All hands on Deck!


I am sure you have seen it in a movie. A massive military ship. Sirens screaming. People chaotically scrambling in every direction. A voice over the loud speaker booming “All hands on deck. All hands on deck.”

It seems like chaos, but it’s not. Sure people are scrambling and running in every direction, but it is a predetermined location for each and every person on the ship. They know where they are going and they know what they are supposed to do when they get there.

That is the beauty of the military. Everyone knows who their commander is and the chain of command that has been established. Everyone knows the job they have been assigned and knows how to do it. Each sailor knows where to go and what to do when the alarm is sounded.

In many ways the church is a lot like the military. Let’s see how.

We Have a Commander

God is called Lord of Hosts over 260 times in the Bible. This is speaking of God as  being commander-in-chief over the army. This army consists of the armies of angels in heaven and the armies of Israel on Earth. God is seen as leading the army and fighting for Israel.

Jesus is the head of the body, His church. He is the one directing the actions of His body. He is leading us in victory over all the works of the enemy.

We Have an Assigned Duty Station

God has orders for each and every part of His body. He has a specific church for each and every person who calls on His name. God places each person in the body as He desires (1 Cor. 12:18). Since He is the head, He chooses the place where we are to be located and the part we are to have in the body.

The sad truth is that many believers have gone absent without leave (AWOL). They are not active in the church that God has called them to. They are not fulfilling their purpose.

Can you image anyone in the military saying, “I don’t like my assignment, so I am not going”? Of course not! But that is what is happening to those who have separated themselves from the church. They are AWOL. They are missing in action and the body suffers because of their absence. But God is calling His people to return to their assigned duty station.

We Have a Responsibility

God has placed us in a body and given us responsibility for the growth of the body (Eph. 4:15-16). Everyone of us is important to the growth of the church. We must rise up and take the place that the Lord has given us. There is truly no one to take our place.

Do you realize how important you are in God’s army? Do you understand that you have a responsibility before to help build up the body of Christ? God is calling you to build the church by giving of yourself to serve others.

We Have an Opportunity

What an incredible opportunity. We give of ourselves and help the body grow and get to grow in the process. We take up our place in the army and others cover our back. We can never fully be what God has created us to be outside of the relationship that He has designed within the church. Everything God does focuses on relationships.

We Have a Choice

Can you hear the sirens screaming? Can you hear the call of God coming across the speakers of your heart saying, “All hands on deck! All hands on deck!”?

If you are going to church on a regular basis ask the Lord the following questions:

  • Lord, what do you want me to do in this church?
  • Lord, how can I help to build this church?
  • Lord, who do you want me to reach out to and encourage to come to church?

If you are not going to church at the moment, ask the Lord the following questions:

  • Lord, what is keeping me from obeying Your word?
  • Lord, what church do You want me to attend?
  • Lord, what things do I need to make straight to return to the church you have called me to?

All hands on deck! Take your battle stations! Fulfill your purpose in God’s army. Today is the day to choose God’s way.


photo credit: Sailor crosses USS Abraham Lincoln flight deck. via photopin (license)

Won’t You Come Home?

Calling Believers to Return to the Church


I am writing this post to you if you are a believer in Jesus Christ and are not an active member of a local church. I want to invite you to come home. I want to encourage you to return to the church which  God has called to be an active, life-giving part.

I know that there are reasons that you decided to stop going to church. Maybe you were hurt by people in the church. Maybe you were disappointed by a decision made by leadership. Maybe  you felt you were not being fed. Maybe you are disappointed with God. Whatever the reason for not being in church, I want to encourage you to return for the following reasons:

God Places You in the Body as He Desires

In 1 Corinthians 12:18, Paul states, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” The context for this statement is concerning spiritual gifts, but it also has some insight for your involvement in a church.

God has a specific church that He has placed you in. He is the architect of the church. He is the head of the body. We must submit to His direction and take our place in the body as He desires.

God Wants You to be an Active Part in a Church

God places you in the body as He desires. Therefore, He has a specific church body in which He desires you to be a part. Faithful service to Christ includes active service in His body.

Hebrews 10:25 encourages us to not forsake the assembling together as is the habit of some.  If you have made it a habit to not attend the church the Lord has placed you in, I want to encourage you to be courageous and make the choice to return to the home, the home the Lord has for you.

You are Needed to Make the Body Whole

God has created the body to work as a whole. When something in our human body gets hurt or stops working, we are very aware of the part it plays in our life. Break an arm or a leg and you will see how important that arm or leg is to your life.

In the same way, when you are not in church the body is not all that it is supposed to be. Whether you realize it or not, you are an important part of the body. When you are not there, something is missing.

You are Needed to Make the Body Mature

Your presence is also needed to help the church mature. Ephesians 4:16 makes it clear:

for who the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

God is the one who has decided that the body will grow through personal interaction and relationships. Your absence slows the growth and maturity of the body of Christ.

The Scriptures show that the building up of the body takes place when each individual part does what it was properly designed to do. That’s why the church needs you.

I am not sure why you decided to quit attending church, but I do know that I want to call you back home to the place the Lord has chosen. Take the steps you need to take to come back home.

If you are reading this and active in a church, wonderful! Maybe you know someone who is not attending church and needs some encouragement to return. If that is true, forward this blog post to them encouraging them to come back home.





Upcoming Cleansing Stream Retreat

Cleansing Stream New Logo

Are you hindered in your walk with God by hurts of the past?

Do you desire to grow in the Lord, but seem to be on stuck in the same old place?

Would you like to know some Biblical truths that could change your life forever?

I am excited to let you know that were are holding a Cleansing Stream Seminar and Retreat in Grand Forks this Fall.

Cleansing Stream is a discipleship program designed to help you grow in your relationship  with God. All of us have things from the past that hinder us from the fullness God desires in our lives. The Cleansing Stream Retreat and Seminar will help you receive healing from past hurts and recognize your authority as a follower of Christ.

There are six main teachings that make up the seminar which include in-depth discussion aimed at applying the truth of each message to your life. The main topics of the teaching are:

  1. Knowing the Father
  2. Walking in the Spirit
  3. Committing Everything to God
  4. Speaking Words of Life
  5. Entering the Cleansing Stream
  6. Pressing Toward the Goal

The seminar will meet 7 PM for six Monday evenings beginning September 14th. We will meet at New Life Foursquare Church 321 Cottonwood in Grand Forks.

There will also be a one-day retreat on Saturday, October 17th from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. This is the most important part of the process. This is where you will receive personal ministry on topics such as fear, guilt, shame, and condemnation, healing from abuse, and others.

To register for the class or get a more in-depth look at the Cleansing Stream Seminar and Retreat click on the link below. Registration is due August 31st.

I Want to Know More About Cleansing Stream

Maybe there is someone you know that might profit from this teaching. If so, forward this message to them and let them know about it. Better yet, ask them if they would like to attend the seminar and retreat with you.

Pastor Terry


2015: The Year of Decision

Photo by jscreationzs from

Photo by jscreationzs from

It’s Time to Make a Decision!


“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NASB95)


The children of Israel are poised to enter the Promised Land. They have wandered in the wilderness for the past forty years due to their parent’s disobedience. God wants to prepare them to have success and prosper in the land that He promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Moses calls the people together to hear all the commandments of the Lord. He selects two mountains that would be visible from across the land. One mountain represents the curse that will come upon the land and the people if they chose to reject God and walk after other gods. The other mountain is to remind them of all the blessings that will overtake them if they love God and walk in His ways.

Moses calls heaven and earth to bear witness to the choice that he has set before the children of Israel. Their choices would result in life or death, the blessing or the curse. Moses commands them choose life and live. The choices they make would not only affect them, but also their descendants.

The choices that we make on a daily basis have a direct impact upon the quality of life we live and the heritage we pass on to our children and their children. Moses points us toward God and His blessing. He wants all of us to understand what it takes to receive the blessing of God. He makes crystal clear the three things we can do to ensure God’s blessing throughout our generations.

Love the LORD Your God

The first thing we are to do is what Jesus calls the greatest commandment. We are to love the LORD our God.

The word “LORD” is Yaweh, the personal covenant name of God. He is reminding us that God is personal God who is calling us to an intimate relationship with Him. Moses has already declared God’s heart in the matter. He would be their God. They would be His people. What God is looking for is a people who will love Him and desire to be with Him.

God is a covenant keeping God. He will always keep His part of the covenant. With any covenant there are two parts: the blessing and the curse. God is warning that the choices we make could result in experiencing the curse. His desire is to bless and see us posses all the promises He has made.

Obey His Voice

The second thing we are to do is to obey God’s voice. Obedience to God is always an issue of the heart. Are we willing to recognize that God is Lord and in a rightful place of authority over our lives? Obedience to God is a manifestation of our love for God. We cannot love God and be in willful rebellion against His will.

In order to obey God, we must hear His voice. The idea of hearing goes far beyond simply knowing what God has said. Hearing has to do with receiving God’s word and coming into full agreement with His intentions for our lives. Hearing means doing doing what God has spoken. Hearing is another word for obeying.

Hold Fast to Him

The third thing Moses tells us to do is to hold fast to God. Holding fast is a strong relational word that is used throughout the Bible. It means to cleave, cling, stick to , stick with, follow closely, join to , or overtake. It describes the depth of commitment of a husband and wife or the people of Judah toward King David.

God wants us to stick to Him like glue. He desires us to pursue Him and to know His heart. We must keep our eyes on Him so we will know the way to walk and the things to do.

The Year of Decision

This is The Year of Decision. God desires to deeply bless us and see us prosper. He wants to see His purpose accomplished in us individually, as families, and as a church.

The choices we make on a daily basis will determine how much of God’s blessing we will receive. I want to be like Moses and encourage each of us to choose life.

As we pursue God together this year, let us remember that our decisions impact more than just ourselves. They affect God, our families, this church, and our community

Make the Choice

Love God

Obey God

Hold Fast to God

It All Begins with a Word

Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying (Joshua 1:1)



Joshua is possibly facing the greatest transition and challenge of his life. Moses, the great deliverer of the children of Israel, is dead and God has personally selected Joshua to be his replacement.

God revealed to Moses that he would not be bringing the people into the promised land. Moses asked God to select a leader so that the people would not be like sheep without a shepherd. God told Moses to select Joshua, lay his hands on him, have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the congregation, and commission him to be the next leader of the nation (Numbers 27:18–23).

Leadership was not a new thing with Joshua. As a youth, he became Moses’ assistant. He followed him everywhere he went and saw the good and bad of leadership. He was on the mountain with Moses when the Ten Commandments were etched by the hand of God (Exodus 24:13–18). He was with Moses in the tent of meeting where the glory of God so touched Moses that he literally glowed from God’s presence.

Joshua was one of the leaders selected to spy out the promised land. Only he and Caleb believed God with their whole heart and encouraged the people to enter into the land, because God was giving it into their hand.

Joshua endured the forty years of wandering in the wilderness and the assaults on Moses by the people of Israel. The constant complaining of the people against Moses. Joshua knew the ins and outs of leading the children of Israel. Now he was God’s hand-picked leader. Moses is dead, the responsibility was all his. The weight of leading a nation into its promised land rested squarely on his shoulders.

What would he do? How would he lead? What were the steps needed to bring these people into the inheritance of the land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the children of Israel? The answer to these questions is answered in the very first verse of the book of Joshua: “the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun.”

God would be the one to lead and guide him in the adventure of his life. It was God’s promise to bring the children of Israel into the promise land. With every plan of God there is a way He plans to perform it. God is a living God who speaks to His people. For every promise He gives, He has a plan to bring it to fulfillment. God never gives a promise without also providing the way and the means for it to come to pass.

God will never leave us in the dark. He wants us to know His plans. He wants to reveal His secret things to those who love Him and are called by His name. Joshua was responsible to bring the children Israel into the promised land, but he was not doing it alone. The God who called him and set him apart, would be the one who would tell him the things he needed to know to accomplish the task.

God’s opening words to Joshua are powerful and encouraging. There is no doubt in Joshua’s mind what God wants to do and the overall things that are going to be required by him to accomplish the task.

The good news for us is that God still speaks to His people. He is still alive and intimately involved in the lives of His children. God has a word for you today, if you will take time to hear it. He wants to speak to the depths of your heart and confirm the truths He has spoken to you.

I have been around long enough to know that some people struggle hearing the voice of God. Some have told me God never speaks to them, like He does to others. I am here to tell you that God is an equal opportunity God. He speaks to everyone. The secret is learning to hear the voice of God.

How Does God Speak?

So how do we hear the voice of God? The best way is to understand the various ways that God speaks to people. The ways listed below are not an exhaustive list, but it will give you some understanding of the ways that God has already been talking with you and you may have missed.

Here are some of the ways God speaks to us today. God speaks:

  1. through our conscience. We know deep within what is right and what is wrong from God. When we do something wrong, we sense a feeling of guilt. We know this is not pleasing to God. There is a danger in this that we can be oversensitive in this area and feel like we are always unpleasing to God. I am not talking about that kind of knowing.
  2. a deep and abiding sense in our spirit. Sometimes we can know that God has revealed something to us by a deep, abiding sense of peace in the depths of our being. We just know what the Lord is saying or revealing.
  3. in a still, small voice. Many times when God speaks it is just a sense of what He is saying to us. It comes in a way similar to our own thoughts. The only difference is that it is God who is speaking to us.
  4. through His word. The Bible definitely reveals the heart and the will of God. Understanding it gives us insight into what God is speaking to our personal lives.
  5. through other people. God will speak to us through other people. God will give words or encouragement, wisdom, and knowledge through people that are letting us know what God is saying to us. We are always supposed to check these words to make sure they are from God. There are many wrong things that people say God is saying, but that should never stop us from believing that God does not speak through those who are submitted to Him.
  6. through dreams and visions. The bible is filled with times where God speaks to people through a dream or a vision. Just like any other thing, we must check these dreams and visions to ensure that they come from God.

These are a few of the ways that God can speak to you. He may speak to you in one way more than the others, but it opens you up to begin to understand how God speaks. The only way to grow in hearing the voice of God is to acknowledge that He speaks and begin to listen.

Putting it into Practice

Take a few moments right now to listen to God. Here are a few steps to help you start out.

  • Quiet your soul and go before the Lord.
  • Pray this simple prayer. “Lord, here I am. What do You want to speak to me?”
  • Listen.
  • Write down anything that you hear, see, or sense.
  • Test it to see if it lines up with God’s truth. (see below)
  • If the word gives direction, obey. If the word gives you a confirmation, then thank the Lord. If the word encourages you, go forth in God’s blessing

How to Test a Word

I already mentioned the need to test a word to see if it comes from God, but how do we do that? Great question.

  • The first, and the most obvious, way is to see if what you believe the Lord has said to you agrees with God’s revealed word in the Bible. If it contradicts what God has already revealed, then it is not from Him. For example, more than once I have had a person come to me and tell me God told them it was okay for them to divorce their spouse because God wanted them to be happy. This is contrary to God’s word. His goal is not to make us happy, but holy. Make sure the word lines up with God’s word.
  • Another way to test a word is to bring it to a trusted friend in the Lord. It is important that you bring the word to someone who is mature in the Lord and not just your friends. When seeking counsel from others you don’t want just anybody’s opinion. Choose wisely the ones you approach.

What are some of the ways you test a word to make sure it is from God? Let us know in the comments below.


Photo Courtesy of Ambro from

The post It All Begins with a Word appeared first on The official author website of Terry Tuinder.

Silly Me! I Forgot the Link to My New Book

Sorry to send out a new post so quickly, but I forgot a couple of things on the last post.

Link to the Ploonty Book

I forgot to give you a link to my new book, Ploonty Goes to the Moon. Just click on the book and you will go to book  Amazon. Only the Kindle version is available right now. Plan on releasing the paperback version at the end of May.



Ploonty Goes to the Moon Cover

If you are wondering what it all about, click here and it will take you back to the original post explaining the content of the book.


New Websites


I have two new websites available that focus on my being an author. The first is an author website that will focus on the things I write: kid’s literature, Christian non-fiction, and ministry blog posts. You can go to the website and sign up to receive email updates on the latest news and exclusive content. I am planning on writing a series of Christian devotional books that will encourage you to grow in your relationship with God.


