It is very clear when you read the Bible that God desires personal encounters with people.
In the Old Testament, Moses ran into God in the wilderness through a burning bush (Exodus 3:1 – 4:17). The incident changed his life and transformed him from a shepherd to the man who led Israel out of Egypt.
In the New Testament, God encountered people through the filling of the Holy Spirit. It was a dramatic event. When the Holy Spirit fell on the gentiles in Cornelius’s house, the disciples in attendance had no doubt it had happened because of what they saw (Acts 10:44-46).
A meeting with God can also take on other forms. After an angel told Philip to go down a specific road he ran into the Ethiopian Eunuch who was just leaving Jerusalem (Acts 8:25-40).
Puzzled by what he was reading in Isaiah, Philip’s timely arrival led to the man becoming a Christian. The eunuch worked in the treasury department for the Ethiopian Royal family (Acts 8:27). His conversion brought Christianity to that nation.
According to a recent British survey, these God encounters in their various forms are more common than you think.
Mike Pilivachi, who was just releasing a book entitled Everyday Supernatural, had an English-based organization, Christian Research, conduct a survey of British people on their encounters with God.
Pilivachi leads a ministry called Soul Survivor that ministers to young people in England. It holds a number of Christian music festivals geared to youth.
He released details of the survey at a breakfast being put on by an organization called Premier that reported on his message.
The survey discovered that 65% of the people believed they have had a supernatural encounter with God. Additionally, over 50% of those said they had one in the past year and 24% of those reported one in the previous week.
But the survey also showed that 66% of Brits believed the supernatural experience could originate from the demonic realm as well.
The survey also revealed that 5% of the people did not believe in the supernatural and 68% believe that the overemphasis on miracles negatively impacts people’s perception of Christianity.
According to Pilivachi, the people described their encounters in various ways, but for most it was expressed through a miracle or answered prayers.
Commenting on the 66% who believed Christianity’s emphasis on miracles could be negative, Pilivachi wondered if it was due to some Christian ministers who tend to over-exaggerate the miraculous.
Pilivachi then shared his own personal experience of such a God encounter. He was at an airport when he noticed a man waiting to be picked up. God spoke to Pilivachi telling him the man needed encouragement.
He approached the man asking if he could pray for him stating, “we’re Christians and we think maybe that Jesus has said to us you need some encouragement right now, we could pray for you, would that be okay.”
The man was a pastor from Kenya who had just arrived in England to lead a new church. He was waiting for the elders of his church to pick him up and was wondering what he was doing in a new country. As he was waiting, he asked God for confirmation that he was doing the right thing.
There was also an interesting story in the comments section on the Premier article. Jackie Staniforth said that she had left the church during the 80s, but had recently returned. She decided one Sunday that she was going to talk to the curate after the service.
During the service the curate, who is not Charismatic and neither is Jackie, said he felt that someone wanted to talk to him after the service and that they should meet in the adjoining chapel after the service.
God is encountering people today and I believe with the dramatic changes underway in the world, the Holy Spirit is willing to do this more, if we are willing to listen.