God within the Church
A guide to
recognising God’s presence
within the Christian
recommended that readers should first gain an
overview of how to build faith and belief in God by accessing the Lead Article for this section
of the website, titled, “Believing in God”,
before going any further. That article explains how: faith and belief work together; to learn what God offers us through faith; to create a relationship with him;
to understand how and where his presence can effect us; to soundly evaluate evidence of his presence; to walk in step with him through
find real personal freedom for ourselves.
During my professional career I relied on
disciplined analysis to succeed. (If you wish to know a bit about: my knowledge and skills; quality control over the theology of this website, then click here.) Given
my background, you may be wondering how someone like me came to hold
such strong faith and belief. Well, like many other analytical, open
minded individuals, I found that if we
are willing to ‘really’ look for evidence and
where to look, then each one of us should actually be able to
to ourselves that God exists!
Now, let us get to the subject matter of this article. It
important, especially when starting out on the road to faith and
belief, that we join a community of faith, i.e. attend
church services. This article begins with an explanation of why this is recommended. It then goes on to provide guidance on what type of church
should suit you, the reader.
the article gets into the real interesting stuff,
as far as I am
concerned, i.e. god’s actual presence in church. Obviously, from my point of view, this is of
great importance to our faith and belief building journey. If you wish
to go straight to
that subject now, then begin reading at Heading 4, “Experiencing the Holy Spirit’s presence” and then examine the other guidance and explanations in this article later.
If doubts are threatening your ability to even consider that God
actually participates in church services, please bear with me. I was an
atheist myself for a lengthy period and these types of events really offered a firm foundation
for the belief in God that I now hold.
said that, I also remind you that
faith should not be left at
the door when leaving the weekly church service. The regular use of
faith in day-to-day life is also extremely important for building
belief in God.
The article,“God within our lives”, also in this section of the website, explains
how we can recognise the presence of God in our everyday lives through
the actual use of faith. We do this by inviting him into all aspects of
our lives: benefiting from that relationship in many ways; continually growing in
our beliefs; enhancing our two-way relationship with him.
Recapping then, in order to build sound and
that will endure, we must apply ourselves to both available
development, firstly by joining a community of faith and
secondly through the use
of faith in our day-to-day
lives. This article clearly focuses on that first area.
2. WHY ATTEND CHURCH SERVICES?
Attending services with communities of faith, i.e. churches, certainly increases the
likelihood of recognising
that God actually is a loving ‘being’
and not merely a concept existing within
the writing of others. I have mentioned repeatedly throughout this
website’s articles that the Church is essentially “the
fellowship that nurtures and sustains Christians”. I cannot overstate that fact.
It is most unusual to not receive any benefit
from attending a church service. Normally, there will be an increased
peace within you that will remain for some time. That seems to be the
outcome. But a lot more
can come of
it. Please note that the following sub headings are not laid out in any
particular order. All the presented reasons for attendance are important.
2.1 Assistance from other churchgoers
accept that going to church may
bring you into the company of frail sinners, most of whom are trying to
better Christians. I agree that you may find wowzers and
bigots in the Christian community, just as you would anywhere else. You
may even find people who solely attend church to further their
own personal initiatives and agendas, i.e. not to sustain their
relationship with God at all. They truly annoy all genuine Christians,
and in many cases damage the credibility of the wider Church
by their actions within and outside it.
also find that a very high proportion of people in church have
faith and are very caring (as God requests of them). Honestly,within a
short time these people will become like family to you. They will
assist God by providing him with the means to hasten the growth of your faith and support you in any major life
issues ahead. You should also hear first hand
accounts of God’s power from them.
2.2 Gaining essential knowledge of faith
church of choice should also lead you
– through sermons (talks) from church leaders during services and guided Bible
– to better understand God and the relationship with him that
awaits you. We
all need to continually build our knowledge of God; what he offers us and what he
wants of us. Without this information it is difficult to put faith to use in
life. That in turn prevents us from fully recognising his presence there.
Yes, the Church is vital to the growth of essential knowledge required
to build our faith and belief.
Article for the website’s final section titled, “Christianity
presents the simple basis
of the religion at least, including the positive features that set it
others, and should demystify it for anybody who has
had little or no
contact with it. However we all need to expand our knowledge of God as
our belief and faith continues to grow, and the Church is the best
place to guide us in that regard.
2.3 Becoming a member of the Church
indeed very importantly, we do need to be
baptised; become true members of the ‘body of Christ’ (the Church), as
soon as we can feel
comfortable with that. That should happen once we have come to see that something genuine and life
changing is being offered to us.
And there will be a need to
as Lord and Saviour within the process. I fully understand as an
ex-atheist myself that personal
comfort with such a position may seem a long
way off at first. But, trust me, when you look into it with an open
mind, the specialness of being a member of the body of Christ will grow
on you as a positive option faster than you would expect!
That in turn underpins our recognition of being members of our own church’s loving family. All members are effectively brothers and sisters in Christ.
And when we
do believe in God, entering into fellowship with our community of faith
also gives each of us the opportunity for high quality time with
him, amplified by being in the company of other believers; those
‘brothers and sisters’ of ours.
2.4 Positive effects on our personal lives
Although this article’s
focus is essentially on building belief and faith, there are other outcomes to be
gained through contact with the Church. Through
regular attendances, we all gradually become more content with life;
get a ‘better handle on it’
Normally our relationships with those people most precious
to us, especially our families, are also improved as the messages of Jesus ‘sink in’. For
some people, these positive changes are more significant than for
but when looking back on our old selves after prolonged
exposure to the
Church we should all see improvement.
We just cannot
seem to get
this positive impact on our lives, no matter how much we study and
practise Christianity in
isolation, without becoming a genuine member of the ‘body
2.5 Building belief through our own church experiences
And finally, and again very importantly, depending on the type of church with
have fellowship, we should at
least notice subtle
evidence of his presence and possibly even tangible evidence.
final word to you, before reading what
a lot of this article is based on my knowledge, experience and
evaluations. As real as the events – experienced by me in communities
of faith over the years – were
to me, they can only be hearsay at best to you. My primary aim, in this
website is to guide you in your own search for faith and belief.
So ... please read on with an open mind.
CHOOSING A CHURCH
choice of a church is an issue
for God and each of us. There are many Christian denominations, each
approaches and points of view. It is best to pray for
guidance on this matter of choice.
(Prayer and God’s method of guiding us is explained in the
article, “God within our lives”.)
