empowered by the spirit for mission

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?

Related Posts

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.


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.


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)

How to Know God

As a Christian you say that we know God. This is an intimate relationship with God that affects your life. It’s not just factual information. Perhaps it is better to say that you are getting to know God – as you learn more of him as you develop your relationship with him.

I Don't Know ANY of This!

But how do you know him? What does this really mean? Yes, you come to know God both through learning what the Bible says but if you really come to know God then you also have a spiritual encounter that is just the start of a lifetime relationship. God works by his Spirit helping you to understand how God want you to live out the Bible.

1. God reveals this knowledge to you

This relationship begins with God opening your spiritual eyes – he takes the initiative in revealing himself to you.

This is both an initial experience and continual as he keeps opening your eyes to more of his character and ‘to know the hope to which you are called’ (Ephesians 1:18).

As you get to know God more you realise how you’ve oversimplified him in the past.

You learn how he loves you and he answers your prayers.

He sometimes blesses you before you ask.

Then you learn that he doesn’t give you everything because sometimes it wouldn’t be good for you.

You then learn that sometimes you just cannot fathom his ways.

2. This knowledge of God inspires you to action

You may feel you know God well or you’re just beginning to get to know him. Whatever you feel you know of God then you will find that the Holy Spirit inspires you to act on what you are learning.

This begins with a change of attitude or repentance and then continues with continual adjustments as you seek to align your life with how you understand God wants you to live.

You become aware of your failings and your sin. You also become aware of his great forgiveness. You feel determined to change but also become aware of your weakness. You become aware of his grace and somehow sense that this empowers you and looking back you see that you are not the same as you were.

“No-one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No-one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (Luke 24:32). .

3. This knowledge is for you to apply to your life

You are not just to feel inspired and have good intentions – but you realise that you do need to actually change and keep on changing.

You know it is foolish not to apply knowledge. After all you learn things so that you know what to do. To gain knowledge and then not apply it is ridiculous. James 1:3 says “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror.”

Sometimes this call inspires you but on occasions it can overwhelm you. The Christian life is about living God’s way but don’t forget it is also about God’s grace and the joy in the Holy Spirit who empowers you to live like this.

4. This knowledge transforms you

The good news is that Jesus died for your sins and he has changed your very nature. You are not changing by your own self effort but God is transforming you by his Spirit to be more like Jesus in our character.

You are bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10) As you keep learning more of how God wants us to live and you do keep on changing. You add to your knowledge self control… perseverance… godliness… brotherly kindness… (2 Peter 1:5-7)

5. This knowledge provokes others

As you are transformed you become a provocation to others.

You are a role model. Sometimes you are a good role model sometimes a bad role model. Nevertheless you are a role model. As you seek to be more like Christ you may find yourself focusing on your short comings. You may even see how those are affecting others. But God has changed you.

As a follower of Jesus there is a lot in your actions that is having a positive affect on others. Sometimes some will react negatively to your faith. But often the affect will be positive – even if you don’t always see it.

Other Christians will follow your lead when they see your passion for prayer or how you stand up for what is right. Others including those outside of the church will be inspired when they see how your cope with difficult situations or how you so often have a kind word for people.

The Bible tells us that even the heavenly realms your influence is being felt – where forces that we barely understand are in operation both for good and evil.

6. This knowledge enables you to glorify God

Your knowledge of God will bring glory to God. God is fulfilling his purposes. He is at work in this world. He is making himself known to people (John 1:1-5 &18). As you learn about how he wants you to live and you do it, as you throw yourself into his purposes that people you see and understand and know more of God.

This is how you will know that you are getting to know God. People praise God because of you.

May 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm Comments (2)

How to Be With Those in Pain

Today for May’s synchroblog several bloggers are writing about how to help Christians know what to do and what to say when others are going through times pain or hardship.

It’s not easy finding the words for these but here are my four tips based on my own experiences:

1. Be approachable – not intimidating

dave sympathyI remember being intimidated when everyone gathered round me to pray. I’d just been made redundant. I am sure that that everyone wanted the best for me. But I found myself backing away from them as they offered their loudly hyped up ‘faith filled’ prayers on my behalf.

