As I may have said in other posts, one of my earliest memories is seeing the original Star Wars in 1977 (before it was referred to as Episode 4). I was 4 years old. For most of the next six years of my life I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. I wanted to be a Jedi. I wanted to be able to move stuff with my brain, my will. I wanted that world to be real. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home so it was no big deal.
Now I have two boys that are home schooled. My wife and I have always tried to protect (not shelter, there is a difference) our kids from most of the crap that passes as entertainment for kids. Some of is is mostly harmless. Some of it is outright demonic. We only recently let them investigate the world of one of these chains, mostly because one of their video games features some of these characters. We let them read the books and get the videos from the library, all for about one week. By the end of the week one of my sons came to me at the breakfast nook/home office with one of the books in hand and said, “I wish this world was real.” Wow. And then the Spirit began to speak to my heart.
As a kid I was always drawn to the supernatural. Jedis, magic, wizards, aliens with powers. I loved Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Escape from WItch Mountain, The Sword and the Stone (interesting how those are all Disney movies). If Harry Potter had been out back then I would have been way lost. I really, seriously wanted to be a wizard. I wanted to get books on magic and spells. I wanted that kind of real power. It is real you know. The truth is that it’s all demonic, but it is real none the less.
Now I find myself a Christian. I worship the God of the universe. This God wants to, can, and will use His power through those who humbly submit themselves to Him. Healing, miracles, transformed lives, prophecy, words of wisdom and knowledge, helps, ministries. You know the list. In my read-the-Bible-in-a-year schedule I am in Acts (which I am also teaching on Sundays). As I’ve been reading Acts I find myself, like my son, like myself as a kid saying, “I want this world to be real.” Why am I saying that? Apparently because it isn’t real in my world.
This is a very telling realization. This is what the Spirit has been showing me, especially in light of the fact that my son wants this fantasy world of good guys and bad guys, all with supernatural powers battling it out, to be real. If he wants that world to be real, it means that his exposure to God’s world of dynamic Spiritual power and reality hasn’t been sufficient. And where is one of the key places he is supposed to see that being lived out? In the life of his father and the fellowship in which he is involved. Ouch. Add to this the fact that I read Acts and think to myself, “I wish this world was real.” I’m not seeing it either. I still watch Star Wars and think, “Man that would be cool.” instead of thinking, “Eh, my God can do better than that.”
I don’t know that I’ve ever truly seen and actual demonstration of God’s power right in front of me. I’ve heard about them. You can’t be a CC pastor and not hear about the old days in the tent or some Afterglow where words were given and healing done. Some of you may be thinking of Jesus’ words “Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe.” I would point out that that has to do with believing in the risen Lord, not the power of God through the Spirit. It’s kind of like that poster with the UFO on it that says “I want to believe.” I know I’m not alone in this, now or even in the recent past.
I recently listened (again) to the audio book of “Fresh WInd, Fresh Fire” by Jim Cymbala. I have the paper version but I had some driving to do so that worked. I’m actually getting tired of listening to it. Not because it’s boring, far from it. I’m getting tired of listening to it because I’m tired of being on the other side of it. I’m tired of being stuck at the beginning of the book, so to speak. Last year I read, “One Holy Fire” by Nikki Cruz. It seems like that guy can’t go a day without some kind of amazing demonstration of God’s power happening in his life. Again, I read it thinking, “I want that world to be real.”
Understand that I’m not looking for a light show. I’m no looking to see power for the sake of power. Paul talks about the Jews seeking a sign and the Greeks seeking wisdom. I’m not on about this just because I want to see God do a trick. I just seems like for the most part, my faith consists of me thinking, “OK, Lord, I believe you are real because your word says you are real, not because I’ve experienced you on a regular basis in a tangible way.” I know God has worked in real and tangible ways in my life and my family’s life. I know it, I see it. I guess I’m thinking in terms of being able to point to something and say without a doubt, “Now that’s the power of the Lord!”
I need that. My kids need that. Our fellowship needs that. Our community needs that. The pattern I’ve seen repeated in Acts is this; the apostles come to town, the Spirit does mighty signs and wonders through them, that gives the apostles a chance to preach the word, people get saved, the church grows and spreads, and the apostles are thrown in jail or run out of town. This could bring up several other conversations I’m sure. That’s how these churches started, but does that mean that’s how they continued, with the mighty signs and wonders and all? Is that supposed to be the norm?
I don’t know about any of that, I just know that God’s power was manifested in ways that always drew people to Himself. That’s what I want. I know it still happens today. It’s happening right this very moment somewhere in the world I’m sure. I would just pray for the Lord to open up another spout where the glory comes out wherever I am, wherever my kids are, where ever the people in our church are. Bring it on, Lord!