A church without the supernatural is superficial. —Leonard Ravenhill
It cannot be about numbers. If our churches are only concerned with how many people are packed into the seats rather than being concerned about the power of the Spirit of the Lord made manifest in our meetings, then we have lost the war and we should all go home and wait to die.
If the people who run our churches do not understand that the measure of spiritual depth in those who show up on Sunday can only be the presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling in fullness, then we will never see revival, only irrelevance.
We can jabber on about church models, worldviews, programs and such, but none of those ever raised the dead and never will, no matter how hard we work to refine them.
But when you talk with most people who claim to be Christians about this, more often than not you can count on a glassy-eyed stare. This is usually accompanied by the inevitable question, "But how do you measure that?"
No one who has encountered the shekinah glory of God ever asks that question. That the question is so prevalent is a shameful mark of our abominable lack of seriousness about what we believe.
I am not satisfied with my own spiritual state. And while I only have myself to blame, I am disheartened that the leaders of our churches today have aspired to so little, looking for plastic trinkets when the storehouse of heaven is ready to be poured on us. Why are we aiming so abysmally low?
Personally, I've had it with all the debates over process, programs, and progress. It's a lie from the enemy of our souls to keep us away from the One who can accomplish it all through us if we only submit to His workings and not our own.
Does anyone out there get this? If you do, how do we band together and seek to revive the dead thing the Church in America has become?
My promise to you is that it will start with me. I cannot endure this powerless thing we have made from the vital, living, fire-breathing Church Jesus set in motion more than two thousand years ago. If what we have now is the best it can ever be then Jesus take me right this second.
I know this blog doesn't get much readership. I don't care. I can only pray that it gets the right readership, people who feel the same way and are angered by what is happening to the Church in this country. You have to have your head in the sand not to see how we are failing, but where are the prophets who are calling us back to repentance and prayer and weeping between the horns of the altar? We've had our eyes gouged out by the worldly, just like Samson, but he prayed, "Lord, just one more time strengthen me." Before the Lord comes again, let that be our prayer.
Oh, Most Holy God, send the Fire! Your people are content with smoke when we need your Fire! Spirit of God, descend upon the altar of our hearts and make us again a supernatural people, a people to whom the lost can look and say, "Truly, God is among them." May your glory burn brightly in the breast of each of us who name you, that we take up our holy calling that is our destiny, tearing down the pillars of hell by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Make us content with nothing less than the fullness of your indwelling, Lord Jesus, that the works you have set aside for us to work from the foundation of the world be made manifest in these last days, that none should perish, but all come to knowledge of you. Kindle again in us your Fire before your great and final day. For your glory and honor, always in the name of the Lord Jesus, Amen.
7 thoughts on “The Superficial vs. The Supernatural”
“Does anyone out there get this? If you do, how do we band together and seek to revive the dead thing the Church in America has become?”
Dan, the answer to the first question is that there are some out there who get this and every one that I have talked to went through what you appear to be going through now. There have always been some who got it. You advertise books written by some who have gotten it. Tozer, for sure. They are some of the spies who, having been sent into the land, came back bringing a good report and bearing great fruit.
The answer to the second question is that we cannot get “there” by banding together. We get there in the wilderness. There we will learn that we cannot “revive the dead thing the Church in America has become” because we will see that at its best it was never what the Lord intended.
It is not a “there” that we seek, nor a thing, but a Person. You have said it yourself. “No one who has encountered the shekinah glory of God ever asks that question.” Read the witness in Tozer’s books you reference. It is about seeing. I am not talking about visions of apparitions, but spiritual vision. One knows when they have seen though they cannot describe it to one who has not.
The banding together only comes about after the wilderness. Even then, it seems to be very limited, lest as we come together we create another idol.
Eph 1:18-23 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. NIV
Paul did teach us with 5 point Power Point instruction. He prayed for us. So did Jesus.
Paul did NOT teach us …
I hera what you are saying about the need for each of us to get to that place as individuals, but I don’t think it is an either/or proposition. Paul, a man who had encountered the Lord in depth, still was in contact with those who were not quite where he was because he knew his example would prove informative and essential. We need to be around truly deep people who will spur us on to deeper living. That’s why those of us who are crying out need each other.
