For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been rereading the Gospels to be followed by the book of Acts. I wanted to see once again what the first believers did with their faith in the marketplace of life. I have noticed something. The majority of the Western Church has either moved away from or in some cases, nervously shied away from raw expressions of the miraculous. We have become a groomed and sanitary witness in a world that needs a beautifully sloppy and unsophisticated move of God.
Back in the early 1980s, John Wimber of the Vineyard movement was invited by Dr. Peter Wagner to teach a class on the supernatural ministry of Jesus to seminary students at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. Such an expression of faith made some of the professors uncomfortable. These were faithful leaders who had very developed intellects surrounded by a fear of what could not be dissected, evaluated, and presented by class notes. After a short run, the class was canceled.
Wimber’s experience at Fuller is a teaching tool. I am in a process of a personal evaluation I would invite anyone reading these words to consider. I am asking myself, “What am I investing in of Kingdom significance that can be accomplished by my strength and intellect without a supernatural intervention from God?” While many of our self-accomplished spiritual goals are good and right, they do not possess the kind of power and potential offered by a supernatural intervention from God. Those interventions bring to the table things we cannot accomplish in our limited strength and ability – interventions that require a miracle or sign from Heaven.
In the United States, we are living in a place of stalemate and entrenchment in what each side of an argument consider to be right and true. These stalemates and entrenchments can only be broken by the power of God that offers evidence of the intangible not included in our position papers or our well-groomed Sunday morning church services.
Today, if we begin to pray differently, we will see different results. If there is a political figure or party that we oppose, have we prayed for a revival in their midst to be ignited by a miracle of healing? Have we prayed for church leaders with immense ministry platforms who are living isolated in their fame to experience a miracle of personal healing and restoration in their sexuality long before they self-destruct due to exposure? Have we prayed for those we define as our enemies to encounter Jesus, and like what happened to Paul after his Damascus Road experience, to invite these previous enemies of the Cross into our midst to become some of our greatest teachers?
Only a supernatural manifestation of God’s power carries the hope of redemption and resurrection for individual lives and for the wider culture. All the rest of our spiritual disciplines have some value, but they do not produce the kind of evidence that will cause people to see the God of Heaven is real and active in the affairs of our lives.