Monday, August 22, 2016

Encountering the Holy Spirit

"The Holy Spirit must be really chaotic and scary," I decided as a young believer. In my quest to find out who the Holy Spirit was, my youth group leader directed me toward a charismatic church in town. "They will show you," he suggested ominously. That night I found myself in a church, radically different from any I had ever known. People were running, jumping, screaming and chanting in tongues up and down the aisles. A lady standing close by caught my wide-eyed, bewildered look. "This is the Holy Spirit's doing," she explained briefly. Her words was no comfort to me. If I had not been completely surrounded by this mayhem, I would have fled this scene as quickly as possible. Much later I understood that the Holy Spirit does endow Christians with gifts such as teaching, prophesy and tongues, but they are for the building up of the church. What I had experienced was the same chaos which the apostle Paul addressed in the early church when he asked, "If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?"  (1 Cor. 14:23)

Slightly intimidated, I continued my quest for knowing the Holy Spirit. A year later I spent Easter at Camp Obadiah in Australia. After an evening worship meeting I asked the main speaker for prayer, telling him that I desired more of God in my life. "What you want is the Holy Spirit," he clarified. "I will pray for you and then you will fall over immediately. Afterwards you will start speaking in tongues." This seemed like a proven method, when I watched this speaker pray for others. Now he started praying for me - nothing visible happened. Other leaders joined in - still nothing seemed to happen. "Stop resisting the Spirit," they urged. After half and hour, which seemed like an eternity, almost the entire camp had joined in praying. Finally they gave up, deciding I was too resistant to the work of the Holy Spirit. Really?! - If I could have conjured up in myself anything to force the Holy Spirit into action, I would have done so.

From that day on God has regularly given me prophetic visions. This has taught me that the Holy Spirit cannot be put into a box. He has no prescribed method and does what He wants. (John 3:3)
The Holy Spirit is nothing like I thought in those confusing beginnings. Yes, He is unpredictable like the wind, but He is not scary, because He does not act contrary to his own character. This becomes visible in the fruit He brings forth: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22)
It has been so worth overcoming my prejudice and fear for the sake of knowing Him.

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:13)


  1. I think I was standing next to you at Camp Obadiah! He told me there were talons trying to drag me down, which was kind of scary - and he was right - it was about 7 years later when God started freeing me from what the talons symbolised. It seems strange that I would be told about them and then not have any help for seven years? How exciting about your prophetic visions, though shame you felt blamed for being resistant to the Spirit. You're the most open to the spirit person I know! Love you Kerstin!

  2. What a wonderful reminder, that even though this teacher was not accurate in my case, God still used him to minister to you. That is such a message of hope, because we all mess up sometimes. I am sorry you had to wait for seven year to be set free, but am so glad for it, none-the-less.

  3. I did that resistance thing as well one time =)

  4. I am glad you are able to see through the nonsense! I would love to hear your story.

  5. Megs and I attended a series of churches in the early 2000s, and had a series of unfortunate experiences with them, before we eventually stopped doing Sunday-morning-church altogether forca while, after which I eventually stopped bring a Christian. One of those churches was called morning Star Seattle, and one week they were doing the praying for people to be baptised in the holy spirit thing. I thought "why not?" Soon I had a gradually increasing number of men (no women) gathered around me praying aloud with gradually increasing volume and intensity, many of them touching me, such as hands on my shoulder or head, something I generally rather dislike. They were very much communicating to both me and God that they wanted ne to start speaking/praying in tongues. As they continued to ramp up, I gradually had a small revelation. What I realised was that prior to that, I had always thought that speaking/praying in tongues was something that kind of came upon one, somewhat involuntarily. But that day, I realised that it rather. Or at least very much also, involved a conscious decision on the part of the individual to literally start speaking/praying nonsense/gibberish. I was okay with this realisation, and yet also somewhat disappointed. It seemed a lot less cool than previously. Turn I thought about it a bit, while they were shouting and pressuring, and decided that nope, I didn't really want to do that. So I didn't =)

  6. You have experienced a lot of junk in the church. I am still upset at how the elders taught you to gamble so that they could earn money off of you. That was wrong on so many different levels. I am sorry about what people have done to you in the name of Jesus.