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Supernatural Church
Scripture: 1 Kings 18:26-29; 1 Kings 18:30, 36-39; ...
Running time: 55 minutes, 25 seconds.
Here is the problem, unfortunately, many look at the Church Experience as something we do on Sunday mornings. In fact, that has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we hear Chuck preach on Sunday, or the leadership we experience from our elders, it is not about pulling off a great worship service, it is about helping every individual become what in Gods eyes we already are. To be more like Jesus everyday requires the Holy Spirit tearing away the sin from our lives. To experience the Holy Spirit causes a massive transformation; something others notice; something only the Holy Spirit can produce.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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Supernatural Church

True or False: A growing and energetic gathering is not necessarily evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work.

True! We have hundreds of events and gatherings from history that proves these growing events and movements can take place without the influence of the Holy Spirit. But what about the church; does this truth also apply? Does a growing and energetic church prove that the Holy Spirit is at work?

All of us have talents and bents, things that we are gifted at (of course, the reality is that those gifts are God given). Does it require the Holy Spirit to pull off a decent church? That is a hard question to ask. Think about this a minute, does MPCC have enough talent here that it isn't too hard to pull off a great Sunday worship, to give to anyone who walks into this building a great worship experience? To do that, does it require the Holy Spirit?

I like that phrase, “pulling off a great experience”. Amazon coined that phrase early in the development of their website. The industry calls it the “Amazon Experience”. When a customer or potential customer goes to their site, did they enjoy the experience? Is it easy to navigate their site? Did the customer find what they were looking for and were they able to buy the product easily plus other items they never intended to purchase? Other companies who want the same thing use the phrase “Amazon Experience”.

What about the “Amazon Experience” at MPCC? Are we the same way? Here is the bigger question; does it require the Holy Spirit to pull this off at MPCC? We have a lot of talent here and with the right leadership, the right organization; we can probably pull off the “Amazon Experience” here. But who wants that or needs that?

Does God want us to live in a way that makes sense from the world’s perspective, a way that we know we can manage. Or does God want us to live a life and follow a path that totally depends on him and a life that can’t be forged or mimicked?

Here is the problem, unfortunately, many look at “the Church Experience” as something we do on Sunday mornings. In fact, that has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we hear Chuck preach on Sunday, or the leadership we experience from our elders, it is not about pulling off a great worship service, it is about helping every individual become what in God’s eyes we already are. To be more like Jesus everyday requires the Holy Spirit tearing away the sin from our lives. To experience the “Holy Spirit” causes a massive transformation; something others notice; something only the Holy Spirit can produce.

1 Kings 18:26-29 (NIV) So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

I had to ask myself this question also, but how many times when I need help do I rely on my idols or myself to give the aid? How many idols do I keep in reserve to use when times get tough?

To be honest, I have many. Sometimes those idols re-direct me in paths I shouldn't go or don’t want to go. Sometimes they prevent me from really trusting in God, really laying things out there to totally depend on his power and will.

What can some of those idols be that we keep close at hand for help that can or do prevent us from totally depending on the power of the Holy Spirit?

1 Kings 18:30, 36-39 (NIV)
Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD--he is God! The LORD--he is God!"

I think it is interesting how different Elijah’s approach was compared to the prophets of Baal. There was no hype, no dancing, no show in order to prove His point. He totally relied on God’s power; he relied on something that he himself couldn’t manufacture. The demonstration of power had to be something only God could produce to convince the people that only God was real and only God could do this.

What are the fruits of the Spirit that God develops in us once we become Christians?

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

All of us probably know this list by heart. But here is a question that we need to ask, do I possess each to a supernatural degree?

• Do I exhibit more kindness and faithfulness than the Mormons I know?
• Do I have more self-control than my Muslim friends?
• Do I experience more peace than a Buddhist?
• Do I have more joy than an Atheist?

True or False: If GOD truly lives in me, shouldn't I expect to be different from everyone else?

This lesson is not meant to make us feel guilty. It is meant to be a challenge and to make space for us to take an honest look at ourselves. Do you know what it is like to be filled with Joy? Do you experience genuine peace regardless of your life circumstances? Do you consistently respond with kindness no matter what you receive from others?

The world today has so many self help programs, teachers and promoters. The problem with these programs is in the name, “self-help”. When we rely on ourselves to become better, that is when we find failure waiting for us. God does not want us to, through clenched teeth or grunting, be more like Him. It is futile and impossible to manufacture it. But think how awesome it would be to have those fruits of the Spirit come naturally because they are now a part of our nature?

James 5:13-20 (NIV)
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

What is James talking about here? What sickness are we to be praying about?

How focused is your prayer life about the sins you commit and the sins of your friends and family? How powerful are your prayers in changing the lives of others?

James 5:17-20 (NIV)
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Have you ever thought that you are praying to the same God Elijah prayed to? Do you genuinely believe that Moses, Esther, David, and Daniel had no advantage over you spiritually? In fact, we have a greater advantage over them because we have both a risen Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Christians have to wake up and realize that we have the same power at hand to transform our lives as did the great people of old. The supernatural power of prayer in the first century church has not changed to today. We have the same Spirit as they did and we should expect the same results in changed lives for Him today.

True or False: It is safer to avoid situations where we need God to come through than to stake it all on Him and risk God’s silence.

What if God hadn't sent down fire that day and Elijah ended up in the same predicament as the prophets of Baal? What then?

I don’t know the answer to that question. But I do know this, God delights in showing up when His people are in desperate need of Him. Why, because that means no one can steal his glory. We have example after example in scripture to prove that fact out. It is only when we are desperately in need of Him that God makes His presence known. But when I live in a way that requires me to depend on the Holy Spirit, people respond by praising God in heaven.

Here is a hard question to ask ourselves and the MPCC as a whole, do we live like the believers who made up the first church? Are we a supernatural church, totally depending on the Spirit’s power to make us more and more like Jesus? No matter how we respond, what made the first church that way was this:

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

What comes first, the growth or the growth?