And the church that suits us now may
not suit us at a later time. I, for
example, have been ‘led’ through
different areas of the Church as the
years have past. They all proved to be beneficial to me in their own
ways. No matter what area of the greater Church we
choose, our lives should still be changed for the better, especially in
that area of ‘building belief and faith’ that is the underlying theme of
But, that all said, our chosen church can and will have an impact on our faith journey.
denominations and the way they relate to each other do vary from country
to country to some extent, so it is not possible to
provide a complete and definitive listing to guide all readers in choosing
a church. Be aware that many if not most denominations, to varying
consider themselves superior to others. We cannot completely take human nature out the
Church! And of course
each denomination has its own reasons for
believing why it is superior.
do consider though, that most Christian denominations have elements
that make them more suitable than others for each of us, when taking
personalities, positions of faith journey (e.g. beginner Christian) and
environmental backgrounds into account.
What follows is a brief
overview of available church options, based on my experience of
fellowship within them, and how they may be
grouped for selection. Note that not all churches openly refer
within these categories and their names may not totally reflect their true
or agenda. Many churches have websites and these can be accessed to
gain some understanding of their approach. Their placement within the
greater Christian Church (as in my categories below) should become
obvious after one or two attendances of their services.
I have one major prerequisite to offer you, the reader, in
search of an appropriate church: I
would hope that any church selected should hold to
Christian Beliefs” as presented in the website’s final section’s
Lead Article “Christianity
It is only a small sub-section (Heading 2) to read in that article,
so I recommend it to
you before going in search of the church that is ideal for
Protestant and Catholic churches
Traditional or mainline (as they are known in the USA) Protestant and
churches are included within this grouping. Traditional churches, by and large, present
views to their congregations. Catholics have a little extra doctrine (i.e. the way beliefs are presented and conceptualised) that Protestants do not totally agree with, but that
does not create conflict between these two major areas of the Church.
Bear in mind that a small minority of
traditional/ mainline Protestant churches hold very liberal views on the
Christian New Testament (Jesus bits of the Bible), and I
advise against joining those particular churches for that reason. I do
much point at all with
strong Christian liberalism,
e.g. having Christian beliefs diluted
to a point where
even spirituality itself may not have a place. A rational thinker can
largely accept New Testament (NT) events, as written, based on available secular (non Christian)
information and personal experiences still accessible within the
Church. More details on that later.
Although there is no need to ‘water down’ the
NT, there is a need to hold
in the context of the bigger NT picture, i.e. balanced
theology. And the vast majority of traditional Protestant churches offer this view. This also applies to Catholic churches. Membership in these churches, by and large, provides an exposure to: balanced Christian
theology; an understanding of faith and its outcomes within Christian
some evidence of God’s
presence in that setting; a good proportion of caring supportive
have found that a few leaders in these churches over intellectualise
their sermons (talks) during services. That is, there is too much time
spent explaining the Bible, in all its beautiful complexity admittedly,
and not enough time spent explaining how it is related to the spiritual
side of everyday life. But it’s only a small complaint.
believe people who like to make their decisions
after analysing information for
themselves should feel comfortable within traditional Protestant and Catholic churches. For
example they do not generally hold totally fundamentalist
views on the pre-Jesus, Old Testament (OT), e.g. they are accepting of
scientific theories such as the ‘Big Bang’, not considering such
theories conflict with their theology, or faith for that matter.
But their theologians undeniably accept that solid links of wisdom exist between the two sections of
the Bible. God ensured that the NT was built on the foundations of the
services in traditional churches (incl Catholic) are usually formalised and often
contain established rituals, i.e. spontaneity
limited throughout services.
Therefore, services are often limited in their passion and excitement.
But to my mind they can be a good starting point for beginner Christians.
Note however, that some of
these traditional Protestant and Catholic churches do offer services relative to the Born Again/ Charismatic movement and these are discussed later (within this section of the
article). Those particular churches generally deliver a bit more ‘energy’
and emotion in their services.
presence is certainly more obvious in these types of services as well.
The next section of this article, “Experiencing the Holy Spirit’s presence”
expands on that aspect.
Remember though it can take a few
enquiries to locate traditional churches that offer these so-called “Charismatic” services in
your area, i.e. locally.
3.2 Evangelical Protestant churches
Protestant churches, particularly those founded in later times, are more upbeat than most traditional churches.
are very positive advocates for Christianity. Their services
normally offer more
intimate connections with God. Prayers within their
services almost seem to converse with God
as a loving friend. Their songs of praise have a similar nature.
All evangelical Protestant churches place a
very high importance on the acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and
Saviour. I am with them on that one too. (See explanation under Heading 2.4 in the article “Christianity
Some evangelical churches have a Born Again/ Charismatic theme (again, more on this
element will follow in this article).
Although many evangelical churches hold to similar balanced theological views
as found in most traditional Protestant and Catholic churches, others are very ‘fundamentalist’ by nature. I understand that that this is more likely in the USA. Fundamentalist
churches, as their name suggests, are very dogmatic with their
doctrine and at odds with some modern scientific theory for example.
I definitely accept that fundamentalists have a right to their opinions!
These fundamentalist churches do sit well with people who
prefer everything to be
laid out in so-called
“black and white”,
with no need for analysis
or ‘soul searching’.
Evangelical churches, whether fundamentalist or
moderate, appeal to people who want to feel good about
and be uplifted by their experiences there. This works well for a lot
people after all. I know it does for me. These churches also place
importance on their Biblically based theology, so are also a good
starting point for beginner Christians.
3.3 Pentecostal / Charismatic churches
All Pentecostal churches are linked to the Born Again/ Charismatic movement. They have become particularly prevalent since the 1960s.
Broad Biblical theology is not a focal point for most of these
churches. From my point of view only, some of them do go a bit too far in this direction, i.e. they
overly concentrate on experiences of the Spirit at the expense of
limiting lessons on life itself and related Bible teachings. And this can impact on the growth of faith and belief elsewhere, particularly in our everyday lives.
I recognise that many people are ‘wired’ in a way that attracts
them to this area of the church. Firstly, they enjoy the ‘rush’ of being
touched by the Spirit, and experiencing him in action there in the service. Secondly, not
everybody does want to study the Bible in great depth. This often applies to people who have a ‘hands on’ approach to life in general. They may only want to know the essentials.
And I guess God knows that, and works around it accordingly.
In any case, Pentecostal churches are certainly more likely to centre their services around the Christian
experience, i.e. the direct observation of God’s
As an ex-atheist I can see how non believers might react to such a
statement, but when you do open yourself to actually experience this
stuff, you will find yourself asking what else can it be there other
than the Holy
interacting with the congregation? I add more on this point later.
Their services are again emotional, energetic
They are often led by the church leader in a manner that encourages an
openness, within the congregation, to the presence of God. I
enjoyed the company of
Pentecostal worshipers when I attended their services.
