I’m sure by now it is apparent how much I like to teach lessons in series. As a matter of fact, I will most often have several series going on at the same time. This blog post on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit continues the discipleship series which also contains posts on salvation, what’s next, and water baptism.
With that in mind, let us begin the discussion on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This discussion will take several posts to complete and will lead directly into posts on the person of, functions, ministries, fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit. This first post will relate my own personal experience with this wonderful gift and my early days as a Christian.
After a life of sin that was way beyond my young age, I was born again at the ripe old age of 16 on August 28, 1980. After about six months I began to feel God calling me into the ministry. Soon after, I received my minister’s license from Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Everything was going well as God began to give me an intense desire to win souls for His kingdom. Consequently, this desire led me to a little coffee house street outreach ministry called the Alpha House. My weekend evenings began to be filled with street witnessing up and down Galloway Ave., the cruising strip in Mesquite, Texas. Indeed, I lived for these experiences and I loved my new friends.
However, I very quickly realized that my new friends were not Baptist. This really didn’t matter much to me because they loved to win souls as much as I did. Nevertheless, It was during times of corporate prayer and worship that God began to develop a deep hunger for His presence in me. When the coffee house praise team would be ministering, I would notice the others with their hands lifted up with intense expressions of euphoria and passion written all over their faces. Now, don’t get me wrong, the people at my church sincerely loved the Lord, but, we didn’t worship in this manner and I wanted the rapture that I saw on their faces.
Tuesday Night Bible Study
Tuesday nights at the Alpha House were Bible study nights. One Tuesday night in particular a staff member named Stan taught on the three baptisms in a Christian’s life. When Stan arrived at the section on the baptism in the Holy Spirit I heard Scriptures I had never heard or read before. This was especially true of the passages in the Book of Acts that were brought to light; Scriptures our denomination tended to avoid. As a result, I was somewhat bewildered after the study was over and approached Stan to discuss the study with him. Stan, being the wise man that he was, simply told me to go home and read the Book of Acts and then ask God if there was anything else He wanted to give me and if there was I wanted it.
I read the entire Book of Acts that night and saw several things that, in my ignorance, I had preached against. Accordingly, my eyes were opened and in my bedroom I prayed the prayer that Stan had told me to pray. God immediately baptized me in the Holy Spirit and I began to speak in tongues “as the Spirit gave me utterance” (Acts 2:4). That was about 38 years ago and I can’t even begin to imagine what my life and ministry would have been like without this precious gift.
Contrary to popular belief, Christianity is an experiential religion. Although doctrine, theology, and dividing the Word are very important, indeed the most important disciplines in Christianity, the experiences we have are also extremely important. However, these experiences absolutely must line up with the Word of God, and when this happens, these experiences help to make a complete and mature Christian. The next part of this study deals with the scriptural basis of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.