Stories to Inspire
Lukewarm to Spirit-Filled
Twenty-five years ago, I was sitting in my office in Melbourne, Australia, with $1 to my name. I had been searching for meaning and purpose all my life, through many different religions, denominations, and lifestyles. That night, I cried out to God in tears to reveal Himself to me, and tell me where to find His true church. Two weeks later, while I was walking on Bondi Beach in Sydney, some young people gave me a book on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation and their predictions about the kingdoms of the world until the end of time. I was challenged by what I read and was eventually led to receive Bible studies from a local Adventist pastor in Victoria. I was convinced by my discoveries, and six months later I was baptized.
I joined a church that was mainly lukewarm. I sat in the pews weekly, paid my tithe when it was convenient, and even taught a Sabbath School lesson occasionally. There were very few victories over the besetting sins in my life. I prayed and read the Bible occasionally, but never led one person to Jesus in 12 years. I thought I was OK because I was in God’s remnant, last-day church. I didn’t realize that I was in Laodicea.
It took another crisis for God to get my attention. I left the church for 12 months, but I knew deep down that this church had been raised up prophetically. When I started coming back to church, something amazing happened. I reluctantly went to a revival weekend about our need for the Holy Spirit. I hadn’t heard much about the Holy Spirit from the pulpit apart from the dangers of its counterfeit. Pastor Dennis Smith, from the U.S., was the presenter, and I was challenged to study about this wonderful Gift—prayed for by Jesus to His Father in John 14:16. I began reading Pastor Smith’s 40-day devotional book, which challenged me to ask daily for the Holy Spirit. Initially, I thought I had already received it; I believed it was a one-time filling when I was baptized in water. However, as I read the book of Acts and Ephesians 5:18, where Paul commanded us to “be filled with the Spirit” and to “let yourself be continually and repeatedly refilled with the Spirit,” I came to a new understanding.
Everything changed from then on. I had a greater desire to pray, a greater desire to read God’s Word and the writings of Ellen White, a greater desire to witness and to lead people to Jesus, and even a greater desire to preach about the things I had learned. There was a new desire put in my heart for lifestyle changes and, as Jesus promised, He began to give me victories over the besetting sins in my life. I could relate to Paul, who said about himself: “I die daily” (Gal. 5:18-21).
God then led me to go on an evangelistic mission to Borneo which reaped 37 baptisms, and then to the Philippines twice, which saw over 500 baptisms.
Over the past nine years, I have been to over 20 countries doing evangelistic and revival meetings. I have been involved in distributing thousands of Steps to Personal Revival by Helmut Haubeil and 10 Days — Prayers and Devotions to Experience the Baptism of the Holy Spirit by Dennis Smith.
I believe that we, as Seventh-day Adventists, must focus on receiving the true and daily baptism of the Holy Spirit. When we do this, the Spirit’s fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, righteousness, goodness, etc., will be seen in our lives and the church.
Adventists have been preaching for more than 150 years on our need for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit in order to share the three angels’ messages. But the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy plainly tell us that unless we grow into the likeness of Jesus through the early rain of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18), which has been available since Pentecost, and are transformed into His image from glory to glory, the latter rain will not fall and many of us will miss out.
Seventh-day Adventists have been given the last message to tell the world. We all want to go to our heavenly home, but we have work to do here. Just like the early disciples, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to witness and finish the work. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8, NKJV). In John 14:12, Jesus says that He and the Father will dwell with us and in us through the Holy Spirit so we will be able to do the same works as Him. This is amazing!
I believe God is preparing us now to receive the early rain and daily baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27), to prepare us for the latter rain and the harvest. I have been praying daily and claiming the promises in God’s Word for nine years now, and everything has changed.