Pressing on to know the Lord doesn’t have to be a solo gig. If it were, there would be no need for the interconnectedness of the Body of Christ.
“Paul, a man who had encountered the Lord in depth, still was in contact with those who were not quite where he was because he knew his example would prove informative and essential.”
Sure he did, but not at the beginning. First, he went to the wilderness. I am not saying we stay permanently in the wilderness. I am saying that until we have been tried in the wilderness we have little to offer others. Look at the life of Paul, for he is precisely the example that has been provided for us. A man who was trained in religion, a Pharisee of Pharisees, headed to persecute the people of God is struck blind so that he may see. In a flash he realizes that everything that he thought was true about God was false.
Look at his testimony. Does the Lord bring Paul to Jerusalem to put him on the podium as a celebrity convert? Or, to be properly trained by the apostles who walked with Jesus? That is what the church you are crying out against does, does it not?
Instead of man’s ways, look what the Lord does. Paul makes a point of this very thing. “I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia.
11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;
14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.
15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased
16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood,
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.
18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days.
19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.
20(Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.)
21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
22 I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ;
23 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
24 And they were glorifying God because of me.
2:1 The Council at Jerusalem
Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.
2 It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.
3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
4 But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.
5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.
6 But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) — well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.
7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised
The dates are somewhat confusing, but it is clear that Paul did not meet any of the apostles for three years, and then only Peter and James for two weeks. He then does not return for 14 years.
The point Paul is making in all of this is his revelation of Christ. If you read the testimonies of such as Bunyan, George Fox, Hudson Taylor, Madame Guyon, Fenelon to name a few, you will find that all have had a wilderness experience. One cannot take oneself into the wilderness, nor choose the time. But, I can assure you that true revival will not break out in the corporate church unless it has broken out in the heart of the individual and that happens in the wilderness.
It is not for me to convince anyone of this, but you asked “Does anyone out there get this?” The answer is yes. There are many that get it. I have met some. They have been in the wilderness. An even greater number lament over the same conditions you speak of. And guess what? If you read the testimonies of the saints you will find a similiar lament for almost 2,000 years including the Epistles and the words of Jesus to the seven churches.
You also say, “You have to have your head in the sand not to see how we are failing, but where are the prophets who are calling us back to repentance and prayer and weeping between the horns of the altar?” The answer is that they are being ignored just as they have always been. We see the clear similitude of this in Israel. How many prophets were heeded when they spoke warnings to repent? Israel killed the prophets. The church has killed far more throughout the ages. In America the true prophets are mocked, ridiculed and ignored while others who claim to speak for God build ministerial enterprises bearing their name while peddling books and tapes. What does a Biblical prophet look like? Look closely at those in the Bible, especially after David. Look at which group dines with the king and which group is beaten, beheaded or thrown into cisterns. Maybe the church is looking in the wrong place, just as it is with all of these other things you so accurately describe.
I am not satisfied with my spiritual state either. A good place to be. Often is the first step toward being led out into the wilderness.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Dan, I’m not going to eat up your bandwidth with scripture you and all your readers can find for themselves. All I’m going to say is “LORD, send your fire. Holy Spirit, descend upon the altar of our hearts and transform us into the supernatural people You intend.” AMEN and AMEN. Thank You, JESUS.
I like much of what you said in this post. My wife and I attend a church that is pretty small. It doesn’t even offer a Sunday School, becuase they don’t want to force themselves to start ministries that aren’t led by God. They don’t want to start something like that unless someone steps up and says, “I feel led to lead a Sunday School.” I think it’s a very admirable church.
As I study the prophets, and even the epistles, I see that we are in the time of apostacy that we were warned of. But I believe there will be that outpouring that you are praying for before long.
But before that comes, there has to be that broken-hearted repentance, like it describes in Joel chap. 2.
What I hear, however, is singing and dancing, blessing and prosperity, which only leads to a fake sense of revival — the crown without the cross.
I preach on radio and hear from a lot of people who are hungry for the real thing, but they are so scattered over the landscape — but they are there. I honestly believe that when the Lord says, “That’s enough”, there will be a real move, but it will not come through the established churches — He will raise up stones to take their place.