The Tabernacle

Creating 'spaces' to experience the presence of God

I made a friend today

July 8th, 2008

Today I met with a guy from Sudan. It is a long story but suffice to say that while we were meeting with a mature Christian couple a few days before coming over here to Adelaide, they told us that they kept on getting the word ”Sudanese”. Then when we asked some other people to pray about anyone that they thought we should catch up with while here, the no1 person on their list was Sudanese.

So I was at the Central Markets waiting to meet Bco, thinking ‘Why again am I here and what are we going to talk about?’. Well what a wonderful time we had together, just sharing about God and how good He is. Being from Africa he was of course a lot more aware of and intelligent about the spiritual realm. His experience of God began before he had any access to the Scriptures. God actually showed up and met with Bco and Bco saw His hands. Wow what a great experience and so God!

I felt strongly to welcome Bco to Australia in the Spirit, to welcome him, his spirit and his message to the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit. This was powerful and such fun to do.

Then we began to talk of some of the differences of western culture and the influence of the European Greek spirit. Bco told me that he went to Theological college here and that at the beginning of the very first lecture he was told that the Bible was NOT the Word of God, and that no one should ever quote it as it will ALWAYS be out of context. My heart sank, my Wycliffe heritage cried, “Oh what a curse and confusion.” We talked of the intellectualisation of Christianity, of how God is dissected, studied and explained. You cannot explain God! He is beyond explanation; we talked about how a Hebrew mindset says God “WoW!” They won’t even speak out His name, let alone dissect their King and try to reduce Him to a set of bullet points. God is to be Worshipped. God is to be adored. God is to be wondered at, and we in humility need to know that we cannot reduce and explain God. God is Love, yet it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. We cannot and should not ever think that our intellect is anywhere near capable of comprehending, let alone explaining God. After I settled down a bit, Bco went onto tell me how he had spoken out his testimony of how God met him, and how this was also rejected. It was spoken out ‘that could NEVER happen here in Australia.’ I instantly rejected the curse and invited God to do whatever He wished in this His land. How I hate unbelief.

Australia has been given a beautiful gift. Bco is has come here with his family, he loves God, he knows God and his faith is real and alive. I was ashamed that Australia had offered him so little, that the Great South land of the Holy Spirit had tried to quench his spirit and told him that only intellectual knowledge of God had any value, how my heart cried. We have so much to learn from our friends from the East and from First nations people. They have a way that they view and understand God and His word, that we need. ‘Lord humble us please that we can receive from people like this and stop thinking that we have all of the answers.’

Bco smiled at me at the end of our time and he said to me “they cannot take my Faith or my experience of God away from me, it is inside me. It is mine, they cannot take that.” I was elated to hear this from him yet also so very saddened to be made painfully aware once again of the intellectualisation of Christianity, and the depth of it in Christian colleges. The West has so swallowed the Greek spirit and the Greek approach at the expense of the Hebrewness of Christianity. ‘God please restore to us the beauty and the mystery of your name, the Glory of knowing how superior and ‘above’ that you are. Please forgive us our pride and worship of our minds that wants to come over you and understand you, to explain you. Lord save us from ourselves, humble us I pray in Jesus name.’

Mark Goatley

*There is a difference between using our minds to pursue and to love God, and our pride and self importance taking over. Instead of humbling ourselves to The Superior Creator, we can make ourselves superior, humbling ourselves to nothing at all. Matthew 22:37 “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ ” I would submit that loving God with your mind means, yes chasing after God with your intelect but also surrendering it also to your King. To love someone with something is not to lord it over them.

The Mystery, the unknowness and unpredictabilty of God is very attractive to me.

Mark

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