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Surprised By The Spirit-My Story

Author: Charles Whitehead

Picture: Goodnews Books

Surprised By The Spirit-My Story

After seeing the marvels of the Spirit in his own life and around the world, Charles Whitehead has shared his amazing story in new book "Surprised By The Spirit." Here he explains how it came to be written-and how it can be a blessing during these uncertain days of lockdown.

I have written this book as my personal story because so many people have asked me to record the amazing things I have experienced in my life, particularly since I was baptised in the Holy Spirit in 1976.

When I began to look back over the years since my birth in 1942, it was fascinating to see how the Holy Spirit had been at work from the very beginning, and to reflect on the parts played by a remarkable variety of people - Catholics and Protestants, family and friends, clergy and religious, Popes and Pastors, the famous and the unknown.

God's plan was certainly full of the surprises of the Holy Spirit, totally beyond anything we might have expected.

My hope is that readers of the book will find the encouragement they need to keep going in their Christian lives when the next steps are anything but clear to them.

The Spirit Works In Unexpected And New Ways

As I say in the introduction to the book, the very nature of our spiritual life is that the Holy Spirit will act in unexpected and new ways when the time is right. Our part is to be always attentive to His leading, however surprising it may be, and to move ahead as He prompts us.

My education at Stonyhurst College with the Jesuits in the 1950s left me with a good intellectual understanding of my Catholic faith, but no living experience of the Lord working in me.

This had to wait until after I had met Sue at Durham University, and after we had married in 1966, had our first two children, and reluctantly become part of an ecumenical Christian discussion group-even though Sue, an ex-Anglican, had become an atheist.

As a result of the powerful Christian witness of some of the group members, we were both wonderfully baptised in the Spirit in 1976. This, of course, was a major turning point for us, and most of the book is about everything that has happened from then on.

Baptism in the Spirit Is Just The Beginning

Today we find ourselves in extraordinary times, and many people are asking where God is in all this confusion and tragedy. As I reflect on this, I'm very aware that we are having to find new ways to be Church, and we know that God uses everything for our growth.

I am aware that the Spirit is inspiring creative approaches in us to make spiritual use of all the amazing new technology that surrounds us. Friends of ours were recently in India, and were thrilled to be part of our online nine o'clock parish family Mass, the one they normally attend.

When this lockdown is all over, things will never be quite the same again, and I'm sure the Holy Spirit will use what we have lived through to show us how to be an even more renewed and outward-looking Church. 

What I hope will really encourage every reader is the clear evidence that God can take an ordinary person and fill them with life and power through Christ and the person of the Holy Spirit, with the result that amazing things happen, God is glorified, and His Kingdom is extended.

Happy reading!

  • "Surprised by the Spirit" is published by New Life Publishing, Luton, and available from Good News Books. E-mail orders to: orders@goodnewsbooks.co.uk

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