Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Repetitive Worship & the Kingdom of God in Kenya

This morning I reviewed my Spiritual Formation notes for the pastors who are at this conference.

But before that – the worship! Beautiful, God-filled, ridiculously repetitive and thus so very, very memorable and wonderful. The harmonies that are immediately and intuitively broken into...

Al got the old pegs out of the Yamaha FG-180 guitar. (My first acoustic was a Yamaha FG-160.) I brought new strings (Elixers) and slapped them on. I played a guitar improve using DADGAD, and I think the pastors enjoyed it.

I taught about the power (dunamis) and authority (exousia) that is available to us as we dwell attached like a branch to Jesus the Vine. I said that Jesus never prayed for people to be healed but commanded healing. When you have real authority, then all you need to do are things like requesting, demanding, directing. Jesus taight on the power and authority of the Kingdom. And, then, he demonstrated it. I asked if there was a pastor who needed healing. A man raised his hand. He’s had a pain in his throat for a year that has caused him difficulties. I explained to the pastors what I was going to do. I asked for permission to place my hand on his throat. I said, “In Jesus’ name, be healed.” I asked him, “How’s the pain now?” He moved his neck, he gulped several times, looked at me and smiled, “The pain is gone!” Everyone cheered and clapped. I pointed out the obvious (if you think about it): I can’t heal people, but God can. So if a nobody like me is attached to Jesus, his power can flow throw me to heal and deliver. And that’s what happened today.

After this I thought about people who claim to see more healing in places like Africa than they do in the U.S. I feel pretty certain that it could be shown, empirically, that African people have more faith in a God who heals than do people in the U.S. Even among U.S. Christians a whole lot of them don’t think God does this kind of stuff anymore, if ever at all.

We break for coffee and a pastry of some type, not like we have in the U.S. Good!

At the next session I do some teaching on Mark 1, where Jesus goes out to a solitary place and prays. Why did Jesus do that? To find out what the Father wanted him to do. Therefore “prayer” is: talking with God about what we are doing together. I then sent the pastors out for an hour of prayer.

During my prayer time I had this “Aha, I’m in Africa!” moment. While I am looking forward to going home, I will savor each African second to its sweetest and deepest. I’ve sometime not lived in the present, which means I have not lived at all. Only the present is real. Ask Greg Boyd if you think differently.

The pastors returned from their hour of prayer. “Did God speak to you,” I asked. Most raised their hands. “Is there someone who would share what God said to you?” One pastor shared how God called him to repent of his “blood line,” which contained idols and witchcraft and sorcery. A second pastor stood. He said: “Two weeks ago my house burned down. My wife and children were in it. They escaped and are alright. Everything we had was lost, even our precious memorable things. But today as I was praying and meditating on Psalm 23 God told me to look at the suit I was wearing. I then felt how blessed I am, and all that I have. And one day the house will be rebuilt.”

With this I am wiped out. Who am I, anyway, that has worried about not having enough? This man is spiritually beyond me, asymptotically approaching the Real Jesus who, BTW, did not have a roof over his head.