The second site, is everything about Ploonty. The site is small right now, but we have great plans over time to add character sketches, coloring pages, hold contests, and every once in a while receive tidbits from Terry and Trinity.

Make sure that you go to either site and sign up to receive updates in your email.

I guess the news was so big that it took two posts to convey all the greatness. Ha! Ha!

I hope you enjoy reading this. Don’t forget top sign up. Click here to read about the benefits of signing up.

Thanks for your patience.

It's Official – I am a Fiction Author

Yes it is true. I am a fiction author. I just put the new book, Ploonty Goes to the Moon, that I have been working on with my granddaughter, Trinity, for sale on Amazon. I have sold two copies, the first one was my mom. Thanks, mom!

Ploonty Goes to the Moon Cover

Overview of the Book


Ploonty is a nine-year-old girl whose imagination runs overtime. Sometimes she thinks so many thoughts she is afraid that her head is going to blow up forcing her to constantly wear a hat so the birds won’t eat her brains. Talk about an imagination!

One evening Ploonty and her family are speeding down the road in her father’s 1965 souped-up Mustang convertible. Her dad mentions how beautiful the moon is that night, but Ploonty cannot see it from the backseat. Her dad stops the car, lets the car’s roof down, and Ploonty captures a glimpse of the moon that changes her life forever. Right then and there, she determines that she is going to go to the moon, and she is going to go sooner not later.

Will Ploonty make it to the moon? Does the moon taste like cheese? Did the cow really jump over the moon? What does the man on the moon look like, anyway? How much will you weigh on the moon? How far can you jump on the moon? Want answers to these and many more questions? Then Ploonty Goes to the Moon is the book for you.


Try Before You Buy


If the overview of the book has captured your attention, why not read chapter one of the book. That way you can be sure what you are getting yourself into. I had a great time writing this book. There was a long learning curve, though, since I did not know how to write fiction. This book is perfect for young girls ages 8-12. It is also great for kids of all ages.


Who in the World is Ploonty?


Ploonty is a name that Trinity came up with when she was about 2-3 years old. If you want to read “The Story Behind Ploonty,” you can click the link and find out how the whole book and future series came into being.


Keep Up on the Latest News


I am planning on writing more Ploonty books and some Christian non-fiction books in the the near future. If you would like to be kept up to date on the latest developments, then click here for a description of the information you will receive. Once you figure out which items interest you, put your email address, first name, and the check the lists that interest you. It is just that easy, just that quick.

The important thing to remember is that you can opt out of receiving email updates any time you desire. That is too easy and too quick to do.


Pass the News On


Is there someone else you think might be interested in reading good kid’s fiction or Christian non-fiction books? Please consider forwarding this email to them. Why keep the good news to yourself? Ha! you can click any of the buttons below the author box for instant sharing. Thanks for reading.

Sneak Peek – Spirit Baptism Chapter One

Go Ahead, Take a Peek

Below you will find the first chapter of the book Spirit Baptism. In it I dispel nine myths and misconceptions surrounding the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. I hope you enjoy reading this excerpt. If you enjoy it, you can sign up below to receive notification when the full paperback/Kindle version is available.

Chapter One of Spirit Baptism

It sounds funny starting a book about the Baptism with the Holy Spirit with a chapter on what it is not. Yet I feel it is very important to deal with many of the common misconceptions that surround this issue. For it could be that one of these nine misconceptions has hindered you from receiving or actively seeking after this gift from God.

Many of these misconceptions and misunderstandings come about because of a poor definition of terms. Two people begin to communicate and use the same term with different meanings; this can easily result in miscommunication. For example, if I were to mention the words “water baptism” some in the church would picture in their mind a baby being sprinkled with water by a priest or pastor; others would see an adult who has professed faith in Jesus Christ being fully immersed in water in a large baptistery. Two totally different pictures arise from the same term.

Therefore it is important to clear up some of the major misconceptions that surround the Baptism with the Holy Spirit before we proceed to describe what it is. If we know what it isn’t, we will be better equipped to understand what it is.

It is not Salvation!

However you describe salvation – being born-again, saved, accepting the Lord, turning your life over to Christ – this is the very beginning of our life with the Lord. This is the entrance into the Family of God.

