My senior year of high school, everything seemed to move at light speed. Playing high school football, planning for college, faithfully attending youth group on Wednesday nights, and working the grill at McDonalds took up most of my time, but I ended each day in God’s Word. When I chose to read Acts though—that was the beginning of an amazing journey into knowing God more fully through the Holy Spirit.
As I read about the disciples preaching boldly and helping people supernaturally, I began to ask God for that same power. When nothing really happened, I became discouraged. I talked to Christian friends about their beliefs, but they were convinced that God didn’t really do stuff like that anymore because “now we had the Bible and it was all we needed.” I was so confused and wondered if God really was absent or silent.
But then I read Acts 19—where the apostle Paul arrives in a city called Ephesus and runs into a group of Christ followers. Paul asks if they’ve received the Holy Spirit. I bet it was an uncomfortable conversation because they admitted they had never heard of the Holy Spirit. Paul knew God had more to offer them, so he took action. He laid his hands upon them and prayed. As he did, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to respond in the same way the disciples did on the day of Pentecost.
“I was so confused and wondered if God really was absent or silent.”
Like Those Early Believers
A lump formed in my throat and tears welled in my eyes as I read. I had never learned about the Holy Spirit either. I didn’t know who he was, even though I had been baptized and was doing my best to follow Jesus. It felt like God was inviting me personally to experience the same reality as those early believers. Closing my Bible, I got down on my knees and prayed “God, I believe there is so much more to you and I want it all!” From then on, I prayed that prayer every night, my hunger for God growing more intense each day.
“God, I believe there is so much more to you and I want it all!”
Breath of God
After three months of asking God for more of his Spirit, I woke up one morning and taking a deep breath, felt a mighty rushing wind fill my nostrils and lungs. My heart felt like a balloon filled with helium for the first time. Stunned, I began to pray and thank God. I felt happier than ever before and couldn’t stop smiling. Everything outside my bedroom window reflected God’s glory in a way I had never noticed.
“For the first time in my life, I knew God was right there with me.”
Later that morning, I hopped in my truck and turned on the local Christian radio station. I found myself singing at the top of my lungs as I drove. I realized the Holy Spirit was alive in me and filling my truck with the presence of God. I began to cry so hard that I had to pull over to the shoulder. For the first time in my life, I knew God was right there with me.
Since then, God has proven again and again that there is always more of him to be discovered. As a pastor contending for this generation to rise up with the same hunger for more of God, I pray that you’ll passionately pursue the power and joy that comes from his presence! There’s nothing like it.
What about you? What has been your experience with the Holy Spirit? Join us for our series, Ghost Stories and discover how his presence changes everything.