Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: Christian

Spirit

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.

 

My Hero

I will be eternally grateful for stepping into Arnold Road Boys’ Club that night in 1984. Don Baker – one of the leaders – was just a regular guy. When I first met him, he was working at a local pit in Nottinghamshire. After that, he became a school caretaker. As far as I’m aware, he didn’t have an outstanding education, a theology degree or any formal evangelism training. But he had a story of how Jesus had changed his life – and a real enthusiasm for sharing it.

Don was the first person to tell me the good news of Jesus Christ – me and many others!

The thing with Don was, he didn’t just tell us about his faith, he lived it out. He became a family friend and I know that he prayed for me regularly for many years. It was probably getting on for ten years after first meeting Don before I finally submitted my life to Christ. Throughout all that time though, Don kept in touch, kept inviting me to church, and kept praying for me (he and his wonderful wife, Janet). Eventually, his endeavours paid off.Dad Youth Hostelling

The true impact of his investment may never be truly known this side of eternity. There is a ripple effect, a greater legacy to Don’s commitment of time, prayers, faith and persistence. As a result of Don sharing his story of God’s grace with me, my parents became Christians and my own children are growing up in a Christian home – and I hope will themselves one day live for Christ. In addition, there are many in my workplace that I have shared my faith with, who may not have heard the gospel message had I not been there.

The ripple effect from Don’s faithfulness can be multiplied many times over in many lives.

All this is a result of one man who simply had a story of how Jesus had met him and changed his life, and was willing to share it with those around him.

Don presents a challenge to all of us who claim to be Christians. We have a story to tell. Are we willing to share it? Then we, too, will leave a legacy of amazing proportions that will have a ripple effect stretching into eternity.

Andy HamillAndy Hamill

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