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My Most Powerful Experience of Spiritual Gifts

It’s time to go plant

Years ago Jan and I were in southern California where I was on staff at a church.

I had always felt that someday God would call me to go plant a church.  But whenever I had prayed about this — my conclusion was that it was not yet the right time.

That changed one afternoon as I was sitting at a church-planting conference.  Out of nowhere I sensed the Holy Spirit impressing upon me — It’s time to go and plant a church.

My ideas

So I drove back to my church office, sat down at my desk, and wrote out my plan.

I thought I would plant in my home-town of Pasadena (maybe 50 miles away).  So I jotted that down — and other thoughts that came to mind.

And I prayed for God’s guidance.

God had a different plan

I think it was that very night that I had a dream — in which a pastor I respected told me that I was supposed to plant a church — but not in Pasadena.

I woke up stunned.  I knew that God could guide us through dreams.  But I had never had a dream that specific.

So my wife and I prayed that if we were not to go to Pasadena — that God would show us where to go.

A few nights later I had another dream — of a highway sign that said “San Jose — 5 miles.”


More confirmation

There was more — much more —

  • Many times God confirmed this call as we prayed.
  • We received more dreams — where to live in San Jose, how I was to be bi-vocational, that our church would start with high schoolers.
  • We shared it with a few close friends — who agreed that this was from God.

Is this all my own ideas?

But one evening we had a couple over for dinner.  They loved Jesus.  They were kind.

But as I shared our plans — I could tell they were skeptical about whether God speaks through dreams.

And their skepticism made me wonder — “is this all just my own idea?”

There I was in Newport Beach, at a great church, in a wonderful job, with my wife and two children.

And I was thinking of moving 6 hours away to San Jose, finding a job, starting a church from scratch.

So I went to sleep pleading with God —

Show me, Father.  Is this church-planting plan from You?  Give me another dream — guide me — tell me if these plans are from You.

Teaching Old Testament

The next day I was teaching a class on the Old Testament at a nearby church.

During a break in the class, one of the students walked up and asked if he could talk with me privately.

I agreed, and we walked out into the hall.

He said he’d had a strange experience that morning.

As he and his wife were driving to the class, they felt God’s presence strongly upon them.

And as they asked God what this meant — they felt that God was giving them a message for me.

God had said to him — “Tell Steve Fuller — It’s all been from Me.”

So he shared that with me — and asked if it meant anything to me.

Did it ever.


I was shocked.  I barely knew this man.  He had no idea we were in the midst of a huge decision.

It was clear to me that God had mercifully — powerfully– answered my prayer.

He had confirmed that these plans were from Him — and not just my own ideas.

This deeply impacted me —

  • I saw God’s personal love for me — in answering my prayer so powerfully and specifically.
  • I saw how important it is to be in community with other believers.
  • I saw how crucial it is to “earnestly desire spiritual gifts” (1Cor 14:1).

How about you?

How have you experienced God’s guidance?  Spiritual gifts?  I’d love to hear — leave a comment below.

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(Picture is by Al Pavangkanan on everystockphoto.)

Category: Stories from My Life, The Work of the Spirit


11 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Awesome! Very encouraging and powerful!!

  2. Natasha Kay says:

    Wow am I glad that it all worked out for you to be here in SJ!! 🙂

    I have experienced this quite a few times in recent years and I notice that it happens most often when I’m in close communion with Him. The more time I spend with God, the more He uses me to speak truth into other people’s lives. I don’t know if it’s a gift of wisdom, prophecy, or what you would call it (??), but God has a knack for giving me a VERY clear picture of complete strangers and then having it be the very thing they needed to hear. Sometimes it’s straight-up encouragement, sometimes it’s challenging words. But it always results in amazing things — a saved marriage (or two!), an encouraged spirit that was on the edge of defeat (awesome!).

    It’s also happened to me. The stories are too long to type here but God has used some pretty interesting tools/people to speak to me and I love His creativity! He is so good to us!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Sounds like the Father has gifted you in some powerful ways, Natasha — and that you’ve been faithful to obey His leading.

      And I’m encouraged to hear that you’ve been on the receiving end as well — isn’t the Father good to us!

      Truly He is worth it all!

  3. amanda Gomez says:

    I’m actulally in AL. I’m looking for a church for a friend of mine who lives in San Jose area and is a Christian but really needs a supportive Contemporary sevice for her and her family. She could bennifit from someone who also shares the spiritual gifts of prophecy, discernment. She is having a hard time understanding that these gifts are from God and how to use them to serve him and she feels like an outcast. Her name is Jennifer. Please pray for her.

