If you have thirty seconds, please hear that I would love for you to join a small group led by Ramsey Wilson and Matt Hoppe (me) on making yourself available to the Holy Spirit. We will meet Wednesdays at Matt’s house in Chirilagua, and we will be learning about healing prayer (using John Wimber’s “Power Healing”) as an outward practice of listening to the Holy Spirit and making ourselves available to him. Click here and select Matt Hoppe’s and Ramsey Wilson’s group.
If you have more than thirty seconds, here is a little snapshot of my story to help you learn why this is important to me:
I grew up being taught that the gifts of the Spirit stopped with the deaths of the original Apostles. Over the past twenty years through the work of the Holy Spirit, good friends and mentors, and the influence of Anglicanism, I now believe that the gifts of the Spirit are not only real for today but that they are fundamental to the church’s ministry and life.
In 2010, I approached a man at Restoration named Ramsey because I noticed that he was not only wicked smart, but he had a holy reverence and awe for the mysteries of God. I wanted to learn how to think and live as someone who did not divorce mystery from intelligence, so I asked if he would mentor me. We went on a journey together using a Bible study called “Unseen Things.” In a moment of solitude in the basement of the old Restoration building, I was studying about the mind of God, and I got slammed by the Holy Spirit and started speaking in a tongue that I did not understand.
When the episode ended, I felt shaky, relieved, awed, hopeful, and frankly I did not know how to make intellectual heads or tales of what had just happened. I sheepishly walked upstairs to where David Hanke was working in his office. I knocked on his door, and I vulnerably told him what had happened. He let a little bit of quiet pass, as David sometimes does, and smiled as he simply stated, “That was a good gift.” We nodded at each other and got back to work. That explanation was enough.
I have needed to struggle through the meaning of that experience and subsequent experiences, and I have been continuing to press forward (in community) in my longing to know God more in all his mysterious good-gift-giving. I have experienced visions for myself and others, I have been delivered from demonic oppression and helped others toward greater freedom, and I have prayed for myself and other people’s physical and inner healing with end results of greater health. All of these have been good gifts from God that are made available to us through his Holy Spirit, and I love hearing other people’s stories of God’s good, simple and extravagant work in their lives. No really. I love it! And I love affirming in people that what they experienced was “a good gift.”
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he encourages us to “pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts.” (14.1) I want to run with you and sit still with you and sing songs with you in pursuit of God’s heart, and I want to desire these spiritual gifts with you so that we can know him more and have greater confidence in building up the church and sharing his good gifts with others.