Monday, December 31, 2007

Ruth Heflin Prophesying of the Glory Realm in Hong Kong!!

I have posted this over at "Rob Rufus - Grace and Glory!" - but once again I want this prophecy to gain the maximum readership possible. The context of the prophecy was this; in the last session of the "Grace and Glory" Conference", Rob Rufus played this audio file to us. I had never heard of Ruth Heflin before and have spent some time trying to trace her down on the internet. The audio file begins with a song - "The Glory Realm" - which Heflin wrote and then she comes up herself to prophecy about things that I believe are beginning to happen in these days.

Read it with an open mind. You may disagree with her. You may disagree with her view of the end times and how they are going to pan out. Maybe even your discernment detectors know of something that Ruth Heflin did or said that you don't like. The issue is this; is this prophecy edifying? Is it encouraging? Is it lifting our eyes to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Is it pointing to the true benefits of His finished work on the Cross and the rent veil? If it is, then it seems to me to be true prophecy.

I made a small video file of the prophecy itself which comes first. It isn't very good quality so I have included the transcript of what Rob said and the song and the prophecy after it. I remember sitting there in the conference centre with my head bowed and tears rolling down my face and feeling my faith bubbling like a volcano.

Rob: “I want to play a song here that was written by Ruth Heflin. She was a lady that lived here in Hong Kong in the fifties and sixties. And she wrote this song; “The Glory Realm” and Josh Mills is singing it here. Half way through she comes - and this is one of the last prophetic words she brings before she goes to be with the Lord – and she comes and she prophesies about the glory. And she says some of you have never seen the manifestation of the glory of God but you will become manifestors of the glory. And I want you to position yourself to receive this prophetic word. She was a pioneer and was seeing the gold dust in the fifties and sixties and seventies. She was seeing things that are becoming more revealed in the earth but she was a pioneer. I love pioneers and I want to honour them. Close your eyes and let the word of the Lord come to you through this song she wrote.


“The glory realm – the realm of eternity – the realm of the heavenly King – it’s the glory realm! The glory realm – the realm where the angels sing – the realm of our heavenly King. It’s the realm of God. The glory realm – the realm of eternity – the realm of the heavenly King – it’s the glory realm! The glory realm – the realm where the angels sing – the realm of our heavenly King. It’s the realm of God. The glory realm! The realm of God!

The glory realm - the realm where we stand as one. In the glory of the Son, the glory realm. The glory realm - the realm of His Face revealed. The realm where the nations are healed - the realm of God".

Ruth Heflin:

“For even in these days you shall see wonders sayeth the Lord. Oh I shall cause you to see and to perceive the new realms. Yay for the limitations that the earth has put on thee shall fall away and you will move in realms of the Spirit and of my glory with ease. For that which I desire to do in these last days – I MUST have a people who can move in My glory and I shall teach thee how – I shall cause thee to rise up in my glory in greater and greater ways than ever before. You shall be amazed at what I shall do in and through the heathen in these days.

And yay the Lord says I shall cause thee to move closer and closer in to My heart sayeth the Lord for there are many secret things that I desire to reveal unto you – oh I desire to show unto you – those things I am going to do. The miracles I shall bring forth – I shall reveal them to you before they even happen sayeth the Lord. And I shall give thee an expectation in thine heart and thy spirit for miracles! Oh whereas you have been unbelieving – you shall believe – where you have not seen, you shall see sayeth the Lord.

Where you have seen no manifestation – you shall manifest My giftings, My anointing, My signs and My wonders through your own hand. For I shall reveal My power through you in these last days sayeth the Lord”.

What a better way to end 2007 than to lift our heads with hope and look to the coming cloud of glory? We may not have seen Him yet in full unveiled glory but He is drawing near! God knows what 2008 holds for us!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

End 2007 Blogspotting!!

As 2007 comes to a close, I reflected a bit yesterday and decided that this certainly has been an eventful year in blogging - for good and for bad. I was wondering about summarising my year and the posts I have written, but I don't want to do that. For starters you are perfectly able to use the contents page and go back and look for yourselves. And secondly the whole reason why I am blogging is due to a prophetic word that Pete Day brought many years ago when I was living with my parents in Bristol. I don't see this blog as a means to exalt myself or to draw attention to myself and I don't like blogs that do. But during 2007 I have met many wonderful people through blogging who I am grateful to God for and I DO want to draw attention to them and the things they are writing!

Pete Day - How can I not mention this greatest friend of mine? He blogs here on "The Best is Yet to Come" - a mark of triumphant optimism in a generally depressing blogging world. He has also started a new blog up here designed solely to begin to counteract the hyper-chavinistic teaching that is raising men up to become .... not godly. That blog is called; "After God's Own Heart". Pete also partners "Spirit of God!" with me and has posted a wonderful blog on the prophetic. All this and this and he is the only full time pastor of a church I see myself as part of here in West Norwood. What a guy! What a friend! Go read him - it will do you the world of good.

Scott - He doesn't blog regularly. This is quite characteristic of Scott. Scott's a quiet reflective kind of guy but when he speaks - you know that he really means it. I often laugh at him and tell him he is so laid back he is horizontal - so when Scott becomes angry, you know that it must be serious. Well sadly Mark Driscoll had just such an effect on him and he posted a catalyst blog post here; "Mark Driscoll: The reason I'm not going to Brighton 2008!". I am saddened by this because I took Scott to Brighton when he wasn't a Christian and he received Christ as His Saviour and Lord there in 2005. He then got baptised in the Spirit in 2006 in the power of Rob Rufus's visit and I've never seen someone upset Scott as much as Mark Driscoll has.

But he posted some excellent posts on our being at "Together on A Mission 2007" and they are well worth the read. Furthermore I was tremendously excited by this post - it is the evidence to me of the stirring of the prophetic within him. He is well worth keeping an eye on because when he posts - you know it's important!

Julie Morris - I've never "met" someone I so felt was a true sister in Christ! Julie and her husband Aaron have just moved to Canada and have planted what Rob Rufus would call "a first generation true grace church"! She blogs here and our walks in Christ have so many similarities. We've both come out of legalistic oppressive situations and by God's true grace are being exposed to the glory and the dangerous radical nature of what grace really is. I learn so much from her and I love her focussed view - nothing less than true grace will do anymore! The mixture of law and grace just isn't acceptable!

Jesse Phillips - Wow ... what to say about this incredible guy? I only met Jesse relatively recently through Don - a father in the faith to me. Yet it feels much longer! Jesse is part of a family of churches I used to belong to a couple of years back so we have much in common, but I love his passion for the Presence of God and the Holy Spirit. Technically he is younger than me but spiritually I have been so challenged by the deposit of wisdom that God has given him and I have learnt much from him - even how to speak in person over the internet! An exciting day!

I really do urge all to follow what he has to say. At present he is an intern in the Metro Life church in Florida, but I sense God has got some exciting plans for him in the future. He is going to father many spiritual children (I really sense that prophetically) - such is his care and love and passion for God - and I am looking forward to being an observer in where God takes him and hopefully get to visit him often and sit under his preaching.

Terry Virgo - Confused as I am at present with his invitation to Mark Driscoll, Terry remains on the shortlist of men who have changed my life and opened my eyes to the lavish grace (the TRUE grace) of God. I still remember his visit to Bristol where he stood on the platform and described my life and situation after I had just left SGM. Truly Terry preached prophetically and the secrets of my heart were disclosed!

