|Pentecost at Indian Creek - (Written February 12, 2009)||| Print ||
I have just returned from experiencing a truly “Pentecostal” encounter with God; an experience similar to what the disciples must have had in that upper room 2000 years ago. I had heard of such “Holy Spirit events” happening on rare occasions in the Christian church. I along with every other Christian have longed to experience an “upper room,” but in over 40 years as a Christian it never happened to me. Oh yes, I have been in meetings where the presence of the Holy Spirit was strongly felt. I have had times where His presence was so strong and sweet that no one wanted to leave; but none like I have just had. This was 100 times more powerful and amazing than anything I had ever experienced before.
I was invited to attend a pastor’s meeting for the South Central Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The meetings were held at Indian Creek Camp; the camp grounds and retreat center of the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference. One of the subjects to be presented during the 4 day meeting was the baptism of the Holy Spirit along with an emphasis on prayer. I had heard that a prayer team had been brought in to specifically pray for the meetings even before they began, and during each session. Every speaker was personally prayed for by the prayer team before his presentation by a prayer team member before a meeting began, plus two pastors would also pray for the presenter as he was about to speak. So, knowing this and the subjects to be presented I felt that all who attended would be blessed. Oh My! Were we blessed!
It all began on Sunday night, February 8, 2009. The meeting began with prayer and praise singing. The presentation for the evening was on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the necessity of pastors daily experiencing the Spirit’s infilling in order to present God’s Word “not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power.” The pastor’s were challenged to take seriously God’s call for them to receive the Spirit’s baptism. However, in order to receive, all sin must be renounced and total obedience to God willingly given in lifestyle and ministry (Matthew 5:6). The pastors were challenged with the necessity of an intense thirst or desire for the Spirit’s infilling (John 7:37-39). It was pointed out that one would not receive this blessing if he felt it was not needed or the dependence in ministry was on methods, plans, or education; M.Div, D.Min, PhD, etc.
The pastors were also challenged that the desire to receive the Spirit’s infilling must be pure and not motivated to be a great preacher, a soul winning superstar; no motive for human greatness must be involved. The only acceptable motive is to honor and glorify God in one’s life and ministry.
At the close of the presentation the speaker asked the pastors to get in groups of two or three and pray unitedly for three things; for God to pour out His Spirit on the meetings, for God to prepare our hearts to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and for God to bring revival into our life and the church. After all had prayed the speaker then closed with prayer, and the song “Spirit of the Living God” was sung by all while still in an attitude of prayer.
Immediately after the prayer and song was finished pastors began mentioning several of their colleagues who were going through difficult times. The pastors gathered around these individuals and began earnestly interceding to God for them. An intense spirit of intercession began to be felt. Then pastors began confessing their wrongs and seeking to make things right between themselves and their fellow pastors. Praises to God were expressed. This spontaneous intercession, confession and praise continued for some time. As it was drawing to a close the speaker for the night said that he had planned to have the pastors specifically pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit the next morning after the devotional. He also said it was clear that God had already answered the united prayer for God to prepare our hearts to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that we should fall on our knees right now and claim the promise of the baptism of the Spirit. This is what we did. There followed an intense crying out to God in deep earnestness to be filled with His Spirit. Total submission was expressed.
At the end of the prayer spontaneous praise continued for some time. We all left the meeting amazed at what we had just experienced. We knew something unique and powerful in the Spirit had just taken place unexpectedly.
The next morning (Monday) the meeting began with praise singing and time was given for testimony. Again unexpectedly powerful testimonies began coming forth. Individuals became transparent and shared the difficulties they were facing; not just professionally but personally. Tears were shed and an intense caring and concern by their fellow pastors was felt and expressed. Wrongs continued to be righted. Pastors confessed negative feelings they had felt toward conference leadership and asked for forgiveness. Conference leaders asked forgiveness for any hurts they had caused. Intercessory prayers continued to take place. This outburst of praise, tearful confession, personal transparency and intercession went on for over an hour. The morning speaker then spoke on the necessity of brokenness in order for God to fill us and use us. We all identified with the experience of brokenness, for many had been transparently sharing the experiences of brokenness they were going through. The session was closed with another season of united prayer for God to continue to baptize us with His Spirit and pour out His Spirit on these meetings.
