During my undergraduate studies at ORU, there was an infamous class called Spirit-Empowered Living. It was a required course for all the undergrad students. You couldn't help but hear the stories coming out of the class.
At the time, Dr. Mark Rutland was teaching the course and leading the university.
His life and ministry is powerful testimony of spiritual empowerment. From my trustworthy secondary sources on campus, I gathered he was severely depressed a few years into his pastoral career. Only after attending a revival(?) meeting, where he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit things turned towards hope and power in his life and ministry.
There was also a story about Dr. Rutland miraculously becoming fluent in Spanish because a translator couldn't join their short-term missions team! He would even pray in Spanish during chapel services.
The truth is, as Christians, we each need lives marked by Holy Spirit power.
Darkness in the world needs to see the light from our spirit-empowered lives.
In my senior year, a man led by the Holy Spirit in a Starbucks on Riverside drive gave me a copy of his favorite book and his teaching CD. We had never met the man before or since, but his act of obedience changed my life.
It was the first time I remember hearing profound teaching on speaking in tongues. Tongues was a gift I received in 3rd grade but quickly fell into disuse.
The book and teaching inspired me to seriously pursue the use of tongues in my regular prayer time. Even in my time driving home. Apostle Paul would agree, speaking in tongues is exceedingly helpful in our journey to become like Jesus. Speaking in tongues regularly will significantly change your life. Mine has been. It will lead you to your own mission field, wherever God calls you in the world.
Of course, speaking in tongues is not the only spiritual gift. It's not required to be saved and not the only outcome of receiving power from the Spirit. (Arguably, it's less prioritized than prophecy. There is a command to pursue it for the strengthening of the church among the other gifts.)
The church is equipped with a fantastic array of helping power from the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus. God gives each believer spiritual gifts. You have at the very least one that is needed to build up your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Yesterday, my friend and I talked about our need to receive power from the Holy Spirit. Specifically, our discussion was about Paul's visit to Ephesus in Acts 19.
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.
Acts 19:1-5 ESV
Paul saw that the men in Ephesus had not received power vital to their spiritual health. They had not received power from the Holy Spirit. Paul likely noticed many things about these men. Still, the Bible shows that the Holy Spirit coming on them was of primary importance.
Do we know anyone who is saved and serving Jesus but has not yet experienced the Holy Spirit coming upon them in a transformative way?
Let's seek the Holy Spirit and His power to be light in the world this year. We have hope in Jesus for every season to see God's faithfulness on Earth and in our lives too.
"Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living."
Psalm 27:13 NLT
Be blessed in our Father's love, the authority of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit.