Now is the time for the disciples of Christ to tap into the power of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The world needs God’s intervention now more than ever. God is wanting to pour out His power through His people with mighty signs and wonders! Get ready to step out of your natural and into God’s supernatural power!
Matthew 6:9b-13 (KJV), “9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
THE KINGDOM OF GOD DEFINED
The Kingdom of God is the Father’s dominion over all creation ruled by His Son and our King, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit.
- Mark 9:1, “And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
- Acts 1:4-8, “4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(1) UNDERSTANDING THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
- AFTER SALVATION: The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not for salvation, but rather a second work of the Holy Spirit after salvation. Click here for a two-part sermon on, “Born and Baptized in the Spirit.”
- SEPARATE FROM WATER BAPTISM: Water baptism is a symbolic act of obedience to demonstrate the work of salvation. Notice in Acts 2:38 Peter said for the people to (1) Repent to be born again, (2) Be baptized in water for a public testimony, and then (3) Receive the “gift/baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
- FOR EVERYONE AT ALL TIMES: Some people have erroneously tried to say that only a few people with receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit or that it was only for the early church (before the Bible was completed), however, Peter said in Acts 2:39, “The promise (i.e., the baptism of the Holy Spirit) is for you and your children and for all who are far off— for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
(2) THE EVIDENCE OF THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
(3) QUESTIONS REGARDING THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SPEAKING IN TONGUES
- Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit still for today? Yes, Acts 2:38-39.
- How do I know I have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? You will speak in other tongues (unlearned languages), Acts 2:1, Acts 10:44-48, & Acts 19:1-6.
- What if I don’t think speaking in tongues is my gift?
- Don’t be uninformed but rather study to learn the truth, 1 Corinthians 12:1.
- Gifts are given after the baptism of the Holy Spirit- Acts 2:1, 10:44-48, & 19:1-6.
- All gifts are available to the baptized in the Holy Spirit believer, 1 Corinthians 12:7.
- Paul wished all people to speak in tongues, 1 Corinthians 14:5.
- Paul said to never forbid tongues, 1 Corinthians 14:39.
- What is the purpose of speaking in tongues?
- To have power to be a witness, Acts 1:8.
- To glorify God, Acts 2:11.
- To a be sign to unbelievers, 1 Corinthians 14:22.
- To build up-edify yourself, 1 Corinthians 14:4.
- To intercede for the lost, Romans 8:26.
- To pray and sing to God, 1 Corinthians 14:15.
- For spiritual warfare, Ephesians 6:18.
- How can I know for sure God that God will baptize me with His Spirit? God is a good Father, Luke 11:11-13.
PERSONAL POWER ENCOUNTERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
(Video: Above is raw footage from my third trip to India in 2011 where a man gets set free from a demon. It happened at the end of the service when I was doing the altar call. The man began to scream in agony and was brought up to the front for deliverance. Generally, I like to help the person understand why they have been demon possessed so they can confront the demon(s) with me. However, because of the time it was taking with the translator and the pain I could see the man was in, I simply looked in his eyes and commanded the evil spirit to leave in Jesus name!)
CASTING OUT DEMONS
- HOMELESS DRUNK MAN: During the first year of my church plant in New Orleans (2000) a drunk homeless man came in for help late at night. When we began to pray for him he fell to the floor and began to slither like a snack. Immediately Justin and I began to pray for him and cast out the evil spirit in Jesus’ name. He instantly became sober and stood to his feet praising God. He even came home with us and began serving God. Witness: Justin Mease.
- YOUTH’S MOM: Once in Metro Praise New Orleans (circa 2002) I had a Baptist evangelist come as a guest speaker to preach for me on a Sunday. One of the youth’s Mom (who shall remain unnamed) came forward for prayer at the end. However, as the evangelist began to pray for her she started screaming violently. Though he was African American and familiar with the emotional “church culture,” he was visibly shaken and asked for my help because she was not responding in a positive way that he was familiar with. When I stood in front of her I could tell that she was possessed by an evil spirit and so I asked the spirit why it was there. The spirit confessed it was because she had bitterness towards the person who murdered her husband in front of her in the projects. I then had her repent of her unforgiveness and cast out the spirit in Jesus’ name! Witness: Freddie Karulkar.
