So on Saturday I went to a friends 50th birthday party at their church. So I was surrounded by Assemblemites. Yeek! I spent most of my time talking with two old friends. It was a pretty spiritual conversation, all about the anointing, and it came across to me as though that was the measuring stick of all of Christendom. It was perplexing to me because in the Baptist church there is no moving of the Holy Spirit in the same way there is at times in the Pentecostal church. The Baptist church is far less mystical, but far more practical. Hard to define, but for example, nearly thirty percent of our members have been on the mission field, and we are very involved in missions, locally and worldwide. We are rich in good works and practical expressions of God's love. But, without the anointing, or as some would say, "Hooplah".
As for myself, I fall somewhere in the middle, I love sensing God's presence, and in charismatic churches it is pursued and the stage is set in a way for God to move in the mystical dimension. That is not done in my church. I miss that to some degree but I do pursue Him in my prayer closet and He is faithful to bless. I also don't think about it much in church, I focus on Christ and sense his presence but not in the way I sometimes do in charismatic churches. The trade off for me is this-- in the Baptist church the focus is on ministry, and being missions minded there comes an anointing that is longer lasting, in fact it is like being hooked up to a slow drip I.V. Not the dramatic highs but a warm sense of His presence that continues while putting others first in thought or deed. When I first began going to the Baptist church I was amazed at how different they were in that direction. It was as if I had never heard about the lost and the oppressed by comparison.
So much of what our sermons are and our activities are directed at, is outreach. It is a very determined, organized, corporate commitment. I wish the best of both could be in the church but it is not. So, I have to choose and I have chosen. In some ways it is almost as if the charismatics are somewhat self centered. They gather to get a blessing, blessings I love, blessings I think are wonderful, but if they become the purpose, it rings hollow to me. That is the part I find perplexing, I'm not clear on what the Lord thinks about that. Certainly seeking his face and blessing is a good thing, but in conversations the other night, when I talked about Eric and what he is doing and Matt and what he has been involved in, they asked no questions, made no comments, but just listened, and then it seemed like the first opportunity they found, , they changed the conversation to the anointing. It made me feel somewhat unappreciated and a tiny bit hurt,
So I just listened to them talk about the powerful way God was working through manifestations. Hmmmm, I thought God was manifesting himself in Burma, as well as the International Justice Mission (the organization that is busting traffickers of pre-teen girls for prostitution that Matt was involved in) as well Eric's urban church in Spokane? What do I know. There is no warm and fuzzys, so it must be something else. Forgive my sarcasm.
I'm not done with this, I think I'll go with one of them to visit his church where God is working in "Powerful" ways. I need to resolve something and I don't think I can do it without going; We'll see.