I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.Romans 15:18-19
Inevitably, when you bring up the desire to engage in the supernatural parts of the Kingdom of God or the desire to operate in the power of the Spirit, you’ll have at least one person in the room say something like, “But I believe everything is supernatural,” or “The Holy Spirit is working in all of our interactions and activities.” It’s sort of like when you invite God’s presence and power to fill the room and the guy in the back says, “But God is omnipresent. He’s always here.”
When people say these sorts of things, sometimes it’s just an attempt at a theological “gotcha” moment. But in my experience, more often, it’s an indication of a lack of understanding of the way the Spirit works and the way the Kingdom works.
The reality is that there are things we do as the church that we can absolutely do on our own strength without any help from the Spirit. We can make people feel welcome, create community, engage in relationships, etc. all without ever depending on Jesus. In fact, many businesses do this better than the Church and they don’t give a rip about the Spirit or Jesus. A lot of people feel more connected and loved at their CrossFit gym than at church. You don’t need Jesus for this. In other words, things like this are not what we mean when we use the word “supernatural.” We can choose to have Jesus at the center of these things (which opens the possibility for powerful Holy Spirit moments), or we can do it in our own strength. It’s up to us.
But there are other things that we absolutely cannot do in our own strength. We can’t see people truly surrender their life to Jesus and get saved in our own strength. We can’t heal people in our own strength. We can’t cast out demons in our own strength. We can’t deliver an accurate prophetic word or word of knowledge in our own strength. These things are supernatural precisely because it is impossible to do them without God’s activity and our dependence on Him.
That is what we mean when we talk about “engaging in the supernatural aspects of the Kingdom.” That is what we mean by “operating in the power of God.” It means engaging in ministry where, if God doesn’t move in power, nothing happens. The results make it very obvious whether it was God’s power moving or just our own.
In the same way, those of us who invite the Holy Spirit to come, who invite the increased presence and power of God in the room, already understand that God is omnipresent. What we are inviting is God’s tangible (or manifest) presence. We are inviting God to step a little more through the veil that separates the natural world from the spirit realm so that we can feel His presence and encounter Him holistically–physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Lives are changed when God’s tangible presence fills the room. People are impacted in greater ways when this happens. This is why we invite God to do it. We desire to host His presence and make ourselves available to Him. When His tangible presence fills a room, He does more to transform lives in minutes than we could do in years.
Our society is fascinated with the supernatural but is mostly engaging with the counterfeit forms of it (New Age, mediums, psychics, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, energy healing, witchcraft, the Occult, etc). But, ultimately, what they are looking for is the real thing, they just don’t know the real thing can only be found in Jesus through the Spirit.
Here’s an unpopular opinion that I believe is true: Any church that doesn’t know how to operate in the power of God or the supernatural aspects of the Kingdom will find themselves very limited in reaching this next generation. The next generation knows that there is more to this world than the natural, but what they don’t know is that the true power and authority to engage in the spirit realm comes only through Jesus. Everything else is a poor counterfeit from the kingdom of darkness. A revival atmosphere where they can actually experience an encounter with God is what they’re longing for.
Are you seeing regular physical healings at your church? Are people regularly finding freedom from demonic oppression at your church? Are the prophetic gifts cultivated at your church so that people hear from the Lord regularly through these gifts? Are people just singing songs and hearing a message or are they having encounters with the living God? These aspects of the Kingdom will be essential for reaching the next generation. If your church isn’t yet engaging in these, it’s time to start now.