Sunday, December 01, 2019

Churches Need Demonstrations of the Spirit's Power

(Redeemer, in Monroe)

Christianity in America has, it seems, been declining for several years. For a recent report see "What to Understand About Christianity's Decline in America." Daniel Silliman, Morgan Lee, and Mark Galli discuss this.

Silliman is asked, "Is there any reason to think that these trends of Christianity declining will reverse themselves or slow down? Or should we expect similar headlines for the next couple decades?"

His response:

Daniel Silliman: "My historian training tells me don't predict the future, but I would be surprised if these numbers turn around within a few years. We would definitely need to have a podcast to talk about what's happening if these numbers turn around. It just seems that everything's leaning this way. So I don't know what lever is big enough right now to change this sort of cultural decline—specifically to make nominal Christianity more powerful culturally. It's not a dramatic change in evangelicals, it's not a dramatic change in churchgoers, but it is a dramatic change in the looser identifications. I don't have an answer to what would change that. If it happens, we should get back together and talk about it again."
I have a suggestion. This morning at Redeemer we began with a testimony from a woman who had a hip surgery scheduled in October because, as she told us, it was "bone on bone." She received healing prayer for this, and was healed. She is walking normally, no pain, the surgery was cancelled. Most of our church family knows her, and we rejoiced as she joyfully shared how God has healed her.
At the close of our morning we prayed for healing for several people. Some said God healed them. One man, who came wearing a boot over his left foot because of a tendon injury, experiences pain when the boot is off. We prayed. The pain went completely away. He left wearing the boot, only because he had not brought another shoe to wear.
Our experience is this: when God shows up in loving power, and people experience supernatural healing, the word spreads. God, encountered and experienced, is attractive. 
More than this, the supernatural power, experienced by people, is what will "reverse the trend" and win the day. I write about this in the last chapter of my book Leading the Presence-Driven Church.
I suggest applying what the apostle Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
When I came to you, 
I did not come with human methods and techniques. 
I simply told you about God.
All I am interested in is Jesus Christ 
and the power displayed on the cross 
and in the resurrection.
I wasn't trying to persuade you with human rhetoric.
What you really need is a demonstration of the Spirit's power.
Then your faith will not be in human methods,
but in the power of God.
If you're in the Monroe, Michigan area, we are one of the places where God regularly makes an appearance. Sunday. 10:30 AM. Redeemer Fellowship Church. 5305 Evergreen.