I have been struggling with the words to tell this story for weeks. There is no easy way to tell it. Some people I know might be offended, some may think I’m crazy– “but I can’t help speaking about what I have seen and heard,” so here it goes. . . .
You remember the post about the fork in the road? The decision to make? The blog from a few weeks ago? (You may want to read “Walk Down This Road” first if you haven’t.) God had presented my family with a fork in the road. We could travel (spiritually) the way we always had, or we could take a different route. This new route involved how we believe the Holy Spirit works. I grew up in a “non-denomination” that believes that God is three parts– the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believed that the Holy Spirit is in us, speaks to us through his written Word (the Bible) and on occasion may speak to us in our hearts.* However, in this “non-denomination,” there are also ways the Holy Spirit of God does not work: no tongues (speaking sounds that one does not recognize as a written language), no miracles at the laying on of hands, and– by all means- NO ONE is to be slain (knocked out) by the Spirit.
However, after twenty three years in paid ministry with this view of the Holy Spirit, my husband was that burned out car. He was a broken man. Our family had been hurt by leadership, by church members who had walked away or been incapable of change, and by our own bad decisions and sin. Our whole family was wondering where God was in all this?
Because my husband was in such a bad way, My Aunt Brenda and Uncle Jim invited him to a conference that changed our whole world, and our perception of the Holy Spirit. I won’t bore you with the details, but at the Lutheran Renewal Conference in Minnesota, my husband was knocked out by God for two hours, and his life has never been the same. A lifetime of hurt, pain, sadness, and regrets was washed away in two hours. He was no longer that burned out car.
Now, don’t get me wrong– I was skeptical. Four years I watched and waited, testing to see if this incident was God or the devil. And I only saw God. I only saw more love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. My husband became more like Jesus every day–he’s still becoming more like Jesus every day. I also began to read the Bible watching for every time the Spirit worked and how the Spirit worked. I saw the Holy Spirit on practically every page of the New Testament. (Try it– you read and just make tally marks every time the Spirit is mentioned.) What I was seeing in Brant and what I was reading in God’s word matched up.
So when the word got out with our church friends in our “non-denomination” (who are precious people) about the ways we had seen the Holy Spirit work and what we believed to be written in the Word, you can imagine that they didn’t approve (in the same way some of you might not approve.) They believe there are no tongues, no miracles at the laying on of hands, and–by all means– NO ONE is slain in the Spirit. But I have experienced otherwise, and read in the Bible otherwise.
When the leadership team wanted to pick and choose what they were comfortable with in regards to the Holy Spirit and were unwilling to study the scriptures together, we knew we were at a fork in the road – and we decided to choose the new route. The Holy Spirit had done too much for our family– too much healing, peace, and power to not allow Him to do whatever He sees fit.
So here we are, meeting in a hotel, loving God and excited to take this new road with Him.
* [note: This is NOT an all inclusive list of ways this group believes God speaks, only the most common.]