It was an exciting day therefore when he joined the blogging world - and although his international ministry prohibits regular blogging here are some of my personal favourites. In "Spirit-inspired Preaching" Terry said;

"In teaching the nations God’s requirement, it is vital that we do not simply impose new rules and regulations but bring God’s people to a new stance of grace and faith. This requires Spirit-inspired and empowered preaching and teaching that calls for and ignites a response in the hearers. Holy Spirit-inspired preaching brings about an encounter with God that demands a verdict and produces a changed life based on revelation, faith and love, not cold obedience to external rules".

Oh yes! It made me realise with tears that the majority of preaching I have heard over the years has been legalistic in the extreme, demanding results rather than reminding us of our position in Christ. Preaching the Cross as a model of legalism - a Romish symbol - rather than the Person of the Son of God who was "constained by love" to go to ensure that the veil would be rend in two!

Terry has taught much on the presence of apostles today and it is key to seeing the Church go to the uttermost parts of the earth. Some church groups cling on to "apostles today" and exalt men who are not really fathers truly - in order to establish further positions of authority between the people and God Himself in His manifest glory. That's missing the point of apostles. Terry defines Ephesians 4 Ministries as being present for this cause;

"I believe that when Jesus ascended he gave gifts to his church. Exalted to the right hand of God, he received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and poured out not only the Pentecostal blessing described in Acts 2:33 but also gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11) to help equip his church and bring it to maturity".

I was walking in a precious time with my dad on Boxing Day and we were discussing Mark Driscoll's impending visit to Brighton. He said; "I am concerned that you are writing Terry Virgo off". I hope this plug for his blog proves I am doing no such thing. Fathers - earthly and spiritual - do much to confuse and sometimes hurt us (only God the TRUE Father never does that). Surely maturity is sitting back and waiting to see what the fathers are up to and hoping that their experience and maturity and relationship with God will have a cause that we can't always see in our immaturity and our inexperience. I pray that is the case with Terry's inviting Mark Driscoll.

SGM ... Uncensored - Have you ever wondered what characterises a cult? Or are you interested in what goes on behind the scenes in SGM? What's under the laughing and joking and tears of C J Mahaney? Well this dear couple are ex-SGM'ers and have set up a blog to voice their concerns about some issues that are going on. They are not writing in a spirit of gossip or slander - these concerns are genuine and it is a real safe haven to share and discuss. I think there is far more issues here than just a focus on SGM. I have a fear that these abuse issues go across the entire church and there are people out there who are hurting and fearful and damaged by church leaders. I recommend a visit with an open-mind. This isn't concept - these are real testimonies of real hurting people and the fact that their hit counter has rocketed to 10, 000 hits in 2 months suggests the level of interest in what's being addressed.

Rob RUFUS!! - What better way to close this post and to close 2007 than mentioning this incredible man of God. Even as I am blogging, I have Rob on in the background speaking and preaching and his words are making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I set up the "Rob Rufus - Grace and Glory!" blog in October as an attempt to make my sermon notes available for those fellow Rob fans out there.

At present City Church International sermons are free to download. They get 40, 000 downloads A MONTH! Surely we can all figure out how much revenue that would bring in if they begin to charge for such downloads as many Christian ministries do. It would be criminal to not benefit from the freedom and grace in the available resources on their website. Even better let us bless City Church by sending them gifts when we can. Rob and Glenda and Ryan Rufus and the church are blessing the world - why not make 2008 a year for the world to bless them in Hong Kong?

Well it is no surprise that the highlight of my encounter with Rob Rufus and indeed the highlight of my year was my visit to Hong Kong that was a surprise to me, my friends and my family! I wasn't expecting to go - merely looking forward to hearing the CDs but God spoke clearly to me and told me; "I want you in Hong Kong". Somehow He provided the money and the means and the guy I could stay with - and what a trip, what an encounter, what a God.

So what's to come in 2008? Rob Rufus prophesied it is to be a year of "POSSESSING". May it be so! To all the friends I mentioned above - I am more grateful to God than I will ever be able to express for your love, your care, your willingness to disagree when I'm wrong, but above all your passion for more, more, MORE of the Spirit of God and His Presence and power upon His people. Thank you one thousand times!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!!

I am quite concious that the "Humour vs Holy Spirit" post that I published in the early hours of this Christmas Day morning isn't the most positive of posts. The post had to be written and I knew it had to be published because it was weighing on me. But today is a day to celebrate (and many many people including Christians have forgotten why we are celebrating). I have never been so concious than Christmas 2007 has been absent of talking about the Risen and Glorified King and that moment when He came down to earth and was incarnated by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What better way to see in a Christmas than listen to Rob Rufus from last Christmas speaking on;

"The powerful prophetic message of Christmas".

Rather than transcribe the whole message - I am going easy on you. Here are the best and the main quotes! I really pray that this Christmas you become more evident and more aware of the lavish love that God has for you. His love is such that He sent His Son - His only Son - to come to earth! His love is such that when His Son had returned triumphant, He sent His wonderful Holy Spirit to come to earth until the work is done and Jesus returns in glory! May you receive manifest truth of that today.

"Christmas is something to celebrate every day of the year!".

"Many know about a Christmas story but have never had a supernatural Christmas experience. You need the Holy Spirit to show you who Jesus is. When you see who He is - you will be born again!".

"It doesn't matter how bad the Church looks - we are going out in victory! Jesus is triumphant! History is coming to an end! Jesus is coming back and the power of God is miraculously moving across the world! Don't be distressed about all the negative things you see on TV. Focus on the mighty things God is doing in the Church! People are being saved every day in Moslem countries!".

"Prophecy is normal for the Christian! Christian people should be prophetic people! We shouldn't be reacting with shock and surprise - the devil shouldn't be ambushing us! We are called to ambush the devil because we know what is coming! Christian people are a prophetic people - we see the future - we are prepared for the future - we become the future in the now!".

"A marriage of 32 years is a sign to people of what marriage can be like in 32 years time! When God miraculously heals people, it is a sign to people that they can be healed!".

"12 billion US dollars are spent every year by people going to psychics - they are so desperate to hear about their future. I am telling you from the authority of the Bible that psychics do not speak by the Holy Spirit of God but by demon powers and lying spirits. What is most tragic to me is that half of that 12 billion dollars is spent by Christians going to psychics! Because the churches they attend have taken away the supernatural and don't believe in prophecy anymore! If you don't give people food they will eat ANYTHING - even poison!".

"There is a hunger in man to know the future and only a man under the power of the Holy Spirit like Simeon could have supernaturally known the identity and future of this baby. There was so much scandal and condemnation surrounding the birth of this baby. Mary had fallen pregnant before she was married and that was a big scandal in those days. Joseph was trying to convince people it wasn't him but the Holy Spirit who impregnated Mary!".

"If you don't have the prophetic of the Spirit, then you live a shallow life. You are just influenced by rumours and scandal and gossip. You live your whole life drifting because of scandal and gossip. But by the prophetic Simeon saw the true nature of this baby".

"Most people enjoy a brief sentimental feeling about Christmas but they never allow this message to supernaturally change their lives! Simeon saw by the Spirit the TRUE identity of this child because the prophetic was operating in him".

