Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Awesome Blessings from Hong Kong!!

Most who know me will know that I tend to go on quite a bit about what I am currently passionate about. Some call it flighty. Others suggest it at least avoids the error of lukewarmness! However on my recent Easter visit back to Bristol my parents commented that I don't talk as much about Hong Kong and City Church as much as I used to. This was true. Last year was a pretty terrible year and part of that was a series of disappointments with Hong Kong that I don't need to go into. But Pete Day and I spoke about this when we met recently and agreed that we CANNOT allow our personal disappointments to stop us from receiving the downloads of glory teaching that come from City Church International and Rob and Ryan Rufus in particular.

So recently I have been working slowly but surely to get back into listening to the sermons and also start transcribing again. And WHAT a blessing it is! I've only transcribed two sermons this year so far - Rob Rufus on; "Imperfect Faith Can STILL Bring You Face to Face with Jesus!" and have just finished today an incredible sermon by Ryan Rufus called; "Activating the Prophetic". It is this sermon I particularly want to draw attention to because I learned so much from it.

Ryan split the sermon between some teaching on the prophetic - and then moved into actually prophesying. He said that it was only in the "demonstration of the prophetic" that more prophetic activity would be birthed. I must confess he had a point - I've heard countless academic sermons on the prophetic by men such as Sam Storms or Wayne Grudem. But hearing someone prophesy is incredibly stirring - that's why I love hearing Terry Virgo or John Groves prophesy so much.

Ryan taught that prophecy brings edification, exhortation and comfort.

"Edify – that is what the prophetic does. “Edify” means “House” and “To build”. Or to “build the house of God”. The prophetic word is to build the house of God. It speaks mainly about the present. Edifying is building up the house of God in the now.

Exhort – which is “one side” and “a calling to”. To exhort someone and come alongside them and is prospective – for the future. To put courage and strength in someone for the future.

Comfort – is the same word as exhort but is in retrospect. For trials experienced and the prophetic can bring comfort to them. It takes away pain and grief and brings explanation and strengthens those people.

The prophetic therefore speaks to the past, present and future".

Essentially the key thing about the prophetic is that when we prophesy the words of God - we are actually speaking CREATIVE words of life! Ryan spoke about how actually vital it is to prophesy over our own lives in private in our secret places - and Rob Rufus (who got up to speak briefly after Ryan) said the same thing - that Rob manages to survive demonic oppression and turmoil by prophesying truth and creative power over his life. I was so challenged - I think in our evangelical desire to be "decent and in order" - we haven't tested the full power of the prophetic gift to it's fullest. Why else would Paul the apostle COMMAND us in the New Testament to desire spiritual gifts ESPECIALLY prophecy?

As I mentioned Rob Rufus got up to speak briefly after Ryan - and ended up prophecying. And while typing and listening - I experienced yet again one of "those" moments when 1 Corinthians 14 was fulfilled and the "secrets of my heart" were exposed. Here's what Rob prophecied;

"I have a word of prophecy for someone here today; you have become cynical and sceptical and you feel it is normal and acceptable because of legalism in your past and the religious church world that you have rejected. You don’t almost feel that church is relevant anymore and so you are sceptical and cynical. And the Lord says in a loving way; “You feel this is okay because the religious world and legalism is so bad that you now can live cynically about church”.

The Lord says; “The reason you are cynical is not because of the religious world – it is because you don’t believe totally the gospel of pure grace. Those that believe the truth are set free by the truth and people who understand that the church of Jesus Christ is very precious to Jesus – even if she’s got problems, even if she’s got the law there still, even if she has bondages – she is PRECIOUS to Jesus”. And the criticism of His church and His body is not the truth and the Lord breaks off you this day – that cynical spirit and releases unto you a spirit of faith to believe the true gospel of grace and to love the body of Christ in ALL the church throughout the WHOLE world!”.

I admit freely I have struggled with cynicism towards the church (and Sovereign Grace Ministries churches in particular) thanks to my experiences in Bristol. But this prophetic word undid me and exposed what I have been doing. I have defended my cynicism and suspicion thanks to that unpleasant experience with those SGM church leaders - but actually the issue is - I DON'T believe the gospel of pure grace properly! The church - the whole church - every part of it (yes including those belonging to C J Mahaney and Mark Driscoll) are part of the beloved Bride of Christ and will be part of the end-time glorious church!
I am so thankful for the true prophetic word that reveals your heart! It does so lovingly and without judgement and truly and definately sets free! I really urge everyone who shares an interest in the prophetic to read this sermon transcript from Ryan.

1 comment:

jul said...

Wow Dan, thanks for sharing that. I think that prophetic word can speak to many of us who've had terrible experiences in the church with legalism. But at the bottom of those feeling (for me anyway) is really fear, which is, unbelief. I am so afraid to get tangled up in any legalism ever again! Though I refuse to sit under that teaching (which is legitimate I think) I don't fully believe it's possible to have church without legalism! Even if we start it ourselves!!! I'm truly nervous about starting church, afraid it will turn into legalism, control, and/or a dead system that is meaningless spiritually. City Church has been an amazing encouragement to me in all this. Though I know they aren't perfect and I don't agree with everything that's ever taught, I would be part of them in a heartbeat. It's perhaps the only church in the world at the moment I can honestly say that about...not because there are no others but because I haven't been there yet! So once again, you're not alone! We're all on this journey together.