My first Anfield trip of the season last night, so I'm not sure why I'm so bright and breezy this morning - late night and a poor match, although we won 1-0. However, all the papers and websites will say, exactly what we said in our car on the way home - it's three points and, at this stage, 'that's all that matters'. 'All' that matters? Yes, it's part of the culture these days when winning is more important than playing the game in the minds and hearts of many football fans. When I talk with supporters of teams, however, where winning a trophy at the end of the season is not on the agenda, it becomes a different focus, which many would applaud - more about playing the game, like any good englishman, or woman.
Yesterday was also a good day because we had another gathering of our leaders of larger Baptist churches group. Not really sure what to call them, although Paul calls us the 'fat group', which I don't think anyone's keen on letting sticking. Paul needs our prayers as he's having an op for a brain tumour on monday. This is a group I like to be part of ratehr than feeling I need to be there - and there is a big difference. We've decided we'll focus on an issue and someone introduce what becomes a discussion around, or starting from, that theme. Yesterday David talked about his summer and some reflections from a conference organised by Sentinel, who were behind the Transformations DVD's (or probably videos!).
We talked about the three waves suggested by George Otis which feature in a visitation of God's spirit in ways many would call revival and, not surprisingly, it was a far reaching discussion. Otis talks about invitation, visitation and then transformation of society as three waves of visitation.
It's fair to say I often come away from such discussions with more questions than answers, which is no bad thing in itself, but there is also a sense of growing frustration for people who never see the answer their praying, meeting and expectancy has been looking for. Otis would quickly answer this by saying whenever the people of God meet to seek God coming in power something always happens, but we cannot prescribe what, how or when because God is sovereign. The problem for me is this sounds exactly the same as the argument for not getting caught up with this cycle in the first place.
So, we get back to the should I seek revival and look to God to sort this place out versus should we work our socks off and try ourselves debate. Much was said, because we're all wise and experienced Christian leaders to clarify and qualify neither end of this spectrum is where we'd want to be, or should be. Fruit was appropriately highlighted as a critical test of what is genuinely of God and I guess fruit is what I'll continue to aim for - in life, in praying and in leading. If we're seeking God to live our a fruitful Christian life, encouraging whoever to pray for a fruitful outworking of the purposes of God and attempting to lead others towards both in their lives then I can't believe God will be displeased - especially if we keep our eyes open to him doing some surprising things with some surprising people.
Now, I'm off to Didcot for a National MR! Oh I was going to link the state of the British game with this.....