An empowering encounter
In the mid-90’s I encountered a prophet of God named Bob Jones. My wife and I were in a large congregation of people gathered in Kansas City, Missouri. There were probably around 700 people in the meeting and Bob called us out and asked us to stand. The word that he released for us that day still leaves me astonished. This is what he said:
“You will see a million Baptist baptized in the Holy Spirit.”
Bob had no idea who we were or our denominational background, that we were both raised in Southern Baptist churches, or that at that time I had been serving as a Southern Baptist pastor for 13 years. I wasn't even particularly fond of that terminology in those days. I had so many “traditions of men” and lack of understanding to overcome to even want to see that word fulfilled.
Through the years I have had numerous encounters with the Holy Spirit that have brought me to a place of understanding not only the meaning of the phrase “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” but also the necessity of receiving the fulness of Jesus’ promised One—“you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a doctrine. It is and experiential encounter with the reality of the fulness of the Godhead. For the average Christian the biggest stumbling block to receiving His empowering and abiding presence is the misunderstandings that arise from well meaning but false teaching. The Baptism is not a teaching to understand or theological position to hold; it is a transformational experience that overwhelms, overpowers and propels the receiver into a spiritual dimension that transcends human wisdom and logic.
In 1973, when I was a freshman in college at Hardin-Simmons University I had the opportunity to hear one of the great missionary revivalist of the 20th Century, Miss Bertha Smith, who was speaking at the chapel of First Baptist Church of Abilene, Texas. Miss Bertha was a Baptist missionary to China during what some referred to as the “Shandong Revival.” I was thrilled to hear her testimonies of salvations, healings, miracles and manifestations of the Holy Spirit that took place during that season of outpouring in the 1920’s and 1930’s, before the communists took over China. When the meeting was over I approached Miss Bertha just to have a personal connection to the amazing and wonderful works of God she had shared. As I introduced myself she reached out her hand and grasped mine firmly, looked into my eyes and unashamedly asked, “have you been born again?” I was taken aback but quickly recovered enough to say, YES! Then she asked, “have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” At that point in my life I didn’t know how to answer that question, but today I do! Yes, I have been born of the Holy Spirit and now I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
The most important question anyone will ever ask you is this, “have you been born again?” Do you know Jesus Christ? If you can’t answer that question then right now pray and ask Him to save you. The promise of His word is that “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Ask Him now.
The second most important question you will ever be asked is this, “have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” In Acts 19:2 Paul encountered some disciples in Ephesus and he asked them that question. Their response may in some ways be similar to yours; “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
It may be because of your doctrinal background or just the lack of opportunity, but whatever the reason you haven't received, today you must be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus made it a requirement for His disciples. When Paul instructed them in the necessity of receiving Jesus’ baptism they gladly received. Then he baptized them in Jesus name and laid hands on them and they received the fulness of the Spirit that day. Right now you can have that same encounter.
Ask and you will receive.