The Holy Spirit in Action

Since I live in a region battered by unemployment, drug overdoses, and a future filled with uncertainty, a recent spiritual awakening in southern West Virginia is the stuff of considerable excitement.

And there is additional backstory to this particular episode that is also fascinating.

It started about three weeks ago at lunch with an old friend who lives about 45 minutes away. He stopped while returning home after visiting a revival the night before at a church near Logan, close to the epicenter of this awakening.

Word of Prophecy

Williamson awakening | The Holy Spirit in ActionAs we ate, he told me about the excitement in the area and how more than 1,000 people (since more than doubled) in the Williamson area had made decisions to follow Christ.

He also shared about a woman showing him a live video feed from the Williamson Field House. Packed with enthusiastic teenagers, the meeting was still going after 10 p.m.

Then, my friend shared a story he had heard from the evangelist. It concerned a prophecy delivered more than 20 years ago about the Brownsville Revival, a spiritual outpouring in Pensacola, Florida, that attracted national attention.

Supposedly, the same pastor who told of the Brownsville Revival before it erupted had said a similar outbreak would occur in southern West Virginia.

Spiritual Awakening  

Initially, I chalked that up to a nice story that sounded encouraging. However, when I returned to my office, I had an e-mail from an editor asking if I could write a story about this awakening.

As usual, I talked to more people about these developments than I could quote, and had more details than I could include in the story.

Still, to say the excitement is contagious would be an understatement. One prayer group reportedly formed because of this activity in a town several hours from Williamson. Youth pastors in the state capital of Charleston fully expect the awakening to reach their area.

A friend from the Williamson area told me one of the most exciting aspects is how so many different kinds of churches are coming together to sponsor nightly meetings. And, how so many people are getting out of the church walls to share the gospel.

Fascinating Experience

Sharing your faith.As great as all that is, the same week my story posted online, my wife shared an equally fascinating experience.

She talked about how she had been trying to do all kinds of things to minister to the surrounding neighborhood through our church’s food pantry, which she manages. We distribute food boxes twice a month.

We used to do a larger, monthly distribution, but had to scale that back when demand outstripped our modest-sized congregation’s resources.

In addition, by downsizing it my wife hoped to be able to spend more time in one-on-conversation with clients than was possible during crowded conditions.

However, for the first six months that rarely happened. A dozen people would be lined up when the doors opened; their main interest was getting in and getting out.

Slow but Steady

Then, my wife recognized that she had been trying to direct this outreach through her own efforts and strength. Humbled, she prayed, “Lord, I need your help.”

Right after she acknowledged her shortcoming came the latest distribution day. Instead of a dozen people when the doors opened, there was only one. And the families that showed up that day came slowly throughout the three-hour period, allowing her or other volunteers to engage each one in personal conversation.

Whether it’s a crowd of thousands flocking to an arena, or 20 people showing up for a food pantry one at a time, God’s Spirit in action is a marvel to behold.

The Miracle of Divine Inspiration

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By Ken Walker –

Only those who have juggled multiple writing and editing projects on deadline can appreciate the kick in the gut I felt recently when an editor kicked back a devotional I had written. He said it didn’t quite fit theme and he wanted a new version.

At the time, I was behind on another deadline for a story in a national magazine, partially because I had been having problems getting responses. A key participant canceled an interview less than 24 hours prior to the arranged time. Then an agency I had worked with for many years wouldn’t send me some basic background details.

Already late getting the story written, this rewrite request arrived amid mounting stress. Explaining to the web site editor I was stacked up with work that week, I asked how soon he needed the revision. When he said there was no huge rush, I pushed it aside for the next day.

An Amazing Experience

IMG_1297The next morning I completed the draft of the first deadline assignment and decided to let it rest for a couple hours before sending it to the news editor.

Pausing for a few minutes to gather my thoughts, I decided to spend an hour on the devotional. If I could get a decent start on the rewrite, then hopefully I could finish it in another hour the following day.

What happened next is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened during more than 30 years of freelancing.

The Bible says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). I now know the reality of this verse. While I’m not comparing myself to biblical writers, I do know what the inspiration of the Holy Spirit feels like.

Leading of the Spirit

The devotional editor had suggested using the parable of the Prodigal Son as a starting point. After reading another reflection on this parable, I started to write and felt words flowing out of me so quickly I wondered where they came from.

Not only was I writing this material without any outline or master plan for what to say, when I reached the point where I commented on how this story represented an insult to many of the Jews listening to it, I marveled at the mere realization.

Although it didn’t exactly happen this way, it was as if the Holy Spirit came into the room and said, “Do you see what was going on here? Do you see that it wasn’t just that the Prodigal Son reached the ultimate in degradation by slopping pigs, whom the Jews considered unclean?

“Do you understand how many of the listeners thought Jesus was scandalous for even suggesting that one of their fellow Jews would stoop so low? That the Pharisees and religious teachers were so mad they were ready to put him on a cross? Do you understand the depth of what was going on here?”

Entering a Spiritual Plane

“Well, I didn’t before,” I thought. “But I do now.”

GodSpeaks-Even-When-You-Don't-Believe-612x612-Photo-with-WordsYou can read the devotional here: Even When You Don’t Believe…. Aside from the divine insight the Spirit gave me to this passage (Luke 15:11-32), I finished the rewrite in 45 minutes. Not just started. Finished.

The next day I sent it in and within a half-hour got a note back from the editor saying, “This is fine.” This is the kind of fascinating experience any artist—writer, painter, poet, musician, or actor—lives for; it is worth far more than mere money.

To enter a spiritual plane where God did more than I asked or thought was possible (Ephesians 3:20) is phenomenal. It reaffirmed my faith and put a glow inside that still shines.