Again/ Charismatic outlook, which focuses directly on the Holy Spirit in action,
does encourage strong belief and faith among followers. The
emotional and overtly spiritual nature of
services may be attractive
for some folk, but not for others.
mentioned previously, some
traditional/ mainline Protestant, evangelical Protestant and Catholic
churches provide so-called Born Again/ Charismatic services, i.e. they too are members of the Charismatic/ Born
Again movement. These churches offer events relevant to ‘the movement’ but
generally operate within the confines of balanced Christian theology. I
spent a couple of years in Protestant churches, which were
in ‘the movement’, and
witnessed/ experienced the same sort of events that I had in Pentecostal churches. My own
faith building went completely ‘gangbusters’
As I have also mentioned elsewhere in this website,
from my experiences, a period of fellowship spent within
Pentecostal or so-called Charismatic
congregation can be very useful to ramp up the growth of our belief and
faith. The Pentecostal, and other churches that belong to the Born Again/ Charismatic movement, provide the
events as they would have occurred in the early Christian Church 2,000 years ago. These
events often result from the so-called, “gifts
of the Spirit” that manifest themselves within their
please do not rule out the possibility of these things happening. I
know I did, and I was wrong! I admit it. The following section of this
article describes the use of these ‘gifts’ and their outcomes.
The movement itself is more fully
explained in the article, “Born Again/ Charismatic movement”.
moving on though, I really want to make it clear again that I do not
intend to downplay the relevance of traditional/ mainline,
evangelical Protestant and Catholic churches, which have no involvement with the Charismatic movement, in these current times. Without
doubt, even in this moderate Christian setting, some serious
and belief building stuff can be experienced. And it is further explained later in
4. EXPERIENCING THE HOLY SPIRIT'S PRESENCE
I know that even the heading above may ‘rattle’
some readers. I admit that I had trouble with it in my early days as a
churchgoing Christian, let alone when I was an atheist. I had seen this
so called “Born Again” stuff on TV. All that falling over stuff etc. I just guessed
it was some hysteria sort of thing, i.e. people being overwhelmed by
excitement to the point of collapse.
ever the pragmatist, and always inquisitive, I decided to attend some
of those relevant services, firstly within Pentecostal churches. I was faced with stuff that, if it
was real, took me back to what I had read in the Bible about first
century spiritual events in the early Christian Church. AND, me being
me, Mr Analytical, I knew I had to check it out properly. If it was indeed the ‘real deal’, then I had
to get in touch with it. And I did just that! I took time out from my
own Protestant church and started visiting Pentecostal churches
recommended to me by a work colleague. I was not disappointed. I
elaborate on events later in this article.
Shortly after that exposure, and we are talking about 25 years ago, my own Protestant church offered a six week course, that finished
with a so-called “anointing of the Spirit”. Talk about the timing being
right! (Thanks Lord.) From my point of view, the rest is history. And no, that falling
over stuff is not caused by hysteria. I found clear evidence along the way that
categorically ruled that out. I have highlighted this evidence where it
applies under the following sub headings in this article.
Soooo ... again ... please read on with an open mind!
I need to firstly explain that the Holy Spirit has a
significant role both in the Church and within our lives (examples: helping us to
find Jesus, our Lord and Saviour;
counseling us; guiding us to be obedient to our Lord; supporting us in life’s hardships and much more).
However, here under the current Heading 4 (above), we look to his actual and ‘tangible’ presence in the Church to provide clear evidence of God’s very existence.
Those Christians within the Born Again/ Charismatic movement are often given specific
spiritual ‘gifts’ by the Holy
after ‘anointing by the Spirit’, ‘baptism in the Spirit’, ‘infilling’,
or whatever name the experience of being ‘touched‘ by the Holy Spirit may go by – in relevant churches. (Again
please see the article, “Born Again/ Charismatic movement”.)
Note that I personally prefer to just use the word “touched” myself, when describing the above mentioned experience, and that is how I will mostly refer to it from hereon.
course the gifts are amazing when they manifest themselves, but even
the experience of just being ‘touched’ by the Spirit is belief
building in its own right! And I will get to that later.
of the Spirit’ are referred to in the Bible’s New Testament, e.g. St Paul’s
first letter to the
Corinthians [please see 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 in the Bible].
As already explained these gifts include: miraculous healing; providing
advice to individuals and the whole community of faith at times, for example
through ‘prophecies’; together with speaking in ‘tongues’ and others.
Because these gifts are, as far as I am concerned, still available just as they were 2,000
years ago really does bring home to us the factual nature of the New
Testament. The receipt of gifts, incidentally termed “charismata” in Greek (original language of the NT), and their intended use for the
community of that era, are explained within those verse of Corinthians and others.
Interestingly, Paul separated the two chapters 12 and 14, that dealt with gifts,
by placing a chapter in there that explained the vital importance of
love. He highlighted that love (of God and our fellow humans) was all
important. The actual verses on love, there in that chapter 13, are some of the most famous
and repeated in the Bible. They are commonly used within Christian
marriage ceremonies for example. Essentially, as Paul explained, if we
don’t have love we don’t have anything!
And, I do not think that Paul placed chapter 13 in there by accident. No, it
highlights the importance of gifts in the scheme of things. There are
other things that come first, like love! So although the Spirit uses
the manifestation of gifts to help us Christians to bring other people
to the reality of Jesus; to build up his Church, they should not be
seen as the main reason to attend church ... as exciting as they are!
This is why I maintained earlier that churches should not concentrate
on these spiritual events at the expense of ignoring the rest of the
Bible’s beautiful, life and faith related teachings.
But, with all that said, it is the use or manifestation
of these gifts, empowered directly by the Holy Spirit, that primarily offers us the chance in our current times to actually
witness God at
work within church services; clearly recognise his presence there. And of course, as I have already written, the experience of just being ‘touched’ by the Spirit – that can happen to any of us if and when offered – is also pretty good evidence.
4.1 Incredible stuff!
stuff ... these gifts being applied ... can be so incredible to witness
and even more so to experience. From my point of view, it can occasionally
take us even beyond
the boundaries of our imagination as to what might be possible.
own brain wiring ensures that I can only accept what knowledge, experience and
reason bears out. I am not a dreamer. I am a thinker! My private life
and past career testifies to that. And even so, I am totally confident that these events can only be spiritually based! As such, I mean that I cannot even
imagine any other cause. And boy have I tried hard to look for another
answer! Faith that cannot stand up to constant challenge is not much
use to anyone after all.
I can say here, at this point, is wait until you face these
experiences. If you are open and ready, and you attend these types of
services, then you will more than likely receive solid evidence of
God’s presence there.
Of course you may not see, let us say, powerful healing miracles at
first Born Again/ Charismatic
service you attend. The prevalence of these extreme events tends to run
cycles within individual churches and countries. But attendance should
at least give
regular exposure to occurrences, which are not logically explainable;
supernatural events that
were treated as matter of fact in the early Church and recorded in the Bible as such.
