Chad Norris was a preacher. He went to seminary at Beeson Divinity school and studied under Calvin Miller and Robert Smith, jr. He was passionate about following God and living for him. But he struggled with depression and panic-attacks. He hungered for a ‘New Testament’ experience of God. A fresh reading of the gospels (especially John) and an attentive heart to where he felt God was leading, led Norris to a greater openness to the Spirit. Signs, Wonders and a Baptist Preacher is his story.
Written with grace and good humor, Norris describes his journey into supernatural ministry. As pastor of Spiritual Formation at City Church in Simpsonville, SC, Norris has led mission trips and healing services. His story tells of his own experience of healing and deliverance and his attempts to follow where the voice of God led him. He is a bit of a goofball but this is a fairly even-handed account.
What I liked about Norris’s story is that he doesn’t argue that being open to the Holy Spirit means you have to be as weird as you possibly can. His description of his healing services is of a quiet grace filled moment where he and others pray for people. He acknowledges that some people still have to take medication and don’t get healed, and looks for the grace of God in the lives of those who suffer (he calls them the real ‘heroes’). Ultimately though, Norris’s point is not just for people to experience the supernatural gifts. He wants people to know intimacy with God. This is his emphasis throughout.
I also appreciated that Norris is comfortable talking about pain and hard experiences. He doesn’t paint the Spirit filled life with Pollyanna brush strokes and he’s had his share of painful experiences. He does commend Spiritual experiences because God is a supernatural God. What he presents here is not a formula.
Norris tells us that it was his reading of scripture which led him to a richer experience of the Spirit; yet this book doesn’t present a fresh reading of the Bible. It is more of a memoir of one man’s spiritual meanderings and the events that have shaped his life and ministry. Taken for what it is, I really enjoyed the book and I think Norris hopes that people will hear his story and be inspired to re-read the gospels for themselves and hear the voice of God calling them into a deeper experience of Him. The book closes with a prayer that you can pray but there is no ‘how to’ in the text. If you are to experience
I liked this book because I like Norris’s storytelling and his story. He is funny and the book is a quick read. I give it 3.5 stars.
Thank you to Chosen books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for this review.