In John chapter three, Jesus proclaims this startling truth to Nicodemus, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven” (v. 3). Nicodemus, having a hard time understanding this statement, posed these questions, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into the womb, can he?” (v.4). Jesus was describing our need to have a spiritual birth, a birth by which the Spirit of God enters into the one who believes and brings new life into his dead spirit. He becomes born of the Spirit, or born again.

Simply put, the Spirit of the Living God comes to dwell in the heart of the person who accepts Christ. Paul states, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

When we speak of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit we are not talking about the salvation experience. We are NOT saying that the Spirit of God does not live, dwell, abide or reside in the person who has accepted Christ, because He does! This is probably the most misunderstood and miscommunicated aspect concerning the Baptism.

It is the salvation experience that opens up the possibility to be Baptized with the Holy Spirit. Salvation is a prerequisite for receiving the Baptism, just as it is the prerequisite for receiving any of the other benefits or gifts related to the covenant. I am not saying that the Baptism is more important than salvation, any more than I would say that the Fruit of the Spirit is more important than salvation. I see the Baptism and the Fruit of the Spirit as integral parts of God’s salvation in our lives. No one piece is more important than the other, or than the whole, but each piece is required to make the whole.

It is not Necessary for Salvation!

A person does not have to be Baptized to be saved. A person can know God, love Him and be serving Him with his whole heart and still not be Baptized. There is only one requirement for salvation in the Scripture: that is placing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing that we can do or achieve that will cause God to save us. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift from God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph 2:8-9). Salvation is God’s gracious gift freely given to all those who will respond with faith in the Lord.

Acts chapter 8 shows us that the Baptism is distinct from the salvation experience and can be separated by time. It can be experienced almost simultaneously with salvation, or days, weeks, years, even decades after the initial acceptance of Christ.

Philip entered the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Jesus and the kingdom of God. The people believed and were baptized in water. When Philip baptized the Samaritans in water he was bearing witness that they had a real salvation experience. Philip would not have baptized an unbeliever!

At some point later, days or weeks?, the apostles heard that the Samaritans had received the Lord and sent Peter and John to minister to them.

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).

Isn’t it interesting to note that prior to the coming of the apostles, the Samaritans had received the Lord and been baptized in water (this is the condition of much of the church today), but after they laid hands on them they received the Holy Spirit. This section of Scripture is not teaching us that a person must have hands laid on them to receive the Spirit into their lives at the point of salvation. If this were so, then the Samaritans would have believed in Jesus, been baptized and not have been born again or saved until the apostles arrived on the scene to lay hands on them. I know of no church that believes that this is what is being taught here. It is teaching us that the Baptism can come to believers at a point after their initial salvation experience.

Peter in his sermon on the day of Pentecost proclaims that there are three steps to be taken for those who were calling on the Lord. According to Acts 2:38 they are as follows:

  1. “Repent” (New Birth)
  2. “and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Water Baptism)
  3. “and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Baptism of the Holy Spirit).

This verse shows three distinct events that take place in the life of the believer: salvation, water baptism, and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

It is not a Sign of Spirituality!

The Baptism does not make a person more spiritual. It does not rule out the possibility that the Spirit Baptized believer will operate in the flesh. The Corinthians are a perfect example of this. They had received the Baptism and operated in the gifts of the Spirit, but were extremely fleshly in their relationship to the Lord and to each other.

The entire book of I Corinthians is Paul’s attempt to point out the areas where the Corinthians were operating in the flesh. It was Paul’s desire for then to walk in the Spirit. There were divisions in the church. Each group was arguing over who was the most spiritual, proving without a doubt how unspiritual they really were. Gross sin was being ignored. People were taking each other to court before unbelievers, because they could not come to a peaceful agreement with each other. Some were showing favoritism and becoming drunk in the Lord’s feast. They were also, in their attempt to be spiritual, abusing the gifts of the Spirit. If any church was operating in the flesh it was the Corinthian church!