"How did Simeon do that? Everyone of us can do that. We don't only have five physical senses - we have a sixth sense called faith. Faith is not believing something you know is not true. Faith is not a leap into the dark where we kiss our brains goodbye. Faith is a leap into the light - it is a sixth sense as real as your other five senses. Sight - smell - touch - hearing - these senses enable us to contact the physical world. We are created with a sixth sense to contact the supernatural/heavenly world".

"Many people say "I wish I could have your faith". That's as bad as someone saying "I wish I could have your hearing or your sight or your smell". The sixth sense of faith is as real as the other five senses! Sadly many human beings have lost the sense of their sixth sense. When I pick this Bible up, my sense of touch can feel the reality of this Bible. My sense of sight tells me I can see it - it is a reality. But my sixth sense tells me I am going to get healed. And when that sixth sense sees healing you will get healed!".

"There is a solution in this marriage problem coming. There is an answer coming to the problems I am having. Forgiveness is coming! There is such a hunger for meaning in life. Not just making money - if you have a hunger for it, then that proves it exists. Before there was a fin on the fishes back there has to be water".

"Theologians say Simeon was a very old man. "I am not going to die until I see Jesus!". Can you imagine how he was criticised? Simeon knew that he knew that he knew he would see Jesus! The Holy Spirit never lies!".

"The Spirit told him to go into the temple. His sixth sense - his spiritual faculties took him by the temple and he saw many mothers and babies. He came and stood in front of a small little mother - a virgin - with a baby. He grabbed the baby and tears ran down his face. His sixth sense had seen salvation!".

"The same Holy Spirit that was with Simeon is with you today".

"Don't think it is strange for you to long for salvation or for miracles or for signs and wonders today. Salvation is in this house".

"Christmas traditionally is about opening gifts. It is about giving gifts. What happens if tomorrow morning if you have children, they get around the Christmas tree and they pick up the beautifully wrapped gifts and they say "Mum and Dad thank you so much for these gifts" yet one hour later they are still saying "Thank you so much for the gifts!". "Yes yes children but won't you unwrap the gifts?". "No no Mum and Dad I am so excited and salivating over these gifts". "Yes but won't you open them?!".

"The tragedy is that millions of people believe Jesus came as a gift but never open Him. If you don't open the gift then it won't change you. There are millions of church-goers that never open the gift! You can jump out of a plane at 17, 000 with a parachute on your back and while you are hurtling towards the ground you can be singing "I am safe - I have got a parachute". 10, 000 feet from the ground; "I am safe - I have got a parachute". 10 feet from the ground! "I am safe - I am safe!". WHAM! Splatter!

"Today you can walk out those doors with absolute peace in your heart knowing that you know God. All your sins forgiven - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE! All wiped out! Healing can take place in your heart and mind and physical body. Today you must make a decision - "Yes Jesus I receive You today. Just like Simeon knew who You are so do I. You are My Saviour".

Humour versus Holy Spirit ...

So Mark Driscoll is coming to Brighton next July. I've always been aware of Mark Driscoll's presence but have never really devoted significant time to listening to him in depth. However the Brighton conference has contributed so much to my life so any visiting speaker there demands attention. My senior pastor Dr Stanley Jebb once said;

"The unexamined opinion is hardly worth holding".

So since I read Terry's announcement, I have spent some time listening to Mark Driscoll's sermons in order to examine him and what he teaches and how he does it so that my opinion is not merely a reaction but one worthy of holding. I must admit from the start I am somewhat disturbed. For the last two years Brighton was blessed by the visit of Rob Rufus as a guest speaker and we looked forward to his ministry which was devoted to the Presence of God. But this time it seems that Mark Driscoll has a different contribution to make (by the way I wanted to post this as a comment on Mark's website but he has disabled comments on that particular blog post at present);

"I listen to most of his weekly sermons, but it will be great to get a chance to hear him live and in person, and doubtless he will stir up some controversy for us to blog about!"

For starters I find that somewhat sad. One year - we anticipate the Presence of God accompanied by signs and wonders even if we don't agree with it or quite like the methods. The next year ... controversy? Why is Mark Driscoll so controversial? I was about to find out. One must admit for starters that Mark Driscoll is a passionate man with a heart for "missions" (whatever definition of that he holds to). I listened to a video clip of Driscoll's that was posted on You-Tube regarding missions. Here's what he had to say;

“This is particularly important for young men. The least likely person to go to church in the United States of America is a young man in his twenties. These are guys who have made a wreck of everything. They are banging their girlfriends – these are men who have blown all their money, staying up all night playing World-war craft and finding free porn on the internet, trying to find out how to get bigger subwoofers into their retarded car. Those are the guys who must first be gathered, they must have a swift boot in the rear, they need a good run through boot camp, they need to be told that Jesus Christ is not a gay hippie in a dress

60% of all Christians are women. I am glad that the ladies love Jesus but if you want to win a war you have got to get the men and once you get the men you must know what to do with them. They want to know how to get married. They want to know how to have sex with their wives at least once a day, how to have children, how to father their sons ..

His first priority is to gather men and by God’s grace force them to become the kind of men needed for God’s kingdom. The mission is to get the men because if you get the men then you win the war".

Anyone cannot deny surely that it is good for Driscoll to have a heart for seeing young men return to the Church and to the Father heart of God. But return to what? What vision of manhood does Driscoll really want these men returning to? Fortunately he doesn't leave us wondering;

"You get around Paul when he was a young guy or John the Baptist or Elijah. I mean these guys seemed pretty rough to me. They don't look like church boys wearing sweater vests walking around singing love songs to Jesus.

Guys like David are well known for their ability to slaughter other men. I think these guys were dudes you know. Heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes and the problem in the church today is that it's just a bunch of nice, soft, tender, womified church boys. 60% of Christians are chicks and 40% are dudes that are just chicks. It's just sad".

It seems to me that Mark Driscoll is seeking after raising a generation of what he would call "real" men. I really don't seen ANY Biblical backing for despising the kind of men who sing "love songs to Jesus" and I certainly don't see ANY Biblical backing for setting a role model of manhood as; "heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes". Ah but are these isolated video clips taken out of context?

Well I discovered a blog in these last few weeks entitled; "The Rise and Fall of Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church)" and it is set up by some ex-members who have been quite greviously hurt by the authoritarian structures of the church and how it is run. They had some interesting quotes from a Seattle newspaper detailing the public sacking of two of the elders who didn't agree with Driscoll on some matters. The newspaper wrote this;

"Things got even uglier in a September 30 sermon, when Driscoll—who’s been the face of the church since it was first established in 1996—stated, sternly referencing the two dissidents, that “There are a few guys right now, if I wasn’t going to end up on CNN, I would go Old Testament on ’em. There’s no, like, attorneys and blogging, just like I punched you in the mouth, now shut up. That’s clean; it’s simple.”

Driscoll's view on manhood seems to be quite far ranging across many different cultural issues. For example, he responded to and reacted to the Ted Haggard moral issue by writing on his blog;

Let me first make it clear that Mark Driscoll protested he was NOT suggesting that it was Mrs Haggards fault in "letting herself go" that led to Ted Haggard falling morally. Rather;

I admit freely I am struggling to keep a tight reign on expressing what I really think about Mark Driscoll's views (because it's not very polite) but I am sure it won't take much imagination to guess. Rather than wasting hour after hour marching through Mark Driscoll's blog trying to find out why he is as he is - I am more interested as to why he is such a contemporary hit at present.