A close relationship with a
particular community of faith over some time will allow you to see
purpose within the lives of individuals in the group, and the group as
Of course this happens even in churches outside the movement, but it can be
I am confident to say that if the
Spirit is using a particular group of people in the Born Again/ Charismatic movement, to
instruct and improve others within their community of faith, then you will commonly
these types of events.
4.2 What does it feel like ... and is it real you may ask?
I have already admitted that I doubted the sincerity of people
who spoke of these marvels happening in
this type of Christian fellowship. I was a member of the
Christian Church. I had faith in God. He had proven to me beyond
existed within my life.
I had also accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. But, I really was
sceptical about miraculous healings etc
happening during that time. And all that falling over? Well, I got to see it; indeed experience
all for myself. Great
stuff! And, as I will explain later, there can be no physical reason
for it as far as I am concerned.
The same enquiring
mind, that a decade before had drawn me into mystical
experiences – discussed in the article, “So, what is God?” –
to accept the
opportunity of being ‘touched‘ when
it arose. And what did that feel like? Well initially, to be
honest, nothing like what I had expected or hoped for! People around me
began to mutter in tongues (it is discussed later) so I knew ‘something‘ was underway. Yes I was ready,
but I was also a bit anxious and having trouble opening myself up to
the Spirit. To make matters worse, someone was trying to talk to me while all this was happening. I
could feel a little flutter going on in my tongue. ... maybe the gift of tongues was coming my way ... I thought it just
might happen for me ... but I could not be rude to that person. So, it all seemed to fall apart.
wife and I kept in close contact with that community of faith and amazing
stuff did happen for us. I have detailed some of those experiences
later in this article.
And the next time (i.e. my second) I had the opportunity for an infilling; to be touched, things were different! I was ready and I was able to open myself in anticipation. I wanted it to happen! Nothing could have prepared
me for the depth of that full blown experience: the truly unexplainable
filling sensation, the
massive high, the primary knowledge of what was causing it! Even those deep
mystical experiences, that I had experienced previously, could not be compared to being touched by the Spirit.
another occasion – whilst a clergyman within a Protestant church anointed my forehead with oil during my own healing – the overall sensation included the unexpected and powerful thick feeling of being ‘filled‘
with warm oil. It felt like it was flowing into the
top of my head, then going down through me to immerse my entire being
from within. There were other elements in the sensation I experienced, but the powerful oil-like feeling was the greatest. I can say to that I was ’highly affected’ from the strength of that experience too.
I must explain here, before going on, what is meant
by anointing with oil. It is performed by running a finger, just dipped
in blessed oil,
across the forehead of an unwell person. The oil is spread in the form
a small cross.
Getting back to the details: I was not expecting any sensation at all from my healing; did not even know
that the clergyman was a ‘gifted’
so called Born Again/ Charismatic prior to that time. And here is one of those examples that
shows clearly that the sensations are not created by hysteria. This
time it had happened without even any expectation on my part. None!
interesting finding of mine began to become obvious through that event.
I came to discover that if one Christian from ‘the movement‘ does lay
hands on, or anoints with oil, another Christian from ‘the movement‘ it will likely cause
them to experience being touched by the Spirit during the process. However if a Christian, not in ‘the movement‘, lays hands on
(or anoints) a Christian, who is in ‘the movement‘ , for healing then they will not experience it. That is further evidence that these experiences do not rely on emotions or the like.
I am meaning that it is impossible to know who is in the ‘the movement‘ and who
is not, when we Christians just look at each other. If I have
permission from a fellow Christian to lay hands on or pray for them, I do not say, “Oh by the way, I am member of the Born Again/ Charismatic movement” before doing so!
To make it even clearer to you, I have personally laid hands on many Christians for healing, and only
those Christians who report they are members of the Born Again/ Charismatic movement, after the
event, have had an experience of the Spirit as a result. I have never
had a Christian, who is not a member of the movement, mention they have had that
same experience, when I laid hands on them. Bear in mind too, it is not
us so called Born Again/ Charismatics who make each other have these experiences. No indeed, that
has to be the Spirit himself. He clearly likes to lovingly touch us in that way to reassure us of his powerful and holy presence when the chance arises.
not be concerned if that second “full blown experience” of mine looks too much
for you personally, i.e. it puts you off from trying it for yourself. Some other people, who have
told me of their experiences of being touched by the Spirit, described much gentler experiences. I
have, for example, heard reports of people receiving a very strong
‘sense of peace‘ when touched by the Spirit. And one of them actually
received a healing gift along with that sense of peacefulness.
guess, and it is no more than that, is that the Spirit touches each of
us in the way that is right for us individually. So from my experience, and that of others, please do not let anxiety
or fear of the unknown stand in your way of opening yourself to the
4.3 Gifts and blessings that flow from the Spirit
I have written already, many people receive gifts from the Spirit when
being touched by him: tongues, miraculous healing, prophecy etc. I have
been blessed to receive my own gifts, and have witnessed some extreme
examples of the manifestation of gifts
that had been given to others.
The most notable and unforgettable example of the manifestation of a gift from the Spirit, that I have personally seen,
was the healing of my wife, then a
victim of some six months or more. She had suffered from semi paralysis
on one side of her
droopy eyelid, loss of peripheral sight in that eye and continuous,
debilitating headaches as a result of the stroke. That stroke-damaged
side of her body always appeared to be more pale than the other as
well. Life on the whole was
miserable for her, not that she complained much.
And there we were, in a packed church, attending a healing service. A Christian healer rested her hand on my wife’s shoulder. I stood and watched as
the white, weakened flesh of her right hand, which was visible to me, turned pink and
before my eyes. In that instant, brain cells had been rebuilt,
blood circulation, sight and strength to previously afflicted body parts.
And that headache was gone too.
Obviously, this sort of stuff is supposed to be
impossible! Brain cells,
once destroyed, cannot ‘physically’ regenerate within a
second of time under normal
circumstances. My wife, who was in her early forties at
the time, is still free from symptoms twenty five years later, therefore I
definitely know it was all very genuine and the effects
were permanent. Many witnesses, including
our community of faith at that time, remember the incident well.
had certainly believed in God prior to joining the Born Again/
Charismatic movement, but that event undeniably took our belief to a whole new
level. Of course we have had many more experiences of the Spirit’s
presence, some also quite profound, whilst in that area of the
Church. We had no idea really of what had awaited us when we joined the movement.
Yes, the gifts that may be made available to those of us in the movement, that flow to us through the Spirit’s touch, are (to use one of my grandson’s favourite words) ‘awesome’.
Based on my own experiences, I
have tried under the next few headings to explain
the outcomes of those gifts previously named.
4.4 Speaking in
The ability to speak in ‘tongues’ is
a common gift to those people in ‘the movement’ who have been touched by the Spirit. In fact, it is seen as the only proof of being
‘born again’ within some
Pentecostal churches. In other words, these churches consider
that only those people who can speak in tongues will
(with reference to verses John 3:1-8).
