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This weekend I had the privilege of hearing the Word opened up to me by Wellspring’s adopted prophetic son, Mark Visser. There’s something about a prophet’s way that invariably results in controversy. I even know some wonderful, born-again, Bible-believing Christians who regard the prophetic office as “a bit on the dodgy side”. They look at a prophet and see that old man at the local “home” who, in spite of having only good intentions somehow always manages to insult you three different ways even as he gives you a friendly greeting hug.

“Oh, my! Look at you Mildred! You’re looking so healthy!”
“Thanks… actually it’s Michael Oom.”
“Oh Michael! Yes… it must be terrible to have such a commen name… yes. Well, your wife has certainly been feeding you well!”
“Umm.. thanks Oom.”
“Yes well, don’t worry. She’s such a wonderful lady, she’d never cheat on you, hey?”
“ha ha…”(What’s that supposed to mean???!)
“And at least you’re clever, aren’t you Mark? You’ve just finished your Masters in Computer-something-or-other, haven’t you?”
“Well, actually that’s my brother Oom… and it’s Michael.”
“Oh, well she must see something in you my boy, so don’t worry.”
“(Sigh)”

People often walk away from a prophetic meeting feeling… well, a little queazy. Even after years of ministering to the Church, I still occassionaly feel a bit battered by these encounters. Why is this so? I have a feeling that perhaps it’s a matter of something being lost in translation. Let me give an example:

Last night, Mark Visser was speaking about the need for the Church to position itself so that we can be a source of relief for the world’s struggling economy. In order to do this, we have to do business according to Kingdom principles and not allow ourselves to be sucked into the world’s failing economic systems. Fair enough. Then he released this beautiful stinkbomb: “Debt is sin, period!”

The church held in their collective gasp, smiled sweetly, and prayed for this punishment to end soon.

Now let me point out that I know Mark, and he is a compassionate, thoroughly “real” person. The man would never want to lay a burden of guilt on anyone. So what does this prophetic statement mean? Like so many things in the Church, this secret would only be revealed to those who would brave the sanctuary the next day. We “brave few” are not suckers for punishment, nor emotional masochists, but believers in this truth:

The Word is always true and the translation is always fallible!”

(Repeat this statement 50 times now, then do twenty “hail Mary’s” and fake a pass to the first receiver)

The explanation of this prophetic Word to the Church was this: if you trust in your credit card (or your nest-egg, or your policy, or your rich uncle) or anything other than God to be your provider, you are missing the mark. You are allowing yourself to be enslaved. “Sin”, by the way, is an English translation of a complex (grey rather than black and white) concept. It comes from medieval archery competitions. The “sin” is the distance between your mark and the bulls-eye. Sin is not about you missing out (on what the world has to offer), it’s about you missing it! (“It” being God’s best for your life).

Somehow we see the speck of condemnation and miss the landscape of compassion, both when we read the Word and when we go to Church. God help us. We need Amazing Grace just to be the Church, and Miraculous Grace if we are ever going to reach the lost, feed the hungry, love the orphans, and be anything more than a sad charicature of Christ Jesus. Lord help us.

About Me

Ecstatically married to Leane. Studying Theology and Teaching. Working as a worship leader, teacher, coach, guitar teacher. Living in the Mighty City of Mkondo in the sunny province of Mpumalanga, in the blessed country of South Africa.

Favourite Thoughts – Outbox

Religion is to be defended - not by putting to death - but by dying. Not by cruelty, but by patient endurance. - Lactantius (c.304-313).
What is essential Christianity? From first to last it is scandal, the divine scandal. Every time someone risks scandal of high order there is joy in heaven. - Soren Keirkegaard.
Where there are two Christians, there are three opinions... [Actually a Jewish saying, but at least as true for Christians]

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