- TENT MEETINGS IN ATLANTA: I was asked on two different occasions to come to Atlanta and preach for Mel Rolls at Rescue Atlanta (a local church reaching the homeless and housing projects). The first night a women manifested a demon and we cast it out. One the second trip we cast the demon out of a man in the morning session. Witness: Mel Rolls.
- YOUNG PSYCHIC FROM THE FRENCH QUARTER: Around 2004, just before I left New Orleans to come to Chicago, I was riding in our church van with a young man who had gotten saved from our street ministry in the French Quarter. As I was driving with him on the Westbank Expressway he began to confess that he had been feeling tormented by an evil spirit since getting saved a few days ago. As I began to pray for him he began to shake and foam at the mouth. I had to safely take the Manhattan exit and pull over and cast the demon out in Jesus’ name. Witness: Troy Bohn (we went to hangout with him afterwards and the young man shared his testimony of deliverance).
- HOMELESS MAN IN THE FRENCH QUARTER: One day around 2004 I was coming into the French Quarter to witness by myself and I saw a church group praying for a demon possessed man by the river. I noticed because the man was screaming and the Christians were praying very loud. As I walked over I noticed that they were from out of town and had come to hand out food and do Christian charity. Somehow in the midst of them praying for those they were serving the demon in the man became provoked and began screaming. Since they didn’t really know what to do they just were praying for peace. However, they were not taking authority over the spirit and commanding it to go. Therefore, I walked over, informed them that I was a local pastor, and asked if I could help. Within in a few moments I confronted the demon and cast it out in Jesus’ name- glory to God!
- MAN SITTING IN THE BACK OF THE CHURCH: On Sunday in 2008 while pastoring in Chicago the new Metro Praise, one of our leaders received a phone call from a man who had sat in the back during the service. He said that he had left early because he felt afflicted by an evil spirit. At once the leader contacted me and I headed over to the man’s house with my wife and another member of the church. The man greeted us and acted very normal but once I started to pray and say, “Jesus,” he began to scream and act violently. We then prayed and cast of the demons in Jesus’ name. Witness: Nancy Wyrostek.
- YOUNG GIRL AT ELEVATE: On a Friday night Elevate youth service in 2008 I was informed from Sue-Ellen Walker that one of her friends had confessed to her that she felt attacked by demons. I then asked the girl to come to the front for prayer and when I began to pray she started cursing and trying to attack me. We then rebuked the demon and cast it out in Jesus’ name. Witnesses: Nancy Wyrostek, Griselda Govea, and Sue-Ellen Walker.
- SECOND TRIP TO INDIA: In 2010 on my second trip to India while working with Pastor Amit, Adolfo Alvarez and myself were visiting churches and were very tired as we entered our last small church for the night. We were so behind schedule due to the previous places we had been that the church was empty and we had to wait for them to gather up all the members. While we were waiting for the service to begin the church was having a prayer meeting. Suddenly in the middle of the meeting a young man began to slither on the floor like a snake and scream out in pain. We instantly went over to him and began to pray and cast out the demon in Jesus’ name. Witness: Adolfo Alvarez.
- THIRD TRIP TO INDIA: In 2011, as seen in our video, I cast out a demon in Jesus’ name while preaching at an outreach service with Pastor Amit, Adam & Kristina Nieves, and Nancy. It happened at the end of the service when I was doing the altar call. The man began to scream in agony and was brought up to the front for deliverance. Generally, I like to help the person understand why they have been demon possessed so they can confront the demon(s) with me. However, because of the time it was taking with the translator and the pain I could see the man was in, I simply looked in his eyes and commanded the evil spirit to leave in Jesus’ name! Witnesses: Adam & Kristina Nieves and Nancy Wyrostek.
- DEMON IN THE MIRROR & GOD’S GLORY: A few days after I got saved (1995) I dreamt that I saw a demon in my parent’s bathroom mirror, then as I called out to Jesus he went outside and I saw him in the window trying to get back in. The demon looked like a distorted version of my previous sinful self (long hair, vile, angry, etc.). I then called out to Jesus and suddenly saw God’s glory (light) all around me and heard the sound of thunder. Meaning: During my life of drug use I would go to the bathroom at different times and try to sober up. I would look in the mirror and say, “God if you’re real, show me the devil so I will know that what I am doing is evil.” This dream really showed me that I was filled with an evil spirit(s) that was transforming my life into his evil image. Thankfully, Jesus Christ set me free and the demon had to leave!
