A few weeks ago my friend Liv and I got this great idea to go to a conference called Miracles, Signs, and Wonders.
You'd think that going into this conference I would be expecting huge, extravagant, miraculous things being performed by wild, Spirit-filled believers....but I wasn't. To be honest, I'm not sure what I was expecting.
Something a little more normal I suppose.
Something subdued and peaceful where everyone just loved Jesus and when they bumped into each other they'd be miraculously healed and pixie dust would sprinkle over them and they'd giggle and lift their hands in soft, quiet, meditative worship.
Okay, maybe not quite that extreme, but you get the picture....
And as I walked into the church on the first day and took my seat I slowly began to realize I was pretty far off base with my expectations.
I come from a fairly charismatic church, so I'm used to a pretty expressive worship. But then Kevin Dedmon came out and spoke about the power of laughing over desperate situations.
I was oh-so-confused.
I watched as people were doubled over in laughter at seemingly nothing. "Amen!" "Come on!"and "WOAH!" were flying around the church every few seconds. People would stand, jump, scream, shake, fall....and the list goes on.
Needless to say, I was a little out of my comfort zone.
The first day came and went and I left quite a skeptic.
I knew the Spirit was powerful!
I knew He encountered people!
Making people act drunk and, for lack of a better and nicer term, CRAZY!?
Was that the Spirit? The same Spirit that was living in me on a daily basis???
I just wasn't so sold.
I'm pretty sure this was the point that God smirked and said, "Challenge accepted."
Day 2 came and Patricia King spoke an amazing message that brought no clarity whatsoever.
They moved into a time of worship and then they did an alter call for something or another. I watched as people flooded to alter and were slain in the spirit (for those of you that are like I was and don't know what that is...it means being toppled over and pinned to the ground under God's power).
This "being slain in the Spirit" was one of the things I questioned the most. I watched as people fell to the ground and I couldn't help but doubt.
They are doing it just for show.
They think that's what they're supposed to do.
It's all a mind game.
And as I sat in my chair and doubted what I was seeing I heard God give me a little challenge, "If it's all just a show and a mind game, then go down there and stand."
We now had me challenging God and God challenging me...obviously, we all know who is going to win here.
I walked down the aisles and made it to the alter and I stood there.
Down I went.
Into a row of chairs.
And eventually onto the ground.
And, judging by the massive scuffs on my boots, apparently everywhere else.
People continuously came and prayed over me and I have never in my life felt such power coursing through me. My entire body felt like it had electricity running through it.
My mind ran in and out of visions and reality.
God spoke so deeply and clearly to my soul that I could hardly hold myself still.
Some incredible things happened as I laid there on that floor, slain under God's mighty power.
I tried to get up a few times, but to no avail.
So, I just laid there and let the Spirit wash over me.
Eventually, people stopped praying...and the alter got quiet except for the rolls of laughter coming from a lady laying on the ground beside me.
I tried to get up, but couldn't.
So, I just laid there some more.
....and then some more....
....and then a little more....
After almost two hours of laying on that floor I was finally able to sit up.
The church was pretty much empty.
People had all left for lunch.
Liv sat next to me on my left and this laughing lady was rolling around on my right.
She'd been belly laughing for two hours.
TWO. HOURS! Ummm...OW!
Nonetheless, her laugh was incredibly irresistible and contagious and before long we had joined in.
So, there the three of us sat.
One a stranger and the two of us blissfully bewildered at her laughter.
I'm sure it was quite a beautifully strange scene.
From that point on, God changed me.
That Spirit, the one that threw me on the floor and sent electricity through my veins for two hours, is the one that is living in me at this very moment. It is the same Spirit that is living in me as I check out at the grocery store or sit in class. It is the same Spirit that fills me during worship, even in this traditional and conservative environment.
That Spirit's power is in me on a daily basis and I have been given authority to use it to advance the Kingdom.