Before I got to college, I knew little about the Holy Spirit. But by the time I graduated, I was a different person.
During my college days, I played in a worship band with some friends at a Pentecostal church and we took our music on the road a handful of times. It was there that I became truly enamored with the Pentecostal church’s ability to worship. An hour would go by and they didn’t even look tired. They were just busy giving their all to God. I can still remember an elderly woman lying prostrate on the floor in worship with her breathing machine right next to her. It was among my friends there that I learned the same truth that Eugene Peterson did:
If I were to define what for me makes up the core Pentecostal identity, it is the lived conviction that everything, absolutely everything, in the scriptures is livable. Not just true, but livable. Not just an idea or a cause, but livable in real life. Everything that is revealed in Jesus and the scriptures, the gospel, is there to be lived by ordinary Christians in ordinary times. This is the supernatural core, a lived resurrection and Holy Spirit core, of the Christian life. (Peterson, Eugene H. The Pastor: a Memoir. New York, HarperOne, 2011, p. 214.)
During this time I also went on trips with my professor and I took hold of every last word he said about the Holy Spirit. I continued to grow and by the time I graduated, I had become familiar with the supernatural ways of the Holy Spirit. I had seen masses of people fall under the presence of God. I had seen demons casted out. I had seen healings attested to and prophetic words proved true. I had dreamed dreams and felt I had valid interpretations for them. My professor had always said that if I tried to learn these things, God would teach them to me—and I began to see and experience in many ways that he was right.
I can now attest to many of the crazy things that are reported to happen in churches that pursue the supernatural ways of the Holy Spirit. This was the life with God I had always dreamed of—one where He actually existed and wasn’t simply bound within the chores of tedious tradition and disciplines. I was now aware: God was real and present with me in the here and now. I wasn’t left in some weird spiritual limbo that came after the Early Church—I was living in the same world they did. I could have what they had. I could have the Holy Spirit alive and active, not just in my heart, but in my life.