- File Size: 960 KB
- Print Length: 264 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
- Publisher: Zondervan (February 7, 2017)
- Publication Date: February 7, 2017
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01HAKH4UQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,377 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life Kindle Edition
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'I am an elder in a church that engages with God in genuine worship, seeks maturity through dynamic preaching, loves compassionately in community, expresses mercy to the disenfranchised, and multiplies through intentional missionality. Thankful for God’s many blessings, we long for more of his grace, especially through an outpouring of the Spirit’s gifts. But how can our church experience this renewing power? It seems Sam Storms wrote this book to guide our church in this quest. I think it is for your church too!' (Gregg R. Allison, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; elder, Sojourn Community Church; secretary, the Evangelical Theological Society; author, Historical Theology; Sojourners and Strangers; Roman Catholic Theology and Practice)
'Sam Storms has done it again. This book combines sound theology with inspiring personal examples, together with practical ways to express the compassion of Jesus to others by partnering with him in spiritual gifts. Sam successfully demystifies what it means to obey the apostle Paul’s injunction to earnestly desire spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:31; 14:1). I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to grow in this dimension of the grace of God, and especially pastors seeking to lead their flock into a deeper experience as empowered evangelicals who want all that Jesus provides for us.' (Mike Bickle, International House of Prayer of Kansas City)
'Few people write on spiritual gifts as wisely, biblically, and helpfully as Sam Storms. This book covers all kinds of practical and theological questions about the use of the gifts, and does so with insight and clarity---so if you’re looking for answers to any of them, look no further.' (Andrew Wilson, Teaching Pastor at King’s Church London) --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
Sam Storms (PhD, University of Texas) is founder of Enjoying God Ministries, which provides biblical and theological resources to the body of Christ. He is also the senior pastor of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City and a former professor. Storms travels both in the United States and abroad, speaking at churches and conferences. He is the author of over two-dozen books and a contributor to the Zondervan Counterpoints volume Are the Miraculous Gifts for Today? He blogs regularly at www.samstorms.com.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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Into these perplexing questions comes a tremendous book from Sam Storms, the Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City.
Numerous books have been written which give the necessary biblical and theological foundations for what Sam Storms calls Charismatic Calvinism (works by scholars like Wayne Grudem and D. A. Carson). And numerous books have been written which share encouraging stories and experiences from Charismatic Calvinists (works by scholars like Jack Deere and Storms). But not much has been written for the Christian who is a convinced Charismatic Calvinist theologically, but a Cessationist functionally.
Storms has written for “theologically sophisticated followers of Christ who are open to and hungry for the present tense voice of the Spirit while always subject to the functional and final authority of the written text of Scripture” (13). If you want to go deeper in pursuing the power of the Spirit, or if you are a pastor or church leader who wants to help others go deeper in pursuing the power of the Spirit, Storms’s book will help.
He assumes, “The power of the miraculous charismata is still available for those who believe, pray for, and humbly pursue it” (15). But he nuances that assumption well. First, he realizes, “Bible-believing evangelicals will never be truly open to the pursuit of spiritual gifts unless they see them clearly taught in Scripture” (28). So pastors, we must teach, teach, teach. And he also realizes, “God is far more pleased with our obedience than he is with our success. . . . We please him not by always producing results but by always practicing obedience” (30–31). Which means, we are responsible to simply ask, seek, and knock; God is responsible to empower us and apportion gifts to us as he pleases. Again, Storms challenges us, “The reception of a spiritual gift is dependent on one’s prayer for it. Ask and you shall receive. Don’t ask, and you shouldn’t expect to receive” (43–44). Again, “There is little, if any, hope for the proper use of spiritual gifts apart from a focused and consistent commitment to praying” (45).
But he is wise to also admit, “The Holy Spirit wants to be pursued but refuses to be pushed” and then to counsel readers, “If you find yourself lacking a specific spiritual gift, notwithstanding your persistent and passionate prayers that it might be granted to you, the time may come when you should pause and thank God for whatever gifts he has been pleased to bestow and move on in the ministry he has already granted you” (35).