2. Be approving – not patronising

On another occasion I remember feeling the Holy Spirit comfort me during a time of worship. I was experiencing something deep. I must have looked upset because someone asked if they could pray for me. Again they were well meaning but somehow they came over as patronising because I hadn’t ‘got it all together’.

3. Be available – not too distant

More recently when my mother died I was so grateful to have our church home-group that meets in our home around me. They were just getting on with activities as normal but being there for me. It was great to be given some space but still be able to get a sympathetic listening ear when I needed it.

4. Be adaptable

I’ve appreciated when people have just been there for me, rather than when they have felt they have needed to sort out the situation. But over the years I’ve heard others sometimes complain because the church hasn’t been given the support they expected. Everyone is different and it isn’t always that easy to tune into their needs.

I wonder what you would add as number five.

Here are the other synchroblog posts:

May 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (6)

The Eight Sundays of Eastertide

Anyone as who knows a bit about the church year will tell you that Easter is not just one weekend it is a whole season stretching from Easter Sunday until Pentecost. We have fifty days, including eight Sundays, to celebrate the resurrection.

EastertdeI have recently been studying some of the traditions of Easter. To some these may be clichés but they are virtually unknown to many evangelicals and charismatics.

During each of the Sundays of Eastertide traditional liturgy reminds us of the following truths regarding this resurrection life:

The first Sunday: The ressurection

Just as Christ has enabled us to overcome spiritual death he enables us to overcome difficulties of living in this fallen world and ultimately to defeat death.

The second Sunday: Church

Together as God’s people that we can overcome our doubts and misgivings by encouraging one another in the faith. On our own our faith with dwindle and die.

The third Sunday: Worship

As we gather for worship we learn and experience this resurrection life. It is in our experiences together that we are strengthened to live in the good of the resurrection.

The fourth Sunday: The good shepherd

Jesus is the good shepherd who has laid down his life for his sheep and taken it up again. He leads us to green pastures and feeds in the midst of our enemies.

The fifth Sunday: Ministry

During his time on earth and especially between his resurrection and ascension Jesus taught his disciples how to be Jesus after he had left – to live this resurrection life.

The sixth Sunday: The Holy Spirit

Jesus taught them to expect the Paraclete – the Spirit that would come when Jesus went away. The Spirit is given to empower us to live the resurrection life.

The seventh Sunday: Unity

Despite our many differences the fact is we as Christians all have this resurrection life in common and the important fact that will bring us to unity and so glorify God.

The eighth Sunday: Pentecost

Following Jesus ascension the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost on his church bringing a boldness to proclaim the gospel and live the resurrection life to the full.

These wonderful themes are emphasised every year as the traditional church works its way through the Easter lectionary readings. Treasure these if they are part of your heritage. If they are not then I would encourage you to study them more and maybe even incorporate them into your Sunday worship.

May 12, 2013 at 8:03 am Comments (0)

My Google A to Z of Missional

A quick way to research what people are searching for on the internet is to use Google’s predictive feature. You start typing a word and Google with give you a few suggestions based on popular searches. By typing a word followed by each letter of the alphabet it is easy to collate an A to Z of that topic by just picking one of the four words or phrases that Google gives you.

google missional

A is for Missional Alliance

B is for Bible – ten scriptures on missional by Ed Stetzer

C is for missional communities as in CMS’s small missional communities

D is for Defining Missional – what does it actually mean?

