The Specials, The Madness
When I survey my life as a Christian one thing that I observe from my experience is how easy it is to become a special events and conference junkie. Both as a punter and as a ‘pastor’ the big event was something to encourage the spirit and the being to keep on going. It was a good excuse to actually be part of a crowd if like myself you came from a small ‘fellowship’. It was often the tonic and just what I needed (or so the adverts and speakers told me). Time to sing my heart out and learn new songs. Time to hear world famous speakers and world changers who have been a success in something like growing a church from 0 to a million in a day, or from a church that now has a move of God where the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully and I can come and get it for myself and take it home. Motivational speakers that tell me I can do what they have done. Meet hungry people just like me and build an atmosphere of faith where anything can happen. We’ll have a great time because all the problem people are at home who have no faith for anything. Time to get away with the Lord. Spend our hard earned money on the latest resources, the speakers books and CD’s, the musicians latest worship CD’s, the this is how to become the best church/person/leader seminar on tape, recorded so we can take a bit of the conference home and spread the word. Fill up enough to keep us going until the next event or conference. Travel miles to hear our favorites, even get on planes to the other side of the world to get a word or a touch. Madness? Well you think and then decide.
Confession-I am a recovering event junkie
From the age of 15 when I became a Christian I was introduced by my ‘pastor’ to the events and conference scene. I loved it. Coming from a ‘church’of about 35-50 people, many moaners and complainers, it was a great opportunity to be exposed to different styles of teaching and worship. The Assemblies of God conference was my first fix and from there I was an addict. I can still remember many of those early messages, some of them life changing. Those altar calls were brilliant. I have re, re, re, re, re, ,recommitted my life to the cause many times. Responded to more of the Spirit, going to the Nations, taking an extra step, becoming a youth worker, worshipper, servant, leader, sorted out my besetting sins and stood on the devils head. No wonder I am such an amazing Christian!!! I had the faith levels to receive it all. Then came Grapevine where I was exposed to Gerald Coates. I followed him everywhere I could. I loved the controversy. Plus he gave words of knowledge and prophecy. Now I wanted to see anyone who was prophetic where I might get a Word to tell me what my life was going to pan out like. Went off to Bible college and went to a few gigs when big speakers were around, and then we had specials where big speakers would come and speak on a Wednesday night. We were going to take the world by storm. If I ever felt dry there was always a special where I could find an oasis. I was learning ready for when I would become a ‘pastor’, make sure you have some specials. Events are good. Expose the people to world changing ministries.
Build a platform
Then came the Toronto blessing. Bit far to go with little money, so in my lack of faith I only went as far as Sunderland for their refreshing. But what conferences they put on. And all those wild prophets and fire of God people!!! More books, more money spent on travel. I was getting in debt supporting my habit but hey I was getting blessed and investing in my future as a successful blessed Christian. After all if I got this it would answer everything, that is what the speakers and hosts would tell me. It was great to get carried away into a frenzy along with the crowd. Build that revival atmosphere. These names started coming into Wales then, fire conferences everywhere. We were becoming Holy Spirit arsonists. These people even came to Tonyrefail. Amazing events where the elite got it but the religious would complain about the wild behaviour, the prophetic, the falling over, the drunken behavior. If only they would open their eyes and become a junkie like me. Then I made it, I was asked to speak at a conference. To be one of the platform people. Wow I had made it. Now I was not just the junkie I was a supplier. Got my name on a few posters. I could make new junkies out of these punters. I had made it….
My personal Babel.
Then I started speaking a different language to my fellow suppliers. My name no longer appeared on posters, I was no longer invited to the big events. It was like almost overnight I started walking a different path, not in the spotlight but in the margins. How quickly you are forgotten and written off. As an event junkie I suffered cold turkey. I wanted to arrange one. I wanted to go to one. I wanted the prophets to come to town. I wanted to be the prophet. But life was different now. I was trying to rediscover normality. That at the end of the day God was not to be found in the wind, earthquake and fire of the conference scene but in the still silent voice of every day living. My life was invested in chasing the dream, but now I live the dream. I was running after the now Word of the Lord, now I live as the Word of the Lord in my community. I was an event junkie, but now I am a life junkie, and living life to the full every single day. God said about David that he had a steadfast heart, it was not hyper one minute and depressed the next, it was steadfast. For those of us brought up on the fix of the spectacular the steadfast seems a compromise of satisfaction with the status quo. That this life will not change anything. But week by week I see the effect of living a steadfast life. Steadfast does not mean boring, my life is a crazy adventure, but it is built on life and not special events. Family, work, community, socail life, all alive with the DNA of God’s whisper. Looking back events fill us with a discontentment with everything. We think life should look like the event. It never will. Life is life. Dirt, flesh, sweat, blood, pain, joy, hope, spirit, laughter, tears. This is your life. Does this mean I will never go to an event again? I might do but I know my life is not dependant on them. Haven’t been to one for ages and have not felt I have missed out. Does that mean I will never speak at one again if asked? I will never say never because any chance to tell your story is a good opportunity, but now it will not just be about creating a fan base but about depositing in lives for their lives. Not just about my story but about ours together. Once I got a buzz out of the platform, but no more. Once I felt as if I was part of the move of God when I was so involved, felt outside when no longer invited. I’ve got over it. Moves of God ebb and flow, but He always remains. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. It is time to forget the hype and live the life daily what He has given us. Yes share, yes build relationships, but don’t be conned into thinking He only dwells where the crowds and big gatherings are. He is the God of the margins and of the small things. He is the God of my everyday life, my life is the event I live for.