Most Christians including myself disagree whole heartedly, seeing this as an inappropriate
understanding. I write this because because other New Testament verses indicate otherwise (1 Corinthians 12
included). I personally
actually spoken in tongues yet so, tongue in cheek literally, I hope I am right on that!
Despite not possessing this particular gift, I know that I do
thankfully have others.
As I see it, tongues is generally
way of praying to God. To the outsider it sounds to be garbled
the person praying in tongues, it is often a means of expressing
and emotion, which are beyond the limits of the spoken word. The ‘words’ as such are not even chosen, and the
flow from one’s uncontrollably fluttering tongue without
deliberation. The meaning behind tongues is sometimes not
even known to
the person uttering it. Others are gifted with the ability to interpret
the sound of tongues when uttered within a congregation.
In itself, tongues, when seen in
isolation, may not offer any tangible evidence of God’s presence
unbeliever. But its manifestation in a ‘genuine’ congregation within the movement normally indicates
other gifts, which can
more readily demonstrate God’s presence, are available there.
Healing in this setting occurs in many forms,
psychological or emotional strengthening, through an
acceleration of normal physical healing
functions, to complete and miraculous transformations (as in my
example of instantaneous recovery from a stroke).
Totally unpredictable healing events can also come out of left field. I
will provide one such example shortly.
effect, the Spirit actually performs the act of healing as he sees fit,
through the gifted healer. It is not up to the healer to choose the
degree of healing that is to occur. The healer is, in effect again, a ‘conduit’.
Major physical defects, illnesses etc can be eradicated in
of an eye. On the other hand, nothing outwardly ‘obvious’ to the observer
may occur. A gift of emotional strength for example wont be noticeable to observers.
does happen, however, can it be put down to some unknown law of
physics? I really don’t
believe so. It is also obvious to me now that particular people in the Church have the ‘gift’ of healing (i.e. those who can indeed pass on the Spirit's power in this manner), because
always the common denominators in such events. Also I have noted that
known to me did not
these powers prior to them being anointed or touched by the Spirit.
I know that local clergy and lay ministers had laid hands
on my wife prior to her ‘miracle healing’ with no noticeable effect to me. The actual ‘miracle’ occurred at a well attended church ‘healing
service’ as I have already described. Prior to the service, she doubted anything would
happen. BUT happen it did! It was of course the Spirit’s ‘call’ as to what happened and when.
I can also positively say that when genuine healing
occurs, it is not a
‘mind over matter’ thing occurring within the affected
person. When healing does result from the placebo
the health of the person, who thought they had been healed, will
regress. The health issue will return. I am absolutely confident from what I have witnessed that
when it does occur, comes from a source other than from within those of
us on the receiving end. My wife’s healing is an absolute testimony to that fact.
But as I have already indicated, nothing is certain before these event unfold. I will say that some level of healing always
occurs when they ‘lay on hands’, ‘anoint with oil’
etc. However, as I have
miraculous physical changes do not always happen on the spot; right
there. Sometimes, an injection
personal strength to face circumstances may only come to pass, i.e. emotional healing as already raised. In such
appears to the casual observer, who may not follow through on outcomes,
miracles occur sometimes and yet other times nothing happens –
which is often not the
case at all!
I, for example, received that previously described laying on of hands from a
the clergy when first diagnosed with a life threatening health
Although I did not expect any special sensation at that time (I didn’t
know that he was a member of the movement, i.e. had been previously touched by the Spirit), I felt that unique
‘infilling’ (the oil-like one), described earlier, strongly
flooding through me. The strength of the experience led me to hope at the time that
been cured, but it was not so, at least not at that stage anyway. The
event did not save me from
surgery, and the following drawn out treatment over many months. What
came out of it
a sense of personal strength to cope with it all. And, of
course, I am
obviously still here to write these words more than ten years later.
also have a ‘behind the scenes’
example of healing to share. Again it
relates to my wife. This second example for her occurred about ten
after the previously described miracle, now possibly 15 years ago. My
wife had on this occasion undergone abdominal surgery and had been left
painful intestinal episodes. She endured a couple of investigative
surgical procedures as a result. This situation actually went on for
years. Finally unable to identify any causes, the
surgeon wrote the issue off to good old ‘it’s
all in your mind’.
The severe yet intermittent pains continued, seriously affecting my
wife’s quality of life and we really didn’t
know where to turn. We regularly prayed
together for an answer.
The resulting spiritual healing
rolled out in a completely unexpected manner. My wife and I
attended a regular mid-week evening Born Again/ Charismatic service within our
Protestant church without any expectations. The officiating clergyman,
a bishop no less, began
in the closing stages of the service to offer ‘prophesies’ (explained under the next sub heading) to
individuals in the congregation. He knew absolutely nothing of my
wife’s ailment but he stopped beside her
and offered these words, “The doctors will find the cause of your health problem
shortly and fix it!”
My wife and I were certainly encouraged by the statement, but bearing
in mind that
her surgeon had written her off, we had no idea how the issue could be
furthered. But thankfully the prophesy quickly came to pass.
wife visited another health specialist, who had attended to her over the
years, for a routine examination a few days after the church service.
During the course of the consultancy she mentioned her health dilemma.
The specialist knew my wife extremely well and stated that as a result he knew her
pain would not just be in her mind, as the surgeon had theorised.
Shortly after the consultation, the specialist contacted the
surgeon. Begrudgingly the surgeon agreed to examine my wife’s
through an endoscope (a viewing tube inserted through a small
incision). He told my wife’s specialist that he (the surgeon) would only
procedure if the specialist also attended the hospital and assisted in
the procedure. The
deal was the surgeon would give the specialist a well aged bottle of
scotch whisky if they found anything out of the ordinary. The surgeon
obviously felt he was pretty safe with that deal.
In short, during the
operating room procedure
the doctors noted a section of intestine that had been accidentally
stitched to the wall of my wife’s
stomach. This had happened when the incision was
closed after that first abdominal surgical procedure I referred
to earlier. The stitch was snipped using an attachment on the
endoscope, allowing the pinched section of intestine to drop into its
rightful place. And that intermittent and severe pain was no more. The
subsequently too embarrassed to charge for the procedure. Indeed as the
bishop had said, “The doctors
will find the cause of your problem shortly and fix it!” The well intentioned specialist got his bottle
of scotch whisky too.
will note that the two examples of healing with my wife occurred
in completely different ways. One, the healing of stroke
effected in the moment within a healing service through a direct act of
God. The other was clearly orchestrated through an act of God’s providence.
Getting back to miraculous healing though, no
one can guess who will actually receive it. Normally, when they do
occur, they are timed to best suit building up the Church (termed
“edification”); to bring people to Jesus.
