"Religion is what's left after Spirit has left the building."
I'm not sure if that's an exact quote from Bono, but it sums up what becomes of a church that has lost the heartbeat of a Living Christ and casts the works of the Father though His Son into the dustbin of history.
I love God despite being raised in a culture of science-based skepticism, but it was hard because I used to be bored silly in church. Church, not God, was irrelevant. That's before I caught the fire. Through grace, I stumbled across it quite by accident.
If you seek the exciting world of present day miracles that take place in the presence of passionate believers -- healing, deliverances, signs that make you wonder - then books, CD's, DVD's by pastors Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton of the Bethel Church in Redding, CA, are a terrific gateway. Check out their podcasts.
Johnson and Vallotton are two stand-out voices that bring the `Wow' factor back into spiritual experience: Nothing but God can be at cause for the marvels they recount in story after story. They declare Christ is the healer and that faith belongs to any and all willing to step out in boldness and command infirmity to depart. Those who do are claiming their rightful inheritance to the Kingdom of Heaven as royal sons and daughters created in the likeness and image of God.
Johnson is a scion of a family of pastors; he's been church-mouse poor and is now sought as an internationally renowned speaker. In contrast, Vallotton suffered many adversities in his path to Christ, operated a gas station, then several auto parts stores. He tells what Christianity is like from the gritty side of life, and in person, he's quite funny.
One of Vallotton's stories I like best, told in Supernatural Ways of Royalty co-authored with Johnson, is how he and his wife prayed one night week for a year on the streets of a small, troubled town - rain, shine or snow - to completely change its character. He tells how the enemy departed unseen one dark evening with bloodcurdling screams from an abandoned field. During this period, his family adopted a teen left virtually homeless by addict parents. To me, these are powerful demonstrations of faith in action and answered prayer.
These two men, among other giants of faith, stand at the forefront of an emerging wave of Spirit-filled Christianity. Revivalism has occurred many times before, but this generation is working hard to see that the floodtide does not ebb, but changes the world. And indeed, it is becoming the fastest growing sector of believers around the globe.
Read anything, everything you can get your hands on that these guys write. Be inspired. Better still, find a Spirit-filled church and experience worship alive with His presence. Drink, soak, and rediscover your relationship with the Lord. Whether dry and thirsty in a church that no longer feeds your soul or burdened with a life of shame and failure, come. Come. Rejoice. Through Him ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
The table is laid. Happy journey home through grace.
All are welcome.