I had the privilege of attending Winter School at Hillsong NYC last week and have tons of great notes and thoughts from Robert and Amanda Ferguson who teach out in Sydney Australia.
One of the things I didn’t account for was on the final night, Robert Ferguson calling on the Holy Spirit.
Now you’re either thinking one of two things:
- It’s church, isn’t the Holy Spirit always there?
- Oh here we go, this is a charismatic, Assemblies of God thing.
Now let’s be real here. As a Christian I think I’m fairly good when it comes to the Holy Spirit. I like when the Holy Spirit is happy inside of me even when I want to feel sorry for myself some days. I like when the Holy Spirit helps me recall good verses in the Bible at random. I like the Holy Spirit how I like coffee..I’m not a big drinker but I appreciate it every now and then.
When it comes to the Holy Spirit though, for me, it’s really easy to get freaked out.
I feel like I told this story before, so if you have heard it bear with me. I don’t remember how old I was. Younger than 3rd grade I would guess, so about 7 or 8 at the oldest. And I remember that my aunt and uncle were in town visiting. At the time my parents were separated and I remember sitting on the couch in the living room with them, while my mom ran an errand or was outside for some reason. And I remember them trying very hard to teach me how to speak in tongues. I remember as a small child being really confused and almost embarrassed that this was happening. I didn’t get what was happening and I felt like I was disappointing my aunt and uncle somehow by not being able to speak how they spoke.
So that’s my first memory.
Fast forward to about four or five years ago, when I had my next really odd experience with what I still can’t be sure was the Holy Spirit at a gathering outside of my church. I remember being in a dark place, feeling depressed, and raising my hand for prayer. Long story short, I felt this really weird hot dripping egg yoke falling all over my body from my shoulders where strangers’ hands were laid on me to my toes. Once it was over I felt like my entire body was on fire, and sick to my stomach. So sick in fact that I had to leave the gathering before the sermon even started and proceeded to spew my insides all the way to the station where I thought I would be able to take the bus home.
So needless to say I still have a hard time with “the Spirit” and “tongues” and all that.
I simultaneously want God to do His thing with the Spirit and am actually scared of what that will feel like.
So I’m at Winter School and Robert is closing the final night in prayer and he prays for the Holy Spirit to come and basically descend on us.
Now it might seem odd to you since hey, I’m a Christian so I should be okay with this, but I start to get sweaty and panicky. I start to think am I going to spew everywhere once it comes? Will I just start babbling? Will I be slain in the Spirit like they show on TV?
Haha. Anyone else?
I recorded both days in the sermon so I don’t remember at what point it hit me, but all of a sudden. Boom.
I kid you not it felt like someone shot me in the heart with a paintball pellet. Like actually it felt like I was hit with something but then it dispersed. Like it cracked open once it hit me. Like a snowball that whacks you in the chest for a second but then falls apart and spreads out.
I don’t know what that means.
It’s not like I started speaking another language or anything at all. I just sort of paused, expecting something weird to happen, but nothing did. Except the feeling that the Holy Spirit punched me in the heart.
I look forward to kind of, figuring out what all of this means in my life. Do you guys have any interesting stories? Am I the only one that is still sort of….anxious about this whole thing? If not, be of good cheer, I’m still sort of bashful about this whole thing too.