Do you ever think you know someone – their ins and outs; ups and downs; high points, low points, and all the other Seussisms inbetween – to the point that you take it for granted? The person become familiar – understood – tame – static – boring – flat – dead: youíre more acquainted with your idea of them that you are with the real thing?
Then someone comes along and tells you about an encounter with that person – something that blows your non-living idea of the person right out of the water, causes you to say, ìAre we talking about the same person?î I remember when my brother entered high school: as more folks got to know him, I kept hearing, ìYour brother is *hilarious*!î ìHeís so funny.î ìHeís so outgoing – where does he get it?î
Um, I donít know: the brother I know (or think I know) is rather quiet, introverted, and not very amusing. Or was it that I thought of him that way and therefore looked for those qualities, and it took a different person to point out other elements of his person, to bring life to my lifeless impression of my brother?
My dadís just introduced me to the teachings of a man named Graham Cooke, and Graham is introducing me to a whole new God – a God I donít know, or rather havenít been looking for. Grahamís God is compassionate, caring, ìthe kindest person I knowî. The God I know is compassionate . . . when I figure out all of my sins to confess over and over and over; caring . . . as long as I turn myself inside out trying to figure out what He wants me to do; the kindest person I know . . . when I do the right things – all the time – of my own power.
Graham works with prophetic ministries, something Iím not very familiar with but ache for more of in our church because that would mean people were in day by day, moment by moment contact with the Spirit. He talks about true versus false prophesy – false prophesy condemns, but true prophesy points out where God is missing. He clarifies our right desires as being God-placed, because everything good comes from God, so if we desire something good, then God desires that thing. Problems arenít obstacles to overcome; theyíre times to step back and look for what God wants to say to us. He says that unlike us, God isnít obsessed with sin: Heís got us covered in Christ – He took care of that. But He is obsessed with us becoming the people weíre supposed to be in Christ. And thereís just *so* *much* *more* GREAT STUFF!
These are things Iíve heard but interpreted with a negative lens. But Graham explains it with such kindness, love, and gentleness – it makes me ache to know his God! *This* is who my friends have been looking for; *this* is a God I want my son to know; *this* is the True God – worthy of worship and thanksgiving; this is *not* a weak – boring – tame – dead God whoís obsessed with rules and regulations.
GOD – fill this earth with your True Self! Would You open our eyes so that we may see and encounter the Real You, not the lifeless image weíve created and grown accustomed to (that sounds a little like idol worship, doesnít it?)? Thank You so much for bringing your Word to prophets such as Graham into our lives; thank You for being present among us.
[If youíd like to know more about Graham, I have videotapes and transcriptions of them that my dad made (he *really* likes Graham). If youíve had any experience with Graham or similar folks, Iíd love to hear about it, and I know others whoíd love to hear as well.]