So I read Mel’s post (the reblogged post) and this was soon followed by a few Facebook posts by Kris Vallotton (also below) about “normal Christianity” to include the miraculous. This is hotly debated topic in our house that gets discussed frequently.
The truth is, we don’t live in the miraculous like I hear some talking about. This is not our experience. I guess I’m aware of people who see miracles and God answering prayers like crazy (one of whom is Francis Chan who wrote “Crazy Love” – others include Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church).
So why don’t I experience what they do? Why don’t I feel like I have much clout with God? He doesn’t answer my prayers for healing… or does he?
Last Fall I was dreading the allergy season. I basically have a really bad stuffy head sinus cold for a month and a half. I felt the symptoms coming on and prayed real hard and the symptoms went away. I was fine. But, as I told someone just the other day, that the ragweed or “whatever” must not have been bad last year. I said it could be the prayers but I don’t know.
So why is this where my spirituality is at? Because I don’t experience what Kris Vallotton or Mel Wild talks about… but I want to. I think.
The Bible tells us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts. Just like learning to play guitar, you have to want it… and then you gotta practice.
So instead of actually applying myself to this end, I apply myself to finishing the Breaking Bad episodes on Netflix (or any dynamic equivalent of what amounts to a detrimental use of my most precious commodity – my time!)
Here is a story of my one bonafide without-a-doubt experience of being used by God to heal someone:
My mom had just come home from oral surgery. It was a particularly painful operation and the dentist had told my mom that patients have left him for good because of the pain of this operation. She came home expressed her concern and asked me to pray for her. In that moment I felt the powerful presence of God. His compassion. His decision to heal. His “unction” (kind of an old word but it came to mind). So I prayed, or rather cooperated with his prayer flowing through me.
My mom experienced no pain much to the astonishment of the dentist. He questioned me about it next time I was in to see him myself it became obviously apparent to him that it wasn’t because I was anything special. As I have said a hundred times in this blog. I never felt like I was a very good Christian… But, as Rick Warren states in the first chapter of his book, “Purpose Driven Life”: It’s Not About You!
So, based on Scripture and the encouragement of these dear brothers I am encouraged that I “can” pursue spiritual gifts and experiences of God and begin to experience them. Anybody else want to join me?
Now for those Kris Valloton quotes:
If someone teaches that there are no longer gifts of the Spirit…prophecy, healing, deliverance are not for today…all spiritual experiences and/or supernatural encounters have passed; Are not these people false teachers? Is it not just as dangerous to remove the power of God from the people of God, as it is to be deceived? In fact, isn’t this deception?
Paul warned Timothy about these people when he said, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come…people will “hold to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” (2 Timothy 3:1, 5)
You must demonstrate the power of a superior kingdom with signs and wonders, to fully preach the the gospel.
“In the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” (Romans 15:19)
There is two ways to read the scriptures, I can reduce the bible down to my own experience. For example, I read Mark 16:17-18, where Jesus says miracles follow those who BELIEVE. Then I say, “Well I believe and I don’t see miracles, therefore that verse must only apply to 1st century believers.
Or the other way to read the scriptures is to change my experience to meet the standards and expectations of bible. Of course this requires a high level of courage and it is much easier to be complacent, and reduce the scriptures to soothe my conscience.
While we were in Los Angeles last week, I got a chance to tour the former parsonage of Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the denomination I belong to (Foursquare). As I was looking at some of the memorabilia of her prolific, larger than life ministry, I came upon the sign in the photo.
This sign is from a report by the San Francisco American Medical Association.
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