A supernatural encounter

th-60A note from one of our supporters got me going on something yesterday. He wanted to know if I knew anything about the spiritual nature of some of the songs by the rock group Kansas, famous for their 1977 hit, “Dust in the Wind.” I knew that Kerry Livgren, the author of that song, had become an outspoken Christian some years ago, and went on a brief Internet search during which I discovered the following from one of his biographies:

While in the band, Livgren said he sampled all of the religions of the world. At 3 a.m. July 25, 1979, Livgren found what he had been looking for all along. “I realized Jesus Christ is the Lord and there is no other,” Livgren said. “There is only room for one at the top.”

Livgren on July 25, 1979, was in Indianapolis, while on tour with Kansas. He was in bed reading a book by Christian author Hal Lindsey. “I was so desperate to find God,” he said. “It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I went to my knees to pray, and when I got up, I was a changed man. My life definitely took a different turn.”

325 years earlier …

French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote about a similar experience with the living God. While going over Pascal’s personal things following his death, a servant found an unusual note, written on parchment, and sewn into the lining of his favorite coat. It began, “The year of grace 1654. Monday, 23 November. From about half-past ten in the evening until about half-past midnight…”

The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.
Not of the philosophers and intellectuals.
Certitude, certitude, feeling, joy, peace.
The God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your God will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything except God.
One finds oneself only by way of the directions taught
    in the gospel.
The grandeur of the human soul.
Oh just Father, the world has not known you,
    but I have known you.
Joy, joy… joy, tears of joy.

First you notice how both men noted the year, day, and hour of their th-59experience. Second, you notice it was an experience — a highly emotional encounter with the living God in Jesus Christ, that neither could deny nor explain away. Third, you notice that for both, it was a life-changing event.

I believe, no matter how intellectual (and Pascal was one of the greatest intellectuals of all time), every Christian can point to some kind of real emotional experience with the living God. I’m sure you can. You may not remember the day or the hour, or even the year, but you remember it nonetheless. Write about it, if you like, and send it to us. It’s a great confirmation of why you believe, and something to go back to often. Some of you, like Pascal, may choose to keep this to yourself because of its intensely personal nature. That’s fine, too; just be sure to sew it into the lining of your heart where no one can take it away.

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12 Responses to A supernatural encounter

  1. bobenearSeattle says:

    January 6, 1979.

  2. Martha Nelson says:

    This hit a wonderful nerve in the heart of my soul! When a sincere search is made for what is true and genuine, instead of regurgitating quasi-facts from the lemming-like intellectual talking-heads, Jesus Christ will always win! No, not all searchers will finally come to a Saving knowledge of Christ – some people have the “don’t confuse me with the facts-my mind is made up” mentality. However, if a thinking person is willing to take the search at face value, with an open mind, and carry it to the full, logical conclusion, Jesus is the only reasonable answer! Even though He is “unfathomable”, He still is willing and eager to be known! So many people who discount the Bible and Jesus Christ think only uneducated, simpleminded people follow this belief. I love hearing stories of people like Pascal who used their God -given intelligence to investigate Jesus and then speak to their contemporaries about their find! Even if only from notes found postmortem! Our God is the God of the simple little child and the astoundingly intelligent scholar! What a mighty God we serve!

    Sent from my iPhone


    • jwfisch says:

      The note sewn into Pascal’s coat was the icing on the cake. Pascal wrote volumes of prose, all of which was an apologetic for the faith. The note — only found after his death — gave impetus and legitimacy to all his intellectual arguments. It stands out in its childlike simplicity. After all his brilliant arguments for the faith, this was the real experience with God that was behind them all.

  3. Peter Leenheer says:

    As a young man our church had catechism as the prelude to confession of faith, which was publicly declared in a church service. When in highschool and ‘finished’ the catechism classes one graduates to faith. It appeared to me like something to do because it was time rather than something that was heartfelt. So I told my parents not until I feel God in my heart will I do confession of faith. While attending a Christian college, I attended a speech by some prominent Christian. While listening to him, all of the things I had learned about God in my life felt true. It was as if all thoughts began and ended in Jesus Christ. I told no one. However in my history classes I turned into a person who tried to see history from a Christ filled point of view ie. why did government do nothing about the poor, British imperialism was not intentionally beneficial to their colonies, Stalin killed more people for fear of losing power than Hitler killed in the Holocaust. There should be no one hungry in this world, why does slavery still exist and why are/is so few people doing something about that.

    From a ‘sit-in-the back-unnoticeable-student’, I became vocal, questioned people’s lack of passion for social justice, and urged my class mates to do the same. It was apparent to me that we as Christ followers must impact the world, instead of just pointing to the evil in the world we should do something about it. I was a student on fire. Obnoxious according to some.
    That summer I did confession of faith in my church and my heart was totally filled with Jesus Christ!!!
    Fifty years later….I am taking a correspondence course that teaches me to experience Christ in me. Wow what a ride!!

  4. TimC says:

    I keep praying for Kerry Livgren. He had a nasty stroke a few years ago. It’s a miracle that he’s alive and still working on regaining skills that were damaged. But still strong in faith.

    For me it was April something 1958.

  5. Sandy Campbell says:

    I got saved when I was 10. I think it was in September but don’t really remember. About 15 years later I was in bed , thinking and praying and all of a sudden I sat up in bed, fearful! I felt like I needed to tell God that I wanted to go to Heaven when the time came and needed to make sure I was right with him. I had been in church all those years but just needed to make sure Heaven was my Home. I don’t think I doubted my salvation but just needed that assurance all was well.
    Since that time a lot has happened but I still have that assurance!!
    God bless!!

  6. DarinS says:

    I don’t often share this story because it seems small and somewhat trivial compared to more glamorous conversion stories. But God met me where I was that day and I haven’t forgot it. I was in 5th grade when weeks earlier, I had been baptized. This was of course proceeded by a public profession of faith which was all part of a 6 week Bible class. Not that I didn’t believe in Jesus, it was just part of the ritual in our church. Therefore, I went through the motions like the rest of my classmates of becoming a full blown, genuine, card carrying, Baptist Church Member/Christian. And I really didn’t feel any different after my bath. But I did learn that prayer could be as simple as asking God for help. Even for small things. I found myself one night trying to conjure up the courage to ask the elementary secretary for my old job back in the school lunch room. Hard to believe I know, but we got to eat our pay. Our school lunches in those days were pretty tasty. I had given the job up months earlier to play football during noon recess, a grade school tradition . Now I wanted it back. Cold winter on the High Plains, I guess. So before bed one night, I prayed for courage and the opportunity to voice my request. I told no one about my plans or my desire to get my job back. So the next morning, during role call, I was absolutely floored when I was picked for lunch room duty. How did this happen? Only God knew my prayer. I don’t know if I was more excited to get my job back or that something supernatural had just happened. But I can tell you today without a doubt, that was the moment God got my attention. Simple for sure, but very real then and now.

  7. Tim says:

    For me it was July of 2001 i was in my bedroom one evening and was compelled to dig in my closet for my Bible as i began to read the Gospel of John i came under conviction that i needed help. i fell to my knees by my bed and prayed simply “LORD I need your help i immediately felt a weight lifted from me. I went and told my mother who was in the other room and she noticed the change and asked what happened after telling her she proclaimed 2 down 1 to go.i later discovered she an my brothers sunday school class had been praying for me.so my testimony is not only how God changed me

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