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 story comes from Frank Mangan. Some stories bring tears to our eyes. Some bring a smile and a chuckle. This one made me smile and then joyfully laugh. This one reminded me of our journey this past week to the Jordan River for the baptism of Jesus and the voice of the Father, “You are my son, my beloved one. With you I am well pleased.” Be encouraged by this one.
I was raised Catholic. In 1975 my wife and I lost a child. For the next six years I wondered in the wilderness. (A separate story of God’s grace.) I could not see how a loving God could take an innocent baby. I even denied the existence of a god. I rejected my Catholic upbringing. Ultimately Eric von Daniken became my god (another story in itself).
In 1981, through circumstances created by the Boy Scouts (yet another story of God’s divine grace), my family and I started attending a United Methodist Church. I was there, between Sunday school and church, when the Sunday school classes would recite their Bible verses of the day. The pre-K teacher brought her eight little girls up and started lining them up. It reminded me of the man who spins the plates. He gets one going, goes to the next, and then goes back to the first to keep it spinning. As the teacher made several attempts to keep them in line she quickly turns around and says, “Okay, now we’re going to say our Bible verse.”
At that very moment a little girl in the back row shouts out “HELLO DADDY!” I turned to my fifteen-year-old son and said, “I wonder where that is in the Bible?” He quickly says to me, “Romans 8:15.” I was trying to be funny but he was serious. I quietly turned to that passage and read; “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’.” HELLO DADDY! At that very moment in my life I realized the relationship God wanted with me. He wants me to get up in the morning and say, “hello daddy” and he wants to say, “hello son.” God wants a personal relationship. He is not a God far off punishing my mistakes but a loving Father who wants to walk by my side sharing my joys and my trials.
Oh, and my son became a pastor.
Hello Daddy! Don’t you just love that playful touch?
Hello Daddy! Abba Father, thank you for inviting us so near to you, into this kind of deep abiding fellowship. Help us to dwell there today, even right now. Come Holy Spirit and tune my heart to cry these word with you in me, Abba Father! We love you. I love you. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.
Are you comfortable with addressing God in these terms of endearment? Does it feel too close for comfort? What does it evoke in you? Would you invite the Holy Spirit to help you? This is the only way it really happens.
For today’s song, I encourage you to listen to a powerful song titled “No Longer Slaves.” Let the Spirit minister to you and encourage your heart as you hear it.
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.