If you love God, you unquestionably want to have everything happening in your life that God wants for you. This will certainly mean having the overflow or filling or baptism that marks the promise of the Holy Spirit. Maybe you have begun to long for that kind of lifestyle. The question: Is this available for us today? I think so!
However, in the event you feel as yet unimpowered, let me offer a simple approach to the overflow of the Holy Spirit. God responds to the hungry, seeking heart. He does not force himself upon us. We hear his voice and we choose to follow him. (John 10) There is no other way.
Jesus gave us a pattern for prayer in what we call "The Lord's Prayer." After opening with our honoring (hallowed) our heavenly Father, the next words are "Thy kingdom come." Those are very personal words from a hungry heart. We literally say, "God, dominate me. Be in charge of my life."
Then Jesus authorized us to pray, "Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." His will is certainly for his children to be filled with God himself. To prove just how available he is, Jesus, in Luke Chapter 11, makes three overpowering statements. First, Jesus tells of a man unable to offer hospitality to a visitor who arrives at midnight, so he goes to a neighbor, awakens him and asks for bread. In spite of initial resistance by the neighbor, he receives everything he needs. Because hospitality was an absolute in the culture of these villages, the asking man knew he would get the bread. It was a foregone conclusion.
Next, Jesus states, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will open to you," even promising that everyone who asks, seeks, or knocks, succeeds. In other words, it is a foregone conclusion.
Finally he teases his listeners with some no-brainer questions: "If your child asks for food, will you give him a rock, a scorpion, a serpent?"
The answer is "Absolutely not." Then Jesus reveals the subject of these three illustrations-the Holy Spirit. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13) (Italics mine) In other words, to those who ask, it is a foregone conclusion. God will not withhold the Holy Spirit from those who ask.
The only limitation seems to be the everything he needs statement. The Holy Spirit is not a personal thrill trip or merely an experience, but is, instead, the executive presence of God to fulfill his servant-hearted, others-centered will. The thrills and experiences are there in keeping with Scripture, but the greatest joy for us and Jesus is to do His will. That is where the power of the Holy Spirit concentrates. So, God's invitation has arrived. It awaits only your response.
1. Focus your attention, your study efforts and your praise on Jesus himself. In other words, fill yourself with the knowledge of Jesus and believe on him. (John 7:37-39)
2. Invite the Lord to empower your life and overflow you with the Holy Spirit for the benefit of others.
3. Believe and accept that he is now working in your life. Since all God's gifts are received by faith, you can trust that he will answer this prayer.
4. Watch to see what new events will happen in your life, what new power will be there, what new understandings, what new energy for service, what new drive toward purity.
5. Do not close the door to the miraculous or to new experiences if they match Scripture. Be bold and watch God work.
6. Pray for boldness to speak God's word and ask God to heal and "perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Jesus." In the early church, God responded with an overflow of the Holy Spirit when this prayer was prayed. (Acts 4:29-30)
7. The Holy Spirit was also given as a down payment in our lives to assure us of our salvation. (2 Corinthians 1:22 and 5:5) If you lack this sense, ask the Lord to reveal this reassurance to you. Then just enjoy watching what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life.
8. Pray more and more unselfishly. Discover the promise that the Holy Spirit also prays in our behalf in keeping with the will of God. That cooperation unlocks great power. (Romans 8:26, 27)
9. Abandon fear. With the Holy Spirit in your life, you have a restful assurance of God's relationship to you. Enjoy it! (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6)
10. Prepare to know him more and to be more like Jesus because of the action of the Holy Spirit in your life.
God has placed himself in you and has gifted you by his Spirit. As the Apostle Peter exhorts us in 1 Peter 4:10, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." (NIV) So, if you really want to enjoy being God's child, place yourself in situations where you will truly have opportunity to serve and grow. This does not mean abandoning larger gatherings, but you will find that your greatest growth and fulfillment comes in smaller home-type fellowships. As you meet "in his name," you will discover he is truly present.
For the decades of my life, I have enjoyed watching the Holy Spirit provide growth in my life by keeping me strongly attached to Jesus the Vine. I marveled at the miracles I have seen because he was at work. I wallowed in the joy of his presence. I stand amazed at how God takes my failures, anoints them and makes them his successes. I gloat in the rest he has placed in my soul.
I hunger for the same for you. He responds to hungry people. Welcome to the table. Let's eat!
— From the newly revised book, The Spirit Style, by Gayle Erwin.
Servant Quarters, Vol. 20 #2
Published about six times a year.
Available by request.
PO Box 219
Cathedral City, CA 92235
Just wanted to thank you for the writing of "That Reminds Me Of ANOTHER Story". What a great collection of modern-day parables: thought-provoking, uplifting, and humorous! Pt I, and now Pt II, of your story have been a blessing!
