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2002 Conversations

Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

The work of the Holy Spirit

(May 27, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, spoke with Hal Donaldson, editor in chief of the Pentecostal Evangel, about the Holy Spirit and His work in believers and in churches.

Evangel: When and where did you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

Trask: I received my Baptism at youth camp when I was about 13 years old. I was struggling with stability in my Christian walk. The Holy Spirit gave me the needed power and strength. Acts 1:8 says, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses" (NIV). That verse says that the infilling of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to live out the Christian life. Having been raised in a Pentecostal home, I knew the Holy Spirit was the answer for the strength I needed, and I was not disappointed.

Evangel: How has the Baptism helped you?

Trask: Some in Pentecostal circles emphasize tongues. Tongues is the accompanying sign that one has received the infilling of the Holy Spirit. But the enduement of power for the believer is absolutely critical. The Scripture says, "Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Galatians 5:16).

The No. 1 way He helps is that He empowers us to live above the lusts of the flesh.

No. 2 is the power He gives to live out the Christian life.

No. 3 is the ability He gives to pray in the Spirit. Paul says, "The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (Romans 8:26). A prayer language is available to Spirit-filled believers and is intended to be ongoing.

We can be led of the Spirit as a result of the infilling of the Spirit.

Evangel: Some people question whether the Baptism is for everyone.

Trask: The Scriptures show that it is. Act 2:6 shows the infilling of the Holy Spirit came upon those from different nations. Throughout the Book of Acts, it happened on other occasions.

Through the years men and women, boys and girls, of many denominations have been hungry for God and the Spirit has filled them. He will not fill anyone against his or her will. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6).

Evangel: Some in Assemblies of God churches want to receive the Spirit’s enduement of power, but haven’t. What advice would you give them?

Trask: Continue to seek. The Holy Spirit is a gift; you can’t earn it. And I have observed that usually a person is filled with the Spirit as he/she praises and yields.

James says, "The tongue is a small part … but it makes great boasts" (James 3:5). Probably the last part of our anatomy that we yield is our tongue. He will speak through the tongue – the instrument by which God will indicate to us that we have been Spirit-filled. We begin "to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enables" (Acts 2:4).

Evangel: There are those who desire to see the Holy Spirit move in a powerful way in their churches. What counsel would you give?

Trask: The Spirit will never infringe; He will never intrude; He comes when He is invited. The soil of one’s heart and the soil of the church — a collective body — have to be prepared for the work of the Spirit. That results from intercessory prayer, waiting upon God. Any church that wants to see the work of the Spirit with signs following has to be bathed in prayer. Prayer creates that atmosphere and prepares the hearts of God’s people for that to happen.

I’ve never found a praying church that does not have a powerful sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the services. You cannot separate that. Jesus said to the early Christians, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised" (Acts 1:4). Let the Spirit prepare the heart and the soil. There are no shortcuts.

Some want the benefits and the work of the Spirit, but they do not want to pay the price.

Evangel: What would you like to see occur in every Assemblies of God church on Pentecost Sunday?

Trask: From time to time a Pentecostal church needs to emphasize the person and work of the Holy Spirit, because new people need to receive instruction. Opportunities need to be given to pray with them to receive the Holy Spirit. I would pray that happens across this Fellowship so literally scores will be baptized in the Holy Spirit and those who have been baptized will receive a fresh infilling. Out of that will come a powerful church, because it is "not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord" (Zechariah 4:6).

Our dependence upon the Spirit is absolutely essential.

Evangel: What in the church world today shows the Holy Spirit is at work?

Trask: The prophet Joel says, "Afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people" (Joel 2:28). Peter restated it in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17). We are living in the last days. One of the signs is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I’ve been in countries in the last several months where the miraculous is happening — signs and wonders.

Another sign is the prayer movement across denominational lines. Pastors and congregations that have been separated because of doctrinal differences are now coming together. Diversity can have unity; it’s OK.

Also, people joining to pray for revival in their communities is evidence that the Spirit of God is at work.

Evangel: Anything else?

Trask: God raised up the Assemblies of God to be a Spirit-filled body to accomplish the mission of reaching the world. The purpose for the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the outpouring on the Day of Pentecost was to infuse the Church with such power that it would take this gospel around the world. Having begun in the Spirit, we cannot now revert to the flesh simply because we have learned some things. The moment we take over, the Spirit takes His hands off.

God brings to my heart again and again: We must be a Spirit-driven and Spirit-empowered church.

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