I think I am going to be saying that for some time to come! I still can't quite believe "Together on a Mission" is over. Loving the new "Newfrontiers" website by the way! I am not quite sure what is the best way to present my own personal report from the conference. There are some very influential bloggers out there who are presenting their impressive notes of the sessions and they are of course a MUST-visit! Adrian W and Andrew F are the two key ones. Anything you want to know will probably be there and if it isn't then they can direct you where to look! Plus Adrian managed to get an interview with Rob Rufus that I cannot wait to listen to! That's available here for us Rob Rufus fans!
Mark Heath made one negative comment on his blog about Rob's ministry on the day Mark was there that I wanted to comment on but he has disabled comments on that post. Mark wrote;
"While I don't doubt that there were many great miracles, I felt uneasy with some of his stories, especially one involving the miraculous teleporting of jewelry, as it seemed to have the characteristics of an urban legend".
A couple of things came to my mind. Firstly it seems to me that the acid test to any manifestation of spiritual power is this - does it glorify and exalt the risen Lord Jesus Christ? For a demonic counterfeit won't and can't do that. Rob Rufus was very clear that these miraculous transportations did indeed glorify Christ and often resulted in conversions or changed lives to His glory. Secondly I am sure Mark will agree with me that men of our generation have seen very little of the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit in our generation. Just because we have not seen something before or heard of something before doesn't make it counterfeit or of the devil. It is interesting that Mark was uneasy because he knew of an urban legend that resembled what was being told. Rob reminded us that the devil will always seek to counterfeit what God can do - take the magicians in Pharoh's court. Thirdly Rob said again and again that what we should be seeking is the Presence of God and Him and Him alone - NOT the power for itself. It seems to me that if we are humbly seeking the Presence of God and walking in the Spirit in miracle faith then it would be somewhat odd for the devil to be able to slip in a counterfeit miracle and we as believers most certainly should not live in fear of the counterfeit. Fourthly the theme of Rob's messages seemed to be faith. Again and again what he was praying for in us was not miracles in and of themselves but faith to step out in them. I am sure if Mark would feel uneasy with miraculous teleporting he will not be given the charisma of doing so!
Mark said that he has yet to hear Rob Rufus speak on grace. I recommend this message from CCK, Brighton to him when I was there on the Sunday morning - because that seemed to me to be a statement of his entire ministry. Once you understand that Rob's entire passion is the grace of God, accounts of miracles he has seen or been involved in fit into context somewhat.
Having said all of that I felt that because their summaries are so good and also the awesome news that the sessions will be available free online here - I am not sure I really see the point in transcribing all my notes in full. So I am going to take a slightly different approach and hopefully it will be interesting and encouraging for some. Julie gave me the idea actually in a comment on Pete's blog. She said that she found personal testimonies as helpful as the sermon notes themselves - so I will present brief summaries of the sessions where not already covered but focus on what God said to me through it and what I'm going to do with it.
Furthermore throughout the conference I have been marking out outstanding quotes that should be remembered and may be used in other settings. I've spent tonight typing them up online and they are made available here on my quotes blog. Here are a couple of my favourites;
"We want meetings that are biblical. Meetings without the dynamic gifts of the Holy Spirit (however lively) should concern us" - Dave Holden.
"What is the mission God has called us to? It is; "All the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!" - Dave Devenish.
"Church is boring without the gifts of the Holy Spirit! No - correct that. Church is boring without the Holy Spirit!" - Julian Adams.
"The doctrine of faith will make you academic but the Spirit of faith will cause you to rip holes in roofs" - Rob Rufus.
I hope that gives a flavour of the passion and anointing of the material that was being imparted! So those quotes are all there - do use them freely! Also Scott and I kept a record of exactly what happened in the times of outstanding worship - the songs that we sang and the gifts of the Spirit that were manifested from the platform. We will be publishing that on the Worship blog. There were a couple of sessions that we missed. Two were when we were profoundly touched by the Holy Spirit and couldn't and wouldn't break concentration on God! The other was the last session in the overflow.
So all that to come! I must go to bed - Sunday tomorrow and I am so excited about church! Julian Adams prophesied some big stuff is going to break out in Birmingham! I want to be ready!