Maybe it is because he makes himself available to his public? After all almost 350, 000 have voted in his "Ask Anything" campaign for his series in January at Mars Hill. What do Mark Driscoll's public want to know from him I wonder? Some of the questions are quite orthodox and standard but others are more ... different;

"Why do you make jokes about mormon missionaries, homosexuals, trenchcoats wearers, single men, vegans, emo kids and then expect these groups to come to know God in the same sermon?".

Ah humour. Could that be the reason as to why Mark Driscoll is a modern hit at present - similar to his informal "father" - C J Mahaney? Can it really be as shallow as all that? We like him because he makes us laugh? We like his preaching because he uses risque words in his sermons to shake us out of our apathy? Humour? Or maybe it is Mark Driscoll's apparant numerical success? He himself stated; "As the pastor of a church of nearly 5000 in one of America’s least churched cities ...". Yes the numbers game.

There's nothing wrong with humour per se or a big church to be sure. Like anyone - I enjoy a good laugh (or as Terry Virgo put it; "Tis the Season to Be Jolly"). Even more so, I listened to Rob Rufus teaching about the need to be "child-like". That includes laughing AND crying! But can I suggest something;

Humour has become the modern-day "doves dung" now that the anointing of the Holy Spirit is in such scarce supply in certain places, churches, nations and people.

Let me state again - some of my favourite preachers and teachers of all time have been absolutely side-splitting in some of their messages. Ern Baxter was one of the funniest men ever heard in the United Kingdom in the 1970's as was Bob Mumford. But they combined their humour with the anointing of God. They knew when it was right to be humerous and they knew when it was right to preach with the unveiled and ungloved manifest Presence of God. But they also knew when it was right to be silent in the Presence and glory of God and stop speaking.

And numbers? Is there anything wrong with a big full church? Of course not. But Rob Rufus spoke of God's promise to him;

"The numbers thing is an ego thing for pastors. When numbers are down we feel all insecure, when they are up we feel all flattered in our ego. They don’t care if people are walking with God or not – if there are bums on seats we feel happy! The purpose for church is not to have as many bums on seats as possible, but the purpose for church is to have people equipped with God, full of God, know the realms of the glory, know the Voice of God and do the works of God in supernatural signs and wonders! Otherwise people are just there to flatter the pastor".

In short;

So again I am neither against humour (although Mark Driscoll's border-line risque humour doesn't really make me laugh much) or against large churches - I still feel that these are poor substitutes for the Presence and power and glory of God. We are settling for poor relatives simply because our experience is so shallow in seeing God Himself come down.

Much of Mark Driscoll's success is attributed to apparant non-Christians coming into his church and being attracted to the kind of Gospel he preaches. I find it interesting that Rob Rufus reported that non-Christians seem to be interested in a different kind of preaching of the Gospel;

You know the George Barnea Research went to thousands of non-Christians in America and said, “What would make you go to church?”. They said, “If we could experience God!”. Then they said to pastors that this is the number one thing people are asking for. The pastors got all indignant and said, “We talk about God every Sunday!”. But we are not talking about academic information about God but God Himself coming!".

I am not trying to set Rob Rufus against Mark Driscoll - for both are servants of God, both with a passion to see the Gospel spread across the world and both (I hope) with a desire to see the glory of God cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. This is more questioning whether Rob Rufus has to be balanced by Mark Driscoll. Terry himself wrote;

But I didn't come away from Together on a Mission feeling that Rob Rufus was talking about "partnership". Partnership seems to imply "equality". Rob on the other hand was preaching in his three main sessions about an ultimate desire - an ultimate end - an ultimate goal! The glory-cloud! The manifest Presence of God come down amongst His people! I wrote that I have never before felt such a weighty Presence of the Spirit of God in that conference than ever before. In the video release just after the conference, Terry himself seemed to reflect that feeling. He said;

"What a great and memorable week. It has really been one of the most glorious weeks we have ever had ... feeling His Presence in such an intense way ...".

Word AND/OR Spirit?

I am not quite sure why; "It seems very good to me, therefore, having had Rob with us for the last two years, now to welcome Mark Driscoll whose emphasis on the Word of God will do us enormous good". That seems to me to suggest that Rob Rufus didn't have quite as great an emphasis on the Word of God as Mark Driscoll apparantly does. I couldn't agree less with that.

I have sat under so-called "Word teachers" for most of my church life. My first senior pastor was a doctor of theology and knew the Word of God inside out and back to front. My second church in Bristol emphasised that they taught and believed in the Word of God first and foremost. Yet I have learnt more truths and revelations from the Word of God under sermons from men like Rob Rufus, Ern Baxter and others than ever before (take this Q and A session with Rob Rufus as an example). And these are so-called "Spirit men"! - I guess by that definition!

Surely the whole emphasis of "Word and Spirit" is not that one year we pay attention to "Spirit" and the next "Word" like some glorified scale, but that we aim to unite both aspects - both gifts of God - in our teaching, our preaching, our churches, our conferences, our lives.

I am not suggesting that we have nothing to learn from purely men of Reformed traditions, cessationists and other men. God is so awesomely gracious and has so much to bestow and give lavishly to His glorious Bride. I would be scared to miss out on any revelation, any truth by stating I will not receive teaching from a man of God. But the "Glory and Grace" truth - the fact that the grace of God was designed before time began to lead us into His Presence, His MANIFEST Presence - isn't a truth that can sit on the shelf and wait for a year.

So ... Brighton?

I know the immediate question will be; "So you aren't going to Brighton then?". Well I didn't say that and I am not going to say that ... yet. Maybe in past years I would have declared that this would have meant that I wouldn't waste my money. But I have trusted Terry Virgo for some years now and I am intrigued to see what other speakers he will invite to Brighton and what themes, what Training Tracks will be planned. It may be (and I desperately hope it will) that these vital themes of the glory and Presence of God, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, signs of the Kingdom such as healing and signs and wonders and miracles will be taught on at Brighton.

If that's the case then that's encouraging.

But one thing is for sure - Mark Driscoll's presence at Brighton won't guarantee I will be there. I am sure he is very humerous and I am sure he is very macho heterosexual, punch-you-in-the-mouth. But I don't need to sit in a conference for a week in Brighton having booked time off work and money to pay for it to meet someone like that. You can meet people like that down the pub.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rob Rufus Prophecies!!

I posted this on the Rob Rufus blog but just in case you don't have time to read it ...

I mentioned in a recent post that I am trying to listen to a mixture of "fresh bread" and foundational teaching that Rob gave while he has been in Hong Kong. It is really exciting to be able to track such an awesome local church plant and see the priorities of teaching that he felt should be imparted then - and what needs to be taught now. It is also so exciting to see how City Church International have grown. Glenda Rufus mentioned recently how astounded they are that City Church is so dear to so many people across the world and it's definately true. What a people! What an expression of changing the face of Christianity across the world!

