by John Crump
Growing up in the Church in the fifties and sixties, if I heard one hell-fire and damnation sermon, I heard a thousand. As a result, I became very disillusioned with the Christian religion; it seemed all about sinners in the hand of an angry God.
I found no pleasure, no joy, and no comfort in church. As I matured, well got older, in my 20’s I still had not found much satisfaction in religion.
After my wife Glenda and I had finished college we started attending the Episcopal Church. It was the only church I could tolerate because most of the service was a litany of psalms, prayers, petitions and the best part; the sermons were varied based on the biblical readings of the week.
One day, walking down the hall with the priest, I said, can we talk about the Holy Spirit and its role in the church today? Not long after this, he gave Glenda and me tickets to a national Episcopal Charismatic Fellowship (ECF) conference in San Antonio, TX. We went and I finally heard powerful preaching and teaching about supernatural gifts and the fruit of the spirit. I wasn’t sure if I wanted some but was certainly intrigued by the idea.
The next year, we went to the ECF conference in Kansas City. The teaching and worship music was unbelievable. I had never heard the love of God expressed so beautifully.
While there, I also had the worse sinus infection of my life. At the end of services one evening they had a prayer line for healing. Glenda asked if I was getting in line for healing. I said no. She asked then why are we here. I said OK, I’ll go, but I’ll probably end up in front of the hippie priest. I did, He prayed, and nothing happened. Back in our hotel, I woke up about 3 am chocking almost to the point of death. I could not breathe. I staggered into the bathroom coughing and gagging. My first thought was, I knew standing in line for 30 minutes last night was a waste of time and energy. Then I thought back to some of the teaching of the day and began to praise God and to thank him for my healing. After 20 minute or so, my breathing was somewhat under control and I went back to bed. I woke up the next morning completely healed, breathing free for the first time in weeks.
Meanwhile I was still looking for the Holy Spirit, had not found him yet but found a much more satisfying sense of what church should be about. I prayed often, Lord, fill me, a little bit, with your Holy Spirit. I was pretty sure I couldn’t handle a full dose.
Some time later as I was studying and still seeking the presence of the Holy Spirit, I had a dream one night of a church service where two women were being very disruptive talking and laughing. The priest stood up and said, come Holy Spirit and enter into the people here. The two women jumped up with terror on their faces and ran from the church. A peace I had never felt before entered my soul. I finally understood to a limited extent God’s current relation to man and that a mere mortal like me could experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life. Christianity, church, finally made some sense to me for today’s world.
The power of the Holy Spirit should be the absolute “life blood” and companion of every believer. There is no greater power source, nor greater source of comfort than the person of the Holy Spirit, if one wants Him to be.
It gets a little confusing when the Holy Spirit is associated with wind, oil, fire or water. No, I still don’t understand all that. But I do understand that He is in fact the third person of the triune Godhead, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) living on the inside of every truly born again believer. The Holy Spirit is Grace available after salvation and Grace, in all its seeming complexity, is simply the free and unmerited favor of God.
The Holy Spirit is our comforter, our guide, our God mediator here on earth. To those who say come Holy Spirit, He brings power for service, supernatural gifts, and helps us in the never ending challenge of dying to self and living in Christ. We can have this presence in our lives to whatever degree we desire. It is so simple, just ask. Following are some of the scriptural references to the Holy Spirit.
• Matthew 3:11: …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…”
• Mark 1:8: …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…”
• Luke 3:16: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…”
• Luke 24:49: …stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power
from on high.” (see fulfillment in Acts 2).
• John 1:33: …the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
• Acts 1:4-5: …the Promise of the Father…”; …you will be baptized with the
• Acts 2:1-4: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages…”
by John Crump