Thursday, February 21, 2008

The hovering wave

Before Together on a Mission 2007, Dan shared a vision of a tidal wave. During the conference itself, we felt a real sense of the presence of God growing and were looking for wave to hit us powerfully. Our expectation was highest during Rob's final session.

And yet, as some have observed, there did appear to be a holding back of the presence of the Lord right at the end that session. Why? To be completely honest, at the end of his message and during the ministry time, Rob Rufus began to sing a couple of "secular" ditties. I can't remember what they were, but I do remember thinking that this was extremely flippant, and that perhaps Rob had "moved into the flesh" (my thoughts at the time) so the Spirit had been grieved and the tidal wave had withdrawn.

Over the last couple of days, Dan and I have corresponded by e-mail over this issue and we both feel deeply challenged and want to share what we believe the Lord has shown us. Here is my e-mail from last Tuesday:

"There is something I have been thinking over for a few days. During one of the Grace and Glory 2007 sessions they started singing a song that went “I can’t help falling in love with You.”

Now – maybe you are too young to know this (hee hee!!!!), but the lines come from the end of a love song by Elvis Presley!!! A secular song!!! And yet I was totally overwhelmed by it – totally amazing just to declare loves songs to Him!

Then, as I was lying in bed, my mind was taken back to Rob’s final session when we felt touches of the Lord’s glory but then I think we all felt (and others have testified to this) that something was holding back the tidal wave.

At the time I (and I think you agreed, although maybe you were just being polite) attributed it to Rob moving and singing some “secular” ditties. I thought the Spirit had been grieve by a move into the “flesh”. We noticed that some of the Newfrontiers leadership didn’t know what to do when Rob started singing like that, and others were distinctly uncomfortable.

But I think I have had clear revelation over what happened….

Yes, the Holy Spirit was grieved and so held back. But He was not grieved by Rob, but by me and all the others that were thinking in their hearts ‘what is Rob doing, why is he singing songs like that?’ I believe the Spirit was grieved by a subtle legalism that had crept into the hearts of the gathering. WE were offended by this “secular singing”. The Holy Spirit wasn’t. He loves our joy, and freedom. There is nothing “secular” to Him. Some of us (and I include myself in that) had slipped into think that what Rob was doing was wrong, and unrighteous. We had slipped into thinking that this was offensive to God, and that once again He would only come if we were righteous, that the atmosphere was right. And yet He comes because the righteousness of Jesus Christ, not by ANYTHING we have done, not by ANYTHING we sing or any “spiritual” worship. And He is grieved SO MUCH by legalism that even the hint of it upon us caused Him to hold back His fullness. Yes, He WAS there and He DID bless and He DID heal some, but we didn’t see the fullness of the glory, and the breaking forth of the tidal wave as we could have done.

One could question, was Rob wise to sing those songs? I don’t know, maybe?? I think he is so used to living in the glory that sometimes he might forget how sensitive we all are to things that don’t fit with our view of spirituality. I don’t know. But one thing I do know, Rob’s songs did not grieve the Holy Spirit AT ALL.

I am realising more and more how horrible legalism is, and how bound up even charismatics are in religious ideas. Praise God, He is setting us free. More and more. I am seeing legalism everywhere, which is good, because I am learning to run from it. I don’t want there to be a hint of law in me or this church, or anything we do through our publishing ministry.

The tidal wave is still waiting, and it WILL come as we move more and more into grace. I still pray it will hit in Brighton as you saw in your dream, but if the barrier goes up there, the wave WILL find its way ashore. It can travel up the Thames and hit London; it can hit the south coast somewhere else and flood the country. It will come. It will come upon grace-filled and hungry people!!"
Dan responded:

"I wanted Rob to be on top form doctrinally like he was at CCK that Sunday preaching grace and glory. And then he went singing silly songs!! Yet you are so right!! There is total TOTAL freedom in the Holy Spirit and Rob was simply being ... himself!! The foolishness of God unveiled the arrogance in our hearts. Maybe it was a test from God for US - not for him!! The tidal wave was close - so agonizingly close!! And God thought; "Right one final test - let him sing in pure freedom and see what they do" - and I grieve that we all sat and judged Rob and blamed HIM for the backing off of the tidal wave.

"Rob’s songs did not grieve the Holy Spirit AT ALL".

Amen amen amen and right now I feel like we should right to Rob and ask for his forgiveness!! How DARE we sit in judgement on a man of God who has moved into the Presence of God and loves Him with all his heart and moves in signs and wonders that we can't even dream of!? and yet we sit in our righteous doctrinal orthodoxy and think; "Well you wouldn't have seen Ern singing a silly song like that!!". No ... maybe you wouldn't but love Ern as we do - you also didn't see Ern healing the sick like Rob has. FREEDOM at ALL COSTS!!"
Dan and I have already come before the Lord and confessed that we were wrong and we grieved the Holy Spirit. We are not accusing any other person in that meeting - we know what we did and are sharing that.

We want to also publicly apologise for thinking such things concerning Rob's ministry. And we stand with him in praying that he would see, as God promised him, days of unprecedented glory and miracles.


Anonymous said...