On another note, I'm asked occasionally if I have a favorite verse in the Bible. In the past I've had some that seemed to be highlights, but none that stood out as a singular favorite. That is, until last week: in preparation for a message in Lk 24, I found it! And, knowing our mutual fellowship in this area, I thought it might minister to you as well. The new-found favorite Scripture is Lk 24:41; "Jesus said to them, 'Have you any food here?"' Might I add... it's a red-letter verse, too! (How could I have missed it before?)
Calorie Chapel of Louisville, KY
I am writing with some exciting news. Yesterday just before you left church I introduced you to my son, Steven. Well about an hour ago he walked into my office and told me he wanted to accept Christ as his Saviour. Remember the song we sang yesterday. That Christ was going to bring them all home. Well its happening. Steven told me that he thought he should have accepted Christ yesterday when you were preaching the message. You can imagine how blessed Bev and I are. Remember, we were talking about what a blessing really is with Pastor Dale. Steven coming to the Lord is a real blessing.
Thanks for coming here and being a part of leading my son to Christ. That's the rest of the Story.
Pastor Joe Galarneau
I'm restocked on Erwinology, which is really Jesusology, and I can't wait to dig in!
Hope I season as well as you do. I'll be 45 this year. That's strange. Your enthusiasm encourages me. Keep sailing on fresh wind,
Your Butler, Rod
Hope all is going well with you. I thought I would just send you this poem that one of our people wrote after you were with us in the beginning of January. She is an English professor and has written quite a few poems. By the way, she just got saved over a year ago. Hope you enjoy it.
Chilliwack, BC, Canada
I'm only a mother! What can I say?
These sons of mine were ambitious even in the womb, each struggling for a better position, thrusting and squirming their way into the world.
They were never easy.
Sons of thunder, indeed! How I laughed when I heard that! And who could know it better than I?
Spoiled, their father called them.
And that day they simply walked away leaving Zebedee with all the nets to mend.Left him sitting in the boat, amazed, and his only sons off with some stranger who happened by and called them to follow him.
We see them little now.
Fishers of men, they call themselves. And servants!
Today they came to see me, and I knew they wanted something. "Ask our teacher for us, mother, for a guarantee of places in his kingdom. I on his right," said John, "And James, the other side."
I don't know why I listened to such nonsense when I should have sent them packing.
But we went, the three of us, and when I knelt before him in the dust to ask this favour, he said, "You do not know what you are asking."
I met his eyes.
And then, oh, then! I felt a flood of love that nearly stopped my breath. I understood.
"Whoever wants to be first must be your slave," he said, My heart believed him and I thought my sons were wise to seek a place near him.
My name is Elizabeth Reynolds. I am 14 as of March 23. I just wanted to thank you greatly for using the talents that God has given you in the ways that you have. I attend Calvary Chapel of Delaware County. When you gave a sermon there, I was extremely interested and disappointed that my parents were not able to make it to that service (they were in Puerto Rico). I decided that I wanted to get to know you better, and what better way than through your books. I bought That Reminds Me of a Story and That Reminds Me of Another Story. I just finished the first one and look forward to completing the second. I guess the whole reason I am writing to you (I do not write many letters) is to thank you for your hilarious accounts and sermons. I also would like to assure you that you were very clear and I could understand your words and reasoning. You are a very funny man, and again, I thank you.
Elizabeth Anne Reynolds
I want to thank you and your wife for coming to Calvary Chapel of Phelan and sharing with us. To let you know what happened to my son on Sunday I must let you know a little about my family and me.
My family and I accepted Jesus into our hearts almost 7 years ago. Before that I was your typical jerk. In my late teens and early twenties I used to compete in state, national and international Machine Shop competitions, similar to the Olympics.
In 1988 I had the privilege of being flown to Washington DC to meet with President Reagan. For years my son struggled with a problem of wanting to meet someone of importance like his dad did and for years I would explain to him that he already has, God. For some reason he just didn't think that was good enough.
Now to what happened....
On the way home from church that morning I looked over at my son (Andrew, age 16) and noticed a little tear running down his cheek. When I asked him what was wrong he said, with the faucets wide open now, "I know God, I met God."
I thought to myself, OK and.... Andrew explained that during your message you said that we have the privilege of bragging that we know God. I said OK and.... He replied, "I have already met someone more important than the President."
I began to cry as he was telling me this and told him, "You sure have, son, you sure have."
I cannot find words to express what your teaching is doing to me. I'm falling madly in love with Jesus. I want to tell everybody. I will write a long letter when I am able to express this love I'm finding by his grace.
As a child I was put up for adoption along with my other 8 siblings, and within the past year we have finally reunited the last brother. I am very happy to say after many talks with my brother (He lives near NYC & I in upstate NY.... I shared some of the tapes I had of yours with him.), he has given his heart to Christ!!! Thank you, Gayle ....