  4. Lorraine Kashdan says:

    Hello again Steve,

    I had to read this one because we’ve also had quite a lot of strong experiences from God all about the same thing, however the timing or the details aren’t often present and I have tried to second guess too many times. The main thing we get told to do is sell everything and go preaching. This sounds fairly reasonable because at the time we got this message myself and my two children were already street preaching under the direct beck and call of the LOrd.

    We had a period where we were sharing our experiences from the street with the congregation and this met with a very bad response because some people seemed angry that we were doing this. We’ve also been told many times that our hearing from God about selling everything and going preaching isn’t right, the main reasons are:

    Think of the kids
    You’re a single mum
    Why would God use someone like you? (I’m disabled)

    I went through a really hard period where I thought I was just imagining everything and i found it so hard to listen to God anymore. Anyway, recently a series of events happened where I was woken in the night and reminded of the original callings and when they happened and how these current events were feeding into those words, visions, dreams etc.

    So, the good part is that some practical aspects of this trip are starting to come together and I can see more clearly where I’ve heard God’s voice. I also made some huge errors of judgement when I first heard this…for example I may have not always waited on God for the next step so we made some real bloobers and this made people around us doubt even more that we had heard from God at all. It made me doubt too. We also had a ‘false’ prophecy telling us to do the exact opposite and for me to go further into my work as a performer (I distinctly did not think this was from God but I liked the sound of it a lot). I also got too influenced by people who had forsaken ‘all’ and had an extreme lifestyle…but God was to hold me back from extremes by ‘messing’ up any attempt to go to far.

    I can’t share all the details of the whole thing as it would take up too much space, but I’m starting to feel excited. Just a few days ago I was able to get out on the street again (something we’ve not been able to do for a while) and God opened my heart to speak to several people about Jesus and it felt just like it did before I started doubting, and I just knew this was where I wanted to be again.

    I found this article good because last night I heard a knock at the door twice, there was no-one there at the early hours of the morning so I asked Jesus if he was knocking on the door of my cold heart and I opened the bible to let him in. Jesus showed me to a scripture that I needed to hear (a question I have asked a lot about lately) and I knew he was still talking to me.

    The only thought I have on this whole thread is that, yes Jesus will always get through if we pray hard enough and he will keep confirming the word (in our case the same word over a period of years) even if we doubt, however, it is very hard to work through discouragement like I did and even anger from other people (or the devil) and in our case we me false prophets along the way and it was incredibly confusing to us. Jesus prophesied these things would happen but I wonder if an article about that would be in favour? When we first started street preaching we were new to the faith and God had told us directly to approach people but when we told some members of the congregation how we had been out on the streets praying for people and even bringing people along (the 70 came back with joy after their first trip) some said we where boastful and a member of the leadership even ignored us for over a year -we found this so hard…that’s when doubt started coming in.

    Praise the Lord that through your articles we have often been restored on difficult points we have struggled to understand and mostly that routine thing of repenting of any bad attitude and asking him into our lives more for it definately opened the way in our case to block out the devils lies and start asking God for the joy to want to share his word again.

    Please also pray for us that this opening continues to stay wide and allow the Lord in more fully. I think I shall ask of the Lord to reveal more fully in dreams as the ego finds it harder to inteferre with the mind in a dream state – I think that is why God often appears to us in a dream or semi-dreamlike state.

    Sorry this reply is so long!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Lorraine,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I love your faith and boldness and to hear all that God is doing in healing your heart and strengthening your faith. So encouraging!

      And I love hearing how you are going out on the streets telling people about Jesus Christ and praying for them. That is powerful and much-needed.

      It sounds like your connection with your church is not very strong. The reason I mention that is because I think there’s great wisdom in having a church body praying for you and encouraging you and counseling you whenever you seek to be led by God in making major decisions. They don’t make the decision for you — it’s not a controlling thing — but they can help pray with and for you. And they can confirm your sense of God’s leading, and whatever spiritual gifts you believe you have. It’s like Paul and Barnabas experienced being sent out from the church at Antioch in Acts 13:1ff.

      Would that sort of prayer and encouragement be possible in your church? I would strongly encourage that.

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean when you say that God is calling you to sell everything. But it is important that you have some way to provide for your children (1 Tim 5:8).

      My wife and I will be praying for you — for continued wisdom and clarity and also for strong support and encouragement from your church.

      In Christ,


  5. Orion Kubow says:

    I liked reading this post, Steve. – For what it’s worth your obedience to God has helped to encourage and strengthen one young man’s appreciation of, and reverence for God’s word.

  6. LILIAN says:

    am so moved, it do hapn 2 me but prayin for the manifestation

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