Wednesday, September 24, 2008

God Spoken About at the United Nations!!

Like Lydia, I'm not really a politics sort of person. I guess if tied down I would say I'm mildly conservative but drift towards Labour - mainly due to my nursing career. (Labour = socialism for my non-UK friends!). However I was setting myself a hour hour run on the treadmill at the gym last night and I was intrigued to see that the President of Iran - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - was speaking at the United Nations and the newscasters premised the speech by saying it would be controversial. And that it was according to what I read on the translators. However that's not the purpose of my post.

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!


jul said...

love and death, I think...I always thought it was to incomplete to bear the name 'gospel song', I think I wrote a post about it a long long time ago when I was still in but groggily rubbing my eyes as God had begun the somewhat slow process of trying to wake me up!

As far as deception, those who arrogantly turn their nose up at anything powerful or supernatural are living in a perpetual state of deception, a deception far worse than those who lack discernment at times in the midst of the glorious workings of God.

And you can run for a whole hour??? I can only do 1/2 of a mixture of walk/jog/run...I hope you're eating enough to make up for all that crazy cardio!

Dan Bowen said...

Oh yere!! Right now I am sure that my mother is gasping in horror that I could forget ... if she read my blog that is!

I know it's incredible - when you speak about the whole wake up process isn't it. One of the things that intrigues me and somewhat disturbs me is that I was only in SGM for 2 years. Why is it taking so long to get some of the things out of my system that I never thought were even in? Like having to think through and accept that what Rob Rufus is preaching is NOT just peripheral but central to the Gospel of the KINGDOM!!

Am I eating enough!? Ah well ... when I'm having a naughty day - no. Because it increases my hope of getting that totally flat stomach! But usually when I am having a good day, then yes I eat enough. One of my FAILINGS (which I gave into this morning) was a McDonalds Sausage and Egg McMuffin with a hash brown for breakfast. I hope that you ladies can offer that when I come to the USA and Canada on my grand tour!!

jul said...

On occasion I too fall prey to MacDonald's, usually when I'm in a hurry and the kids are begging. Yes, we can offer it, but I can also offer much better, healthier, tastier and more fulfilling breakfasts! So when is this grand tour? I can't wait! And are you going to make it to Grace and Glory HK '09 for sure? We're going to try to make it.

janelle said...

Here's song...

"Holy God in love became
Perfect man to bear my blame.
On the cross He took my sin
By His death I live again."

I don't see how this mocks other persectives...EVERY single song written doesn't have to touch on EVERY single subject of the Gospel, does it? This one celebrates the central aspect of the Gospel, the cross. Other songs touch on the kingdom (Bob Kauflins "let your kingdome come" or Paul Baloche's "the kingdom of God" and there is this other one from someone outside SGM called "I am calling for a flood" can't think of his name off the top of my head) , or the supernatural (Mark Altrogge's "We serve a God of power") yet neither of those two mention the cross.

lydia joy said...

If you really do come to USA, and ever visit Philadelphia, I can offer you much better than McD's, but if it's McD's you like McD's you shall have, just as long as we can go disco dancing!!! Ha!

And for those abs.......ah lucky you haven't had 4 kids, anyway, Rebounding that is the ticket, just ask Julie..!!

As for the gospel song, they should just change it's doesn't represent the gospel well enough to be called the gospel song!!!

jul said...

Yeah you should see my abs, so tight, underneath that is.

Janelle, I don't think Dan was talking about the song itself mocking other perspectives, he was talking about the skit done at cov life a few years back (I saw it too) which used the gospel song as it's theme. I think the point the skit was trying to make was that many christians go off on tangents and lose perspective that the gospel, Jesus, is central to everything. I think for me, the problem comes in SGM's version of 'the gospel'. I'll let Dan speak for himself!

Honestly, I didn't have a problem with the skit when I saw it, however, I was still a dedicated member of SGM at the time. I don't remember it well enough to say whether I'd have an issue with it now or not, but I do remember it being funny.

I still like the song as well, I just don't think it encapsulates the gospel as well as it should considering it's called the gospel song. I've been listening to some of my old PDI/SGM worship music again lately, and still love most of it! Haven't heard any of the more recent stuff, anything from the last year or two, but there are some amazing song writers (and obviously some amazing songs!)several whom I've met and still think the world of, coming out. I just wish more SGM people were living in the joy and freedom that many of those songs talk about...

