Book Review: Experiencing the Spirit

Just in time for Pentecost…

I finished Experiencing the Spirit: The Power of Pentecost Every Day by Henry and Melvin Blackaby a couple weeks ago. As promised, I am completiexpspirit_blackabyng my review of this book. When I last left off with my partial review, I was in hopes that the rest of the book would be as good as part one. In short, it was…and so much more.

I used small 1″ X 2″ post-it notes to mark the pages that I wanted to highlight for further study and use as quotes for my review; I must have something like 40-50 pages marked. This is good for me and my studies, but not so good for my review. Rather than quote most of the book, I’ll provide a run-down of the structure and a brief summary of my takeaway.

Part one essentially sets up the foundation of the book for experiencing the Spirit. The first step toward this experience is knowledge and introduction. The Blackaby’s introduce the reader to the person of the Holy Spirit (informationally that is) in this brief first two chapters. Moving on to part two (chapters three and four), the Blackaby’s explain the gift and purpose of the Holy Spirit working in the life of Jesus during his earthly ministry. Although the first four chapters only comprise approximately one third of this book, the teaching is very, very rich with almost half of my “page markers” in this section.

The remainder of Experiencing the Spirit is devoted to the work and power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. This is an incredibly challenging and convicting eight chapters. Henry and Melvin Blackaby pull no punches in their teaching. I found myself being stepped on and bruised repeatedly by their words…and I know it was with just cause; their words were (are) true and I needed to hear them. I think others need to hear these words as well.

My takeaway from this book, if there must be only one, is that I am prone to take the work and gift of God the Holy Spirit for granted. I don’t like admitting that, but a quick backward glance at my life proves this to be true. We’re talking about God living in me…this is the same power that enabled Jesus and empowered him for the works he did while walking the earth in a human body. This is the same Spirit that gave him understanding and awareness (oneness) with the heart of God the Father. This is the same Spirit that raised him from the dead…and IT (He) lives in me. What prevents me from living like Jesus? Me. As I said, the Blackaby’s bring forth some hard questions and make some statements that have some very damning inferences…like this one:

“But you cannot be filled with the Spirit and ever have an excuse for disobedience.”

So what if we disobey? Do we have the Spirit? I’ll let you answer that one… How about another statement with convicting implications; try this one on for size:

“The divine nature cannot be hidden. It must-and it will-express itself.”

What if the world, our neighbors, only see a facsimile of Christianity in our lives…what if our neighbors only hear our meaningless words? What if our neighbors never see the incarnate Christ in our lives? Do we have the divine nature?

I recommend this book for individuals and for groups. There is a study guide and a scripture reference appendix included in the book. I’m sure I will be using it in my own devotions, studies, teaching, and my sermon material…probably for years to come. Have your ordered it yet?

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