Friday, March 11, 2011
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Be Filled with the Spirit, me and tobie!
A little more than thirty years ago, I was invited to attend a new church in my hometown. I was a fairly new Christian with a Baptist/Presbyterian background, so the whole thing seemed a little odd to me. First, they met in rented space in a mall. Second, when we walked in there were chairs instead of pews. On the platform there was a keyboard and drums. Weird! Then they started singing. Oh, my! They lifted their hands, they clapped, some even danced a little. It was a shock to the system. Then came the kicker: they started praying in some odd foreign language! I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Later, as I tried to process this bizarre experience, I was stricken with the gnawing sense that, strange as they were, they had something real. A few days later, sitting in someone’s living room, I prayed for and received an experience Jesus called being “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:5) My life has never been the same.
There is a good deal of controversy and confusion concerning the Baptism with the Holy Spirit and the practice of speaking in tongues, but it is well worth the trouble to sift through it all and find the reality. It is real, and I can’t imagine living the Christian life without it. Along with this experience came a new boldness to share my faith. (Acts 1:8) Then there was the experience of worship. I understood why those folks were dancing! (1 Cor 14:15) Maybe most striking was the new power in my prayer life. I could pray in tongues with the confidence that God heard and understood, and reacted in accordance with aspects of His will that I could not conceive in my limited mind. (Romans 8:26) And as a bonus, when I prayed in tongues, it built me up! (1 Cor 14:4) Now I know for many of you old-timers, this is all common knowledge. But here’s a heads-up for you: the Baptism of the Spirit is disappearing in many of our churches. They don’t even talk about it, much less practice it. It just seems a shame to let such a powerful, glorious, and helpful blessing fade away. You need the Holy Spirit, and so do they.
Scripture Reading: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8 NLT)
Somebody Said: "If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference." A.W. Tozer
We ramble on about having a New Testament kind of church, but without the real live power of the Spirit, there can be no such thing. I am an old-timer now, but I cannot in good conscience toddle on to glory without at least telling folks about the wondrous power of the Spirit. They need it, whether they know it or not.
For information regarding our online course on the Holy Ghost, visit http://www.fcftucson.org/fmti.php.