- THE FALSE PROPHET: Within a few months after being saved (1995) I dreamt that I was in a hotel meeting room talking to people about Jesus, then a man dressed in a white robe, with white hair and a gold medallion around his neck came in and was surrounded by people listening to him. God then told me in the dream that he was a false prophet and that I must confront him. I then woke up. Meaning: This put a great passion in my heart to study other religions and become a Christian apologist. To this day, I am still a confronter of false prophets and teachers.
- A PROFESSOR IS LEAVING: While in my first year of SUM Bible College (1996) I dreamt that my favorite professor was standing before me with his daughter crying and he told me he had to leave. Meaning: The next day I was told that he was fired under bad terms and was not even allowed to say goodbye to the students. That was the last time I saw him. Witness: Anthony Freeman.
- CITYLIGHTS CHURCH LOVE OFFERING: Around 2010 I had a dream where I saw Pastor Eddie from CityLights church say he was in need of two months rent for their church ($4,000) and then in the dream I gave it to him. Meaning: The next day Metro Praise received a check in the mail for around $20,000. I then gave $2,000 to Pastor Eddie because I doubted I should give $4,000 (that would be our biggest gift to another church so I just gave a “tithe” from it). However, I came to find out that he kept praying because they were in need of more monies for their new church to start (though he never told me). God moved on my heart and told me to give them the other $2,000. When I called to tell him he said that he was in a church prayer meeting praying for the financial miracle! Witnesses: Nancy Wyrostek & Eddie Leon.
- NEW MINISTRY SEASON: I had asked Adam Nieves to come back and be the worship pastor of the church. In a dream I saw both him and his wife Kristina affirming his call. However, at first he said that it wasn’t the right time. I thought the dream was off. A few months later God spoke to Adam and he said that he needed to accept God’s call. Then he and his wife sat together on my coach and told me he wanted to be in ministry as a pastor again. Witnesses Nancy, Adam and Kristina.
- STEPPING DOWN FROM THE STAGE: While planting my first church in New Orleans I was doing an outdoor service with SUM’s blue ministry truck (circa 2000). When I went to step down from the truck’s stage God gave me a glimpse of stepping off the stage of a stadium. It was like I was in a virtual reality world. Everything around me changed to the scene of a stadium and then instantly went back to being Mid-City New Orleans.
MESSAGE OF WISDOM
- SUM COHORT MODEL: While on a trip with George Neau, Anthony Freeman, and Joan Millar at the Assembly of God General Council in Orlando in 1998 I mentioned that God had put on my heart for SUM to be attached to a church so that the school could more fruitful. I believe I also mentioned that it would be good for church planters to have the college work with them as well (this idea would be similar to how the Master’s Commissions worked within the local churches). In 2008 SUM started the online cohort model in conjunction with local churches and Metro Praise was one of the first three to join. Witness: Anthony Freeman.
- REAPED A HARVEST: While pastoring in New Orleans (circa 2003) I sowed a $1,000 seed (offering) into Pastor Orlando Hunter’s ministry after he had preach for us in a Sunday service. He then said within 30 days I would receive $10,000 and in that time I received a check for $12,000. Witness: Orlando Hunter.
- ANDREW’S WIFE: When I was meeting with Andrew Scienski for lunch once at Chipotle’s I shared with him that I believe God was going to give him a wife that was a worshipper like Kim Walker. In 2011 he married Lauren (who is a prophetic worshipper). Witness: Andrew Scienski.
- NEW BUSINESS: After a Sunday service at MPI in 2014 I spoke and prayed for Vinny Merced about God wanting him to be ready to start a new business. The next day God brought Joel Alvarado to him to start and create their board game. Witness: Vinny Merced.
