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Be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18
About What's Going On
Something wonderful is happening. There is a happy reunion in progress. It's a family reunion among those who love God. It's a reunion of those who have faithfully loved God's truth with those who have faithfully embraced His power. It's a reunion of Word and Spirit. And for all involved, there is great reason to celebrate as they embrace newfound family and discover missing pieces of life with God that have long been hidden among those on "the other side."
Considering that you've picked up this book, you are probably already part of this reunion. And you are not alone. The latest research reports that during the past twenty-five years, more than fifty million believers have become part of "the mainstream church renewal," the technical term for what happens when evangelicals personally experience the promised power of the Holy Spirit - the power they have seen so clearly in the Bible they have faithfully read for years.
Chances are that you are personally experiencing a paradigm shift in the area of the promised power of the Spirit. Something unsettling has happened in your life - or in the life of your husband, wife, friend, or pastor.
You (or they) are probably somewhere in the process of discovering that God has provided us with two supernatural resources of staggering value: His Word and His Spirit. Of course, you have loved the Bible and the Holy Spirit for as long as you have followed God, but you are awakening to the possibility that there is a lot more to one of these - either Word or Spirit - than you ever imagined.
You may be a "Word" person who is discovering new ministries of the Spirit, or you may be a "Spirit" person who is discovering the new life that comes from understanding and living the Bible. You have somehow wandered through a gap in the wall that has for decades separated God-loving people into two neighborhoods: those who know the Bible and those who know the Spirit. Somehow you have met someone or heard or experienced something from the other side. If that's true, you are probably feeling amazed, confused, frightened, and excited. You may be unsure what to think, how to feel, who to tell, or what to do.
If this is you, intended or not and like it or not, you are part of a reunion arranged at the Highest Level. You are part of the reunion of Word and Spirit.
And this book is for you.
For the past fifteen years, I have lived in the midst of this reunion. I stumbled into it quite by accident. It began for me with an exposure to intimate worship. Worship stirred an all-my-heart desire for God. New passion for God led to new compassion for people. Compassion for people led to a longing for the power to help them. The longing for power led to the Spirit, then to people who knew the Spirit, back to the Word to find out what the Spirit does and how to allow Him to do it in and through me, and finally back to real life to see what really works. And so it's gone for me.
In the course of all of this, I have pastored three churches through the Word-Spirit union with results ranging from dismal failure to significant progress. I know firsthand that the process stretches people to the limits. It has stretched me intellectually (I'm an engineer by training, unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the mysterious). It has stretched me emotionally (passion and affection scare me). It has stretched me relationally (I've gained and lost friends in the process). It has stretched me theologically (hearing His voice, feeling His presence, performing healing prayer, believing in angels and demons - my initial reaction was, You've got to be kidding!). I have struggled to understand, believe, explain, sell, and keep the peace - in the church, in my family, and in my own soul. Yet after fifteen years of watching this Word-Spirit union transform lives, I am left with the conclusion that the benefits far outweigh the strains and that God Himself is behind this happy reunion. God Himself is restoring the power of the Spirit to those who for a variety of reasons have lost it along the way but are willing to receive it.
About This Book
This book is designed to be read with Bible in hand and preferably with a like-hearted friend or group of friends. The Promised Power refers to the power of the Holy Spirit promised in the Scriptures. The best way to see these promises yourself is to search the Scriptures on your own.
To help you with this process, there is a study guide in the back of the book that provides a thorough Bible study of the person and work of the Holy Spirit (see the "Searching the Scriptures" section in the study guide that corresponds to each chapter in the book). To help you talk through what you are seeing in the Bible and experiencing in your life, the study guide also contains a "Sharing Your Life" section for each chapter of the book. These questions are excellent for guiding discussion with a friend or small group of fellow explorers.
Excerpted from The Promised Power by Roc Bottomly Copyright © 2005 by NavPress Publishing.
Excerpted by permission.
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