke 24:49, John 7:38-39, Acts 1:5, 8, 2:1-17, 2:38, 8:14-17, 10:44-46, 19:1-6, 1 Corinthians 12:4-10, all of 1 Corinthians chapter 14, James 3:2-8.
Our God is also interested in your physical well being. James 5:11-15. We do the praying and believe Him for the healing, no matter what the sickness, even cancer.
So many say I need to change my life before God will accept me but Jesus really loves you just as you are and died for you even as for me when I did not even know Him as a long haired lost hippie living in my car. With His Spirit in your life you will be able to overcome the sins and problems in your life. But it all starts with Jesus. I have seen murderers changed, drug addicts, alcoholics, and homosexuals. With God all things are possible/(Matthew 19:26, Mark 9:23, and 10:27, Luke 18:27) But notice it says “with God.” You and God together can do so much. After you receive His Spirit there is “power” to break the bondage of sin in your life and give you a “new life story” just like mine.
My life is so different now. Whereas I came to God a smoking, drinking, cussing, partying hippie living in my car, I now have a wonderful God, a God serving wife and three children that love God also. You know what a miracle that is with young people these days. I still continue to teach home bible studies, adult sunday school, chaplain a the Arkansas Dept of Corrections prison at Luxora, Arkansas and owner of O’Neil Church Furnishing.
Eternity is forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. Did I put enough evers in there cause there is going to be a lot of them in eternity. You only have one life to live and have no idea when it will end. Compared to eternity, the bible says your life is as a vapor of smoke(James 4:14). Do not waste another day. Commit your life to Him, ask Him to forgive you of your sins right now and He will lead and guide you into all truth(John 16:13).
We are now worshipping with the Apostolic Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church in Steele, Missouri.
APOSTOLIC LIGHTHOUSE UNITED PENTECOSTAL
303 SOUTH WALNUT, POB 21
STEELE, MO 63877
PASTOR JEREMY DAMES WORTH
Sunday School and morning worship 10 am
Sunday evening prayer and worship 6 pm
Thursday evening mid week service 7 pm
CHECK US OUT ON THE WEB:
www.alupcsteele.com is our local web page
www.upci.org is our national web site
Write me at the above address if my story has been a blessing to you or if you need more information on these studies or if you need help in finding a church in your area. Thank-you for reading and be sure and let others read “My New Life Story”. If you cannot pass this onto others you can use it in your garden as my picture will keep your garden completely pest free (HA).