I hope you don't feel that I'm judging or condemning anyone by saying that, it's simply me stating what seems obvious in light of what I've personally experienced, and what I personally ingested over my years there, through many many hours of reading, listening, and absorbing teaching from different SGM resources or SGM recommended resources. I love, love, love you, consider you a sister, and am often worried I may offend you! I really appreciate you wanting to dialogue with a few of us bloggers who 'defected' hehe. I really sense your love and humility in it all, while you're also fiery, passionate, and honest at the same time.

Sheila said...

Socialism, Dan? :-)) Surely you know that the Lord is a political conservative!

::she says, chortling::

Ahem. I am joking. But I *do* choose to look the other way, when it comes to your politics. ACK! And I also think THAT concept(somewhat) addresses the crux of our inter-denominational, interpersonal dealings. The concept of looking the other way, on non-essentials, can solve a lot of problems.

Your politics are not a central theme of our (virtual, but real enough) friendship. I can shrug my shoulders and smile about it.

And I just had McDonald's today. I've had four kids, and I'm past caring about a totally flat stomach, though I'm vain as can be about losing just ten pounds, and about moisturizing my face. (I'm such a sucker for fancy creams...)

Well, I'm also a clothes hound. But you can look the other way on that one...or look at my dress and say, "GREAT outfit!"

I agree with you, the Cross of Christ is a central theme. I also agree with you that salvation means SO MUCH MORE than some songs infer.

I'm slow to get "up to speed" with the various histories, hurts, and backgrounds of those of you who are former SGM people. My pastor-husband has enlightened me to a limited extent, about the rather legalistic and harsh treatment *some* in that stream have received...some, not all. Obviously there are many who feel very blessed and benefitted spiritually by their SGM covering.

Gah. I'm gabbing. THE POINT is that if we are to love our enemies, we can certainly love each other, and look the other way on a few non-essentials.

If the SGM stream isn't that into the supernatural, I'll take theirs. If they are uncomfortable with a few unsubstantiated miracles, I'll take theirs, and deal with the consequences.

It is possible to esteem others as better than ourselves, when we choose to compare our weaknesses with someone else's strength. Our human nature, however, tends to think everyone should be strong where we are strong, and believe exactly what we believe.

But when I compare my weaknesses to my brother's strength....ah, then it becomes easy to highly, and sincerely, esteem him as better than myself.

Thus, on the whole, I am happy to hand out awards. "You are the QUEEN of the Grace Message!"

"Brother, I *love* how you love the Lord!"

"I wish I could have your passion!"

I'm also okay with being snubbed. If someone seems to think less of me, I go merrily on my way, happy as a clam...most of the time. In my mind, I am totally likeable and lovable, and you have to be a hatchet-face to snub me. Or you have to have something to prove. Poor you. ACK!

If I attempt to snub someone, or make it a point to correct them on something inconsequential, then it is "I" who have something to prove.

I have to ask myself: "Who the heck CARES? Am I really that important?"

Nah. On my better days, I'm not so important as to be compelled to assert myself unless I'm defending someone else.

I'm far too sanguine to defend my opinions on non essentials. I know in Whom I have believed. Take my hand...or not. I am moving on. I'll offer my opinions...but I'd much rather find common ground, and give others a trophy for their strengths, than fight with them.

But I'll still take any manifestation of the Presence of God that any person, or stream of churches, or denomination is uncomfortable with.

And please "super size it". I want a VERY fat soul.

janelle said...

Sorry I haven't answered all your comments yet!!! Julie, I'm very glad that I know you, albeit over the internet! You guys are awesome, and I feel that I know where you are coming from so it would take a lot for one of you to offend me:-)

Dan, I came off passionate, and I'm sorry that you thought I was offended. No harm meant:-D

My point was this: The central theme of the Gospel is the cross. I'm positive we would all agree on that. Where I think the problem comes is that we, as a global church, try to add onto the Gospel where it doesn't need to be added. I'm guilty of that, more times than I like to think about.

The whole point of the skit was that we need to return to the simplicity that the Gospel offers. Were all those things that they were singing about bad things? NO! All those things were good, but they were all taking the place that only the Cross can take: the center of the Gospel. If I remember correctly, some were singing of church planting, some were singing of accountability, some were singing of serving...all of those pushing for the center so that eventually everyone was shouting to be heard. All the while, the simple verse speaking of the real center.

The other aspects of the Gospel are not inferior, they are just not the center. It's like saying that the planets in our solar system are not inferior to the sun. It's true, their not, it's just that the sun is the center that all rotate around. The analogy is probably bad :-) but you get what I'm saying...hopefully! You guys are all awesome.