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Experiencing the Holy Spirit

We can expect to experience the power of God if we start taking risks.


My name is Francis, and I was a pastor in Southern California for about sixteen years at a church that I planted. About a year ago, I moved to the Bay Area. I left because there were a lot of good churches and pastors in our city. Even in my specific church, there were a lot of great elders. I decided there were plenty of pastors and churches there, and I wanted to be in a place that would scare me. I wanted to move to a place where there weren't a lot of believers, a place not really known for Christianity.

So I moved to San Francisco. I didn't want to go somewhere in the Bible belt where people would just show up to my service. I wanted to go where it would take a miracle to save people. Of course it's going to take an act of the Holy Spirit to open anyone's eyes. Otherwise the gospel's just going to be foolishness. But I wanted to be in a place where I couldn't fake it.

You can almost fake the fruit. Sometimes people look nice and clean; their sins aren't too apparent to the rest of the world. They can show up to church and go through the motions. But I said, "God, I want to be in a difficult place to minister—a place where it's obvious that only your Spirit could have changed someone." I believe the Lord led me to San Francisco, and I believe that God's moving in that area.

I've been working in the Tenderloin area in San Francisco, because Scripture shows that God would choose those who have been discarded by the world. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1 that God chooses those who aren't rich, who aren't beautiful, who aren't powerful, and who aren't strong so that he can shame those who are rich, beautiful, and strong. In that way, no one can boast before God.

God chooses us. We were a wreck. We were a mess. ...

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Francis Chan is former pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God.

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Don't just sit in church.

Do something that scares you.

Share the gospel with people around you.