CharisMissional

empowered by the spirit for mission

Stop Waiting for the Spirit

I ended my previous post with the words “So what are you waiting for?” How can I say “stop waiting”? Aren’t we commanded to wait for the Spirit? After all didn’t Jesus say to his followers that they must wait for the gift the father had promised – that is the gift of the Holy Spirit? Surely if the early disciples had to wait so do we?

The Holy Spirit has already been given

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR ?We often talk about waiting for the Spirit but today as Christians we do not have to wait at all. The Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. The Spirit was given to the church then. There is no more waiting.

When we follow Jesus by turning from our previous way of life in repentance and embracing a new way by faith then we become eligible to receive the Holy Spirit in the same way that the first decuples did.

You can receive the Holy Spirit now

If what you mean by waiting is fervently asking and drinking now but nothing is happening then don’t give up. But the baptism in the Spirit is something you can experience straight away. Don’t delay your asking or receiving by saying well I’m waiting on God for his time.

You don’t have to wait until we are mature or until a certain time has passed. You’re not in the same position as the first disciples during that ten day period. You can experience the Holy Spirit straight away. Stop waiting and start receiving!

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How to Receive the Baptism in the Spirit

July 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

How to Receive the Baptism in the Spirit

The baptism with the Spirit is a clear experience that follows on from turning to Christ. Sadly it isn’t the experience of all followers of Jesus but I believe that it can be. God has poured out is Spirit for us all. If you’ve not yet had this experience, then ask God and get others to pray with you. Yes, it’s that simple.

Here are answers to three basic questions about how to receive this:Baptism-of-Christ

1. What do I need to do to be baptised in the Spirit?

Ask to be filled (Matthew 7:7-11) and go on being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:19-20). If you’ve never had that initial experience of baptism of the Spirit then ask and keep on asking and drink deeply of the Holy Spirit.

You can pray for this yourself and other people can pray for you too. The Bible describes people laying their hands on people to receive the Spirit.

You don’t have to be anyone special to pray for others to be baptised in the Spirit. In Acts 9:17 Ananias prayed for Saul to be filled with the Spirit and there’s no indication he was anything more than an obedient follower of Jesus.

2. How do I know if I’ve been baptised in the Spirit?

Baptism in the Spirit brings a deep spiritual experience of joy that overflows to others. You will find a greater confidence is opening up conversations about your faith as well as a supernatural equipping to serve in other ways.

There are many occasions when the Spirit is recorded as being the enabling power for specific actions. This can include the gift of speaking in tongues but I do not believe that you must speak in tongues to be baptised in the Spirit.

There will be some evidence of receiving power to do things beyond your own ability. The book of Acts is full of such supernatural incidences such as hearing God speak words of guidance though prophecies, and seeing amazing answers to prayer such as miraculous healing.

3. Can I be baptised in the Spirit more than once?

Acts 4 says the disciples were filled with the Spirit again days after their initially baptism with the Spirit at Pentecost. As baptism is described as an initiation I would say we are only baptised in the Spirit once. But we can have similar overwhelming experiences of the Spirit time and time again.

The Spirit brings us to repentance and faith but that is only the first step. Then there is the second step of that initial infilling with the Spirit. This is breakthrough experience is what we call baptism with the Spirit. But there is then a third, fourth, fifth step as we are filled again.

If you have been baptised with the Spirit already keep on drinking and asking God for more. God may give you deep dramatic experiences. These are great. But ultimately it is the closeness of the Spirit helping us in our daily life is what is important.

So what are you waiting for? Pray to God to fill you and let me know what happens!

Related Posts

Baptised in the Spirit
What does Charismatic Mean?
5 Tips on How to be Empowered by the Holy Spirit for Mission

July 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm Comment (1)

Born Again by the Spirit Doesn’t Mean I’ve Got It All Sussed

Yes, that’s right being born again by the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean that I’ve got it all sussed. There are some things I’m convinced of but others I still think are worth pondering without being dogmatic.

Yes, I am born again

Being born again is definitely my experience and one that I am proud of. Since I became a Christian in my teens I have seen the Holy Spirits role as being empowering us for witness. I have always believed that God will bring people to himself, give them a new life.