Throughout Monday we continued to feel that the Spirit was doing something amazing in our midst; something totally unexpected and never before experienced by most of us in the meeting. The conference president shared that only one time before in his ministry had he experienced such a Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit. It was such a powerful experience that he had longed to experience it one more time in his life. The previous Pentecostal outpouring had taken place in Africa many years before. He had wondered if it would ever happen in America, but now God had answered his prayer.
After all that had happened Sunday night and Monday everyone was tired Monday evening, and enjoyed just fellowshipping with one another. Yet, we felt the Spirit had more planned.
Then the Holy Spirit manifested Himself in the most amazing, marvelous, and unbelievable way; words can’t express the experience. It happened Tuesday morning. The meeting began as usual with praise singing followed by testimonies. The Spirit fell upon us even more powerfully than before, and heart felt confession was expressed, personal pain in the most transparent manner was shared, and intense intercession ascended to God. Men began weeping with such intensity. Their colleagues drew near them, holding them and praying for them. The conference president began praying. All gathered around him laying hands on him and each other. The Holy Spirit took over his prayer and we all felt in the presence of God. Tears flowed. Following that prayer men and the women present were praising God, embracing each other, and praying together in small groups.
It was approaching lunch time and we thought the meeting was about to end. The entire morning was filled with what I described above supplanting two scheduled speaker’s presentations. We didn’t mind because we all knew the meeting was 100% under the Holy Spirit’s direction. He had taken over the schedule. Planning to draw the meeting to a close, we all got into a large circle to hold hands and offer a benediction prayer. One pastor spoke up and said he felt the Lord wanted to “seal” this experience with a miracle, and he prayed for God to do just that.
One of the pastors was sitting in a chair still weeping uncontrollably. He was placed in the middle of the room with pastors gathering around him for prayer. Several prayed for their colleague. Then one of the pastors knelt before him, and specifically prayed for God to continue to fill this heart broken man with His Spirit. The pastor was led to forgive those who had hurt him, and ask God to forgive them and bless them. Many pastors encircled the weeping pastor and the one praying. Hands were laid on the weeping pastor and on one another. All the pastors were invited to participate in this prayer of forgiveness of all who had hurt them. Many pastors entered into this prayer. Once the forgiveness was expressed every oppressive spirit that was seeking to bring discouragement was commanded in the name of Jesus to depart. The power of the Holy Spirit was intensely felt, pastors became free from all negative feelings and emotions, a spirit of great joy and love filled each heart. Shouts of praise were heard. One pastor began shouting at Satan that he was a liar. The pastor who had led in the prayer of forgiveness next laid hands on this pastor who was still feeling so much pain, and now was on his hands and knees on the floor. He was asked who he needed to forgive. The forgiveness was expressed, and Satan was commanded to leave. Again the power of the Spirit was strongly felt, and this pastor was released and filled with joy and praises to God.
We were all experiencing deliverance from Satan’s oppressions. Joy and love was filling every heart. Praises continued to be expressed. Then one lady came forward to have prayer for her arthritis. Again God’s deliverance was manifested, and she arose from her chair walking without pain rejoicing in her deliverance.
God had just answered the prayer to manifest a miracle. He had performed many miracles of emotional deliverance and even a physical deliverance.
Tears of joy, shouts of praise, and prayers of thanksgiving continued for some time. We didn’t want to leave the room; it was the “upper room” of Pentecost. We were experiencing Pentecost and didn’t want it to stop. Some were so filled with the Spirit that they couldn’t even eat lunch. Everyone was basking in the blessings the Spirit had poured out on us. We were filled with thankfulness to God for blessing us with His presence in such a manner that words cannot express. I even heard numerous pastors say that they could now die and be content. I guess one would have to have been there to really understand what those words meant. This was the greatest experience we had ever had in the Lord when Pentecost came to Indian Creek.