9 0'Clock in the Morning. This is the church where I finally decided to settle in after years of searching. I had been saved for about 5 years and most churches that I visited, or knew about, were BORING. I knew God, prayed, and wanted to know everything about him. I had read the entire New Testament and most of the old - highlighting, underlining, studying, thinking and coming to some of my own conclusions.
The Bible is filled with transformations - places where folks like you and me were utterly and completely changed by God. From Gideon to Moses, Paul to Peter, the work of Christ changes us. Some times it radical, and other times it is private and subtle. That's what we'll be writing about this week here on Kingdom Bloggers - something that God changed our mind about
I had read enough of the Bible and it didn't seem to jive with what I was hearing in church. I wondered about all that miracles and healing, what happened to them? I read about Jesus forgiving the woman taken in adultery. I wondered how Paul and Elijah raised people from the dead?!? Then there was all the amazing things in Acts, angels, prophecies, martyrdom, miracles, demons and trances and ... Whew! A lot of supernatural stuff!
I remember reading this. Acts 19:1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?"
"John’s baptism," they replied.
4 Paul said, "John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
What could all this be about? Did I miss something? I had been taught this stuff was gone and that because we have the Bible, we don't need it anymore. Then I read that book 9 0'Clock in the Morning, and I had a lot of question and very few answers.
There I sat talking to the priest of my Anglican church, Hank. We talked about the book which he had read, and the Bible passages. The whole thing began to make sense, and it also sounded exciting. My spirit was shouting at me, it is time to ask God for this "baptism."
Hank and I went to the alter that day at Grace Chapel in Old Saybrook. The presence of God was magnificent. I had never felt it quite that way. There we said a simple prayer - I don't even remember what it was (1983 was a long time ago). I just remember the experience - one mixed with faith, wonder and excitement as I knelt before the altar.
That night I went home, and the Lord gently came to me as I lay in bed. I started to softly thank Him and actually I couldn't seem to stop - or I should say, I didn't want to stop - it was amazingly beautiful.
Some years later I was talking with a guy at a Christian book store. He seemed so certain that I was in error. His store had banned the book. I invited him to my home. At my kitchen table, Steve laid out an elaborate theology for me; it took nearly an hour.
I was not offended, but it sure did conflict with my understanding and experience. But I finally asked him if he would read that book so that we could discuss it in the first person. He refused. I was little sad because that night so long ago opened my eyes to a deeper and more wonderful faith that turned my ship, my life and my mind around.
How about you, has God changed your mind about things you previously believed?