Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows


On Sunday 18th October 2009 my life changed forever.

A few months earlier, Adi and I had started going to Grace Church.  One of the things I loved about Grace was that people spoke very personally to God and sang lovingly and adoringly about Him. Although we were all Christians, Adi and I could see they had something we didn’t.  They taught about the Holy Spirit and used spiritual gifts in every meeting. They functioned naturally in the supernatural.

It was intriguing. I couldn’t deny that God was among them in a way I’d never seen before. Spiritual pictures and prophetic words spoke to the most secret parts of my heart. When someone prayed or sang out in a tongue, the meeting didn’t move on until the interpretation was given.

Adi and I had never had much teaching on the Spirit and, to be honest, we thought of Him as simply a ticket to heaven. We felt a little like the disciples in Acts 19 who’d never heard of the Holy Spirit.

I had lots of questions, and a good friend advised me to read through Luke and Acts and make a note of every time the Holy Spirit is mentioned. I couldn’t believe how many times that was. He was crucial to the plot. I was gobsmacked.

I was also reading Jack Deere’s Surprised by the Power of the Spirit. Dr Deere came from a similar theological background to me and there was much I could identify with. Through the book, he took me on his own journey from cessationism (believing the spiritual gifts died out with the apostles) to baptism and moving in the Holy Spirit.

SpiritSo on that momentous Sunday morning in October, I was ready and expectant to receive baptism in the Spirit. I invited Him to come while a friend laid hands on me and prayed. Joy bubbled up inside me and I began to pray in tongues. Looking at me, there was little physical evidence that I had received the Spirit. My right hand shook a bit and a few tears trickled out. But I knew He had come.

The next morning I tentatively tried praying in tongues again. Could I still do it? Was it just gobbledegook? To my relief, I could still do it. But I didn’t value this gift for months.

Since receiving the Spirit, it’s like everything is more colourful, deeper, more precious than before. It doesn’t make me a higher class of Christian or better than anyone else. But I’m more aware of God’s presence than I ever used to be. More and more I rely on the Spirit to help me. He is the best Teacher! He opens up the Bible to me, giving me understanding and making it real.

I adore how the Spirit tells my spirit that I am a child of God. I love the prayer language of tongues, what a wonderful gift this is. When I run out of words or my heart is too full for my English to keep up, I can pour out all my desires and longings and praise to God in tongues.

I’m so thankful to God the Father for His incredible gift. Some 2,000 years ago Jesus died so that I could be forgiven and brought back into relationship with God. He has given me a new heart and abundant life. The Father has placed the Spirit of Jesus in me so that I can have full assurance I am His child, and as a first instalment guaranteeing everything He has promised. The Spirit has given me spiritual gifts and makes me a supernatural being on top of all that.

All made possible because of Jesus. Thank You Lord.



  1. wendy Atkinson

    20/04/2017 at 9:38 am

    Thank you so much, Mandy , for this wonderful post. After I first read it I bought Dr Jack Deere’s Book, ‘ Surprised by the Power of the Spirit ‘ and I can safely say it’s one of the very best Christian books I have ever read because it answers so many questions I have had about the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit and whether they really operate in the church today. ( or should be operating, since clearly they do!) I am filled with wonder because Dr Deere is obviously such a bible believing and bible loving christian and he has come to all his conclusions through a careful study of the Word of God . It is the only book I have read that actually unpicks why cessationists believe the supernatural gifts died out with the apostles. I love the way he continually emphasizes that the christian life is truly all about loving Jesus with all your heart and then everything else will fall into place. I wish I had known all these things long ago, but it is never too late to change! Keep up your amazing gift for writing and encouragement through your blogs ! And thank you, again, Mandy.

    • Mandy

      20/04/2017 at 9:52 am

      Oh I’m thrilled you’ve found Jack Deere’s book so helpful Wendy. I can also recommend his book ‘Surprised by the Voice of God’ which focuses on prophecy – very balanced and just as helpful.

      If you’re ever in Nottingham, do feel free to come and visit Grace Church. One of the (many) things I love about Grace is the Spirit-led open style of worship. The band is just there to facilitate rather than lead worship, and it’s a very rare Sunday when the spiritual gifts aren’t in evidence. You would be so welcome. And, apart from anything, I’d love to see you again! x

      • wendy Atkinson

        20/04/2017 at 10:02 am

        yes, I would love to visit your church and to see you again. I am trying to get my parents and sisters up to visit all the old haunts this year, so, I will let you know if we manage it! And yes, I think I will send away for Dr Deere’s second book. I thought the one you talked about was very balanced and sensible. Just goes to show you shouldn’t judge something because it is not what you have been taught and automatically accepted as the theologically ” correct way “. God bless you.x

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