Despite the fact that the Corinthians were Spirit Baptized and yet fleshly, there were many of the early Christians that were Spirit Baptized and considered to be spiritual giants. These include Peter, James, John, Stephen, Paul and the rest of the 120 in the upper room. Today there are Spirit-Baptized believers who operate in the flesh and discredit the name of the Lord, but at the same time there are many who do not. If you are seeking for an example of what a Spirit-Baptized believer is supposed to act like, use your Bible to look at the latter group, not the former.

It is not a Sign of Maturity!

The Baptism is not a sign of maturity. In the Scripture maturity deals with character- how much we are allowing the Lord to manifest His life in us; and our call- how we are fulfilling the ministry that the Lord has called us to. The Baptism is not a reward for maturity, nor is it a short cut to spiritual maturity. The Baptism is available to anyone, at any time in his spiritual walk, whether he is considered a spiritual babe, a young man or a father in the Lord. My brother-in-law received the Spirit as he knelt to accept the Lord in his jail cell. Paul, the apostle, received the Spirit three days after he met the Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:17). I was Baptized three months after I accepted the Lord.

Since the Baptism is not a sign of maturity, we should not expect a major jump in the maturity level of the one who receives it. A babe in Christ will still be a babe in Christ, a young man a young man. There are no short cuts to maturity. Only time, proper spiritual nourishment and exercise will bring a person to maturity in the Lord.

It is not a Sign of Superiority!

There is no such thing as a “second class Christian” in the kingdom of God. There are different ministry positions, maturity levels and varying gifts, but each part of the body is equally necessary and important for the body to function as God designed it. In the family of God no one is greater or better than another person. Certainly some have greater responsibility and others greater visibility, but this does not make them better or of more worth to the Lord.

Those who have been Baptized are not a higher level than those who have not experienced the Baptism, or vice versa. Christians on both sides of the issue look down their noses at the other side believing themselves to be superior some because they speak in tongues and operate in the gifts of the Spirit, others because they hold to the “true” position of Scripture and are above such things as speaking in tongues or the gifts. This is a form of spiritual pride and should be forsaken.

Paul exhorts the Philippians to “[d]o nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of us regard one another as more important than himself, do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil 2:3-4). How can believers read these verses and consider themselves superior to other Christians because they operate or do not operate in the gifts? How can Christians gloat with self-importance because they do not speak in tongues or because they can speak with tongues? Both attitudes contradict this Scripture and are sin before the Lord. Both attitudes are to be forsaken. No one Christian is superior to another because they have or do not have the Baptism and the accompanying gifts.

If there is no difference between those who have and those who do not have the Baptism, why do those who have it advocate it so strongly? Why do they seem to be so pushy? Many are zealous in their proclamation because they are excited about what the Lord has done in their lives.

I liken it to a new Christian who is excited about the Lord and wants to tell everyone he comes in contact with about the Lord. He does not consider himself to be superior to those who haven’t received Christ, but he does understand that he has received a gift. He has good news to share and is excited about it. Sometimes in his zeal to have every one share his experience, he seems to be pushy and self- righteous, jamming religion down people’s throats. That is not his motivation; he simply wants people to experience the same joy, freedom and peace that he has. The same applies to the one who has been Baptized. Many times his zeal and urgent pleas are mistaken as a sign of superiority. This could not be further from the truth.

It is not the Pinnacle of Christian Experience!

The Baptism is not the pinnacle of Christian experience. We do not hit the peak, the ultimate, the pinnacle of Christianity when the Spirit falls upon us. Properly understood the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of what God has in store for us in this area. It is only the entrance into a lifestyle of power in serving others. It is the open door that starts us on our journey, not the final door that brings us into a glorious state of perfection.

It is not a Purely Emotional Experience!

The Baptism is not a purely emotional experience. True, our emotions are involved in the process. If we didn’t have emotions we would cease to be whole people. God created us with emotions so that we would be able to express ourselves to Him and to one another.

Many times when God’s Spirit moves upon us we become emotional. We get excited, happy or joyful. We experience God’s peace, love or compassion. Sometimes we weep as God heals a certain hurt in our lives or brings us under conviction for sin. Emotions play an integral part in our relationship with the Lord.