So just after the "Grace and Glory" Conference ended, the church met for a prayer meeting and for a "conference debrief" and ended up once more (from the sounds of it) in the glory cloud. During that time of awesome worship that made my hair stand on end - Rob Rufus brought this prophecy. It's electric and I urge you to make the time to listen to the audio message.

Your praises and your prayers and your intercessions are like lightening rods to Me, says God. They are conductors of My glory into the earth realm and I am opening the gates of heaven, I am opening My portals over this city, over this nation, over this administration. I am opening the glory portals – I am opening them from the centre out and from the outer into the centre. I am opening on every front across this centre. I am attracted by your love, I am attracted by your praise, I am attracted by your worship.

You are winsome to Me, you are winsome to Me, you are winsome to Me! For the sake of 50 righteous I will redeem this city – for the sake of 40, for the sake of 30 I will redeem, for the sake of 20 I will redeem this city, for the sake of 10, for the sake of 1 – I will redeem this city! His Name is Jesus – for His sake I will redeem this city. The Spirit of the Lord is coming upon us as the Spirit of glory now to anoint us and empower us and declare and decree that the gates of heaven are opening wide over this city. The Spirit will use us like lightening rods to conduct heaven to the earth realm”.

I must confess when I first heard this prophecy, my inbred legalism kicked in and I found unbelief rising like bile within me. We were always taught in my home church that "the prayers of the righteous man are powerful" and that if we didn't live a holy life of little sin then our prayers would be ineffective. Yet now I am seeing how wrong and full of error that teaching was!

With the foundational teaching of grace that Rob has been so faithfully bringing over the years I see that the acceptance of our prayers have NOTHING to do with what we do or do not do for "there is none righteous - no not one!" .... except the One! And our righteousness is within Him and when God looks at us He sees the blood of the Lamb - the perfect, spotless, sinless Lamb who was slain and ROSE again and our prayers are as acceptable as the Son of God!
How do we react to such awesome, liberating grace teaching? We do not get into the debtors ethic and feel like we must do "something" to repay God. We CANNOT repay God! We respond to such awesome teaching by hearing that prophecy of Rob Rufus's and START PRAYING!! If our prayers are truly like lightening rods then let us start praying and see the storm begin to gather! Let's begin to call on God for the glory cloud - His manifest Presence to descend on our nations, our cities, our churches!

I am not content to simply observe and watch as the gates of heaven open over Hong Kong and over City Church! I rejoice at it, but I want to see the gates of heaven open over Birmingham for I hear the word thunder forth from heaven; "Birmingham is Mine declares the Lord", "London is Mine declares the Lord", "Florida is Mine declares the Lord!", "Canada is Mine declares the Lord!", "The United States is Mine declares the Lord!", "The United Kingdom is Mine declares the Lord!". I want to see glory portals descending so that the word of Scripture is fulfilled;

"ALL the earth WILL be filled with the GLORY of the Lord as the waters cover the SEA!!"

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What Unbelievers REALLY Want from Church

I have been staggered by a range of quotes that I have come across in transcribing Rob Rufus's sermons here. Again and again this theme seems to be coming across that it is not gimmickry that will build God's Church but the Presence and power and the Glory-Cloud of God. Rob was in good company. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones was asked at the end of his life what the ONLY hope for the Christian church was and he gave it in one word; "REVIVAL!". But defenders of the more modern "cultural" approach may argue that non-Christians will get freaked out if all we do is pursue the Glory-Cloud. Not so according to some research Rob Rufus quoted in a recent sermon;

“You know the George Barnea Research went to thousands of non-Christians in America and said, “What would make you go to church?”. They said, “If we could experience God!”. Then they said to pastors that this is the number one thing people are asking for. The pastors got all indignant and said, “We talk about God every Sunday!”. But we are not talking about academic information about God but God Himself coming!".

It's worth considering isn't it when unbelievers themselves are wanting the Presence of God made manifest?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rob Rufus on Newfrontiers

When he was preaching at Church of Christ the King, Brighton just prior to the "Together on a Mission 2007" conference - Rob Rufus said this;

"I believe God has raised up NFI and given you a grace culture and an understanding of the New Covenant for several decades and positioned you to possess the glory that is available in the New Covenant to step into 2007 in the cloud of the glory and stand in the middle of the cloud and radiate miracles effortlessly".

I wonder how the visit of Mark Driscoll to Brighton next year will contribute to continuing to stand in the cloud of the glory and encourage us to pursue and desire and long for moving deeper into the glory and radiating miracles effortlessly?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hallmarks of the Glory Generation by Glenda Rufus

I did post this over on the "Rob Rufus - Grace and Glory!" but I wanted to ensure that this section of Glenda Rufus's gets the maximum readership possible so I am posting it here too.
I wanted to post an incredible series of "hallmarks" that Glenda Rufus preached on what she called the "Glory generation". When I heard her describing it, I could hardly keep my seat because I felt like she was describing my feelings and passions and desires and was saying "It is okay to feel these things". I wonder if I am alone in feeling guilty sometimes for feeling what I do and longing for more of the thing I have heard Rob describe. This section from Glenda's sermon makes it clear - it isn't unusual to feel this and it is perfectly healthy and normal! What an awesome encouragement!

Sunday 31st March - 2007

"What will distinguish between the average person who goes to church and the one who really goes after God? This is what I have written. I believe this generation of people that includes us are people who are not content to worship from afar. You might not be living in this and I am not - but I desire this, I have got a heart after this. God puts these desires into our hearts and they are;

A generation that will not be content to worship God from afar. They want to encounter Him, they want to touch Him, they want to feel Him. They want to be close to Him. They want to be caught up into the glory realm, they want to soar with Him. They don't want to just be down here, they want to soar, climb higher, go further. They don't just want to settle down - these people.

If we can love God like this, then there is nothing God will hold from us. His glory will fall on us. They want the genuine - these people. They want true church, true worship. They want to connect with God. The true purpose of worship is to connect with God, not to connect ourselves with ourselves! It's not about us - it's about Him! It is about meeting God, encountering God.
They don't want to be caged or boxed in. There is so much legalism in the church and the glory generation are breaking out. They are beginning to find each other and say "I am not weird - these are not strange desires! I can know God more intimately!". They want freedom and joy and vastness - they want the unlimitedness of the glory experience. They want liberty! They have a deep hunger for more of God. They don't just want the occasional touch! Wherever they are, they have a deep hunger and nothing else can cover up this hunger. The only thing that will satisfy that hunger is when we connect with God. Only He can satisfy because our hearts are made for Him and Him alone.

We come into Him by the Holy Spirit. It doesn't work like singing 3 fast songs and one slow one and then we are in! The Bible says "Enter His gates" - it isn't just Him coming down but us going up! We can enter in and God can come down! There is no technique - the main thing is a hunger, a heart after God! There is no technique. Sometimes God may say that He wants us to play instruments and dance around the room the whole meeting and He will come. Other times He says come in and be quiet and lie on our faces. There are different ways for God's glory to come.
They are people who make way for God. They have learnt in their private space of intimacy with Him. They have learned the ways of the Spirit - they have learnt to hear God's voice and that only comes through intimacy with Him on a private level. They have been trained by the Holy Spirit and have learned to read what God is doing in these days. I have been in meetings where I know we haven't hit that sweet spot of the Holy Spirit. God is teaching us to read what He is doing.

