I wrote a sort of snarky post in July about how our pastor taught on the Holy Spirit. And how at the end of the service, he gave an invitation for people to go to the prayer room, to receive prayer for the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. And how, much to my disappointment, only six or so people showed up.
At the end of that prayer time there in the prayer room, a small group of men asked God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon our congregation in abundant measure. They asked Him, if that offer were to be made again, would He move people to respond with such enthusiasm and in such great numbers we would have logistical problems handling so many. They asked that people would respond in such numbers they would be lined up, with not enough room for them to fit in the prayer room or wherever they were called to assemble.
In that original blog post, I wrote about how, on a normal summer Sunday, after service our church offers free burgers, and there’s a line a mile long, but when offered the Holy Spirit, only six showed up. “How much better is God’s Holy Spirit than a burger?” I wrote. I suppose I was disrespecting my own church family. (If you’re interested, you can read the original post: The Holy Spirit: How to Know if You Have Him)
Well, here’s the part where I eat crow.
Last night our #1 and #2 pastors were unavailable to teach the midweek bible study. So an associate pastor taught the service, and he taught on the Holy Spirit.
He talked about D.L. Moody and how ineffective Moody was before he received the Holy Spirit’s anointing, and how amazing he was after he did. He talked about how the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples in Acts chapter 2, and how, after hearing them speak, 3,000 people “were cut to the heart,” and said, “…what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) He talked about how the Holy Spirit prompted the Ethiopian eunuch to ask Philip, Is there any reason you couldn’t baptize me right now? (Acts 8:36) He talked about how Cornelius’ people came and sought out Peter so they could learn from him about Jesus. (Acts chapter 10) And He talked about how the Philippian jailer fell before Paul and Silas and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)
“These people practically gave their own altar call!” the pastor said. “How did this happen?” He asked rhetorically.
It’s the Holy Spirit, it’s the Holy Spirit, it’s the Holy Spirit. He said.
Then he said, Whoever wants a fresh outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit upon their lives, come down to the front of the sanctuary.
So we did, by the hundreds! There wasn’t enough room in the front of the church. People were lined up in the aisles. I was sort of shoved off to the side into a pew. It was a logistical problem and a sight to behold. I confess I was sorely tempted to step back and take a picture with my iPhone.
I would estimate, very conservatively, more than 300 came forward and received prayer for a fresh outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit upon their lives.
Of course I was thinking back to that blog post, the one where I sort of dishonored my church. That made me feel rather sheepish.
But I was also thinking back to that prayer, the one where that small group of men asked God, if the offer were made again, would he move people to respond in such numbers it would become a logistical problem. He answered.
That made me well up with praise and thanksgiving.
God wants to pour His Holy Spirit out upon you.
He’s just waiting for you to ask…
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” -Jesus Christ (Luke 11:11-13)
[HT: Pastor Bryan Fowler was the one the Lord chose to deliver the midweek message a few nights ago, the night hundreds came forward to receive a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He’s now serving at a church in North Carolina.]