The Power of God

So many of us worship a different God. Oh, it’s still the God of Jacob. The God of Abraham. Yahweh.

Jesus Christ.

But, as my days in salvation go on, I have seen and met so many hopeless Christians. So many people, who are complacent in their faith. Lukewarm. Vacillating.

I have seen so many people who perhaps intellectually know God. They even love God, but they have never once experienced the power of God.

My hearts breaks when I consider this. I feel pangs in my chest when I grasp the fact that so many of my brethren have never, not once, felt His presence, been swept up in His Spirit, had a supernatural experience with the Living God.

Instead they have very different experiences…

I’ve heard believers say that they aren’t quite sure if they have ever actually heard the Lord speak to them.

I’ve heard believers say that they wouldn’t know the presence of the Holy Spirit if He were sitting right next to them.

I’ve heard believers say that the miracles of the Old Testament and New Testament are not meant for today.

But why do they say these things? Why do they believe these things?

Why is the supernatural scary for so many of us?

I know the word “supernatural” holds so many negative connotations within the Christian culture. It conjures up images of charismatic, dancing, tongues-speaking congregations.

And well, I quite like that.

My introduction to the Holy Spirit was not usual, as compared to most Christians. After meeting Jesus at a Christian conference for teens, I began regularly attending a rather charismatic church.

It was not uncommon for people to prophecy in the service. Or for people to approach you after service with a “word of knowledge” for you. Or for people to pray in tongues (in accordance with the instruction given in 1 Corinthians). Or for people to physically feel and sense the presence of the Spirit.

This was my introduction to Christianity and it was thick with the Spirit. I was ever aware and in touch with God’s power. It was not some far off, ancient, inaccessible idea. His power was now. It was everywhere.

And yet now, years later, I have become all too aware of the fact that my experience is not the common experience. My knowledge of the Spirit is the exception and not the rule. Oh, how it must grieve Him. When Jesus Himself said it would be better for Him to leave so that the Helper may come–and yet so many of us ignore, downplay, or disregard the Helper.

It’s as if we are running on low, constantly in search of more energy, more power, to enable us to live this Christian life. And instead of plugging into the Power Source, we run on empty and wonder why we don’t get very far.

To be honest, I’m not even sure where this post is headed, except to say that I believe the Lord wants me to start talking about more of these things–His supernatural being, but what it means to be supernatural everyday. I believe there is an opportunity to invite more of His power to our daily lives. We need only ask.

So, I’m opening it up to all of you. You are some of the most honest, genuine, thoughtful, passionate readers around. I am so grateful for each and every one of you and so I ask you…

What is the supernatural in your life currently? Do you believe in and/or experience the power of God on a regular basis? If not, why not? And go ahead and ask me anything you’d like about this topic. Let’s start discussing…

12 thoughts on “The Power of God”

  1. Great article! I must confess, there are sometimes when I feel like God is somewhere up there on a cloud far away from me. I’m not a Pentecostal (thank God!), but I am sometimes jealous of my Pentecostal brethren of being so in tune with the Holy Spirit. I mean, i don’t want to writhe around on the ground and speak in tongues or anything. But I would like to know which voice in my head is God’s voice.

    1. Travis, please don’t take this the wrong way, but you should be jealous of those who are more in tune with the Spirit.

      You should be desirous for that same kind of intimacy, power, and relationship with the Holy Spirit. God placed that in you. He wants you to experience it.

      I will say too, that just like most things (including our faith) hearing from God takes practice. I have been fortunate to be around, in, and among communities that valued hearing from God and then practiced it.

      This sounds weird, I know, but I have gotten better at hearing from God over the years. I have become more sensitive to His promptings, voice, nudging, etc.

      Pray for the same, that your spiritual ears, as it were would be opened. I’ll be praying the same.

      Just out of curiosity too, what do you think has prevented you from hearing God more?

  2. Speaking from my own church experience, I think sometimes we’re afraid of what might happen should God act in a supernatural way – that it might take us out of our comfort zone and we won’t know how to deal with it or handle it. So instead, it as if we compartmentalize how we expect to God to operate at church for example – lovely worship, great sermon, people might come forward (do we even believe that sometimes?) but nothing out of the ordinary.