I just finished reading The Jesus Style. It really is a necessary thing to always consider the nature of our Lord in combating false doctrine. Your book really shed some light & made me consider & re-examine doctrines I've held. Your insight, humor, & teaching is a balm to the soul.
St. Petersburg, FL
I really do appreciate your ministry and during your last visit here I purchased your videos. Long story short. Communication about things of the Spirit have been resurrected between my father and myself. He has asked me my opinion on the Testimony of Tom Anderson "And The Truth Shall Set You Free"
He is a trial lawyer who has put together an 84-page article on why he believes. Very legalistic. But good. My Father who turned 77 as of last November was raised a "Cradle Catholic" as we would say.
I e-mailed him your site to take a look and decided to send him the videos (we have watched) and the books (we have read) the Jesus Style, Father, Spirit. Please pray for my Father (as Jay Carty says) the more Gray the harder the decision.
My Father's background (if you grew up watching any TV) was as a TV Game show host. I would really like to see him saved as he has sold his second home here in Las Vegas because the drive, at his age, has become a bit tiresome, and now limits our discussions to the internet and the phone.
I have just sent your videos today through the mail and hope he well read them as soon as he gets them. My prayer is that soon he will open his heart to the good news of Jesus Christ.
We have two more slide shows coming up this month & are encouraging people to look at your upcoming tour to Israel. Dalette and I are still CRAVING God's word as a result of our trip -our lives have been radically changed! We thank you!!!
Chuck & Dalette Knight
Coos Bay, OR
I have been listening to you most mornings at work. I try to arrange my workload so that while I'm sitting at my desk doing paper work, I can listen to you. Sometimes I get a phone call or a co-worker interrupts the 15 minutes I try to set aside for your messages so I make a note on a piece of paper the date of the message that I believe I should hear again in its entirety. If it is possible, I would like to order your tapes that I heard on KHPE in Albany, Oregon.
Last night I made the trip to Coberg, Oregon so I could listen to you speak about the nature of Jesus. My friend and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately we were not able to go back today to listen to the rest of your message. I would like to get your books someday, too.
Maybe you will be able to visit our church in Sublimity, Oregon, Cascade View Free Methodist or a church in Salem which would be closer for me to travel. I will definitely be sharing at Sunday School tomorrow morning about having the opportunity to listen to you in person last night. Your message really spoke to my heart, but then they usually do.
I want to set the record straight. I just finished listening to one of your talks on being power hungry. I am a hospice nurse, and from now on will be afraid to hang my stethoscope on my rear view mirror.
You see, I spend most of my day in the car driving from home to home. I often hang my stethoscope on the rear view mirror. Not because I want to draw attention to myself or because I am power hungry, but because it is handy and I know I will be able to find it the next time I stop.
So please, don't mistake me for a doctor who wants honor and glory. That is not my style. I am just overworked and forgetful. But I love my work and I love listening to you on the radio.
Thanks for helping me break the bad habit of hanging the stethoscope on the mirror!
The Jesus Style continues to grow in influence and distribution. The current translations in the works include Turkish, Polish, Creole (for Haiti), Romanian (in hand but not published). When these are finished, that will bring the number of translations to 30.
The LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant . . . For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ . . . This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Deuteronomy 9:11; John 1:17; and Luke 22:20
When the Lord wrote the message of His law upon stone tablets for Moses, He was prescribing the terms of the Old Covenant. "The LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant." When Jesus came into the world to die on the cross, the Lord was establishing a New Covenant. "This cup is the new covenant in My blood."
These two covenants of law and grace present one of the major contrasting themes in the word of God. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ..." Understanding the differences between these two covenants is of utmost importance for living the Christian life as God intends.
God's law tells us that He desires holiness to characterize the way we live. Only God's grace can provide such righteousness in our lives. God's law tells us that He wants Christlike love to permeate our attitudes and relationships. Only God's grace can develop such love in us. God's law tells us that He desires the perfections of the Father to be growing in us. Only God's grace is sufficient to carry out such a process of transformation.
The law of God is the what; the grace of God is the how. The law of God reveals sin; the grace of God forgives sin. The law of God indicates man's problem; the grace of God provides God's remedy. The law of God demands performance by man; the grace of God offers provision from God.
The law of God is the standard; the grace of God is the means. The law of God is the spiritual measuring rod that evaluates lives; the grace of God is the nurturing resource that produces spiritual life. The law of God tells us of the character of God; the grace of God reproduces that character in us. The law of God is the effect God wants to see; the grace of God is the cause that brings forth that effect.
Day 19 from a new devotional book by Bob Hoekstra.