Experience Over Opinion
A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with a mere opinion. This coming Saturday, I have been invited to spend the day and watch a Kansas University basketball game with a special set of men that, generally speaking, I have not seen since I coached them to an undefeated football season in 1968. I write this not to convince you and them that I am right so much as to have you and them understand why I am the way I am.
I would be first to admit that an experience is not always conclusive. You are about to hear of mine that has molded me, but you can also note a completely antagonistic view such as that held by astronaut Edgar Mitchell whose 1971 experience coming back to earth from a space flight left him feeling as one with the universe – part and parcel of New Age thinking that I write about in my blog, www.WhileWeCan.net. While I have reason to think that Edgar Mitchell’s world view is prophesied in the Bible as a major apostate way of thinking in the last days, I can understand how his experience and his interpretation of it makes him think and live the way he has. Hopefully, what little I write here will help you see how my experience and interpretation of it makes me think and live the way I have.
While my early home life and church life have had their major effect, I’m limiting myself here to four experiences that stand out now at age 74.
- Baptism with the Holy Spirit (1973) – March 21, 1973, on my drive home from a Fellowship of Christian Athletes weekend conference and following a prayer of consecration the night before, I felt a warm tingly, love-filled sensation start at the top of my head and move down my back. At the same time I heard words out loud asking me to pray for a friend. Within a few days I came to understand my experience to be what the Bible calls being baptized with the Holy Spirit. I was suddenly changed to be hungry to read the Scriptures, to share with others the reality of Jesus, and to have a constant feeling of new joy. I also learned that the Bible experience included the ability to pray in tongues. It was almost a year later that I started and have continued to pray that way.
- Prayer tongue interpreted (1974) – The first time I ever prayed out loud in tongues that others could hear me was in a home fellowship when I was one of several praying for another to invite Jesus to baptize them with the Holy Spirit. We were in a really large, elongated living room. Following my prayer, two women who were sitting at opposite ends of the room came to me individually and told me that they had understood what I was praying. I had been praising the Lord.
- Hearing from God (2010) – Not long after moving to Topeka, I was considering a return to pastoral ministry and applying for an open position at a nearby church. Early one my morning on my little walk from the bed to the bathroom, I heard words clearly in my mind, “Cultivate the intimate.” I understood those words as direction from God that I was not to seek a position, but to seek greater and more complete intimacy with Him. I have not been disappointed.
- The Dream/Vision (2013) – One day on a neighborhood stroll, the thought dropped into my mind, “The heart is the interface of soul and spirit.” I began to ponder that and studied to see to what extent it was shown in Scripture. Not much later on a similar stroll, another and related thought occurred, “The flesh is the interface of the soul and flesh.” I started to develop a diagram of the relationship of body-flesh-soul-heart-spirit and Holy Spirit. Early one morning that summer while waking in our camper parked in Rocky Mountain National Park, I found myself looking at my diagram. It was a bit different. The right side of had noted some attributes of God. Suddenly, that part of the picture ran off the page in three directions. I found the vision to be a bit blurry; when I rubbed my eyes to see better, I was surprised to discover that they were shut. I have been looking at the diagram through closed eyes. You can understand why I naturally think that diagram is not my idea but God’s. It is etched in my soul; I think of it every day.
Yet, I must say that my experience is not etched so deeply that it cannot be changed by my discovery in Scripture or with the words of a trusted fellow Christian. It is still the Scripture that is the primary carrier of eternal truth about its Author.
You, my friends and family, who read this on Facebook or in an email can read explanations of concepts and see my vision at my blog, www.WhileWeCan.net.. Old Lowther Junior High football players, for you I have a copy of my book, A Deeper Life Primer: An Antidote for Shallow Living,, my business card that has a picture of the dream/vision, and a copy of this note.
God bless you all,