Last Sunday morning at Redeemer was one of those worship experiences where the Holy Spirit took us in unexpected directions. As it was happening, I addressed the people, especially those new to us, and said, "We just left the program."
Then I added, "Actually, we don't have a program."
This is because the Holy Spirit is non-programmable and unpredictable.
Correct? Do you agree? Or, do you really believe we can control the Spirit of God? Or that we should try to do so?
Does it make any rational sense at all to think any of us can predict the ways of an omniscient God?
Isn't it far better to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, rather than to have a "safe" religious service where nothing weird happens?
I write about being led by God's Spirit in Leading the Presence-Driven Church. Lee Strobel writes about this in his new book The Case for Miracles: a Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural.
One of Strobel's interviews is with Baylor theologian Roger Olson. Every follower of Jesus who loves the Church needs to read this interview.
One of the problems in the American Church, Olson says, is the lust for predictability and, hence, "safety." Strobel writes:
"I mentally scrolled through Acts, which unfolds the story of the early church. The apostles seemed to go around expecting that when Jesus and his resurrection were proclaimed, something supernatural might very well occur. But that’s not true today, Olson said.
“All we expect to happen these days when we proclaim Jesus and the resurrection is that people will nicely nod and say, ‘Oh, we agree with that.’ Then they go home and live as if that’s not really true, because they don’t expect miracles to happen anymore. They don’t expect God to do things that are inexplicable. It would make their life unpredictable.”
“That’s a sad perspective for a Christian,” I said.
“It should be, yes. But I think a lot of people are happier living with predictability than really expecting that God will do unusual things in their lives. They hear of supernatural activity and miracles miracles happening in Africa, and they say, ‘Well, praise God,’ but the unsaid part is, I’m really glad it doesn’t happen here. That would be scary. That would be threatening.” (Strobel, 219)
Aslan is not a tame Lion. Not really.
(Join us in two weeks when Steve Backlund from Bethel Redding comes to Redeemer.
Join us when Darren Wilson premieres his new movie "Finger of God 2" at Redeemer - date and time TBA.)