My family attended our local denominational church when I was just a girl living in a small town in western New York. However, my dad had been raised in the vibrant fires of the Pentecostal movement, and so he longed to introduce his family to the rich heritage of the power of the Holy Spirit.
When I was in the second grade, we began going to the Assemblies of God church that was about 30 minutes away from our country home. We continued to attend and serve at our neighborhood church on Sunday mornings, but every Sunday evening, the entire family would climb into our white Chevy station wagon and head toward that powerful piece of real estate on Spruce Street.
Even at 8 years old, I knew that what I had so longed for was in that place! My little heart raced out of my chest at the vibrant worship and at the staccato of the hand-clapping. I turned around in wonder at the folks who were bold enough to shout out at any moment in the service the mighty words, "Amen! Praise the Lord!"
But it was the time that was spent at the altar that meant the most to me. I couldn't wait, every Sunday night, for the moment when Brother Brown would call the Sunday-evening attendees to come to the altar. I was less than a decade old, mind you, but I loved the intimacy of crying out to God in prayer and of begging the Holy Spirit to fill me with His power.
A fire was lit in my soul during those days that has never been extinguished, never diminished and has never been watered-down. As a mere child, I felt the definitive call of God, the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit and the sweet friendship of Jesus Christ.
I believe a fresh wind of power is coming to breathe life and destiny into the body of Christ in the early part of this 21st century. I know that I know that I know that the same Holy Spirit who filled my life as a child is able to do it again!
I believe that the Holy Spirit is looking for families who are willing to get out of their comfort zones of ordinary and uneventful living and will move to where the Holy Spirit is celebrated and accepted. I believe that the same Holy Spirit of Pentecost, of Azusa Street and of the Jesus Movement is stirring today. I believe that the Spirit of God Himself is targeting people who are willing to linger at the altar of His presence.
One of the greatest miracles in communing with the Holy Spirit is that He doesn't check your birth certificate. As a little girl with blonde ringlets down my back, I cried out to God at the altar that was filled with desperate teenagers, searching young adults, longing middle-aged people and weary elderly folks.
Where will you be when the Holy Spirit begins to move in this day? Will you be watching TV? Will you be on the playing a game on the internet? Will you be at a sporting event? Will you be at the mall or at the gym?
Or will you be lingering at a place where the Holy Spirit is accepted and celebrated? Will you have spent personal time in His presence so your heart has been softened to hear His voice?
The Holy Spirit is about to break forth, dear one! He has done it before, and He will do it again and again and again. He will move among children, among teens, among young adults and among the older generations. Where will you be when it happens?
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books: No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book is Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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