Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
Around this time of year about 16 years ago, I was invited to a WSFC retreat in Cannon Beach, Oregon. I was at a point in my life where I was desperate for more of Jesus. It wasn’t that I had completely gone off the rails spiritually or anything dramatic, but more like I was walking around in a spiritual slumber, sort of a “dry bones” kind of place. I was really struggling with who I was in Christ, who God made me to be, and my overall purpose in life. I had a lot of questions and I felt defeated and spiritually exhausted.
During one of the retreat sessions we had an invitation to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. At that time in my life, baptism with the Holy Spirit was not on my radar. I had not experienced a church environment previously where this opportunity was spoken about. The woman who was extending the invitation (who is now one of my dearest friends and mentors) said something so powerful that I will never forget: she said, “Why are you getting in the way of what the Holy Spirit wants to do in your life?” And I knew; I knew it was time to invite God into the deepest places of my heart and so I went forward to pray and be prayed over.
That experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit was one of the most significant turning points in my Christian journey. It was like a lightening strike to my soul. Why? Because I felt like it woke me up. I began to wake up to God’s love in a really life changing and healing way, and to God’s gentleness and power, and to His truth and grace over my life. Scripture came alive in a new way, my prayer life went to deeper dimensions. I woke up to the courage God offers, and to a steadiness and peace no matter life’s circumstances.
This verse from Ephesians 5:14 has been one of my favorites since that day: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
This current sermon series on the Holy Spirit has reminded me once again of that initial experience, but looking back, it was only the beginning. It was only the beginning of living awake to the activity of the Holy Spirit in my life and in the life of others.
God has such great things in store for us through the power of his Holy Spirit. With an openness of heart and mind, the Holy Spirit will rush in and surprise us in more ways that we can imagine!