MESSAGE OF KNOWLEDGE
- THE POLICE OFFICER WHO SAID HE WAS A JANITOR: One day while going snowboarding (circa 2009) I felt the Lord lead me to witness to the man sitting next to me on the ski lift. As we were talking I asked him what he did for a living. He said he was a janitor. However, the Lord instantly told me he was lying and that he was really a police office. Since I was scared I didn’t say anything. As we began to talk more I shared with him that I was a pastor and I began witnessing to him. He then felt convicted and confessed that he was not a janitor, but in fact a police officer. After the lift to the top we never spoke again, but I truly felt I lost a chance to share God’s power with him as an evidence to the gospel.
- THE PASTOR’S KID: Once while witnessing on Belmont and Clark a guy was mocking me and gave me his wrong name (circe 2009). Then at the end of the talk I asked if I could pray for him. God told me his was lying and his dad was a pastor. After we finished praying I shared what God had told me and he turned white with shock and immediately stopped mocking me. He confessing it was true and the reason his heart was so hard toward God was because of the negative experiences he had growing up as a pastor’s kid.
- MY PUMPKIN: One day at the Metro Praise Irving Park location (circe 2010) I looked at Monique and said, “For some reason I want to call you “my pumpkin.'” She then said that is what her grandma would say to her as a term of endearment. I then shared with her that God wanted her to know that she was His “pumpkin.” Witness: Monique Pitman.
- MAYBE SHE SAW AN ANGEL: While going to do the funeral of Ricky’s mom (2014) he shared she was found dead on the floor next to her bed. Sockingly (to myself), I quickly said back to him, “Maybe she saw an angel and stood up to met him.” Ricky looked back at me seriously and said that his wife Rachel had a vision of an angel coming to get her the night she passed! Witnesses: Ricky and Rachel Rivera.
GIFT OF FAITH
- KEYS TO THE BUILDING: In February 2005 (before we started Metro Praise in Chicago) Nancy and I were holding a Bible study in our house on Addison and Pulaski. We felt led by God to make it official and start a church but we didn’t have anywhere to meet. One day while I was jogging in our neighborhood I saw the Old Irving Park Methodist church building on Grace and Keeler. I sensed God tell me that would be our first meeting place. Later on that day I went to the church to find out who I could speak to about renting the church for Sunday night services. The secretary told me that the pastor was in and could meet with me now. I met with the pastor and shared with her how we didn’t have any money, but we would be willing to split the offerings with her until we could reach $500 a month. She said that the church’s board meeting was that night and she would let me the next day. She called me the next day and said we could start in March (just a couple weeks away) and that I could come by now and pick up the keys. Literally, within 24hrs of God’s word we had the keys to a building without any money! Witness: Nancy Wyrostek.
GIFTS OF HEALING
- HEAT STROKE: Once while I was leading a Teen Mania mission’s team in New Orleans (circe 2002) during the summer I was putting up a tent while fasting and began to pass out and faint. Immediately the young people gathered around me and prayed for me. I instantly began to recover and experience healing.
- VOLLEYBALL COURT HEALING: While in Chicago (circa 2008) a young man’s arm was fractured and badly injured while we were playing volleyball at Montrose Beach. He was healed and felt fire going through his arm as we prayed for him- I didn’t have to touch him. Witnesses: Ismael & Robyn Lopez and Lauren Scienski.
- HEALTHY BABY: Nancy and I prayed for her coworker Marta at Parkway Bank (2008) who had previously suffered two miscarriages and after being pregnant for two months she started bleeding. Nancy then went to work and prayed for her during break and she was healed. Marta had a perfectly healthy baby. Witnesses: Marta and Nancy Wyrostek.
- HEALED STOMACH: During an Elevate youth service (circa 2009) I had a word of knowledge that someone was having deep pain in their side. Elizabeth came forward because she said her stomach had been hurting for days and after we prayed she was healed instantly.
- FIVE BABIES: In 2012 at the Metro Praise Irving Park campus Evangelist Glenn Badonsky and myself prayed for five women to get pregnant (Rachel Rivera, Sue-Ellen Walker, Lauren Scienski, Vanessa Vitale, & Jessica Roman). Previously, three of the women had miscarriages and two couldn’t get pregnant after trying for months. All of them got pregnant and delivered healthy babies within three months of each other! Witnesses: Glenn Badonsky, Rachel Rivera, Sue-Ellen Walker, Lauren Scienski, Vanessa Vitale, and Jessica Roman.