We need to release control. We have got to be people who are humble. Humility is a very attractive quality. Last year we were in Brighton last year and we were with Terry Virgo and after Bonnie said to me, "Mum that man is so humble and it is such an attractive feature". Humility is such a strong quality of the Holy Spirit and it goes beyond human ability. You can try and claim you are humble but people will very quickly pick up whether it is a performed humility or genuine humility. The Holy Spirit is attracted to genuine humility and it is like a magnet to Him and He says "I want to display My glory to them".

The glory generation want to see and do the acts of God - we don't want to just hear about! I want to see God healing people, I want to heal people. They will be a people who are not afraid of the manifestations of God! God did some strange things in the Bible and He will do strange things in our day. These people will not focus on the strange manifestations but on Him. Gold dust - oil pouring out of people's hands. What's the point? God does it - that is the point! They will be people not afraid of the manifestations!

They are people who want to touch and be intoxicated by the Holy Spirit - they will be addicted to the new wine.

If you read the Song of Solomon and read that - you think that book shouldn't be in the Bible. It is such an intimate book about two lovers and that book is a picture of the kind of relationship that God is wanting to have with His Bride - us the Church! It is not just the Church but with individual people - us - His people. There is such a depth of intimacy that God is wanting to pour out on us.

"I want to know You, I want to experience You, I want to know Your thoughts, I want You to know my thoughts". David had such a wonderful relationship with God and God knew everything about him and David wasn't ashamed!

These people want to be radical - they don't want to be contained. They want to know what God is doing in this hour. They want to be reformers and don't want to be contained by what God did in the past. They aren't status quo - they aren't nice little Christians. They are pioneers! They are area breakers! They are innovators! They are people who will see the prophetic increasing on their lives. It won't just be a nice prophetic word but they will see dates and times and specifics - they are weighty prophecy that will increase over this generation. They will be the modern day Moses, Elijah's, David's, Joshuas! We will be the modern day mighty men and women of God".

So let's get on desiring and longing for the glory to come down upon us! May this become our daily experience - encounters with God!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Could Ern Baxter Have Gone Further?

As I go on transcribing one Rob Rufus sermon after another, I am continually amazed at the continuity between Rob's kingdom preaching and Ern Baxter's kingdom preaching. But my friend Pete asked a vital question in a comment on a previous post of mine;

"I wonder, however, whether Ern Baxter could have gone further".

It made me reflect on this whole concept of progressive revelation. As evangelicals we are very good at looking back at the past (I think) and appreciating and valuing the servants of church history that God has given us. Let me comment on a few. John Owen is one of my favourite Puritans. I brought his Works from my favourite Christian Bookshop on the advice of my senior pastor and love them. But can we claim he had ultimate revelation on all the glories that God has to show us until Jesus Christ returns again?

I fell in love with the teachings of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones when his definitive teaching on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit settled a confusing time in my previous church - and went on to get his Works on Romans and Ephesians and love them. But can we claim that the Doctor had ultimate revelation on Church life for example? Would we want our churches to mirror Westminster Chapel in his day?

The day I fell in love with C H Spurgeon's teaching will be forever remembered in my mind. I had just been blown away by being baptised in the Spirit and read his sermons on Revival. I loved finding a staunch evangelical who was so open to the Holy Spirit. It's my birthday on the 8th December and I hit the grand old age of 30. I've asked for the final few volumes to complete my set of the Metropolitan Tabernacle sermons from my family and hope I get them! I think they will be an absolutely invaluable resource for Bible study but furthermore I hope I will catch something of his zeal and passion for the Holy Spirit. Yet I don't think he is the final authority on fellowship and intimacy and relationship with the Spirit of God.

My point?

I wonder whether there is a difference between pastor/teachers (no matter how famous and renowned they become) and prophetic teachers. I haven't done much research or Bible study on this - these are purely my thoughts and ideas and speculations.

What would I see a prophetic teacher as being? I think it is a man or a woman who is obviously gifted to teach from the Word of God but goes a step further and walks in such close relationship with God through the Holy Spirit that their teaching contains a remarkable prophetic element to it that begins to sketch out the climax of the consumation of the ages.

Isn't that just a glorified fortune teller you ask? No, the Bible uses the word "Seer". That means in essence; "It is not just, however, to speak of the "seers" or "prophets" of Samuel's time as on the level of mere fortune-tellers. What insight or vision they possessed is traced to God's Spirit". I do not profess to be experienced in meeting or hearing many great "Seers" or prophets but I don't think that such prophetic teaching would be about details or events. Before He left the earth Jesus warned His disciples that it was not for them to know the times or the ephochs.

I think prophetic preaching and teaching is more about revealing God's heart and God's passion for seeing the Great Commission to which He has called us to be fulfilled - namely how are we going to see the ends of the earth covered with His glory?

When I was in Hong Kong there was a powerful time of ministry during City Church International's Sunday meeting and while they were praying a lady began to cry out and groan very loudly and very deeply. A trusted prophet interpreted that as an expression of God's heart for China. The lady who was crying and groaning was born in China and her heart is there and through her the Holy Spirit was speaking powerfully. The eyes and heart of God are on China! I know this because I began to react in a strange way whenever someone mentioned "China". I found tears rolling down my face for no apparant reason - and this was every time! I don't think I received any particular call to China physically but a definite sense that China is high on heaven's agenda.

So back to Pete's original question - could Ern Baxter have gone any further? I am sure he could but I want to present some quotes from his series on the "King and His Army" that he preached at the Lakes Bible Week in the UK in 1975. It is probably the most talked-of series particularly in the United Kingdom by men such as Terry Virgo. My friend George Kouri was gracious enough to post it on his website here. But I hope these quotes demonstrate the extraordinary insight that the Holy Spirit granted Ern which I am sure those sitting and listening didn't realise at the time. I wonder whether even Ern realised it! Here they are;

Spiritual Authority Forseen

"God is restoring spiritual authority. Men are rising up across the earth with a dimension of delegated authority imparted to them by the Sovereign Christ of apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic and shepherding power and anointing that is unmistakable for God is bringing in His Kingdom which is not a kingdom run by democratic appointments but run by King Jesus who is Lord of all".

Apostolic Fatherhood Forseen

"I feel that the Spirit of God is saying to me tonight that there are in this tent young people who have that kind of a heart. I’ve already said it to the leaders of this convention that I believe that there are young people here who will be apostles and prophets and evangelists and shepherds in the days that are ahead. There’s openness in some of your countenance. There’s something that comes to me – I feel Kingdom vibrations coming from some of you young people. I believe they are material for the Kingdom. I believe they are material for what God is doing in this hour".

The People of the Anointing Vision

"But they were all over the globe. I said, “Lord, what’s this?”. He said, “I am going to have in every place a people that are known for the anointing and when you travel from place to place you will not ask for My people by this name or that but you will say, ‘Where are the People of the Anointing?’”. Now I was frightened by this and I thought, “I’ve had enough!”. I can understand how some of the Old Testament men felt when they saw an angel. I thought that’s enough – I’m going to sit up. But as I sat up in the pew, it kept coming; “They went out from us because they were not of us. Had they been of us they would have remained with us. But you have an unction from the Holy One. And the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch".

