I recently returned from an overnight stay at EWALU, the Bible Camp of my youth. Every so often I feel the need to return to EWALU: to reboot, reconnect and remember. I always leave that “place apart” feeling energized and grounded, ready to dive back into whatever I am doing.
This time was no different. I hiked trails, talked with God, revisited the “thin space” where I first encountered the Holy Spirit in power and immersed myself in reading. The rhythm of hike, read, write, eat works well with me. It was the reading and conversations I had that were especially meaningful to me this time.
First, I had a wonderful conversation with a Lutheran Pastor named Darrel Larson. This seasoned saint is in his 60s and has been pastoring longer than I’ve been alive. It was so good to listen to him teach and converse. I have a deep appreciation and affection for the Lutheran church – God entrusted them with many precious things. I think He wants to restore them as a revival movement as well, reforming them once again around the Truth of His Word.
Secondly, my reading included the book “Power Evangelism” by John Wimber, finishing “When Heaven Invades Earth” by Bill Johnson and an in depth study of the book of Acts. Three different books, three different authors, but all talking about the same Person doing the same thing – the Holy Spirit moving in power to bring many people to faith in Jesus.
Reading these books, it seems so apparent that we are to minister in the power of the Spirit at all times, but especially when we preach and evangelize. I must acknowledge that there are instances where the Gospel is preached without signs and wonders accompanying it. I must also acknowledge that when there were no signs and wonders present (Paul’s discourse in Athens for example) the preaching seemed to have little or no effect. I’m no scientist, and the Spirit is no lab rat, so establishing causation is impossible. However, there is definitely a high correlation between preaching with signs and wonders and conversions.
I was struck by the constant litany in Acts of the phrase “filled with the Spirit.” There are at least three generations of believers who were filled with the Spirit, the older generation passing down the anointing and blessing the younger generation with the freedom to go farther. My contemplations lately have been: how does one become filled with the Spirit? Are there multiple “fillings,” Peter was filled at least twice? If so, why is that necessary – do we leak? Where did the breakdown between generations occur? More importantly – can we get it back?
I will attempt to answer these questions in another post. I’ve got some hunting to do.