Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues

Hey Andy, what are your views on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in reference to Acts chapters 1 and 2?  Do you believe that the fullness of God's Spirit (power) is given upon receiving Christ in salvation (John's Baptism of Repentance) or do you believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a subsequent experience to receiving salvation and comes with the evidence of speaking in tongues?

My Reply:
Somebody actually asked me a similar question to the first part about receiving the Holy Spirit, but he used Acts 8.

After you've read that, read Paul's reference to the gifts of tongues in 1 Corinthians12:4-11, 28-31.

Then read how Paul tells his readers to USE these gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 14.  For example, in the sense of speaking in tongues, if you're at church, in public, or among others, and you begin to speak in tongues, then there should be somebody else there who (doesn't speak in them, but who) can interpret them before everybody else.  But if there's nobody there who can interpret them, then Paul basically says to "shut the hell up" (emphasis is in the Greek), since otherwise you're just bringing attention to yourself, and such is supposed to be on Jesus.

So what about the incident in Acts 1 and 2 when everybody came running out speaking in other languages?  That's because that was the gift that was needed at that moment to glorify Christ and His Kingdom.  For example, missionaries don't have all the gifts at once, but the gift that's needed for the place they're called to.  If they're in a place where healing is needed, then the Lord will often equip them with healing (though not always).  Some prophesy, some have visions, some understand and can interpret other languages (which they'd never known before), some suddenly speak those languages, some perform miracles, and there are many more, also.  But if everybody had the same gift, then how messed up would that be?  It'd be like a car with only 1 wheel, or that always pulled to the right.

Keep in mind also, Peter and the 11 (Acts 2:14) already had the Holy Spirit, previous to Pentecost (John 20:22). So to say that one must speak in tongues as proof of having the Holy Spirit is not supported here, especially since we know that Peter had Him (the Holy Spirit) in him, yet he was not speaking in any tongues when he addressed the crowd. We know THIS because: 
  1. Peter only addressed the Jews who lived in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14
  2. Everybody recognized Peter as the sober one (Acts 2:15).

---Pastor Andy

Trying to Live for God in an Un-Godly Environment


I try really hard 2 live a life for God, and I am in an environment with a lot of negativity. I have been living there for 4 months and am looking at it as a test or opportunity for spiritual growth. 
The reason I live in a place like that is because I just moved from the east coast 2 the west to go 2 school, and felt like this is where God has led me.
My question is, how far should I let my values and boundaries be crossed before walking away?  Sometimes I wonder if sticking around is worth it anymore.  I’ve been praying and talking about it…there is the positive that I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and that I’m going to school.  The negative is that I live in a rooming house, and it’s full of drama. So I wonder if it’s worth it to stay.  I try and stay optimistic and make the most out of it, but I don’t know.
If anyone has ever been in an environment where it was hard on there faith, but persevered, please help…any good verses or just life tips, I would love hear.

My Reply:
You're preachin' to the choir, brother.
Have you prayed for Christian friends in your area? One person can't be an army against a whole battalion...you need others to help you stay focused, pick you up when you fall (and for whom you may do the same), people with whom you can pray, opportunities for Bible studies (iron sharpening iron), etc...
Most campus' have Christian ministries (InterVarsity, Wesley Foundation, Baptists, Alpha Xi). Check around for them. Also, maybe put up a post on the school network for other Christians who'd like to gather weekly for prayer, Bible Study, and fellowship.

Another suggestion is to check in with a church in the area, see if they have any small groups for your age group (or if not your age group, maybe they'd be alright with you joining in).  Meetup.com is also a good place to look for like-minded/spirited people.
Basically, if the Lord sent you there, then He also provided resources to help you out while there, so you're not alone. But you need to remember that in this battleground, you can't allow yourself to be alone (in the sense of being a solo-Christian), either.
---Pastor Andy G.

Questions about the Beginning of Life

After Eden Comics


I have 2 questions regarding the Book of Genesis:
  1. Why would God monologue to himself about the humans eating the fruit of life, if he isn't doing a monologue to himself, who is he talking about when he says "us";
  2. If Adam and Eve really are the first two people, when one of their sons kills the other and gets exiled, who is he talking about when he says "anyone who may see me may kill me"?

My Reply:

1)    Notice in Genesis 1, that in the beginning, the Spirit of the Lord was hovering over the waters (that's the first mention of the Holy Spirit).
2)    Later in the OT, when it mentions "the angel of the Lord", the person often first recognizes it as an angel, but then calls it "Lord". It's believed that this is because the "angel" was really "God the Son" (a.k.a., Jesus). Also about Jesus, John 1 tells us that Jesus was the one who created everything that exists.
3)    The word for God in the Hebrew is plural, yet always used with a singular verb.

What all this suggests is that the writer of Genesis was already familiar with the Holy Trinity. So when God was speaking about creating in "our" image, it's believed that He was speaking to His 2 other parts.
Granted, some believe that God was speaking to the angels, but then, Paul tells us that we'll one day judge the angels...so we can't be made in their image, also.

In terms of Cain's exile:
The genealogies of Gen. 5 mention that Eve also had "many other sons and daughters".
It's also believed that the reason Cain would be afraid of the people in the other lands who might kill him is because, since they were all siblings, they'd also have known Abel.  Plus, as you research the geographies of migration, you'll see that in the beginning, nobody really branched out too far.  In other words, everybody was still pretty closely knit, and would've heard about the murder.  So then after recognizing Cain's sin of killing Abel, these other siblings and/or their descendants may kill Cain for what he did to their brother/uncle, Abel.

---Pastor Andy