Although I have never heard of really significant outcomes
from my own laying on of hands, I know that I do at least have
a healing gift. As one example, when performing a lay
role for my church in a hospital, I laid hands on a Christian woman who was having a full-body
seizure resulting from earlier brain surgery and requested the Holy
Spirit to act. The seizure just ‘fizzed
out’ immediately as a
result and I continued my ministry with the patient.
another occasion, I called on the Spirit to again heal a woman in the
same hospital. I knew she was lay minister and a member of the movement,
but she did
not know me. She had been admitted to hospital as a result of a heart
attack. She subsequently admitted she had enjoyed an ecstatic experience from the
Spirit, as he touched her, as
a result of my request to him. She further described, after the event,
that she recognised pressure being applied to her heart, in which she
sensed a healing sensation. I know that she is still enjoying good health, many years later.
No doubt the lay minister
would have informed her fellow worshipers, at the church she attended,
of the details. She would have made sure that the event was edifying; used for strengthening the faith of others. Note that the lay minister’s
powerful experience again occurred spontaneously. Emotions,
hysteria etc again played no part in the event. It just happened, there
what the gifted Born Again/ Charismatic feels when he or she passes on the Spirit’s healing to
another person? Well, in
my small examples, I personally never felt anything at all when praying
or laying on hands for the sick, no matter what the outcome.
4.6 Words from the Spirit
“Prophesy” [1Corinthians:12] and other advisory gifts are quite commonly witnessed within the Born Again/ Charismatic
possess these gifts are used by God, again as a conduit, to provide guidance or advice to
others. And again, it edifies the Church; is used in effect to draw people to Jesus etc.
I have also recognised evidence of God’s widespread love at times through some of the words of advice I have witnessed. It was very personal and heartrending stuff, at times directed towards other faithful Christians present. As a Christian I understand the Bible’s message about God’s
love for us. And Jesus’ life on earth, as described within the Bible,
clearly personified that love for us. But when you see an actual
outpouring of God’s love for one of his faithful, in REAL life like that, it certainly brings the Bible’s ‘message of love’ home.
Moving on to the gift of prophecy, it is often although not always related
to ministry and spiritual growth for both individuals and
a whole. After the
information ‘passed on’ has been proven, it offers clear evidence
of God’s presence
to the person giving the advice, the person receiving the advice and
any other witnesses.
I can assure you that it is quite
amazing when you are on the receiving end of genuine advice from the Spirit. It
really is potent evidence of the presence of God, and I am not
information, which is very pertinent and personal, will be quite
addressed to you. You will know that
when it occurs. And, because
it does regularly happen, it offers strong ongoing evidence that God is
away within your life and within his Church.
One is never embarrassed
by God if these ‘words’ are past on verbally in front of our community of faith. I was for example informed through words from God, past on by a visiting pastor, that I
(particularly the Bible’s New Testament). That one was ‘spot
on’. I have already highlighted my analytical nature in this article. My church
friends laughed. They knew me all too well I am afraid. And
I laughed along with them. After that advice I did start to look at the New Testament with ‘new eyes’. I had never before met
the pastor providing the words. He had been invited to our fellowship, on the night, by our own church leader.
I mentioned in another article (“So, what is God?”) how
advice, through a pastor in ‘the movement’,
that earlier mystical
experiences of mine had indeed been genuine encounters with
God. And it is that pastor whom I am referring to here. He continued with his words of
knowledge, “You have
‘known’ God in a way that others here have not!” The message
had been given
to the fundamentalist pastor by God to be simply passed on to me. The
the group studied me with puzzled looks. Even though they all had
faith, and most had been touched (anointed) by the Spirit sometime in the past, no one quizzed
what the message meant. The pastor had no idea what it meant either,
nor did he
need to, as far as God was concerned. This time It was made very clear in my own
was referring to my earlier mystical experiences.
During the course of that session I was also charged by
God, through those words past on by the pastor, with the responsibility of acting as a “bridge
to Christianity” during one-on-one ministries that
would arise for me. Inside my head a picture of a chapter heading,
including those words from
a book I had read recently, appeared as the pastor spoke. The chapter
people from pantheist
religions to Christianity via a bridge of
Obviously, the chapter heading,
that came from the mouth of the pastor, was intended by God to make
that very connection. Because of my broad religious knowledge (see “So, what is God?”)
I could easily engage in conversations with people from
pantheist and alternative religions. My knowledge of mysticism, and
now thanks to God’s verification that it been him that I had recognised there in my own experiences, put me in the perfect
position to encourage people
to trial Christianity for themselves. My occupation at the time meant that
I met and chatted one-on-one with literally hundreds of fellow staff members in a year. I never
had to push the religion ‘wheelbarrow’ in
this personal ministry, because God seemed to bring me into contact
with people who were open to, indeed enjoyed, such conversations. And I
comfortably did as I had been directed by him.
The combination of personalised communication directed by the Spirit ‘through’ a gifted person, and a flurry of neural connections again effected internally by the Spirit ‘to’ relevant memories
in your brain, really makes one take stock of the experience.
Words delivered in this way are not easily forgotten I can assure you. They hit hard! I have heard of otherwise
strong people reduced to tears by prophesies, guidance or reassurance, as intense emotional weight has been lifted off their
years after that event described above I
was given further advice from the Spirit – through another member of the clergy this time,
the Protestant bishop (in the movement) whom I have already referred to. This time I was told that I should
broaden my Christian ministry and speak to groups of people etc, i.e. I was no longer restricted to
one-on-one sessions or a narrow focus when promoting faith. This website is an example of that broadened
guess. I have also been honoured to lead sessions on solidifying faith to groups of Christians as well.
advice from the bishop certainly impacted me at the time. I could see in hindsight that God would
have had a forward plan for me, when he had directed at that earlier time that I should only minister
The two clergy men, who passed on those words to me, could
not have had a clue about what each other had said in the past or would say in the future.
yet smaller, related example that occurred
with me is worth sharing here, to
demonstrate how God can enter into our lives (as faithful Christians) to assist in simple
I was under a lot of stress, nearly twenty five years ago. I
taken on a
new demanding job and was simultaneously building a family
for both were intense, and as a result I was in a state of continual
God chose to intervene, even though he had not been requested to do so
He selected one of my old friends, also a member of the movement, who had not been in
me for some time, to act for him. He had absolutely no opportunity to
know of my stressful situation. My friend confronted me at my workplace and,
although unsure about its context, said that he had a message
from God. The message was, “You don’t
have any need to be stressed. Hand
over all your problems
to the Lord.”
have known to do just that, but stress does strange things to our
normal behaviour. I
was quite taken
aback. Knowing that my
knew nothing of
my ‘trying’ circumstances beforehand made it clear that
the message was genuine. A
flush of relief seized me as I heard the words. That home building
fell into place, like
really, after that. Some prayers for assistance during
construction were answered with incredible
outcomes along the way I might add. (Outcomes from prayers are
discussed in the article,
“God within our lives”.)
