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 Bear and Caryl Mills who hail from Lubbock, Texas. So for starters if your name is “Bear” and you have a Holy Spirit story (or any other kind of story), I want to hear it! They are part of St. Luke’s Church pastored by one of Seedbed’s board of directors, Andy Hurst. This one is filled with attentive and attuned faith. Be challenged and encouraged!
This was our second time to attend the New Room Conference. What an incredible experience. And wrapped around it, my wife, Caryl, and I planned stops at key locations associated with powerful revivals in our nation’s history; Cane Ridge, Red River Meeting House, Asbury. “Lord, you did it before. Please do it again.”
We also prayed. We’d learned on a trip to China several years ago that a vitally important prayer is, “God, please cause someone to ask us the right questions . . . questions that provoke an eternity-changing conversation.” When other people are asking questions, it causes them to listen with different ears. It worked in China. It worked in the country of Turkey. It worked previously as we traveled across the United States. Would it continue to open the door to opportunities to share Jesus?
New Room and the associated stops were incredible. As we traveled, we shared Jesus, but it was definitely “seed planting” rather than “harvesting.” And then came the day we were driving back to Texas through Missouri. Humming along Interstate 44, we’d just left The Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage.
As we passed the city limits of Joplin, an alarm on the car sounded, letting us know that tire pressure was dropping fast on the driver’s side rear tire. Caryl checked her phone. A Discount Tire location just happened to be at the next exit. We limped into the Discount Tire. Both of us, mighty spiritual warriors that we are, were wondering, “God, we’re doing your will. Why did this happen? Why a flat tire? Why us?”
The news got even better at the Discount Tire. We’d need four new tires, and it would take all afternoon to get the work done. We were going to be sitting at that Discount Tire for a while. Oh, joy.
Chairs in the Joplin Discount Tire were grouped in threes. We took two of the three in the back corner. As we settled in, grousing about circumstances, a man walked up to us. “This seat taken?” he asked. He looked like he was having a worse day than us. Disheveled. Bloodshot eyes. Hair uncombed. Mid-50s. Despite there being plenty of empty chairs in other parts of the business, he wanted to sit by us.
“Well, tell us about your day,” I said.
“Me? I’m going to hell.”
I’m sure I looked surprised. “Really? And why is that?”
He didn’t hesitate. His father, who just passed away, was a Pentecostal preacher in a nearby small town. This son was the black sheep of the family. He said that during their last conversation, he cussed his father out, telling him to “go to hell.” Shortly thereafter, the father died of a stroke.
“Now I know who’s going to hell,” he said. “Not him. Me. God will never forgive me for the way I treated my father. He was a good man who served God. I’m cursed.”
My wife, Caryl, leaned in. “Did your father believe in the Bible? Did he believe it was the Word of God?”
“And God never lies. His Word is true.” Back in Lubbock, we were teaching the “Roman Road to Salvation” to the 4th and 5th graders at our church. Caryl now walked that Roman Road with our new friend. If he’d ever heard these verses before, you couldn’t tell by his reaction. He was a drowning man receiving a lifeline to salvation.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. God demonstrates love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord WILL be saved. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As Caryl talked, I prayed. As I talked, she prayed. And then we both prayed, out loud, in the Discount Tire, leading our new friend in a prayer for Jesus to forgive his sins and save his soul. We asked if there was a church he could contact to follow up on his decision. He said he knew some people who attended a Baptist church in the area. The pastor was friendly, and they taught the Bible. He would be there for church the next day, he said.
For months leading up to the New Room Conference, we prayed, “God, cause someone to ask us the right questions.” Over the course of the trip, we prayed the same thing. And then we wondered why we got a flat tire. That was not part of our prayer.
But the aforementioned Roman Road passes through this verse: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) Our flat tire was just God’s way of making sure we didn’t miss a divine appointment that God had for us, right at the spot where the Roman Road crosses Interstate 44.
Father Farmer God, thank you for this story of how you are always willing and working out your ways and your will for your glory, for our good, and for the gain of others. We love this prayer, lead others to ask the questions that open the door to discovering you. Lead me in this kind of attuned way of life of paying attention to you and to those you put on our path. Holy Spirit, make us ready at all the intersections of our lives; especially to host those who are in need and pain. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.
Do you tend to live in prayerful expectation of others who are searching—in readied anticipation of listening for the question and not so much giving the answer but receiving the question asker?
For the Awakening,
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.