    If I’m honest, I might hope for it but I don’t know that I believe or always have a sense of expectation that God will move in supernatural kinds of ways? It’s as if we may hear God has done that elsewhere but probably not going to happen in my life or here at our little old church! And then I wonder if it is necessary to my growth in my relationship with Jesus to have that kind of experience and should instead I trust God that He is enough for me as He has shown Himself at work in my life.

  3. I find this topic difficult. I first heard tongues and was freaked out, having not grown up in church. I know I experience God’s supernatural power, in things like getting through difficult situations and dealing with difficult people. I do talk to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to change me, and He has. But I can be very sceptical about ‘words of knowledge’ and physical responses to the Spirit. This is probably as I’m not used to it; for me the Spirit is gentle and quiet, and calming.

    1. Louise, I so understand your reservations about things like words of knowledge or physical responses to the Spirit. But I would challenge you to look at the evidence of such events in scripture and determine how the Spirit works.

      When Jesus was meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well, He told her that she had had numerous husbands. How did Jesus know this? Just because He was God? He was also a man and that information had to be given to Him via the Holy Spirit–in what we would call a word of knowledge.

      Jesus was gentle with her. Loving, kind, grace-filled, but He also spoke Truth straight into her heart. A truth, that was so intimate and personal to her, that it had to come from the Spirit.

      People do abuse the Spirit. We know of the stereotypes of crazy, charismatic, weird Jesus-freaks. At the same time people also abuse the Bible, but that doesn’t stop of us from reading God’s Word.

      Just something to consider. Thanks for sharing your feelings here Louise and being so open and honest.

  4. Great post, Nicole, as always. I appreciate how you have addresses the topic of the Holy Spirit with both Truth and Grace.

    I’ve been a part of a church for almost 10 years now that believes, practices, and encourages people to experience God, not just read about Him. The Holy Spirit is a real and vital part of our congregation, not just a theological concept. And to be honest, it has taken me a while to get more comfortable with seeing and experiencing God move in supernatural ways like this. One of the things that has helped me besides just being exposed to that culture for an extended period of time, is a book by Rich Nathan and Ken Wilson called Empowered Evangelicals. It talks about the good and not so good of the extremes of evangelicalism and charismaticism, and how as believers we should pull the good from each of these traditions while trying to avoid the pitfalls of each extreme.

    I still get a little uncorformatable when I witness “extreme power encounters” though. My first experience with someone manifesting a demonic spirit freaked me out inside, but watching one of my pastors come along and handle the situation with calmness and firmness while still showing the person love and dignity was mind blowing.

    I am thankful for how my spiritual life has grown and been enriched over the last 10 years. I simply can not imagine life without the Holy Spirit’s regular involvement.

  5. Hello,
    I’m a friend of JR’s and found you through his facebook. I just thought I’d drop two cents here since I heard a really good sermon on the Spirit a few months ago. While God is a Triune God; The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit, each equal, they are each separate in function. When we look at God, we see him through Jesus. The Holy Spirit points to Jesus as well. Jesus is our focal point for understanding the rest of God; and it is through the Holy Spirit that knowledge is interpreted. We have to be careful, though of falling victim to worshiping that spirit, since it takes our eyes off Jesus, and puts the onus of God’s presence in how WE experience him. I humbly submit to you that I think this is an error in worship, seeking experience rather than focusing our attention on glorifying God.

    1. In my experience, when I worship, it is God whom I am worshipping. Sometimes that means worshipping The Father, other times that means worshipping Jesus the Savior, and other times that means worshipping The Holy Spirit. However, the focal point for me is glorifying and praising God. I have found that as I do that, the experience of being in God’s presence follows.

    2. Jared, thanks for stopping over and commenting. I appreciate the challenge you raised and I would counter with this:

      I never stated that we should seek an “experience,” but rather that we seek to experience God in a new way. This may sound like semantics, but it is not.

      Moreover, if I’m working off of your won comment, and the Trinity is three, all equal than nothing whatsoever in scripture suggests that we are to worship Jesus only.

      The Holy Spirit is just as much God as Jesus or the Father. I think we walk a dangerous theological line when we say we are only worshiping a portion of God–1/3 of Him.