I believe that God became human in the incarnation. He walked on earth, people could see him and talk with him see and hear what he was like. But now Jesus has ascended and sits enthroned at the right hand side of the Father and God has sent his Spirit to us.

The challenge for us as Christians in this process is to have conversations about spiritual issues with those who are genuinely interested here on earth. Being quite shy I find these difficult to initiate. The frustration in not being able to do this can I come over very forced. But when I get this right, it is still something that I love to do.

But I still have some questions

Question markYes, that’s right, there are still aspects of being born again that I have questions about that after all these years I still think are worth pondering.

Born of water and of spirit?

I wonder what it means to be born of water and of Spirit in John 3:5 and what Titus 3:5 means by the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Spirit. It is interesting that in The Normal Christian Birth David Pawson uses these verses to see baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit as part of being born again.

Most evangelicals usually just refer to being born again as repentance and faith. This may well be right but believers in the NT were always baptised immediately and if they hadn’t had an experience of the Holy Spirit this was immediately put right. Shouldn’t we expect this today?

All will be made alive?

Also while I believe that it is important for people to make their own decision but it is interesting that there are verses that say things like this “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22), implying that God does or will ultimately save everyone.

One interesting book on this is the Evangelical Universalist. Though it has some quite persuasive arguments I’m not fully convinced that God does save everyone in the end. But the possibility is not as far fetched as a lot of evangelicals might think.

How should we pray?

Sometimes I hear people praying for people to be saved but I can see no New Testament president for this. What I do pray for is for the confidence to chat about these things with people who are really interested. And for those who do want to follow Jesus to have the experience of baptism of the Spirit.

Just some thoughts! I’d be fascinated to know what you think.

Related Posts

What Happens When You Die – for a another question worth pondering.
What is the Gospel? – for more on what being born again means to me.
Revealing the Secret Identity of the Evangelical Universalist – on my previous blog

Further Reading

A recent interview of Evangelical Universalist Robin Parry on Rachel Held Evan’s blog. Follow the link in that post to the previous interview – Edward Fudge. I think I like his view better.

July 9, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

5 Ways the Holy Spirit is at Work

How is the Holy Spirit at work in your life? What is your experience of the Holy Spirit? Have you been baptised with the Holy Spirit? Where are you at with you relationship with the Holy Spirit? Here are five ways that the Spirit can work in you.

1. The Holy Spirit can guide you

St Peters Holy Spirit window Perhaps you struggle with the idea of God speaking to you. You may have a sense of the Spirit bringing things to your mind but you don’t always express it as a coherent voice speaking to you.

In their book Experiencing God one great tip to hearing God, that Blackaby and King, outline is to look at how God is at work – in the world, in your neighbourhood and in you. Knowing what God is doing prompts you to bring things in you and around in the direction that God moving.

As you begin to see what God is doing – throw yourself into it. This is, as many people today are experiencing, a way that the Holy Spirit will guide you.

2. The Holy Spirit can make the Bible clear

When you are reading the Bible do you ever find that you understand something that perhaps you have been slightly hazy about in the past. You suddenly get it! And it appears so obvious to you now. You know what it means and what you need to be doing.

In some way you feel that you’ve known this for a long time but now it feels clearer and you get excited about it all again.

Perhaps, like me, having read so many others talking about it God envisions you for mission when reading Luke 10.

Or you get head over heals about God’s purposes when you’re in the middle of reading Ephesians after hearing that God is emphasising these chapters today.

3. The Holy Spirit can provoke you to worship

For many years now Christians have been exploring creativity in worship. New ways of worshipping are engaging people and invigorating their adoration of God such as meditative worship, prayer stations and prayer walls – where people can graffiti their praises or express themselves in other artistic ways.

This is just one way that I believe the Holy Spirit has been at work provoking people to worship.

4. The Holy Spirit can provoke you to thanksgiving

We have so much to be grateful for. It is so easy to fall into complaining and negativity which saps your spiritual strength. Just as many people are realising, thinking about how God has blessed us can revolution our attitude. It is as the Holy Spirit provokes us to gratitude you begin to experience God’s joy.

5. The Holy Spirit can comfort you

The Holy Spirit helps us to be more self-controlled and not fall into despair he is also a great comforter sympathising with us in our trials and disappointments. It is great to emphasise the positive but unless we are sensitive to others an over emphasis of this can have the unfortunate side effect of alienating those who are hurting.

