Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Real Church Expects God-produced Extraordinary Events

Image result for john piippo power
Lake Michigan sunset (Holland State Park)
Two Sundays ago at Redeemer one of our young men shared a testimony of healing. His father has had stage four cancer. His prognosis was dire. He came once, months ago, to one of our Sunday gatherings. Some of our people prayed for him.

He is being treated at the V.A. Hospital in Ann Arbor. Two weeks ago, when he went for more treatment, the doctors took an MRI and discovered that he was, suddenly and unexpectedly, cancer free. This father told the doctors, "Jesus healed me."

Upon hearing this, our church family erupted in praise and applause to God.

When God is present, we expect to experience things like this that go beyond human abilities. If all we see in Church is fully explicable and reducible to human talent and thinking, then we have placed God in a box of our own powers.

Dallas Willard writes:

"The sense of God’s presence is sometimes accompanied in Christian experience by extraordinary events or powerful effects not attributable to merely natural causes. The mark of the working of God’s Spirit with us is the incommensurability of the effects with our merely human powers." (Willard, Hearing God Through the Year: A 365-Day Devotional, p. 59) 

That is, "the working of God’s Spirit produces disproportionate results that do not make sense humanly. The outcome is beyond human logic to understand or natural powers to accomplish." (Ib.) 

An omniscient Being infinitely surpasses our cognitive abilities. So, we should expect God to do things outside our planning, creativity, and comprehension.

An omnipotent Being fully eclipses our frail human powers. So, we should expect to see miracles. (See Craig Keener, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts.)

In Church, we should pray for, expect, and look for God-produced extraordinary events and powerful effects. 

My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God (May 2016)

Leading the Presence-Driven Church (January 2018)

I am now writing:

How God Changes the Human Heart

Technology and Spiritual Formation