      I disagree, too that “Jesus is our focal point for understanding the rest of God.” It is the Holy Spirit who brings to our mind scripture. It is the Holy Spirit who prays on our behalf. It is the Spirit who empowers us to live the Christian life. Jesus allows us to understand God, obviously. He was God made manifest in the flesh, but all three parts of the Trinity allow us to understand God because all 3 are God.

      I would suggest that far too many Christians only focus on Jesus or the Father and live powerless, flat, mediocre Christian lives. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says “Do not quench the Spirit.” Or other translations “Do not stifle the Spirit.”

      Nothing in scripture says to not worship the Spirit. In fact, Jesus told us we are to worship in Spirit and truth. Again, I believe the Spirit allows us to experience God in the fullness of His being. It is not about how we experience Him, but how He has allowed us to experience Him through the Holy Spirit.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comment Jared!

  6. Good job opening the discussion. I have a similar background in a charismatic church. I agree, it is disconcerting to see a genre of “rundown” Christians developing. There tends to be a focus on the “actions” and not the scriptural-based giftings of the Spirit. Holy Spirit is not like other spirits we are used to in the paranormal world. God does not involuntarily “possess” a person, wrestle control from them and then make them cluck like a chicken or any other unseemly act. He is, as pointed out, part of the Trinity. In our finite minds this concept is difficult to grasp, however, worship of Holy Spirit is worship of God. They are one in the same, just as Jesus is. We have to wonder what the big deal is if Jesus, Himself, was anxious to leave so we could start our indwelling relationship with Holy Spirit. He clearly knew something we didn’t about this.

  7. I come from the more common Christian background you describe, and I think you’re right about the way it can stifle our experience of God. I’ve never had an amazingly clear sense of God’s presence in a room, and I’m often jealous of those who do. I wish I could more easily FEEL His love surround me, instead of just knowing it. I, too, have heard many friends say they don’t know how God speaks to them… and for a long time, that was me as well. More recently I have begun to realize that I do hear His voice, more often than I think, and maybe even more clearly than some. I’ve also been extremely blessed by personal messages God has given to other people to tell me. Still, the feelings don’t usually come.

    One thing I am grateful for, though, is the wisdom that we can’t always trust our feelings. Even though I was perhaps taught wrongly that God only speaks through His Word nowadays, I am now blessed to have that filter through which I can check the thoughts that come into my head, to see whether or not they line up with God’s character. The Bible and other tools, such as the counsel of wise, older Christians and confirmation by way of other believers, are important to help us make sure we’re not getting our “signals crossed.” But with those things in mind, we can take those steps of trust and faith to allow God to do His work in our lives through the supernatural, in exciting and powerful ways.

    I’d love to see you dive into this more. Perhaps some ideas for how to find this sort of connection with God?

  8. Hey! I know I’m a little late coming in this discussion. Oh well :)

    When I was growing up, my family moved a LOT. I think we switched churches as often as we switched houses :) During that time, I’d been to Pentecostal, Baptist, Mennonite, and finally, a non-denominational church. The Baptist and Mennonite I don’t quite remember (I was fairly young when I went to those places).
    At about 12 years old, I went to a christian camp with my Pentecostal youth group. There i had my first “encounter” with the supernatural. People all around me were praying in tongues. I didn’t have a clue what was going on! funny thing about that church, they never explained to me what tongues were. so I was pretty much on my ow to figure it out.
    We had left that church when shortly after that, I think because my parents disagreed about some of the teachings of that church. At the church I’m at now, The supernatural is freely talked about. I’ll never forget one youth group meeting when i was about 14. Our leaders had just become parents for the first time and they had decided to quit in order to take care of their newborn twins, so we were between leaders at the time.
    Our pastor was leading the youth group and we had somehow gotten on the topic of spiritual gifts. He had brought in a Pentecostal pastor friend of his to help explain about them. we talked a good hour and a half on that subject :) boy, that was powerful! the first time i felt completely filled up by the spirit :) it was AWESOME!
    Since then, I’ve been trying to learn everything i can about the spirit. He’s been setting me on fire ever since :)
    Trouble is, my church isn’t really on fire…It’s kinda sad. What can i do to change that?

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