THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
I was raised in a traditional Presbyterian/Congregational church. We had a lot of formality. There were acolytes (youth that lit the candelabra by the altar). There was a chancel choir which was made up of adults and we all wore choir robes. There was a youth choir that I belonged to as a young person and then later joined the chancel choir. There was a Sunday School with a lot of kids. We sang our hearts out and learned some bible stories.
Never once in all of the years that I attended that church as a young person, did I ever hear anyone say anything about needing salvation. There never was an altar call. There was not a lot mentioned about sin either. There were political issues preached from the pulpit and that was about it. I received salvation at a summer bible camp sponsored by a different church. I went there with my friend.
When I was in my early 20’s I married a non-believer and was out of church for a while. After having two children, I knew they needed to be in church, so I went back to church alone without my husband who had no desire for spiritual things. A new Pastor came, and he was “different.” When he preached, I felt like I was walking with Jesus. I learned later that he was “spirit filled”. This means that he received a second blessing besides salvation. Like the early disciples after the resurrection were breathed on by Jesus in John 20:22, and received the Holy Spirit thus receiving salvation. Then later having the Holy Spirit flow out of their bellies like living water in Acts chapter 2, this Pastor had also received this.
His teaching was very influential in my life, but it took several years and a move to Florida and then back to Michigan before I learned more about it. I was praying one day, and I questioned the Lord about a second experience after salvation. I asked him if there was such an experience. He answered me with “yes” he had a second experience also. I continued to ask Him where that was in scripture. He proceeded to tell me, “I was conceived of the Holy Spirit in my mother’s womb, but I received the power of the Holy Spirit when I came up out of the water at my baptism with John. The Holy Spirit came upon me.” I said, “well if it is good enough for you, it is good enough for me.”
This conversation settled it for me. I knew that it was something I desired. I wanted to be a better witness for Jesus. In Acts Chapter 1 Jesus told his disciples in verse 8, “… ye shall receive power; after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
I asked for it, received it, and it changed my life. I will discuss more about this tomorrow.