Inevitable Growth Forseen

“Day by day they came to David”. I want to encourage your hearts by saying this. Even now in Ziklag when we are kicked out, lied about, berated and mocked – even now the growth of God is among us and across the earth men are coming into the reality of relationships of the redeemed community. But remember! Don’t stop at Ziklag. Don’t let the better become the enemy of the best".

Non-exclusive Love Forseen

"Beloved have big hearts. If you see some truths you are going to have to stand for them and be driven to Ziklag, but don’t let it touch your spirit. Don’t let it make you bitter. Don’t let it make you retaliate or become exclusive. Don’t let it make you turn people off. All kinds of people around you are hungry – never go by what a man is saying. Many a time when a man is maddest – he is the weakest".

Ultimate Triumph Forseen

"Brothers and sisters I feel that in my spirit tonight that the Spirit of God is saying that the earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, the world and all that dwell therein and He is not going to let this thing wind up with a lot of moral poppers. He is going to have Kings and Princes, men and women whose lives have been changed, whose personalities have been blended into the glorious community of the Redeemer into the very Body of Christ for He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son. I believe in miracles".

Zion - the Glory of the Earth - Forseen

"We are not marching to Ziklag. We are not marching to Hebron. We’re marching to Zion. Have you noticed that throughout the Bible, Zion is God’s ultimate name for His corporate people? We’re on our way to ultimate unity. This is God’s world. This is God’s age. This is God’s plan and purpose. You and I can’t see it now but bless God we are getting a foretaste of it. This stirring in the earth is just the beginning. It’s the committed vanguard coming to the Lordship of Christ at Ziklag and we’re going on to Hebron and then all Israel will come and make covenant with our Lord and then we are going to go on and take the heights of Zion and Jesus Christ will be Lord in very deed and the rod of His strength will go out of Zion and this world will know what it means to have Jesus Christ in lordship over the earth!"

So could Ern Baxter have gone further? I am sure he could but I do believe he faithfully reported what the Spirit revealed to him. I am so excited to see that the same message and theme is coming out through Rob Rufus and through Terry Virgo and Newfrontiers and others like Tyrone Daniel and NCMI - but there is MORE being revealed from heaven. We are dreaming of nations like China which would never have been possible in Ern Baxter's day. The Kingdom of God is marching onwards.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Further New Wine Magazines Available!!

I was excited to note that the Charles Simpson Ministries have made another 2 years of New Wine Magazines available in their archives on their website - from January 1981 to December 1982. These magazines covered the span of several decades and contained prophetic content that wasn't seen before and still isn't seen very much since. While the five men involved - Charles Simpson, Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham and Ern Baxter - were known for more controversial reasons surrounding the Shepherding Movement, they were primarily five extraordinary men with apostolic/prophetic giftings and above all a passion for the glorious Church. That alone makes the New Wine Magazines worth preserving and reading.

New Wine Magazine was a charismatic magazine - in that they believed in the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit for today in church and to be welcomed as manifest - but they did not focus on the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit to the exclusivity of other aspects of church life. Even more theologian S David Moore - the only man to so far objectively chart the Shepherding Movement's history - wrote;

"...essential for an accurate history of the Shepherding movement is a complete collection of New Wine. The magazine published from 1969 through to 1986 was the principal publishing voice of the five teachers and the movement."

It is my hope to build up a catalogue of the huge amount of magazines so that the articles and authors can be accessed more easily and quickly. For now here is a number of magazine articles which Ern Baxter wrote and the topics they deal with as well as the links.

"Discipling the Nations - God will use His prophetic community to speak to the nations" - by Dr Ern Baxter (p4).

"Kingdom Culture - Rediscovering Our Mandate" by Dr Ern Baxter (p14).

"King of Glory - The Cross was only the beginning of Jesus conquest" by Dr Ern Baxter (p28).

"The Holy Spirit" by Dr Ern Baxter (p10).

"50 Year of Ministry - A tribute to Dr Ern Baxter" (p15).

"Before the Throne - An interview with Dr Ern Baxter on Worship" (p20).

So most importantly get to the New Wine Magazine Archive and start reading! Or if your time is limited, then keep your eyes open for the New Wine Magazine catalogue that I will be publishing as soon as possible.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Holy Spirit as Divine Power!!

Following on from a few posts recently - notably my video post of Ern's testimony of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and also Pete Day's latest post; "Gathering the Church God's Way" - I was very interested to come to the following point in Gordon Fee's magisterial "God's Empowering Presence" that I am re-reading for the umpteemth time. What was that point? Namely concerning one of the Holy Spirit's attributes. We are very familiar with discussion of the attributes of God the Father and Son thanks to A W Pink and Stephen Charnock - but I wonder how familiar we are with thinking about the attributes of the Holy Spirit?

Gordon Fee writes (pp906-907);

"The single most notable characteristic of the Spirit of God is His power.

The Spirit is seen as responsible for creation as well as the eschatological renewal of the earth (Isaiah 32:15). The Spirit of God endows mere humans with extraordinary powers, sometimes with physical strength (Judges 14:6), sometimes with skill for working (Exodus 31:4-5, 35:31), sometimes with insight and wisdom (Daniel 5:14) and sometimes for ecstasy (1 Samuel 10:10; 'And the Spirit of God came upon him in power and he joined in their prophesying' - cf. Numbers 11:25, 29, 1 Samuel 19:20, 23-24).

Likewise the Spirit causes the cherubim to move (Ezekiel 1:12, 20), sets Ezekiel on his feet (2:2), lifts him up (3:12, 8:3) or snatches him away (3:14, 1 Kings 18:12, 2 Kings 2:16).

The Spirit of God therefore meant the effective working power of God.

It is probably fair to say that even though the two words (spirit and power) are not coterminous, the presence of the one (spirit) always implies the presence of the other (power)".

Much of the contemporary attempt to marginalise the Holy Spirit involves a lot of teaching and emphasis on the more "quieter" and "non-miraculous" aspects of the Spirit's work. Many former charismatics who are now slightly ashamed of what they call "charismaniacs" also join in the campaign to downplay the power aspects to the Spirit's work and you will hear them speak of the "quieter works of the Spirit". Indeed even Rob Rufus reminded us at Hong Kong that the Spirit of God "hides His power in His Presence" - and of course he is right! But I am intrigued by Gordon Fee's reminder - something that I freely confess I have not thought of completely and totally.

"The single most notable characteristic of the Spirit of God is His power".

Do you need a new ear drum? Or a new eye? Or a new limb? Or a new baby? Or a new lease of life? Or anything else that requires creation? Gordon Fee says;

"The Spirit is seen as responsible for creation".

Are you a lonely senior pastor working endless hours trying to prepare sermons that just won't come together? Facing demands of endless home visits that never seem to end? Dealing with moaning, criticising back-benchers in your church who never seem to be happy?

"The Spirit of God endows mere humans with extraordinary powers, sometimes with physical strength".

Are you in a particular career that requires unusual demands such as a nurse or a doctor or a teacher ... or a mother? Have you just planted into an area of your nation that doesn't seem to be ever capable of producing fruit or seeing conversions?

"The Spirit of God endows ... sometimes with skill for working".

