Monday, May 03, 2004

Sadly, many 'evangelical' churches yolk their flock with the notion that one must be Baptised in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues. They forget, however, that God has his own time and own plans...

What's following is a tragic story of a young man struggling to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. All names have been changed to protect the innocent and abused. An eager twenty year old wrote the following journal entries...

Tomorrow, our youth group is going to youth camp and I am a counselor. I am really looking forward to meeting God on the hill. Right now, my two biggest prayers are divine guidance in life and basically, baptism of the Holy Spirit. I need it-to really press in with God. This week will be the best opportunity for that. Prayers: Salvation of family and friends, guidance, Jimmy Johnson's divorce and custody battle, Mike Smith's family for more guidance, sick (Grandma Thompson, Lisa Rase, etc.), Direction, etc.

First day of camp--Awesome! Jon is the speaker tonight. Hallelujah! I worshipped for the first time ever without caring. I let go and fully worshipped. The altar call was great. Most of our youth went. We prayed for those who have a bad/no relationship with their fathers. We prayed with Timmy, Rhonda, and Zacc. I was delivered of some things I had going on. The annointing of the Holy Spirit was awesome. His presence was so great. I hope for more spiritual revival

Tonight's service was Awesome! This was the first time I could really press in and worship God with EVERYTHING I had. I didn't care about anything but being in God's presence. Jon Pritikin told us about how he was picked on and abused by other children. The altar call was awesome. It was about forgiveness--for themselves and their fathers. I've been praying for Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It seems like it's near

Tonight's service was about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many kids went for the altar call-including me. People prayed for me for what seemed like hours. I felt shaky at times. It was hard to full[y] submit to God because I was so tired. It seemed as if I would concentrate on everything but the gift. The second time I was prayed for--I mumbled some words. An awkward sentence stumbled off of my tongue. I was caught somewhere between God's awesome presence and my intellect. I really didn't feel anything as the words came out. Everyone became so excited. However, i didn't. I felt like I had something wrong with me. How could I want something so bad and God not give it to me? All of a sudden, bitterness set in. It was hard to worship. I was exhausted and felt disappointed. Something I wanted so bad and never came. WHY? One word-Surrender. I need to submit to God's gift. My intellect and awareness block my path to receiving this gift. Feeling let down, I went straight to my dorm, prayed and went to sleep. Was my encounter genuine? I knew not the answer. No crying. No loud utterance of words-no other signs of baptism. So tonight--I pray for insight into my experience and joy.

Intimidation to speak:
As I was standing there, with my hands lifted to heaven, the speaker said "Picture you are in a room with 4 white walls. You are sitting in a chair in the middle and you hear a knock at the dooor. You open the door and see Jesus. Just tell Him how much you love Him!" I tried to picture this. Blurred images run thorugh my mind. A youth sponsor came to me, laid his hand on my head and said, 'Tell God how much you love Him. Those words you are thinking will just flow. Speak! Speak them! IT's a gift! God's all over you, man. Take the gift my friend. Speak, speak, speak! Let me hear. No! Not in English! It's not English. Speak what you feel. Speak! It's a gift, my friend, speak!' About this time, I uttered what I felt--definitely not English. He said, "Yes, there it is, yes Jesus, Speak it louder! Louder! It's not English! Speak it! Yes!" With that, he stopped praying and began to worship. I felt nothing divine. Actually, I felt let down, cast out--inadequate. REWIND!! Before this, my youth group was praying for me along with Pastor Bob and Pastor Rene. As they prayed, Bob said, "Let go. I feel like God wants me to tell you to ignore your self-conscience. Just concentrate on receiving the gift. Just ignore your self conscience. It will happen." As he was saying this, I tried to let Him in. I said praises and tried to focus on worshipping Him. Then Rene said, "Robert, you want everything God wants for you, don't you!? Don't you!? It's a gift from God. Just accept it." This made me feel like I couldn't do it. And if I didn't, it was my own fault. Of course, this doesn't really work. I know I need it and I really want it. I just have to wait for God's timing.
The Feeling Of Inadequacy:
As the service came to a close, Jon Pritikin said, "If you don't receive it, don't feel like you are not worthy. Don't leave here feeling bad. It will happen. It may be tonight, tomorrow, or next week." Even after this, I felt left out--that there was something wrong with me. When I walk around camp, I see those who prayed for me and it seems like they look at me like I am smaller than they. I think they were surprised that I am a counselor and haven't been baptized in the Holy Spirit. In a staff meeting, someone said Jon was going to have a service about receiving the gift and they said, "Please pray. Hopefully you all know how to pray for someone to receive the [gift] of the Spirit. Hopefully we don't have counselors at an Assemblies of God youth camp that haven't been filled." Everyone laughed like it was funny. This made me want the gift even more and feel unworthy to be there.

This is a sad reality that many members of our church body face on a daily basis. Isn't the grace of God good enough? How do I become 'truly sanctified'? Wasn't I filled with the Holy Spirit upon birth? Are the gifts of tongues for everyone? Questions each of us must answer...hopefully you consult the Book and Author.