What follows you?(Matthew Corbitt)
If there is a conference, you stand a pretty good chance of seeing me there. So I end up hearing many preachers from across the movement. ALJC, UPCI, PAW, WPF, AA, and AMF, I love preaching and I love God's people! (Churches are finally starting to podcast sermons, if you want to know where to find some good stuff, just ask.) Through this experience I am seeing a frustration, and perhaps an answer to that frustration.
So many people today are obsessed with seeing miracles. At conferences we preach on it, in coffee shops we talk about it, in the deer stands we tweet about it. (ok maybe everyone doesn't tweet in the deer stands.) It seems there is an obsession with the supernatural manifestations of the Lord. In fact in many circles, if they aren't constantly seeing something happen miraculous, they feel as if God has abandoned them.(This would be a spiritually immature individual.)
We have begun to replace seeking Jesus first with seeking miracles first. We have forgotten that there is far more to the plan of salvation than Acts 2:38, in fact thats not even the starting point. Faith is the starting point, and from there your faith pushes you from Acts 2:37 to Acts 2:38-39 and into 2:40 and beyond. Salvation is a growing process, not something that you can experience once in your life and be alright, and its far more than following a set of rules, it's a lifestyle.
“If we pray for a healing, and there is no healing, then there must be sin somewhere.” Since God didn't work in our timing, we assume that there must be something wrong with either ourselves or the process. We expect the Almighty to walk and move when we choose for Him to move, and when He doesn't, we are discouraged.
We lust after something to validate our own ministries instead of walking by faith. So instead of pursuing the Word, we pursue His creation or His manifestation or His power. Instead of pursuing Him, we pursue what He can give. It sounds kinda like the prosperity doctrine doesn't it? And yet we will preach against the prosperity doctrine until we are blue in the face. One values the blessings of God in the monetary form, the other values the blessings of God in a demonstrative way, but both miss the Creator in favor of the blessings. (I'm not trying to say God doesn't bless His people, because we all know He does, I am trying to illuminate a thought process that leads to destruction. The signs follow them that believe; them that believe, on the other hand, don't follow the signs.)
“I want to see miracles, I want to see signs. God where are the signs, send me a sign!” and the whole time we forget that Jesus himself said that it is a wicked generation that always seeks a sign. (It's ok to want to see miracles, but they cannot be what you are seeking after, you have to pursue Jesus and Him alone.)
Now I know that there is a place where the supernatural lives. I have seen God work and move in miraculous ways, but if that becomes my heartbeat, if I am so consumed with seeking after the signs and wonders, I have sinned. If you follow the signs, you will become frustrated with why God moves the way He does. You have to pursue the Word, and that is where life is found, and that is where the world changing element is found.
These last days are far more tricky than any previous. It's going to take more prayer, common sense, and discernment to make it. Stay in your Bibles, pray daily, and fast weekly. The gospel wont preach itself, and the world wont change on its own.