May I recommend some excellent resources in your absolutely correct pursuit of humility:

C J's new book on "Humility";

A message by C J on "Deflating the Puffed up Church";

A message by C J on "Enjoying Grace and Detecting Legalism";

A series of messages by C J on "Humility - True Greatness";

And a message by C J on "Interrogating the Legalist Within";

And I know that you have openly disagreed with me on this before but I do insist that one of the best ways to remain humble is to stay at the Cross and never move beyond it and this message is excellent for that;

Christ and Him Crucified;

jul said...

AMEN AMEN AMEN you two!!! This has revelation written all over it. How amazingly gracious the Spirit is with us, that even when we've grieved him unwittingly he shows us and helps us to move more into grace. It's only by living in pure grace that we will be pleasing our father and inviting the Spirit to do mighty things in and through us. I've been thinking about the whole idea of grieving the Spirit a lot lately, I really experienced a tiny bit of his grief near the end of our time in SGM, and it was HORRIBLE. I couldn't sit through a service without feeling like my heart was being ripped out of me and a flood of tears was about to burst out of me at any moment. I wanted to stand up and shout "WHAT'S WRONG HERE!!!!!????" Lately God's reminded me of that and he's been prompting me to ask him why the Spirit was so grieved. And I believe that he's showing me that it was the legalism, specifically self-righteousness, that was so grieving to him. I what you've written here is so in line with what he's been showing me, I love when he's revealing the same truths to so many different people at the same time in different ways.

Thanks so much for sharing this.

Instead of the above recommendations, many of which I've already ingested and still detoxing from, I suggest Rob's message "Self Righteousness vs. The Gift of Righteousness" dec. 9 2007,

And it's so exciting to see that as we humble ouselves more and more, he pours out more and more grace, lol and the more grace he pours out the more we humble ourselves and the more grace he pours out! But true humility is so beautiful, it's a total preoccupation with Jesus, with no guilt, fear, shame, condemnation, fear of man, or depressing introspection...

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks Julie for your most encouraging comments! "Instead of the above recommendations, many of which I've already ingested and still detoxing from" :D ... I love it. While I appreciate Anonymous's more gracious tone, I too have heard all and read all the recommended resources and guess what? I'm still struggling with pride.

I had a thought today that may be of help to some. Recently I was pulled over by the police because they thought my car was stolen, and obviously once they had ascertained that I wasn't drinking and it was indeed my car they cautioned me on my driving (I tend towards speeding). The policemen were very polite and kind but their warning was like a cold shower. It made me honestly look at my driving and see that I was not driving responsibly.

Now in the past I have faced a hefty fine for speeding on the motorway. That fine - that punishment didn't obviously achieve the desired affect. I was merely grumpy that I had been caught by a wretched speed camera. Whereas these two policement confronted me and warned me to watch myself and that warning has indeed totally transformed my driving.

Here's another example; when I was sent to my church's private school, they practiced corporal punishment. They caned "naughty" kids because they believed in "spare the rod and spoil the child". I got the cane 3 times and it didn't do anything for me that I can visibly remember other than make me incredibly bitter towards the deputy headmaster - a man I was convinced had a personal vendatta against me.

But while I was in school I experienced a touch of God after my baptism in water, and my life was totally changed. In a parent/teacher meeting the same deputy headmaster (a very negative legalistic man) said; "I can only describe Daniel's tranformation as a miracle".

My point?

I think those two experiences demonstrate something of the way that Grace can reach through to us in vast superiority over law. The Bible is quite clear that the law can't stop sin. We all know (and most of the world probably knows) that God hates sin and is angry with sinners and hell is their end destination. The sad thing is that most non-Christians actually joke about hell and say they would prefer to go there if heaven is full of legalistic, pietistic Christians.

So if law doesn't change and the threat of punishment doesn't change - then oh the wonderful wonderful grace of God can and does!! Terry Virgo said at Brighton a couple of years ago that it; "is not about breaking laws but breaking a Lover's heart".

This experience for me was the total experience of grace. I have sat most of yesterday undone by the Spirit's conviction that it was MY fault that the Spirit didn't fall on Brighton in glorious power. But I knew His celebrating heart as soon as I fell before Him.

Thanks so much again Julie - it's such an encouragement to read we are not alone in our desires and passion to be more Christ-like!!!!

Peter Day said...

Thank you for your recommendations, Anonymous. It is interesting that Jesus called His disciples to take His yoke upon themselves, for He is meek and lowly of heart, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Humility is so liberating; there is no need to promote self or consider your own reputation. At the same time, the source of true meekness is given in Galatians 5 "For the fruit of the Spirit is... meekness."

So it seems that, according to God's Word, the key to humility is "walk by the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh." I'm still learning that.

Thank you, Jul, for your wonderful encouragement - and your excellent recommendation. Praise the Lord that He is showing us the same things.

James said...

I judged him too :( I laughed along with everyone else but secretly inside I was squirming. This post so challenged me. Maybe we missed a divine appointment of GOd?! Oh forgive us Holy Spirit! Forgive us!

CCK member said...

Yes me too. Thanks for this v v hnest post.