Celebrate the Supernatural

It’s that time of year again – spooks, goblins, and witches take to the streets on Halloween. Most parents don’t know the origins of Halloween –from ancient Celtic celebrations about the end of summer and the beginning of winter, to the Romanized adaptations of All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day, and eventually All Soul’s Day. Consumerism has taken over in books, movies, and a whole industry devoted to the supernatural. In recent years, there has been an increasing involvement of adults in Halloween activities, even those formerly limited to children.

Where should the church stand in all this? I say “Celebrate the Supernatural”!

I’m not a heretic, and I don’t advocate a focus on the dark side of things. I simply encourage you to look at the word “supernatural” and what it should mean for believers.

At its very basic level, supernatural means “above nature”. Is this not a great definition for believers in Christ? We are to be “in the world, but not of it”. But there is an even greater reason that we should celebrate the supernatural, and that is in the area of spiritual gifts.

The scriptural basis for spiritual gifts is found in a few New Testament passages, but our additions to these few verses over the years could fill a small library. I don’t want to enter into a theological debate about gifts – I simply say the Bible teaches us about them, and we should celebrate them by putting them into practice by serving others in God’s name.

Many definitions of spiritual gifts exist, but the one that I have adapted over the years and that resonates most with me is a “supernatural capacity of grace from God, used to serve Him for His purposes”. To me, it is a given that these gifts are from God and to be used by us for His purposes.

Through the Holy Spirit, we have been empowered to carry out His purpose and contribute meaningfully to His body. We know that we belong to Him, that our inherent worth is to be found in Him. He made us, redeemed us, gifted us, and placed us in the body of Christ – the church – just as He chose.

If that’s not “super natural”, I don’t know what is!

How will you celebrate this week?

Does Your Church Have an Open-Roof Policy?

Many churches today unintentionally turn their backs on those who need Jesus the most. There is an inward focus-we go to our Bible studies, we take care of one another, we listen to our favorite Christian music-basically, our activities are directed towards those already claiming Christ as their Savior.

One day Jesus addressed this with both word and deed. The story is so familiar to most believers we forget the message within. Jesus was teaching in a home. Pretty soon the home was filled to overflowing, with people standing in the doors and windows just to hear Jesus speak.

For the crowd, the meeting was about them. What could they get? What could they learn? What could Jesus offer them? Churches today are filled with well-meaning Christians with similar attitudes. You can hear it in their self-centered words:

  • We love this church because it is so convenient for us
  • We go to this church because our kids love the day care
  • This church makes me feel better about myself

If your ministry has become focused on the already-convinced, then it’s time for an open-roof policy. Out of the entire crowd in and around the house that day, at least four people got it. These four had a crippled friend who desperately needed Jesus, and they were determined to go to any lengths to get him there.

In his book It, Pastor Craig Groeschel outlines some very practical lessons from these four friends. First, they recognized their friend needed Jesus. Too many believers forget that the lost really need Jesus.

We also see that it took four different people to get this one to Jesus. Reaching people is not just the pastor’s job; it’s everyone’s job. We do our part, others do their part, and God does his. We’re never the answer; Jesus always is.

The story also tells us that love overcomes obstacles. Their love for their friend compelled them to climb on the roof and tear a hole in it so they could lower their friend right in front of Jesus. They didn’t worry about what everyone would say-they were focused on getting their friend to Jesus.

The open roof policy depicted in this story is another way of saying your church has to be outwardly focused.

  • Do whatever it takes to make your ministry a place that welcomes those who don’t know Christ
  • Your ministry must have a clear, consistent presentation of Jesus’ story
  • Leaders need real faith; if you believe with every fiber in your body that Christ can and will instantly transform a life, people will sense it, feel it, and believe it as well

Identify the barriers that are keeping your church from reaching others – and then tear the roof off of them!