Responsibilities, in that new job of mine, certainly became easier to
manage as well. Events like that, although small in comparison to some
experiences, have the capacity to create significant increases in
faith and belief.
I have not had a lot of experience with passing on the Spirit's advice
to others, but it may be worth sharing one small occurrence with
you. I guess it’s
like my healing experiences really, just little
examples in the scheme of things, but examples to pass on
none-the-less. This case was actually my first occasion with the
gift. I was trying to help a friend, new to faith, who had only begun
to look for examples of God’s
in his life and was having difficulty. I suggested he look
back in recent times,
fresh to his memory, and see if he could recognise God’s
attempts to guide or help him there. I started to give general examples
that may have been pertinent to him and then as more particular
circumstances, applicable to him, came to mind I suggested that he
My mind was in full flight and I gave my advice as
fast as I could process details. But eventually I realised that I was
telling him about events that I had not even had the opportunity to
witness. That is
information was entering my mind for me to divulge, and the information seemed solid and real to me, but it wasn’t
coming from my own memory. There was just no way for me to have
known the information. I knew that I just had not been in the place or
witnessed the circumstances, related to my friend, that I had explained
I stopped my conversation with him at that point and
apologised, saying that what I had said might not be true.
Although very surprised, he was quick to admit that all of what I
had said was indeed
very accurate. I was literally as amazed as he was by what had
These days, when mentoring etc, I am prone to
look at the contents of my mind as I speak so as to ascertain where the
knowledge is coming from, i.e. is it coming from my own brain or not.
is not, then I obviously say I believe the Lord is telling them.
Like healers, those with this gift become very confident, through its use, in what
doing. When God gives them knowledge to pass on, they do so!
4.7 Attending services within ‘the movement’
On average, Born Again/ Charismatic folk (Christians in the movement)
simply seem to enjoy their services more. And for the newcomer, the
the enquiring mind, it is a bit of a change from the somewhat
atmosphere of formal services, such as those normally held
in traditional churches etc. However, a newcomer
to appreciate where they are ‘coming
from’. I find it
odd myself, but some congregations in the movement, particularly in Pentecostal churches,
seem compelled to speak loudly in tongues with very little provocation,
and this can really be off-putting for newcomers. So please bear with
one if it happens. There is a Biblical warning from St Paul to a community of faith in his time, on this very issue, in
Corinthians 14. So the bad habit has been around for a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time. Like 2,000 years!
Again also, if you
chance to attend a real ‘fired up’
service, where the Spirit really
loose … well, be prepared for it! The atmosphere is electric; the air thick with it.
Television does not
do it justice at all, if you have seen it there. Some unexpecting newcomers might find it
others may find it too ‘in your face’ and even scary to
some extent. As I have already admitted previously in this article, and
even as a committed Christian, I
felt very unsettled on one such occasion in my early days of attending
Pentecostal churches. The gifted preacher was from interstate and the
regular congregation there was fired up and ready for what he and the
Spirit provided on that day.
that the Spirit will not
force himself on anybody who is not ready and willing for him to
them/ touch them. You will not be overcome and powerfully touched by the
Spirit for example, unless
you are absolutely ready and, most importantly, have fully opened
yourself expectantly to him.
Yes, you have got to want it to happen to you. And even then, he may temper your experience in a way that suits just you. When and if you are
ready at a later time for a more powerful touch from him, he may do so then.
Sometimes – and I have both experienced this one for myself and heard of it from other so-called Born Again/ Charismatics –
he may come upon
you after you have left your place of Christian fellowship. In other
words, he may give you
the opportunity for an anointing in a one-on-one setting. For some
may have not opened yourself to him during fellowship where anointing was offered ...
despite wanting to, e.g. due to you being self conscious in front of others.
Of course he would know that you had wanted to be touched and why you
missed out. In such cases, he will start gently in that private
setting and build the anointing upwards in a fashion that he knows you
are ready for; that you may actually long for. What I am highlighting, first and
foremost, is that it will be
an ‘opportunity’ for you again, rather than being forced upon you.
There are so many alternative possibilities he uses to ease us in to that Born Again/ Charismatic relationship, if that is what we want, and then subsequently to assist us along on that particular path.
just falls together so perfectly in the long run, so do not be
concerned at all.
have already offered some cautionary advice about Pentecostal churches.
Also be alert for contrived behaviour in that area of the greater
Church. Most everyone enjoys being a part of the crowd, and as a result
the occasional example of participants faking that they are under the
influence of the Spirit may become obvious. From my own experience though, the vast
majority of congregations out there in the movement, throughout the world, are
THE SUBTLE STUFF SEEN IN ANY CHURCH
so-called Born Again/ Charismatic path is far from mandatory, as far as God is concerned, I
am positive. It is there for those people who it just plain suits. And
if the palpable yet unworldly events of ‘the movement’ just aren’t
for you, then
to the plain old traditional/ mainline Protestant, evangelical Protestant and Catholic
church services. Sure, they lack
the action of the movement but
make up for it in other ways. You should still build belief and
too, no one has to continually stay in any one community of faith. I believe that
it is good to move churches occasionally, especially in the earlier
years of our faith journey. In any case, the Lord may well play a part
in directing and redirecting you in this regard. I am sure that he did that for me at
As I have already explained, churches which are not in the movement can be a
good starting point for people taking their first steps towards faith,
and the resulting contentment with life that flows from it! Many of the
Christians in these churches are just as much ‘born
as those in the movement anyway. They have committed themselves to
Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, just the same as any so-called Born
Again Christian. Don’t think any less of them as Christians, because
I reassure you that God doesn’t! They should be as committed to him,
and to caring about their fellow human beings, as any other genuine Christian ... maybe even more so.
Under the following headings I provide examples of God’s presence that can be recognised in churches outside the movement.
5.1 ‘Light bulb
when attending these churches, try to recognise God there.
Newcomers, hoping to
build faith, often come expectantly to
church. As long as they have an
open mind on the matter, God will do the rest. He can gently reach you
in any service at
any church you might attend.
Particular advice or reassurance from God
for instance, shine out from a single line in a church leader’s sermon (talk), a hymn (song) or
effect, it initiates an exaggerated kind of “Ahaaaaaa!” in
your mind that provides
a way forward on a life or faith issue that you have been unsure about. One of
my earlier church leaders referred to it as the “Christian light
Watch out for them, they’re
again, a friend springs to mind as a major example. I had invited him to
attend my Protestant church because, although not strictly a believer, he was
open to God’s
existence. As background, his two greatest interests in life were his
bank balance and
his vegetable garden. I ask you, what subjects of everyday
did our church leader include within his sermon that same
morning? You guessed it: love of money and vegetable gardening. Not the
two subjects you’d
expect to find in the same sermon at all. The high odds, of
two topics coming together on his first attendance, were not lost on my
friend. Not surprisingly, he jumped to the conclusion that I must have
had something to do with it and he challenged my sense of
confidentiality, i.e. he believed that I must have spoken about him before his arrival there. I
don’t think that I have ever seen my friend as
astonished as when I insisted that I hadn’t
said anything about him at all. The sermon on the danger of
loving money, in particular, should have been a real light bulb moment for him!
