The year: 1978 The month: May Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
My age: 20 Profession: College student studying Criminal Justice
Circumstance: Accepted an invitation from a fellow waitress to have dinner with a group at a hotel -Webers Inn. It was called a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Meeting and the speaker was a male MI State Trooper. I went for a good meal, to hang out with my girlfriend and to hear this cop speak. Having been raised Catholic, I had no idea what that evening held in store.
I later learned that FGBMFI was known for holding chapter meetings in informal settings, typically around a meal, where members would have the opportunity to share their stories with each other of how God had impacted their lives for the better.
This month is my 38th spiritual birthday and coincidentally, 38 years ago I was baptized with the Holy Spirit at that meeting. My story in a nutshell: My heart burned as I listened to this trooper tell exciting stories of hearing God whisper wisdom amidst dangerous calls. He made Jesus come alive, but more than that, he showed this young girl it was possible to have a vibrant relationship with God as a criminal justice professional.
I’ve always had a marketplace calling, so no offense, but a missionary testimony or a nurse or teacher wouldn’t have reached me. God placed the perfect person in my path at the perfect time. I studied hard but had been partying hard, too and done things I was ashamed of. I felt conviction of my sin and a deep urge to get right with God. I’d been raised to know about God, but I mostly feared Him. I was unaware how to walk with Him on a daily basis. So I went forward and let that trooper pray for me that evening.
Since I can’t recall the exact date in May that my name was added to to Lord’s Book of Life, I selected Pentecost Sunday. Seems a perfect day, don’t you think?
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:5-8
One of my struggles as a Catholic teen was how to “walk holy.” Since I couldn’t figure it out, I stopped going to church. Abhoring hypocrisy, I wanted authentic faith, not church attendance. I realized later that God was setting me up for a relationship with Him and His Holy Spirit.
What’s the Big Deal About Holy Spirit Anyway?
The big deal is this – empowerment. I think of Holy Spirit as the electricity that enables me to hear His voice. He is my juice, as wierd as that sounds. I’ve lived with Him so long it’s hard to recall what it was like without His constant guidance. I remember feeling confused about life decisions but He truly becomes the light to our path. You can know what to do and where to go.
I remember how it felt to be anxious about my future but there comes a place where you know that you know deep inside that the course you’ve selected truly is right for you. I call this knowing … peace. There is so much I can say about the baptism of the Holy Spirit – I’ve been healed physically of epilepsy, physical ailments, emotional wounds; I’ve learned to walk in the fruit of His Spirit that Galatians 5 details (still working on these) and been blessed with gifts of prophesy, dreams and ability to interpret these dream messages. God tells us what to pray in accordance with His Spirit. These Spirit-led prayers are vibrant, life giving, ever changing – never rote, dull or predictable! Holy Spirit makes the Christian life fun!
I am SO GRATEFUL to be a daughter of the King! I know many Christian believers do life without Holy Spirit, but I could not, nor would I want to!
So celebrate being born of the Spirit and baptized with me, gentle reader and give thanks to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost for their marvellous goodness as we come to Pentecost Sunday. I pray that you have received the Promise of the Father described in Acts 1:8 – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
PS: Should you want to read more about Pentecost, the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, this is a great article: 7 Powerful Ways Pentecost Can Be Experienced Every Day.
Remember: The Holy Spirit was not given to us just to argue over speaking in tongues. But He was given to help us, to empower us to witness – to speak in the language that man understands and declare the marvelous work of God. Amen!