Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Question God asked Me This Morning ...

I was quite taken aback this morning. I'm expecting a rather rough day of confrontation at work today between myself and the collegue I have mentioned in the past. So when my alarm went off and I hopped out of bed and headed to the bathroom to shave, I was NOT expecting God to speak as He did and ask me what He did. But I am so glad He did!

He reminded me of these two scenes that I have witnessed:

1. From "Together on a Mission 2007":

2. From Eastbourne:

And then He said this:

"Son - if you stood before 5, 000 leaders all lined up and ran down them touching them as Rob did ... what do you think would happen?".

I've learnt now that when God asks a question, it's not because He doesn't know the answer and it's usually to reveal something in my heart. And I've learnt honesty is usually good when answering the King of Kings!! So I said;

"I don't think anything would happen Father".

He replied:

"And why do you think that? Are you any less righteous in My sight than Rob Rufus is? Are you any the less accepted in My sight than Rob Rufus? Is the Holy Spirit that is upon you any less powerful than He is upon Rob Rufus? Am I any the less eager to use you to touch thousands and millions than I am Rob Rufus? Or is it ... that you have received less than Rob Rufus and so have less to give? Or are you more proud than Rob and fear more that nothing will happen than he?".

I was quiet for a moment and still am quiet as I type this. I fear that the Christian world is still stuck in "celebrity status mode". Or Rob would call it "guru mode". And God would have us break OUT of that! God has given many awesome Ephesians 4 Ministries to the Church - and I mean the world-wide church. My heroes are men and women like Rob, Terry Virgo, Dave Holden, Dave Devenish, Julian Adams, Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, Ern Baxter, Larry Tomczak, Charles Simpson, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Sam Storms, Don Carson and many more. But I must admit - because I am guilty of it too - do we come to conferences to hear these men and women (and they ARE just men and women) for answers that God has empowered us for?

I watched desperate people crowding around Rob in Eastbourne and I was so grateful for Graham Marsh reminding us again and again that it is JESUS CHRIST we are coming to - not Rob Rufus. If we go to conferences (and we could even fly to Florida) to go hoping for a miracle touch from a man then we may be sorely disappointed. And if that miracle doesn't "work" then we will blame the man - but if it does work we will praise the man. BUT! If we go to Jesus Christ - the Miracle Maker - and believe that it is His disposition to bless us for no other reason than His love then it's a whole different story.

There aren't enough celebrity men and women in the world to win China's billions or to change the Middle East's millions!! I can't call on a celebrity to come and radically transform the hospice by the power and the glory of God today. The SAME Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is on ME today by pure grace - and through me (and through you) - can change the world TODAY. If ... we will just believe that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and it is His longing and His dispostion to bless us and to save the lost through the Gospel with signs and wonders following!


Peter Day said...

What a vital post. God loves His Son perfectly. He is delighted by His righteousness, and responds to His righteousness. There are no grades in the gift of righteousness God gives to His children. So there is no hindrance to His outpouring of glory upon any believer who will simply believe Him and ask Him!

Don said...

I have another possible question from God:

"Or is it that Rob has faithfully obeyed Me for years, first in total obscurity where he could learn to hear and obey Me without being condemned when he made mistakes or failed?"

I don't think Rob or anyone else gets to the place where he can impart the Spirit with power and boldness, without first being an Elisha who ministers in the seeming mundane. Despite his dramatic call into ministry, Elisha for some time apparently did nothing more than "pour water on the hands of Elijah" (2 Kings 3:11); i.e., he was like a personal valet or simple assistant.

What set Elisha apart was his unending hunger to become like his spiritual father. Today, with the revelation God has given us of His own Father's heart and desire for us to relate to Him rather than men, Elisha's clinging to Elijah might be understood as extreme -- his own "guru mode" -- but Elisha's desire to become everything he could become in God was what set him apart.

If you want to become everything you can become in God -- and one day impart "FIRE" to others -- you will do what Rob has done: give up all idols that compete with God, allow Him to break and rebuild you as a Father trains His son, and be determined to obey and follow Him faithfully in the smallest of things that His Spirit tells you to do.

As you deepen your friendship with Him, he will entrust you with more revelation and power. Ask for the "big" things, but don't despise the "little" things that make up 90% of our ministry to Him.