His advice is not only practical; it gets to the heart of our pursuit of God and his gifts. “If you are a leader or teacher thinking of teaching on prayer, I recommend making it your goal through the teaching to increase the level of expectancy in the hearts of your people when they pray for themselves or for others” (50). God accomplishes much through the heartfelt trust of those who cry out to him: “Otherwise humanly impossible feats, events that require supernatural and miraculous power, can occur when prayer is filled with faith” (54).
One of the most significant connections this book made for me was the power of fasting for receiving spiritual gifts. Storms writes, “Fasting is the first cousin to prayer in the sense that together they are the ordained means by which God is pleased to give us what we need” (58). Our Savior himself modeled this practice: “As Jesus was standing on the brink of the most important public ministry the world had ever seen, he chose to fast!” (63). Perhaps we have not seen greater spiritual growth and power simply because we have not sought God with the intensity and commitment fasting represents.
Storms also believes God still heals today—and he gives practical advice for seeking such healing. “When I pray for people to be healed, I typically ask them to confess out loud their belief that God is able to heal them. I suggest you do the same” (71). Again, he counsels, “Begin with an attempt to get at the underlying root of sin or addiction in a person’s life, followed by a call to repentance and encouragement to make certain alterations in one’s habits of life and choices” (77).
I also appreciate Storms’s willingness to go where other teachers might shrink back from out of discomfort; for instance, demon possession and deliverance. He writes, “The foundation of biblical deliverance ministry is a clear understanding of Christian identity and the authority believers have in Christ” (152). The gospel changes everything—even the dark, scary aspects of life.
The only subject I wish Storms had spent more time on was advice for those pursuing the gift of speaking in tongues. There seems to be very little such practical, concrete advice for those who are committed to the word of God—the very word that says, “I want you all to speak in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:5). Many seem to shy away from this particular gift, I believe, because it is so unusual and, quite frankly, because it embarrasses us. Please don’t misunderstand me: I don’t think Storms shied away from this issue—and certainly not out of fear or embarrassment. He addresses his experience at length in his book Convergence: Spiritual Journeys of a Charismatic Calvinist . But I would love answers to simple questions such as: Should I just ask for this gift and simply wait for it to happen to me in silence—or should I try speaking whatever syllables come to mind? What are some signs that I’m truly speaking in tongues and not simply speaking gibberish? Is it possible to think that I’m not speaking in tongues when I actually am?
But, again, I thought this book was tremendous, so I conclude with two more quotes to stir you up to read it for yourself: “Whether it is the fire that burns up and consumes the dross of sin in our lives or the fire of power and energy that fuels our efforts to labor for the glory of Christ and the good of his people, the Holy Spirit is a glorious gift, the consummate treasure whom we hold dear” (179). “Pray yet again that God would increase your spiritual hunger pangs, that he would intensify your thirst for godly power, that he would never allow you to settle for the status quo” (239–240).
Although never a cessationist, I grew up in a Southern Baptist church and hadn't learned much about how to eagerly desire and pursue tongues, prophecy, and gifts of healing for the edification and consolation of the Church. This book has proved really helpful and represents the "reformed charismatic" strain of Christianity, which encourages the convergence of Word and Spirit in the Church. That is, "The Spirit of God does the work of God through the Word of God" (Chandler).
Loving God passionately and being led and empowered by the Spirit are not in opposition to a deep understanding of the Bible and theology: the two should walk hand in hand. As a charismatic, Storms would affirm the sign gifts but not the Pentecostal doctrines of subsequence or initial physical evidence. For those interested in more, check out the videos from the Convergence Conference held at Storms' church this fall.
Some who left bad reviews did so with some unfair points.
1. Storms wrote “A Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts” as a preliminary read. If you’re on the fence about continuationist theology I recommend you read that first.
2. Storms goes through the church history of the spiritual gifts. This is not a 100 year old theology. It spans from Acts until today. To see otherwise is simply bad study.
I found it personally challenging, and a convicting read.