I was born again in January of 1975. The church I attended was of the full-gospel variety, and I was baptized in the Holy Ghost three weeks after the Lord had apprehended me from the world.
I had no difficulty believing in the gifts of the Spirit as described in 1 Corinthians 12, and the Lord even used me at times in manifesting some of them. However, after a few years, I began to listen to some of the well known radio preachers who believed that those gifts were not for today, and that they weren't really in operation after the apostles died off.
They would explain that we don't need the "sign gifts" today, as we now have the Bible- God's Word. I began to go along with that line of thinking. I even got a study bible with comments from one of those respected teachers.
This point of view, combined with the fact that I'd seen some pretty bizarre abuses of some of the gifts, and noticing that most of the false teachings t hat I'd seen in the church were brought in by Pentecostals, had me walking away from some of the most precious experiences I'd ever had with the Lord.
After a few years of "laying low' concerning spiritual gifts, I noticed that my walk with the Lord was lacking in the intensity that I'd once enjoyed. At first I thought it was because I was no longer a new believer, and that my walk with Jesus was now less emotional and more mature.
The teachers that I mentioned, although very knowledgable and well read, were lacking something that I was desperately seeking. While I was still getting into the Word a lot, there was a distance from God that I couldn't rationalize away...
I began to wonder why God would take the wonderful moving of His Spirit in the form of gifts away from His Church. Well, why would He? Had the Church matured so much that God figured that we no longer need His Spirit moving in and through us? How ridiculous to even think such a thing! I slowly began to move away from that "God doesn't do that anymore" belief, because no matter how much I got into His Word, I found that I missed the depth of His presence which often accompanies these gifts.
Oh, abuses still exist- let's not be naive about t- but I realized that you can't "throw out the baby with the dirty bathwater", and I decided that I wanted as much of God that I could possibly have- no matter what that entailed.
Well, my passion has returned, and I'm now a believer in the moving of God and in the gifts of the Spirit TODAY. I know that God wants to move freely among His people now more than at any time in history, and I want to be involved in ALL that He has for me- Accepting His forgiveness and grace, walking passionately with Him, and being willing to be used of Him as HE chooses to use me.
How about you? Do you want God to freely move in and through your life? Are you willing to let Him use yo u to minister to the lost- in HIS power? Will you allow Him to use you to minister to other believers in a supernatural way, if that's how He chooses to move? He's already given us all we need.
May God richly bless you-
pastor Jim Ewing