What impressed me, challenged me and irritated me was that the President was less than unashamed to state boldly his belief in God. The Name of God was mentioned in probably the most famous world political forum and it was being broadcast around the world! Except it was the Islamic version of their belief in Who God is and was and what His purposes were for the world. Here's an example from his speech in 2007;
"I will also speak to you about the need for remedying the present situation, prospects for a brighter and a more hopeful future, and about the appearance of the sublime and beauty, compassion and generosity, justice and blossoming of all the God-given human talents and the prominence of faith in God and realization of the promise of God".
Here's the thoughts that bothered me. When will the Name of God - the God we believe in - be shouted from the rooftops? We sing; "You are the Lord - the Famous One!" - but is He? And more importantly when will He become famous? Correction - when will He become more famous than He is already? When will He become so famous that the Scripture becomes true - the glory of God has covered the earth as the waters cover the sea?
I realise that many more have perhaps thrown the Florida Outpouring out the window since Todd Bentley's news spread. For example I was disappointed to read R T Kendall's dismissal of Lakeland - mind you, he similarly dismissed Toronto didn't he? But I still persist in maintaining that something HAPPENED in Lakeland. We saw something - we got a taste of something that God means to continue. Here's a video clip of when the Outpouring was meeting in the stadium - and I still get a thrill to see an 11 year old boy climb out of his wheelchair for the first time - AND give God the glory for it.
And I know what some Anonymous commentators may say - where's the proof, where's the doctors reports, where's the evidence blah, blah, blah. Yere - but what's better to be in danger of deception or to be so discerning that you risk never receiving something from God? I know the answer - we shouldn't have to choose. We should be so balanced that we recognise a genuine move of God. The problem that I'm considering is that the best way to become acquainted with the genuine supernatural of God is to actually experience it. And how can we ever experience it if we are so discerning that we never allow it into our lives or our churches?
I've grappled every now and then with the concern that Rob Rufus and the guys in Hong Kong go on too much about the supernatural. I think that song I heard Covenant Life Church perform while I was in SGM was to blame for that - the one that went something like; "Holy God in love became perfect something to bear my pain on the Cross He took my shame by His something I live again" (sorry my memory has faded although we sung it endlessly in Bristol). There's nothing wrong with the song. What I objected to was the sketch in which they seemed to mock other perspectives on the Kingdom of God such as His dominion or His healing power ("I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it"). The impression was given that if you didn't build your entire theology around this salvific motif then you were to be mocked.
That being said I actually DO believe that the Gospel is the central focus of Christianity - of course it has to be! But I don't believe it should be limited to what that song made it. Rob Rufus highlighted that error - making it all about the gospel of salvation rather than the gospel of the kingdom which INCLUDES salvation. That distinction was vitally important for me! And once I grasped it in Hong Kong - I could see that it is through demonstrations of His power verifying the Gospel that His fame really will sweep across this planet.
When will the Name of God be spoken of at the United Nations? Hasten the day Lord!