This has been an interesting blog post in coming. It started when I was puffing away on the treadmill wishing that the 50 minute mark would come quickly! I was watching the National Television Awards on the television and they gave an award to Simon Cowell got an award for his services to television. I actually found it quite inspiring and found myself wondering as I sweated what qualities he possesses to get to where he did. So that started my brain whirring.
Then today I was in Waterstones (ironically looking at self-help books ... more on that later as to why I've brought Joel Osteen's "Become a Better You"!!) and I happened to notice a small booklet called: "Power List 2008 - 100 Most Influential Black People UK". Out of interest I flipped through it and noticed that two pastors are included in the list - one of which is Matthew Ashimolowo - the senior pastor at the Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) in London. Agree or disagree with his theology, his methods - the fact remains that in a largely secular UK society, a panel of judges decided that he should be included on that list.
I wondered when the list of the 100 Most Influential People comes out - will there be any white pastors included on it? Please don't read anything into that other than what it reads. God is moving mightily among the black churches in the United Kingdom and I LOVE that! I love it when God's moving anywhere. I'm not so sure about other churches - certainly to be included in any lists of influence in the nation. Maybe I stand to be corrected.
It's interesting that my last couple of posts have been about "words". I've thought about the word; "Frustration" and I have thought about "Perspective". And here's the word "Influence". What does it mean?
"... the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command ... the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways".
It's interesting. The men and women I've mentioned - Simon Cowell and Matthew Ashimolowo among others - have come to places of influence and I guess I always assumed they got there through sheer gut and determination. This definition seems to suggest that there is an element of attaining that place by almost accident! Those of us who are Christians and believe in a supernatural God who manifests in time and space can believe differently - that God positions His men and women down throughout the ages to be in places of influence.
Why are you bothering discussing all this, Dan - you may ask? Because my vision - my dream - my heart's desire - is that Jesus Christ should be made famous around the world. From Hong Kong to San Fransisco. From the North Pole to the South Pole. From London to Cape Town. In every town! In every city! In every nation! You get the idea ...
I'm tired of my God being dished! I walked through the religious section in Waterstones and frankly was pretty horrified. As you will see from the photo - the titles of the books aren't very faith inspiring! And I am sick of it. I want church pastors, apostles, prophets and evangelists to start dominating the lists of the 100 Most Influential People. I read that Bishop T D Jakes has the ear of President George Bush. And quite right too! Church leaders should be having the ears of leaders of nations and giving proper advice. That's influence!
Now I may have caused some shock by mentioning that I've brought Joel Osteen's "Become a Better You". I know Osteen is widely condemned by the evangelical front. To be honest I haven't really bothered to find out why. I wanted to read his book for myself. The reason I brought it was because I've made no secret of the fact that I'm really struggling with depression at the moment and some self-harm. There are a multitude of books out there in the "self-help" section that seem very cozy and cuddly. The evangelical choice of books seem remarkably quiet on mental health. But books like Joel Osteen and T D Jakes seem to be different. They are full of vision, passion, hope and destiny! And that's what I need to read right now. I am sure I will post some comments later!
That was an aside to this post. Influence ... I think on reflection it's something that God will give to those who are hungry and who are ready and who are committed for His glory alone. Who's interests are far above themselves and their own personal gain and fulfilment. Who's goals are more than winning awards for their own hard work or for speaking on conference platforms and receiving the applause of men - but who's single-minded focus (a reason I love Rob Rufus so much) is the glory and manifest Presence of God alone sweeping the globe.
That's what I want! Anyone join me?