Sometimes God orchestrates a ‘light
for the entire congregation, i.e. he broadcasts his advice. I have
encountered that on many occasions, so it is worth watching
for. I know enough of
the organisation and
planning for our church services to recognise the
Lord’s presence there, in and through these ‘broadcasts’.
What happens is that a humanly unplanned, yet
(an important message on faith/ life) emerges within a service
through its sermon, intercessory prayers and even choices of
hymns. What I mean is that a secondary issue, not intended by those
presenting it as being a focal point, is raised continuously by
different presenters during the service. And I mean that they do not
mention to each other that they individually intend to mention the
particular issue. So, to presenters, it is
just an incidental point raised individually by them, but as the
moves along it becomes an overall focal point because of the repetition. To my thinking, God places the thought in each of their minds beforehand.
Another church leader from the past admitted to me
that the number of times that this happened gave him a buzz as well, so
again it is not just my idle
imagination at work. This is all just small scale evidence of course,
but it is just as demonstrative of God’s presence in the Church none-the-less.
5.2 Stuff just
with any congregation of genuine Christians and you may even
come to witness some larger wonders. As my best example of more recent
we have had
two members of our congregation, one young and one old, from different
families, suffering with terminal illnesses. Everyone in our church
knew of them and cared about them deeply at the time of their
respective illnesses. Of course we always pray for all our sick ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’, but
these two had both struck a special chord with everyone because of
their dire circumstances and their closeness to us all. We prayed
powerfully as individuals, in
church services and in various ministry groups whenever we came
together, for these two. Neither of them should have survived.
Their recoveries certainly amazed their doctors. They both had
secondary cancer (metastasis) for example. Neither had the right to
accept that they would recover. To
church, these events have been just as edifying as a successful laying
on of hands would be to a so called Born Again/ Charismatic congregation, e.g. when my wife
was cured of her stroke damage.
could go on and on, but I hope that you are getting the picture. Stuff
just keeps happening in our church, and it never stops surprising and
It indicates that when faithful Christians come together, no
what the setting – traditional/ mainline and evangelical Protestant, Catholic, Pentecostal, Charismatic movement or not –
presence becomes evident amongst us. I will add a proviso though. The
congregation needs to contain a good proportion of people who place
their faith at the top of their priorities. I would not
you join a church where that was not the case! It provides the best
environment for you to grow as a Christian; to be nurtured.
Also note that many churches outside the movement have
healing ministries on offer. Clergy will lay on hands, anoint the sick
with oil etc when requested. Results of such practises may not be as
spectacular, as is possible to witness within the Born Again/ Charismatic movement,
but positive outcomes of
some degree absolutely
do flow from them! The Lord can still prove he is present there in a gentler manner and yet still edify his church!
Remember too, that faith and belief building should also be happening within our lives
as a direct result of our walk with the Lord. Results there compound
with the events that we experience within the Church, and vice versa.
INVOLVEMENT WITH THE CHURCH'S MINISTRY
I have already mentioned, the Protestant church to which
I belong delivers
outreach services to the local community. Although involvement in such
services requires the donation of time from volunteers, there are
rewards for those who do so. Indeed
it is now evident that those
who provide voluntary services to ‘others
actually receive tangible benefits for
themselves – they
are more likely to be physically and psychologically healthy.
that occurs when doing so for the Church. If the service is delivered
selflessly out of dedication to God, as an act of loving care
to fellow human beings, then it is most likely that those
engaged in it will witness his guidance and assistance within the
process. For a start, things just tend to easily fall into
place, far more than could be expected under the ‘law
And I mean that should even be obvious to a cautious thinker. Above and beyond that, it is most likely that expected
outcomes will be met, if not surpassed, i.e. if we are
selfless in our dedication and
we invite God to assist and guide us. God’s
‘guiding and helping hand’
is discussed more fully in the article, “God within our lives”.
involved with a voluntary pastoral care team that ministers to hospital
patients (I referred to it earlier in this article), I witnessed many events that were ‘special’. Sure, as
Christians, we would expect to witness healing, but from my
circumstances the healing is (strangely you might think in
that setting) more
likely to be emotional or psychological than
physical. Of course, this is in contrast to the more graphic examples of
healing that I have already
mentioned previously in this article. I can also say that such
events have exceeded
my hopes for
those people involved. To be honest, I have not at times even known
what plight patients had been in prior to God’s gift of emotional/ psychological healing.
also occasionally hear one way or another about subsequent
events, e.g. what stuff has happened after my prayers of intercession for patients.
I think God likes to let people
ministering know occasionally what happens
to those they have been involved with as further proof to them of his
loving presence –
further enhancing their own faith; strengthening them
in their resolve to continue serving him in their ministry.
this successful ministry stuff presumably goes on through all of
Christendom. And it is certainly not just applicable to the so-called Born Again/ Charismatic movement. Unlike me, I do not believe that any of my fellow pastoral care team
members are members of the movement, yet God utilises them
effectively to ‘glorify his kingdom’,
and support other Christians under emotional and physical stress, all
light of these types of positive faith building outcomes, I certainly
advise everyone to become involved with the Church’s
ministry if at all
EVIDENCE OF GOD IN OTHER AREAS
is important that we also use
faith within our day-to-day lives for the good of others and of course
Although it sounds a bit selfish to use faith to gain assistance from
ourselves it has two positive results. Firstly,
allows God to
prove his unconditional love for us. He can make life a lot easier than
be as a result. Mind you, I am not talking about fame and fortune here!
Secondly, by proving his presence in our lives it
belief to grow. (Please balance this against my advice that
is inappropriate for us to just keep asking for things from God and not
offer anything back to him. He wants a two-way
relationship with us. Bear that in mind too.)
Whilst I opened this article by
saying that church attendances are very important within
development of our belief and faith, it is also important as mentioned
above that we do use our
in day-to-day life. The article, that I keep monotonously referring to,
“God, within our lives”
in this section of the website
to help in that regard.
This section’s Lead Article, “Believing in God”
article, and the one
mentioned above, together to provide the best outcomes available to us
ability to recognise God’s presence with absolute clarity and
to realise an unimagined ‘freedom’ within our lives.
The final section of this
website presents Christianity’s basic beliefs and way of life. I have studied,
and even practised some elements of, other religions and can still say
Christianity really is a very special and profound religion. If you
would like to understand more of its basis, then please begin with the
section’s Lead Article, “Christianity