I indulged myself in two books from the St Andrews Christian bookshop the other day because I found that I was re-reading some of my favourites again for the third time this month! So I brought Heidi and Rolland Baker's "The Hungry Always Get Fed" and Bill Johnson's; "The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind". I was reading Heidi and Rolland Baker's book last night and was really impressed with a concept that I had thought of before but had never really conceptualised. It was this;
"The power of God, the Presence of God, the multiplication of the Gospel is as simple as this; a physical demonstration of the love of God. We have overcomplicated our message, thinking we were being wise. We have analyzed the Gospel to death until it doesn't work anymore! We have made it so intensely difficult to understand that we have theologized, theorized and strategized ourselves into a corner. We have not understood that the Gospel is as simple as this; love, love, love, love love!".
I must admit the first time I really came across the word "Gospel" was when I attended Birmingham University Evangelical Christian Union. It wasn't that Stanley Jebb's lifetime of ministry at my home church didn't preach the Gospel - of course he did. It was just that the word "Gospel" became prominent in that ecumenical environment. And I must admit it became prominent and abused. For example, the "Gospel" was used as the excuse as to why the President wouldn't allow the wonderful song "Let Your Glory Fall" to be sung at CU meetings! It cannot be denied that the apostle Paul uses the word "Gospel" with power quite a bit.
And it is in Third World countries that power of the Gospel is being demonstrated and seen. To me the problem we face in the UK, Europe and the America's is simple and Heidi and Rolland Baker spoke of it here;
"We realize we are in a different place. This is not church as usual! The people will not be denied. They cannot passively wait on God. In their extremity they know Jesus is their only hope. They can do only one thing; cry out with every ounce of life remaining in their souls. Existence in this world has been so cruel to these people that they don't look for relief anywhere but the Creator and Redeemer Himself. Without any effort on our part ... we watch the Holy Spirit release these hearts passionately reaching out for life ....".
As I was walking back to my car I reflected on that lack of need for God being THE problem. Why is it that I cannot remember the last time that God manifestly intervened in my life in signs, wonders and power with a demonstration of His awesome authority? Yes - I have spoken about dreams a bit here - but the Word of God doesn't limit our living the Gospel to just dreams! There's so much more! I walk among sick children every night and have yet to see them begin to be healed from my touch! But there's a few questions that we Westerners MUST ask ourselves;
Are we "church as usual"? Will we be denied the power of God? Will nothing else do or do we recline back on God's sovereignity and shrug our shoulders and leave it for another generation? Can we really passively wait on God? Or will we kick in the very gates of heaven to move His hand?
I love one comment in their book. To speak that way is often to mistakenly make God out to be passive Himself and a reluctant provider for His people - but that isn't so! God is so much more passionate that we can ever dream of being! Listen to this;
"The Holy Spirit is emotional and passionate and often very physical. He is intense, burning up with love, anxious to break out and overcome people with supernatural life. He knows how to respond to each persons cries and how each needs to be loved ... The Gospel is about passion. Do you understand that when you are a passionate lover of God, He will do anything for you?".
May that be our attitude this weekend! Nothing less than the very most of God will do!