Returning to Christian Supernaturalism (Chicago)

2017 RightNow Conference Chicago


The American Church has been driven by a spirit of consumerism for too long. In an attempt to win the lost to Christ, we have reduced Christianity to pragmatism and denied the power of the Holy Spirit. In this 30-minute session from the 2017 RightNow Conference in Chicago, Jared Wilson urges us to recover the supernaturality of prayer, Scripture, and the gospel. When we preach the message “Behold!” rather than “Behave!” we are transformed. When our message moves from “Get to work,” to “It is Finished!” we rest in the power of the gospel.

Jared Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, and Managing Editor of the seminary's website for gospel-centered resources, For the Church. He is also a popular author and conference speaker. He has written more than ten books, including Your Jesus is Too Safe, Gospel Wakefulness, Gospel Deeps, The Pastor's Justification, The Storytelling God, The Wonder-Working God, and The Prodigal Church.

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your ministry. 




To live in the gospel’s supernaturality, we must recover prayer and the preaching of the Scriptures as we center on the finished work of Christ. 

Jared discussed the consumeristic nature of the seeker church movement. Reflect upon your own church. Is your ministry catering to a “customer?” How might faith be unintentionally formulaic?
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Is your message pragmatic? Have you taken Scripture and distilled it into the ultra-practical? How does this rob the Spirit of power in the Church?
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“The law is good, but the gospel is better.” While the glory of the law was real and true, it is fading away. The glory of the gospel shines brighter and brighter day by day.  

We are not saved by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. What aspect of your message might be misinterpreted as behavior modification? In what ways can we center our message on “grace alone?”
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When we are not in prayer, it’s because we think we have everything under control and we are capable of producing results. We must recover the supernaturality of prayer. 

Does prayer permeate your life? How do you bathe your preparation for ministry in prayer?
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When we fill ourselves with other things, we prevent ourselves from being filled with the Holy Spirit. With what are you filling yourself that might be crowding out the Holy Spirit? How could you make more room to invite the Spirit to fill you and your ministry?
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It’s possible to look alive and be dead. How might your church look alive, but be separated from the Spirit?
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As Jared quoted, “The Bible is heaven laid flat.” The Word is living and active, and when we separate ourselves from its power, our ministry is empty. 

In what ways could you be using the Bible as a prop for your own good ideas?
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How can you repent of this? In what ways do we begin to become a prop to what the Bible wants to say?
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What is the dominant message of your preaching or teaching?
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There is more than one way to be legalistic. While previous generations leaned toward a stern, condemning tone, today we may lean too far to the other side. We’ve become positive and practical. But we must remember that “Do” is just the flipside of “Don't.” The best we can do with this philosophy is create well-behaved pagans. 

In what ways might “positive” legalism be creeping in to your church? How are your people on a never-ending treadmill of performance?
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2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)

18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



We are not transformed by our works or willpower, but by gazing at Jesus. The message of the cross is not “Behave!” It is “Behold!” 

In what ways are you attempting to behave your way toward transformation? How are your people doing this?
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In what ways can you begin to behold Jesus and His finished work? How might you encourage this practice in your people?
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The essential Christian message is not “Get to work,” but “It is finished.” Praise God for the power of the supernatural gospel. 


For more information about the RightNow Conference, or to find out how to attend next year’s event, visit rightnowconference.org


For more from Jared Wilson, see his study, Gospel Shaped Worship, or visit jaredcwilson.com.