Do I detect a trend that faith filled songs that have perhaps been a little over triumph-alistic are being replaced in popularity with more mature worship songs? I wonder if us the Holy Spirit is encouraging us to say whatever befalls us we will still trust God even when we don’t see God answering our deep heartfelt prayers.

So there are five ways that the Spirit can work within you. There are of course many more. What would you add?

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Baptised in the Spirit

July 6, 2013 at 6:00 am Comments (0)

What Are Your Spiritual Gifts?

I wonder what gifts of the Spirit have you used in the past. It could be that they were just for that moment. But perhaps it’s time to be using them again.

Today I want to start a series of posts all connected in some way with the Holy Spirit. Hopefully these will encourage you to think more about the Spirit and seek a greater experience of the Spirit.

What are the spiritual gifts?

To start with there is the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit himself is a gift given to us from God. But there are also particular abilities, empowerings and roles that are gifts of the Spirit. There are a number of lists of these in the New Testament that overlap to some extent.

In my series on the Nine Gifts of the Spirit have already looked at one of the lists in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10:Gifts
• wisdom
• knowledge
• faith
• healing
• miracles
• discernment
• tongues
• interpretation

These are manifestations of the Spirit. In that blog series I have mentioned how I would understand each one of these working. But this is not the only list.

Romans

Natural abilities and supernatural endowment are combined in Romans 12:6-10 that lists prophecy alongside:
• serving
• teaching
• encouraging
• giving generously
• leadership
• showing mercy

The List in Ephesians

Ephesians 4:11 lists the five fold ministries, which appear to be more like offices with the people themselves being the gift to the church:
• apostles
• prophets
• evangelists
• pastors
• teachers

However someone may have a gift of evangelism though not have a leadership office of evangelist – perhaps it is right to see them as an evangelist in a lesser sense. Perhaps we can all be endued to some extent with these gifts for example some people may tend to be more prophetic than others or some more pastoral.

The other Corinthian lists

But the distinction between roles and manifestations is blurred by the way they are mixed in other lists back in 1 Corinthians such as 12:29-31 that lists:
• apostles
• prophets
• miracles
• healing
• helps
• administration
• tongues
• interpretation

and again in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 list:
• tongues
• prophecy
• faith
• giving generously
• hardship (or martyrdom)

These lists do not appear to be exhaustive. Other gifts are implied in the context of 1 Corinthians 7:7 indicate gifts of celibacy and marriage. Perhaps you can think of others – either in the Bible or in your own experience.

Context

The gifts are all in the context of love (1 Corinthians 13), the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).

In which gifts have you been used by God?

Here are a few questions to ask. Again, the list is by no means exhaustive but it might give you one or two clues to the gifts that you have experienced.

• Have you led any teams in the church, at work or elsewhere? Could you have experienced the gift of leadership?

• You may have had insights into understanding the Bible. Could you have experienced the gift of knowledge? See my definition here.

• Have you ever felt you’ve understood some of what someone has said when they’ve spoken in tongues but never spoken out?

• Do you have the knack of getting people to work together by putting them in touch with each other? Could that be your gift of administration?

• Perhaps there have been times you have been prompted to give way beyond what you would naturally be able to afford and you’ve found God supplied.

Look over the other gifts to see where you might have been used in that way even if you didn’t call it that and it wasn’t that spectacular.

What are the barriers to moving in them again?

Imagine doing these some of these exploits for God again. Perhaps you could even grow in your ability to do them beyond what you did before. What is stopping you?

• Perhaps you feel you don’t have the time to do these now. You’ve got so busy with your job or with your family or other commitments. Could it be time to give more time to these again?

• Perhaps you’ve not had the opportunity to use these gifts recently. Could it be time to take some initiative and make the opportunity?

• Have you got out of practice? It might take a bit of confidence building on your part to do it. But surely God is worth that.

I wonder what gifts come to mind that you could begin to move in again. I also wonder what ways you could use them to serve God not only around other Christians but in mission too. Whatever they are why not give them a go! What do you think?

Related posts

The Nine Gifts of the Spirit
What Does Charismatic Mean?
Baptised in the Spirit

July 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)