My Experience With the Holy Spirit (March 2021)
Dr. Andrew Jackson
After finishing my book Wonder Worker, I was quite mentally burned out. Barb noticed this and encouraged me to go on a retreat. This was in the second week of March. You might remember me mentioning it. So about one month ago.
I decided to go and stay at a small motel in Florence AZ across from the federal prison. The motel was only a few miles from the Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox monastery that I often go to.
When I arrived in Florence, I had very little expectation. I thought I would just try to rest some and walk around the beautiful grounds of the monastery and pray. I only took a Bible and not a computer or any other books.
The first day there I was simply sitting outside reading the Bible. And immediately I felt the deep presence of the Holy Spirit that did not leave over the full three days. I was strongly drawn to the Holy Spirit as I felt like I was being drawn deeper and deeper into his presence. I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed by his power, but more of a deep drawing into the Holy Spirit personally. Because I had a very low expectation for this retreat, it was a major surprise. I wasn’t initially sure what to make of this experience.
As you all know, during my whole Christian life and ministry I have been exposed and involved in many aspects (theologically and experientially) of the Charismatic movement. So the focus on the Holy Spirit wasn’t new, but what I was experiencing during these three days was unique for me.
The Holy Spirit was not simply ministering renewal to me personally, but was revealing and speaking to me about what beginning to happen around the world. I think we could identify this as the “spiritual awakening” that we have talked about. The awakening that would follow the shaking of nations and the church.
I do not know the details, but this is how I would summarize it right now: I believe the Holy Spirit is going to sovereignly visit his people and damaged people and families. I sensed the Holy Spirit was deeply desiring–almost a divine longing–to minister DIRECTLY with no mediation to people, not simply to the church in general.
This is the important point: The way the church has attempted to “facilitate” the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the past will not only be irrelevant, it will be dishonoring and will grieve the Holy Spirit.
So often Christian leaders have usurped the central focus during gatherings (often making the sermon the dominant focus for example), and then have added the ministry of the Holy Spirit as an addendum, as an add on. Or so-called “faith healers” often attempt to usurp the very role of the Holy Spirit through their faith proclamations and projections. In the end, they want to be the center of attention and not the Holy Spirit. They project that it is their faith that is being activated to heal people, and not exalting and honoring the Holy Spirit, even though they like to use his name.
Going forward, we must leave these models behind.
The core point is that the Holy Spirit wants to minister DIRECTLY to people (in and outside the church) and not be mediated through us. I felt that he was almost coming to me very personally as if to say, “please let me heal my people.”
As Christian leaders we have a responsibility in ministry, whether in small or large groups. But moving forward it is our role to “relationally bridge” in a sense the Holy Spirit’s free and direct ministry to his people. To exalt and honor the Holy Spirit out of our own experience of personally communing with him.
And then we must pastor the people as they experience and encounter the direct ministry of healing and redeeming of the Holy Spirit. In this process, the Holy Spirit is going to deeply reveal to us Jesus as we have never encountered him before. Many people, including many Muslims, will be having a encounter experiences with Jesus through the direct ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We can expect the Holy Spirit to directly visit people and families in ways we have never seen or in ways we would not expect. There will be no barriers to the Holy Spirit’s ministry, whether religiously or any other way.
I am still experiencing a deep longing and desperation for the Holy Spirit’s presence. He is still drawing me to himself. It is a thirst that I know is coming from God. I just do not know the whole picture or even the words to explain it. I have tried to express my experience a little in this email. Let the Holy Spirit show you.
I am calling on the AC to cultivate a fresh honoring of the Holy Spirit. That we would begin to invite him and give him the freedom and space to come and visit us. Almost learning to be passive and receive from his presence.
I say this not just for our personal renewal, but because I believe we are to engage in a new way of ministering in the days ahead. I believe this will be revealed to us collectively, it is not something that we will have to search for.
I know what I have written is not in one sense new, but in another I believe it is totally new. It is new in the sense that the Holy Spirit desires and will be moving and ministering in the new context of our specific time in history. It is a new redemptive period in God’s kingdom.