I will be the first to admit that there are those who I consider to be over-emotional in this area of the Baptism. There are those who believe that they must get themselves extremely hyped up to the point where the Spirit will come upon them and “take over for them.” At this point they claim to have no control over what they say or do. This is simply not true. We are always in control of what we say and do (except in the case of being slain in the Spirit). God does not possess our bodies and take over our natural function of speech against our will! The Spirit of God may come mightily upon us and we may feel compelled to speak something, but we are always in control. We can refuse to speak, and though this might grieve the Holy Spirit, God gives us the choice.

Extreme emotionalism is not required to receive the Baptism of the Spirit. In some cases there is great emotion involved, while in other cases very little or no emotions are shown. Each case of receiving the Spirit is as different as the individuals who receive Him. I know people who have felt like electricity was flowing through them (me, for example), while others didn’t feel any great measure of emotions when they began speaking with other tongues (my wife). There is no extreme emotionalism described in the Biblical accounts of the Baptism, nor do you have to work yourself up to receive it.

Some of the over emotionalism comes from incorrect teaching and example. If a person is taught that there must be a great deal of emotion displayed or see this in operation at times that the Baptism is received, they will naturally follow suit. It doesn’t make the practice right, but it certainly does point to the importance of balanced Biblical teaching on the subject.

It is not only Experiential but Biblical!

More than one person opposed to the Baptism has claimed that the teaching is based upon an experience which was then taken to the Bible to be proved. When Luke wrote the book of Acts he was writing about some thing that the 120 experienced in the upper room (Acts 2:1- 4). The same experience that Cornelius, the Samaritans and the Ephesians had: (Acts 10:44-47; 8:14-17; 19:1-6). I wonder if people get after Luke for bringing his experiences into the Bible?

It is when we experience God’s love for ourselves, that we become better qualified to communicate that truth to others, and better equipped to understand what is being communicated in the Scriptures on that subject. It is when we experience God’s forgiveness, peace, joy and other benefits of salvation that we are better able to share these with others. Therefore I do not see a problem adding the Baptism to the list of things better communicated through experiencing them.

It seems to me that those who have not received the Baptism and argue against it are actually the ones who are arguing from experience. They have not received it, and therefore they search the Scriptures to try and find verification that the Baptism is not for today. There is much more evidence to support that the Baptism is for today, (what do you do with millions of Pentecostals and Charismatics), than there is that it is not. In chapter two of this book we will see how Biblically based the teaching on the Baptism is, and in chapter three we will examine who the Baptism is for and see how long it is available.

It is not from the Devil!

Warning! Beware! Danger! Statements such as: “If you seek after tongues you may get tricked by the devil.” or “Tongues are from the devil,” have been claimed by many who oppose the Baptism. These words put fear into the hearts of those who might seek after the Baptism, because they don’t want to get mixed up with anything satanic. I don’t blame them; I don’t either!

These warnings are pretty strong and give the devil credit for the Baptism rather than God. It is true that the devil has counterfeit tongues, and these tongues are exactly that: a counterfeit of God’s gift. Scripture says, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy… (John 10:10). Should we shy away from God’s gift to us, just because Satan has tried to destroy the use of tongues by twisting and warping what God created for good?

If we were to follow this type of logic, we would have to reject all music, for the devil has used music for his own purposes; we would have to reject angels, because the devil can come as an angel of light, and we wouldn’t want to take a chance at getting deceived; we have to reject love, since the devil has used a crude, fake love in the place of God’s. We would also have to reject true prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah, just to make sure we don’t get mixed up with any false prophets along the way.

Of course the above reasoning is faulty, including the reasoning concerning tongues. Just because there is a counterfeit, there is no reason to be afraid of the real thing. The counterfeit is easy to spot if you know what the original looks like.

If we are sincere and ask God to Baptize us with His Holy Spirit, why should we believe that the devil will be able to jump in and give us false tongues? If we ask God to Baptize us with his Spirit, He will do just that! In Luke 11:9-13 Jesus clearly tells us that if we ask God for His Spirit He will not give us a demon or allow a demon to have his way with us, He will give us His Spirit. Read it for yourself:

And I say to you, ask, it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those that ask Him?” [emphasis mine].

Don’t be afraid that if you ask God for His Holy Spirit that you will receive a snake or a scorpion. God will give you what you ask him for. Feel free to go boldly before the Lord and ask Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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