Ansell: Getting out of the boat
When I was a kid, pastors like Oral Roberts were in their heyday. He was on television, built a college and was influencing a jillion people. Pastor Roberts had a tagline, “Expect a Miracle.” I like that. I like the idea of waking up every day with a faithful anticipation of God working in my life. Can I get an, “Amen!!”
Last night as I was running (ugh), I was listening to a podcast from Christianity Today entitled, The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill, and they were sharing about Pastor Robert Schuller and his rise in the church world, the Crystal Cathedral and his television ministry that was called, The Hour of Power. Dr. Schuller turned out to be more than a little crazy and had way less than a Biblical worldview but I love his idea of “power” and its relation to God. The Apostle Paul mentions resurrection power in Philippians 3:10, “I want to know Christ - yes, … know the power of his resurrection.”
Maybe it’s me, but I don’t think the modern, mainstream church operates with these concepts which really are a reflection of “faith.” Faith is from a Biblical perspective “personnel surrender to God that results in conduct that is inspired by that surrender.” According to the Vine’s dictionary, this is in contrast to belief that is just an opinion that is held in good “faith” but lacks any proof. What I’m saying is many of us have “faith” as a theory, but we lack real faith that has evidence based on our actions. We don’t expect a “miracle,” and we don’t sense there is power in worship, prayer, fellowship or the reading of Scripture. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the 21st Century is powerless and drifting. Maybe we only know faith as a noun and not a verb?
I wonder if we leave room for God to work in our lives or if we are too busy handling things on our own; therefore, why would God show up and show off? I like the story of the little girl at Easter. Her parents asked her if she knew what Easter meant. She said, “Sure. It means Surprise! Surprise death, surprise sad disciples, surprise world, He’s alive!” When was the last time God surprised you?
If we are ever going to hear the “sound from Heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm” that fills the meeting house or see what looks like “flames or tongues of fire” appearing and settling on each person in the room, or any evidence of the Holy Spirit, it's going to require something of us (Acts 2:1 - 4). It’s going to require real faith, real action, a dependence on God to do what only He can do. Who’s ready to get out of the boat (Matthew 14:22 - 33)? He told me to tell you that.