I am reading the book with the title above and finding it very useful.
I am also thanking God that he is raising up an army around me to help me to rejoice further in and explore the Spiritual gifts.
So my close prayer partners are a pentecostal/now Anglican and a charismatic Anglican and my Spiritual director, whom I have just found, is very open to the Holy Spirit too.
Now surely all Christians are open to the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues and being invested with power and other manifestations of his presence are a normalised part of Christian experience as they were in the early church (Paul's letters testify to this). We are encouraged to eagerly desire such things and God is God of the word and the Spirit so that we come to know the Living Word both through the written word and the Spirit poured out for us at Pentecost. I have studied the Bible carefully over the last few months for the Spirit usually because I have been wanting to check that something experienced has scriptural warrant.
Anyway I am reading this book and praying over whether it is wise to share my experiences of the power of the Holy Spirit when I give my testimony next week. Will what I say be simply expected? It is a part of everybody's Christian life at college? It seems to be the case for most people from what I have witnessed so far. The book is helping me to articulate the work of the Holy Spirit. It is helping me to find some of the words I need because it is full of people's testimonies about their experiences of the love of God and then the consequences that this has had for their lives. I am still as yet unsure about the vocabulary I might choose to express my journey and I am wondering how it will be received if I use language like 'saved' and 'second blessing' - I am also wondering if there might be alternatives to this vocabulary which do not strip God of the glory for the transformation that he worked in my life but that also avoid courting controversy and disagreement, which is the last thing that I want to happen. I wonder how Paul felt before sharing his road to Demascus conversion story. It is fairly obvious that some people believed him and some didn't but from what I can tell, it did little to put him off his task. I am hoping that the Spirit will give me the right words to speak so that my testimony both honours God and the people around me who will be listening.
I also wonder if I have some unresolved hang-ups left over from cessationist teaching which I did at one time listen to too much.
I am finding that the editor of the testimonies in the book has discovered that a reticence to talk about the experiential aspects of our relationship with God is very normal.
Is it something you struggle to articulate too?
Am I just needing to be more honest? Less afraid? Or should I continue to keep a lot of this to myself because it is about my relationship with God and it is different for all of us? Is it a bit of all these? Em...lots to read and mull over...much to pray about.
Thanks for journeying.