I've never forgotten Randy Clark telling how his desire to share God's love with others led him out of the spotlight to care for, in Heidi's words, "just one." Randy was the main speaker at a renewal meeting years ago. While Spirit-soaked worship was going on in the auditorium prior to Randy's time to speak and minister (FIRE!), Randy said he was outside in a cold automobile, praying for about an hour for a man to be healed.

There were no cameras or adoring fans in the car -- just Randy, someone needing God's touch, and the Spirit of Jesus who loves this man.

Randy gave up the opportunity to stay warm and soak in God's presence, to worship God instead by obeying the quiet voice and reaching out in love to "just one" who was unknown -- not a leader or an important person in the world's eyes.

This is the kind of listening and obeying that I'm sure Rob Rufus has had to do for God, thousands of times over the past years. While I believe it's not necessary for you to wait many years for the same thing to happen -- essentially disqualifying you from doing anything remarkable today -- I believe you (and I!) need to cultivate the humble, listening heart that will allow us to serve others, in total obscurity if necessary, in order to share the love and mercy of Jesus with "the one" He tells us to reach out to. In doing so, He will test and reveal our heart attitudes, motives, selfishness and selflessness. We will learn how to depend completely on Him, and trust our flesh not at all.

Rob Rufus will likely never visit your hospice, but you are there every workday, carrying "the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead" inside you! Be Jesus to your coworkers and patients, and expect God, at some time, to move in power to resolve relational problems and heal the sick. "Spring up, o well" and water the thirsty through Dan Bowen!

Peter Day said...

I think there is a distinction to be made between anointing and exposure. I believe every believer who is relating to God fully as a New Covenant son, can experience a mighty anointing of God. We are Christ-ians. Followers of the Anointed One. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us!

Anointing isn't earned or achieved through any of our performance, not even a lifetime of obedience can qualify us for the anointing. I don't believe that is New Covenant life. There was a mighty anointing at Corinth, and yet they were disobedient. There was little anointing in Galatia yet they were very obedient to the law, but had fallen away from grace.

At the same time character is very important - not to receive the anointing of God, or even to move in signs and wonders - but for God to bring our anointing into the open. God hones and prepares us. Paul was taken away by God, despite a mighty anointing to preach in Damascus and God prepared him. Joseph was already fully anointed in receiving dreams from God, and yet God took him away and trained him to be a mighty leader. David was anointed by Samuel and it says "the Holy Spirit came upon him from that day" and yet he didn't become king for many years. Even Elisha had Elijah's mantle fall upon him (symbolic of authority and anointing) although the years of training and the hunger to have everything led to the mighty anointing being received and publicly manifested.

So I am fully expectant that God can use any faith-filled, hungry believer in signs and wonders - even there in Dan's hospice. At the same time, all these times are training for even greater things that lie ahead.

And all the time, we are still learning to get old covenant thinking out of our heads and actually believe the truth of the New Covenant, and so press into the realm of the glory - where no flesh, no performance of man can stand.

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks to you both - incredibly helpful comments that clarify a powerful, audible word to me this morning. I can testify to a truly miraculous day (although totally draining - I got home and slept for an hour!) - the particular collegue in question seemed troubled and disturbed every time I came near - and the confrontation I was fearing just didn't happen. I was reminded of Rob Rufus talking about "glory suicide bombers" running into society and BAM letting loose the glory of God!!

The interesting thing about Rob's story and testimony is that it doesn't follow the typical Christian pattern of "preparation in the wilderness" and THEN ministry. You will know of course that Victory Faith Centre and Rob's ministry was visited initially in the early days with signs and wonders and miracles and THEN God removed them and promised they would return when the wineskins of grace were ready.

And Rob himself would say that he's only really cracked the true New Covenant message of grace in the 4 years they have been in Hong Kong.

So I'd agree with Pete - I am not sure that signs and wonders and miracles are a "reward" per se for obedience and commitment. Those whom God has used mightily haven't necessarily been the most obedient or the most picture perfect in our eyes.

Kathryn Kuhlman always said it was HUNGER that God wanted and God could use. And as Pete mentioned the Corinthians excelled in charismatic gifts yet had to remember who they were! I love the fact that Paul never said; "Cut back on the charismatic gifts" as SGM and so many other movements have done. He just urged them to remember they are righteous in Jesus Christ!

So let's never ever make the mistake that the Healing Movement made - and think that charisma means character! BUT - let's also remember that what God wants is hunger and foundation in our righteousness in Jesus Christ!