I ask again ... are you a pastor or an apostle or a prophet or evangelist and you feel you are operating out of the sphere of your anointing? Maybe you even feel like a fraud? Did God really call you at all or was it just your imagination? Maybe you see yourself as a "lay-person" and you wonder whether it was all real and whether God did really do what you thought He did? Maybe your dreams and visions never seem like they are going to bear fruit and come to pass? Or maybe you wonder about your church. You called yourself a "charismatic church" but when was the last time you truly heard a prophecy that made you exclaim "God is TRULY among us"?!

"The Holy Spirit endows ... sometimes with skill for working (Exodus 31:4-5, 35:31), sometimes with insight and wisdom (Daniel 5:14) and sometimes for ecstasy".

Yet the wonderous power workings of the Holy Spirit don't even end there! There was so much talk about angels in Hong Kong and yet here Gordon Fee writes;

"Likewise the Spirit causes the cherubim to move (Ezekiel 1:12, 20)".

Let me emphasise again that I do believe Rob Rufus is absolutely right - He "hides His power in His Presence". Our quest is His Presence and His unveiled lovely face. But we cannot deny that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us as people - we WILL receive power "when the Holy Spirit comes upon you". And that power will cause the miraculous to happen in whatever ways that He so desires and so chooses.

Do you need power at the start of another week? Then seek Him. Seek the Holy Spirit - the Promised Paraclete who has been given so freely and so lavishly by the Risen Jesus Christ! For you can guarantee that if He comes upon you today to bless you and to make His Presence known to you then power - supernatural power - will accompany Him.

Gordon Fee said;

"It is probably fair to say that even though the two words (spirit and power) are not coterminous, the presence of the one (spirit) always implies the presence of the other (power)".

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ern Baxter baptized in the Holy Spirit!!

One of the most important aspects to the "Life on Wings" interviews with Dr Ern Baxter that Mark Heath so kindly hosted for me was the very personal insights into one of the greatest prophetic preachers of the last century. The first video covered aspects of Ern's testimony and this video clip that I am posting was his testimony as to how he first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. May this video clip cause many to ask "have I received?". This inheritance is a birthright of every believer as promised in the Word of God! Furthermore it is something to be SEEN and HEARD. If you've received the Holy Spirit in power then people will know.

The transcript of the interview clip is below;

In context he said just previously;

"And it was in that conference that I met God in the dimension of the Holy Spirit and had a dynamic experience on July 2nd at twenty minutes to 4 in the morning and I just had a visitation of God and in the process I clearly heard the Lord speaking in my consciousness which I have always considered to be my call and it was simply this: “I want you to preach My Word”. And that has stood me through 60 years. Because time and again when I had been tempted to go this way or that way or do something I hadn’t been called to do – I remembered the word of this calling: “I want you to preach My Word”.

Then the actual video clip;

"I don’t know maybe 200 or 300 people gathered, but people began to filter off and go off to their cottages and so on because this was a big conference complex. And I was hungry now – I had sort of a desperation because I saw that I was the odd man out. About midnight I thought; “Well I guess this wasn’t for me”.

I’d been in this prayer meeting and so I went to my cabin and it wasn’t far from the auditorium. I threw myself on the top of my bed and as I lay there I heard the sounds of joy coming from the tabernacle. I don’t know how long I lay there but I got up again and went back. There was a young man deeply involved with the Spirit some distance from me and suddenly God put a faith in my heart to get up and go and identify with him. So I got up and went and identified with him. The minute I put my arm around him, God visited me.

And I was filled with holy laughter and this may sound strange to some people but how God acts on people is different. I laughed with a laughter I had never laughed with before. It was holy – it was deep. And then I began to speak with an unknown tongue and I couldn’t stop.

That was at twenty minutes to four in the morning. And for 3 days I lived in the Presence of this life-changing, career-changing moment. I go back to it again and again in especially in times of discouragement. I go back to it and realise the sovereignty of God and the sovereignty of His actions. There I was a few months before facing probable death from tuberculosis and now here I am wrapped up in the might and power of God and not knowing where I’m going but excited and full of joy in the Holy Ghost".

In all our interest (and quite correct interest) in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and our desire to see them flood the Church today, let's not forget this promise of the Risen Christ that He is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit and stands ready and willing to give us this joy unspeakable and full of glory - this encounter with Him!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Preaching that MUST produce Encounters

I recently posted a clip of Rob Rufus speaking to the Mobilise thousands at Brighton in July about the absolute necessity to DAILY encounter God. I am finding that everything I read, everything I hear and everything I look at seems to be pointing towards this need. I must be encountering God! Daily! Therefore I was encouraged to read this quote on Terry Virgo's latest blog post;

"Holy Spirit-inspired preaching brings about an encounter with God that demands a verdict and produces a changed life based on revelation, faith and love, not cold obedience to external rules".

Can we assume then that preaching that doesn't bring about an encounter with God, that doesn't demand a verdict or produce a changed life based on revelation, faith and love ISN'T then Holy-Spirit inspired preaching? I find that quite sobering because then much of the preaching I have heard in my life doesn't really fit that criteria and clearly then hasn't been Holy-Spirit inspired.

Terry goes on to address pastor/teachers and bring them wise fatherly counsel;

"Ultimately, we also are sheep. We need to stay very close to the great shepherd, enjoying His smile, drinking in His lavish grace and being diligent to embrace His disciplines and training and follow His guidance".

I'm not a pastor/teacher but I have heard enough from wise teachers such as Ern Baxter, Terry himself and Rob Rufus to know that personal encounters with God is a priority for any servant of God seeking to serve the people of God. Are you spending more time in prayer and intimacy with God over reading books (as helpful and important as that is)? Are home visits taking priority over times of solitary with God? Even Jesus Himself left the crowds and walked alone with His Father in the mountains.

"No under-shepherd is an end in himself, or has intrinsic superior wisdom".

This reminded me of a key quote of C H Spurgeon's that led me to set up the "Pentecostal/Charismatic Post-it Notes Blog". Spurgeon said;

"The man who never reads will never be read. He who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men's brains proves that he has no brains of his own ... You need to read".

It always intrigues me to look round at conferences and see some sitting with a bored expression on their faces and closed notebooks on their laps. Our God has not only poured out the most lavish expression of grace possible by ripping the veil and making intimacy with Himself possible, but He has provided ascension gifts - apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor/teachers to learn from and be provoked by their relationships with God. None of us have "intrinsic superior wisdom"! Let's always be prepared to be students our entire lives.

I must admit one of the main character traits that make me admire and love men like Ern, Terry and Rob Rufus so much isn't so much their preaching oratory skills (although I do love that) but more their obsessive passion and desire to hunger and seek after the face of God. It is their longing for His Presence that provokes me and stirs me more than anything else.

"Once you hear God’s audible voice in your heart and experience His Presence you will want it again and again. Every day I stand in the Presence of God. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t feel the Presence of God go through me and the glory and tangible Presence go through me like electrical currents. Once you experience it once you know the address of the glory. If I went ONE day without Him I would get so lonely! And I am looking for other addicts!".

Are you prepared to become an addict? Does your preaching fit the criteria of Terry's quote? Does the preaching you hear week by week make you long to encounter God and hungry all week to seek after Him? Does the preaching that you are exposed to week by week bring about a changed life not based on external cold rules but revelation of God's grace and faith in the fact that He loves us so much?

If not ... why not?