I wish I could show each of you the journals, napkins, and scraps of paper. Everything was memorialized in Mead notebooks and gathered in Peechee folders (you’d have to be born before 1985 to know what those are!). What was captured in print became a testimony to the grace of God and the power of the Spirit in my young life.
What I’m referring to are a pile of songs and poems written down during my teenage years in Wisconsin. Dozens and dozens of lyrics, rhymes and scripture to song – many of which will never see the light of day but sure were key to my spiritual formation.
I wasn’t trying to be the next Poe, Thoreau or even Bono. I was just responding to what was wildly stirring in my heart shortly after
having an amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit at summer camp.
And oddly, I didn’t connect the two experiences together until years later when I compared the date of when I was baptized with the Holy
Spirit to the date of the first song I wrote. They were in the same month and year. Something unlocked in me in the summer of 1983. Something radically shifted. Something supernatural unfolded and it affected everything! Not only did I begin to write songs and poetry but I was worshiping more passionately (less embarrassed), sinning
less (just a tad!), loving my parents and brother better (you can ask them), serving more aggressively and telling others about Jesus with
Now let’s be clear: I was a Christian. Loving God and growing. Going to heaven without a question. But…what happened on that August evening was a distinct moment subsequent to salvation. I was baptized with the Holy Spirit according to promise of Jesus as described in the pages of the Bible. I couldn’t explain it fully but I knew I was different: empowered and passionate.
The dusty, wide-rule notebooks don’t lie. They may be stained with ink, sweat and…time, but they are still breathing with life and vitality, joy and love, questions and answers. The Spirit breathed into those pages and He continues to breathe into us today. Let’s open our hearts together (like blank journal pages) and see what the Spirit freshly imprints upon us. I believe it will mark us…form us…change us…forever.