We gather together for worship once or twice a week and hear anointed messages from those who share the Word of G-D in our congregations. These messages speak of those in the Bible who experienced the wonderful works of G-D. We read of mighty victories, supernatural events like the parting of the sea and the plagues of Egypt. We are encouraged by those who we read who were healed and especially those who were forgiven.
Yet most congregations are not seeing these types of miracles happening regularly in our services. The usual response to the desire to see more of a move of G-D is for our preachers and teachers to teach more and more messages about miracles and wonders, sometimes with additional encouragement to fast and pray. Yet with all of that preaching and praying and fasting, the majority of our congregations still continue to exist in a spiritual drought of the miraculous.
There is an old saying about continuing to do the same things while expecting different results. Rereading a familiar section of Scripture, I believe we may find the reason for our limited results in our supernatural experiences.
In Acts 2, we find ourselves reading one of the most supernatural events in the entire Bible, the celebration of Shavuot: the feast of Weeks or Pentecost. During this biblical feast, we read of 3,000 souls coming to faith in Yeshua in the courtyards of the temple. There are supernatural signs galore and a powerful message brought by Peter that result in mass repentance and many being filled with the Ruach HaKodesh or Holy Spirit. As we continue to read what takes place after this outpouring of the miraculous, we find the apostles continuing to teach these Jewish believers. But, and this is a huge but, they did not only teach. In Act 2:42-43 we read: "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers. Fear came to every soul. And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles."
Notice that while they did continue preaching, they also participated in fellowship, and breaking bread and prayers. The result of the active combination of these four things was that wonders and signs took place. Above I mentioned the traditional formula used for attempting to achieve the supernatural occurring in our congregations: teaching, prayer and fasting. But notice that the apostles followed a different pattern, including fellowship and eating together. In other words, the teaching of the apostles brought individuals into a greater community, and the community experienced the wonders and signs. What would happen if, instead of our congregations spending the majority of its time on one or two meetings a week, we all encouraged our congregation to spend time together outside of church buildings, as well as inside them? What if we actually began breaking bread house to house? What if we decided to spend more time fellowshipping and building intimate relationships with each other than we spent sitting on pews, listening to messages about how to see the miraculous? If the Bible is right, then the answer to these questions is that, instead of longing for the signs and wonders to take place, we will see them taking place all around us.
The Bible provides for us a clear pattern to follow. This pattern does include teaching and preaching. And yes, it does include prayer and fasting. But as we read the text, the result of teaching, fellowship with breaking bread and prayer were signs and wonders. Maybe if we begin to emphasize fellowship and meals in each other's homes, we will begin to see the same results. Yes, I know that this type of fellowship removes some of the control leaders have over their flocks, but maybe it just this release of control that allows for the increase of faith and trust in G-D that opens the door for the supernatural to take place.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity and OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry.
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