Tongues of Fire

April 8, 2004

[real fire on a tongue]My plan for last night’s home group gathering was to celebrate Holy Wednesday by sharing communion, then watching The Miracle Maker.

I did not plan to have a discussion about baptism of the Holy Spirit. But what was I going to do, say “OK, let’s talk about experiencing God’s power and love some other time, right now let’s watch the movie”?

Some highlights of our discussion:

  • Though all believer are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (freaks — one body with two spirits), Scripture indicates that belief and water baptism do not necessarily coincide with “fire baptism” or being submerged in the Holy Spirit.
  • Coming to faith in Christ is an internal experience. Immersion in the Holy Spirit is an external experience, something that can be observed by others.
  • Even in times of revival when many people are experiencing the Holy Spirit at the same time, there are people who stand there watching and wondering why nothing is happening to them.
  • The main act of a believer being immersed in the Holy Spirit is surrender — in particular, relinquishing control over your body. There is a physical element to the experience. It is irrational and emotional. It’s weird.
  • People who wonder why nothing is happening to them are usually held back by fear — fear of relinquishing control, fear of the irrational, fear of the emotional, fear of the weird.
  • Another reason people may not be experiencing anything is that God wants to do something else first. Some people need to give up trying to earn an experience; it’s a gift. Some people need to be healed of emotional pain that holds them back.
  • To receive baptism in the Holy Spirit, it’s important to tell God that you’re open, and that you want more of him.
  • Some people have an “anointing”, the ability to impart the Holy Spirit to others. It can be very helpful to find such people.
  • At least one member of our group is not certain if they’ve ever experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But I asked everyone else, “When was the last time you experienced this?”
  • We are all hungry for more.

It’s one thing to tell people the history of revivals and try to stir something up. But this was completely spontaneous. Is Aslan on the move?

(After this discussion, we did share communion, and prayed for a couple people. And it was getting kind of late, but we watched the movie anyway. I had forgotten how amazing The Miracle Maker is — how the portrayal of events and in particular the portrayal of Jesus seems so natural, so unforced and inviting. I think it’s better than The Passion!)

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

8 responses to Tongues of Fire

  1. Better than “The Passion?” Blasphemy! Just kidding. You reminded me that we own this too and would be a perfect film to watch with the kids this Easter. An awesome film that surprised me that claymation could bring tears to my eyes. I guess that’s the Spirit though, and not the clay. Although it is the stuff we are made of. Hmm, there might be something there!

  2. jon, so refreshing to see you teaching through this stuff. very cool….

  3. Hmmmm… Jon teaching so well on the Holy Spirit… an experienced advocate for The Advocate. Talk about hand in glove, will you? Watch out for that turn in the road. It will dip somewhat also.
    Have you listened to Prosch’s Palanquin CD? He sings this:
    “There is no danger
    in excess of loving You;
    tell me
    how much closer
    can I come to You?”
    I also like The Miracle Maker… the scene where the disciples start arguing about who gets ranked higher in the kingdom is brilliant, for they get interrupted when Jesus comes back collecting firewood for them all. Subtle, and yet bursting with truth.

  4. Come, Holy Spirit!

    Jon Reid’s current blog on Holy Spirit (a Person, not an inanimate object) is terrific…

  5. What’s neat, Greg, is this wasn’t “Jon teaching” — I’m just making notes of the discussion.
    I’ll have to check out the Prosch CD…

  6. Enjoying the comments here. Kevin Prosch, haven’t heard his name in awhile. Been listening to an old David Ruis CD lately and loving it again.
    Don’t think I’ve seen Miracle Maker, but just went to Netfix and put it on my que. Thanks Jon!
    Yes I want more of the Holy Spirit, too.

  7. Hey, another Miracle Maker fan! I LOVE the Miracle Maker. It’s too bad we fans don’t have a secret hand shake! Lol!
    Btw, sounds like a good discussion!
    Have a Blessed Easter Jon!

  8. My first visit to ginkworld and so many kindred spirits! In reference to the Holy Spirit, A.W.Tozer wrote that you can have the Holy Spirit, but does He have you. I imagine dipping my cup in the Mississippi River, thinking that now I have the River in my cup. When I wade out into the deep and the River carries me where it wills, then it is safe to say the River has me.