A Holy Spirit Story: A Tale of Four Books


Acts 1:8 (NIV)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Today’s Holy Spirit Story comes from Bob Hagar, senior minister at the Mt. Caramel United Methodist Church in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Bob served a number of churches across the years before retiring. Then he came out of retirement and began serving another one. He is a dear saint and a loving soul and the kind of witness I aspire to be when I reach his level. He has been an ardent supporter of all of our work at Seedbed. 

I first met “M” while I was sitting out on my porch. She is a twenty-something young adult. I was reading a book. She asked me what I was reading. I told her, What I learned about God in Medical School, by Dr. Troy Vines. M had a book in her hand, so I asked her what she was reading. She said, A Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary, written by Macrina Wiederkehr, a deceased nun at St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

I thought to myself, “Wow! This is deep reading for such a young person.” So I asked her if she would share her story with me. She told me she had grown up with two atheist parents; that God and church had not a part of her life. During her early adolescence her mom and dad divorced, which threw her and her younger sister into a tailspin. Her mom went through a period of disarray and they wound up moving twelve times in six years. Chaos reigned in the family.

M began to sense her need for something to heal the pain in her life. During that time, they lived in a single-wide trailer with the mom and two sisters all sleeping in one bed. It was during that time a friend gave her Tim Keller’s book The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith. As she read the book, she became overwhelmed by the way the Father in the story welcomed the younger son back home. She identified with both the younger and older child. This led her to read the Scriptures, which brought her to asking Christ to come into her life and be her Lord. This was seven months ago.

I asked her if she would be willing to share her witness in church. She reacted by saying she was not used to public speaking, but she would pray about it. Two days later, she mentioned the opportunity to the friend who shared Keller’s book with her, and the friend said, “Do it!” M took that as God’s will. She recently gave her witness to the Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The congregation was deeply moved by her witness.

Wake up, sleeper! This is how it happens, in ordinary, unsuspecting and often surprising opportunities to sow connection with other believers, to sow stories into one another’s lives, to share books and life on front porches. 


Father Farmer God, thank you for Bob and for his long faithfulness in your kingdom and church. And thank you for this story about M, and the way you intersected their lives and stories and now for the way this work of grace has been sown into his church. Prosper M in her faith and life and bless her for her perseverance and her willingness to share what you have and are doing. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


Are you willing to strike up conversations like this one, with a perfect stranger, over a book they are reading, and to inquire about their life and story, and to go where the Lord may lead? It really can be that simple. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

Subscribe to get this in your inbox daily

P.S. Holy Spirit Stories Welcome

I would love it if you would send a story of faith from your life we might use on a Saturday in the future. We will be glad to attach your name or a pseudonym or anonymity—it’s up to you. It can be a story of coming to faith, a story of transformation, a story of healing, deliverance, suffering and sufficient grace, family reconciliation, prodigal returns, answered prayer, and so forth. Word count of 500–800 words works well. We can’t guarantee publication, but assure you of our prayerful discernment. You can reply to this email with your story and it will come to me. 


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.