When the Holy Spirit came in power

by Dan Pearson

In the fall of 1985, I was a student at North Park College in Chicago. I was involved in a campus ministry called College Life. Our pastor, Deb Gustafson had invited Steve Nicholson, a pastor from the Evanston Vineyard, to speak at our Sunday evening worship service. I had heard stories of amazing healings that had taken place through that ministry so I was excited to see what would happen.

When Steve got up to speak, there was no emotionalism or hype. He simply stated that we would invite the Holy Spirit to come. We welcomed the Spirit and soon Steve had a couple words of knowledge. He said there was someone with a sore knee and another person with back pain. Two friends of mine with those problems went up for prayer. I thought, “How could he have known?” As my friends received prayer up front, something strange began to happen. Some people in the room started to be touched by God. Some began to shake while others began to laugh, still others were crying. Steve explained that these were manifestations of the Holy Spirit. A guy I didn’t know in front of me was shaking. Steve encouraged us to pray for those who were being touched. As I prayed all of a sudden I felt power come on me like I had never experienced before. I thought, “this is too much!” The moment I thought that, the feeling lifted.

I went to the side of the room to observe all that was going on. A friend of mine, Jeff Palmberg, came over to me and asked what I thought. I said that I didn’t know. So we began to pray. I didn’t want to be closed off to whatever God may have for me. I invited the Lord to come, and He did! I felt intense joy and peace. My hands and lips were tingling. Not long after that, I knew deep in my heart that God was calling me into ministry.

When I was in high school I had abused drugs and alcohol and I opened myself up to things that were not good. At the end of twelfth grade I rededicated my life to Christ. During college and even after my experience with the Holy Spirit, I struggled with extreme feelings of anxiety and panic. I would have irrational thoughts. I also had a distorted view of my identity. One Sunday morning I was feeling especially depressed. I decided to go to a little Vineyard Church in Humboldt Park. I went up for prayer and the Holy Spirit came on me in power. Even as I was driving back to North Park, I was weeping. But when I got back to campus I felt like a great weight had been lifted. I did not realize what was happening to me at the time but now I know I was delivered. I felt God’s healing power. I will always thank God and give Him the glory for His grace and goodness to me.