- HEALED EARS: In the summer of 2015 at MPI we had a special healing prayer service on a Sunday morning for all those in need. Daryl and Katherine Esquivel’s daughter Lily was healed from chronic ear infections! Witnesses: Daryl and Katherine Esquivel.
- SPARED FROM A PILE UP: During a break from Bible college in 1997 I was driving on the highway in my car with TJ (fellow student) to hear Rod Parsley preach. Suddenly, I could see that the car in front of me had hit the car in front of it. I had to quickly brake to avoid hitting the car in front of me. As I was coming to a stop I could see in my rearview mirror that the car behind me was coming up to fast to avoid hitting me. I instantly called out to Jesus and began praying in tongues. The car behind me swerved and missed us and hit the car next to us. Other cars also crashed around us but we were not touched. I was able to drive safely to church for the Sunday night service. Witness: Thomas Joseph (TJ).
- GOD IS HOLDING YOU NOW: In 2004 when I was the youth pastor at Belmont Assembly of God I met a young gang banger at the altar and asked if I could pray for him. I then wrapped my arms around him and told him that God was holding him in the same way. He then told me that he had never known his father and that he felt like there was no one in his life to look up. He said the prayer was life changing because he truly felt God in a very real way.
- STREETS ON FIRE: On May 9th 2015 I wrote Steve Ramos a personal prophecy that the Lord had given me. In the word God said, “When you see the streets on fire in Baltimore [and wonder what can be done]. Have I not raised you up to be a voice calling my people back to me. Have I not called you to be a light the burns brighter than the fire of violence. Ask and I’ll give the nations to you for the glory of my name!” Then in July of that same year Steve began leading a gang outreach (with other disciples) every Thursday that has been blessed with great favor from the Lord. In just a few months the team has held a vigil for a family that lost their son to gang violence, seen dozens of ganger members saved, and have even seen gang leaders come to church!
DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN SPIRITS
- STOP IN THE NAME OF JESUS: While I was witnessing in the French Quarter by myself (circa 1998) I began to be chased and assaulted by a “gutter punk” (i.e., “a homeless young person who lived a reckless life of drugs and violence). God then told me that it was really an evil spirit inside of him provoking him to act that way, so I stood my ground and rebuked him in the name of Jesus. He instantly stopped and left me alone. I also experienced another similar time while street preaching with a microphone during Mardi Gras with Brent, a fellow student (circa 1997), and he rebuked a gutter punk who was running towards me to punch me. When he said, “Stop in the name of Jesus!” the young suddenly man stopped and went away.
TONGUES & INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES
- SPEAKING A DIALECT FROM INDIA: On two different occasions I was told by people from India that when I prayed in tongues they could understand my words. The first time was with Glenn Badonsky in 1998 while in the SUM boy’s dorms. In our nightly prayer meeting my prayer language was used to give a doubting Indian brother proof of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (for the full account and testimony, click here). The second time my prayer language was understand by someone from India was with John Timothy while we were driving in the church van in New Orleans (circa 2002). He said that I was basically saying to God, “Give us more fire!” Witnesses: Glenn Badonsky & John Moses Timothy.
- The newest figures estimate that they are roughly 614 million Pentecostals, charismatics, and neo-charismatics as of 2010 in the world.
- It is estimated that there will be nearly 800 million by 2025.
- Pentecostal and charismatic Christians in the broad sense account for around 80% of Evangelical Protestantism’s worldwide growth. They are the second largest Christian group after the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
- In the 10 countries Dr. Craig Keener studied with large groups of Pentecostals and charismatics, the estimated total of people claiming to have “witnessed divine healings” comes out to somewhere around 200 million (around 1/3).
- For more stats on miracles and the Spirit filled church read, “Miracles,” by Dr. Craig Keener.
- Below is a video from a Reinhard Bonke crusade in Nigeria Africa with over a million people!
To live without the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the power it brings is like trying to fly a kite without wind. The wind of the Holy Spirit changes everything, so be filled with His power today and be moved in supernatural ways!