E is for Missional Entrepreneur – making social enterprises missional

F is for missional formation – see these top ten books from Jesus Creed on missional formation

G is for God of Mission or Missio Dei

H is for hermeneutics – watch this video on how we interpret the Bible in the light of mission

I is for imagination. Here is Mike Frost speaking on Missional Imagination

J is for joining God in the neighbourhood. This is what missional is all about. Buy the book Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood from or

K is for Keller as in Tim Keller. In this short but important video he distinguishes between missional and evangelistic

L is for leadership as in the MA in Missional Leadership at Springdale College

M is manifesto. Read Ed Stetza’s blog posts under the heading Missional Manefesto here

N is for Network as in The Missional Network – a team of ministries coaching and supporting missional leaders

O is for order – missional orders are related to new monasticism. As in this post by the Blind Begger

P is permaculture as in the Missional Permaculture Network – Christians seeking to be missional through permaculture – an organic approach to gardening. They are on facebook here

Q is for quotes. There are some missional quotes from Good Reads here

R is for Rhythms. Missional Rhythms by David Fitch

S is for Songs – a playlist of missional songs on YouTube here

T is for theology. There are four elements of missional theology from Jesus Creed here

U is for urban. God is moving in the inner city with organisations like Urban Expression

V is for verses as in missional verses evangelistic (see K is for Keller) or missional verses attractional. Mike Frost explains this here:

W is for Missional Wear – come on! Is wearing a t-shirt with a Christian slogan on it really being missional?

X is for Generation X which has been a topic discussed in missional circles. There is a cool looking guy talk about this here

Y is for Youth Ministry. How can we make youth ministry more missional? asks Steve Knight.

Z is for zip code – in the UK we call it a postcode. Demographic data on your area can be important in assessing the culture and the needs of the people you are aiming to reach.

April 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm Comment (1)

Do you know more Christians or non-Christians? – the Results

missional pollHere are the results from the poll I ran the other week: 92% said they knew a good balance of Christians and non-Christians and the other 8% felt that they knew more non-Christians.

These results appear to be very encouraging. If we are to be truly missional we do need to mix beyond our Christian circles and it looks like most of you are. You feel that they know a good balance of both Christians and non-Christians. Not knowing non-Christians isn’t a problem for you.

Of course it could be you tend to have closer relationships with people who are also Christians. I wonder if the poll might have got different results if I had referred to friends rather than just people you know.

It is interesting that one comment did indicate awareness that this might be problem for Christians. “I think there is a real danger to becoming cut off” my friend Ann said.

Speaking as someone who remembers “experiencing exclusion in many areas” she wrote: “I am determined not to do what was done to me – how ever I can see and do experience people who say they are Christians… [who] are selective in who they are Christian towards”

Perhaps how to get to know people outside Christian circles isn’t the issue. But perhaps you need help developing or maintaining those relationships? Or could it be serving those you know whether they are Christian or not is more important as well as how to have conversations about spiritual issues them?

April 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

What if Genesis was a Creation Myth?

Today for April’s Synchroblog several bloggers are posting on the question “What if some or all of the Bible narrative is not necessarily true history, but is myth of one sort or another?” This video post is my contribution. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a list of other contributors.

Evangelical author Peter Enns has recently suggested we interpret the early parts of Genesis not as literal history but as the unique style of writing of a creation myth. This leaves room for evolution to have taken place.

We often use the word myth in a dismissive way implying that a story is a hoax. But scholars have understood for some time that a creation myth can be allegorical truth. This is an issue of interpretation of the Bible not a question of its reliability.

Where does creation myth become actual history? Genesis 11 perhaps? But what to make of the genealogies that go all the way back to Adam? I don’t know.

I’m a lot less comfortable with the idea that the later Bible stories are mythological. If I came to believe that I might feel more at home in a more liberal church. If we took this idea to its extreme then Jesus death and resurrection would not be historical fact. What would be left of the Christian faith and even the Church?

Doubting the historical accuracy of the Bible could destroy our faith. But for each part of the Bible we do need to understand the style of writing. Is it history, poetry or allegory?

I’ve no problem with the idea that God may have used evolution to create us. I believe that if we interpret the Bible correctly it doesn’t have to be at odds with science.

I wonder what you think of this.

Below is the infographic Is The Theory of Evolution True? courtesy of showing some of the history and current state of the creation-evolution debate.

Further reading on Peter Enns

PDF Summary of Peter Enns’ Inspiration and Incarnation
PDF Summary of Peter Enns’ Evolution of Adam
Peter Enns own blog
Peter Enns at Biologos

Other posts from this month’s synchroblog

April 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (7)

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