182. how to be a millionaire (part 2)
So about that conference thing I attended this weekend (see blog 181). Well, more accurately, it’s the conference that I bailed out on. It started on Friday night and then continued all day Saturday. I went to the Friday night opening with the intention of staying for the whole thing, but I was so disturbed, confused, upset, and bent after just the first night that I couldn’t go back for the rest of the conference.
The night started with worship with a couple from England (how come all the worship leaders come from England or Australia…is it the accent?). The worship was fine. There was one thing that really tripped me out though, but it had nothing to do with the worship per se. It had to do with the drummer, or more accurately, the drum set he was playing.
See, back in December I sold one of my drum sets. It was a really nice looking, top of the line, Pearl Masters Studio drum set. Unfortunately, it didn’t sound as good as it looked, which is why I sold it and purchased a Pacific drum set. And even though my Pacific set cost less than half as much as my old Pearl kit, I still think it sounds better than the Pearl ever did.
Anyway, I mention this because the drummer at the conference was playing my old Pearl drum set. Don’t know what that means, if anything.
Okay, so worship is over, there’s a short prayer time, and then they introduce the main speaker for the conference, Imiel Abadir. I’d never heard of the guy, but from what I could gather, he’s originally from Egypt and he’s suffered and escaped from some pretty heavy persecution there. Now he travels the world, sharing his prophetic gifts with people.
He started his talk, quoting from Exodus 3:1-5.
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
And his first point has something to do with how those who want to operate in the prophetic must be consumed with fire. He says that Moses was the bush and that this was a holy encounter with God. Abadir then goes on to talk about God telling Moses to take off his sandals. Abadir explains that in order for the people of God to operate within the prophetic, they need to “get rid of thoughts, perspectives, ideas, and insides.” And by “insides,” he meant (as far as I could tell) selfish, motives – one’s desire to speak prophetically.
Now, I’m not going to comment on the Moses being the burning bush bit, but when Abadir spoke about getting rid of thoughts, perspectives, and ideas, big red flags started to go up. I mean, I feel like there’s this divide between people who experience Christianity in a spiritual, experiential way and those who experience it in a more intellectual, conceptual way. As a Christian, I was raised in the latter although I’ve been wanting to experience and understand more of the former. That said, I still believe that God gave us a mind for a purpose, which basically is to think, and for someone to come right out and say that we need to get rid of our thoughts and ideas…that tweaked me.
But I didn’t want to automatically write the whole thing off at that point. I mean, I decided to attend this conference because I wanted to understand more about spirituality and I figured the best way to do that was to go where people talked about being in the sprit. So I tried to do my best to listen with an open mind. Besides, he speaks with a pretty heavy accent and the sound system wasn’t very good and so maybe I misheard him.
But he kept going back to the need to let go of the intellect. He went next to Exodus 14:13-14.
The Israelites had just escaped from Egypt and the Pharoah was pissed and sent his armies to destroy them in the desert. The Israelites had nowhere to flee because they were at the banks of the Red Sea and so they started to complain to Moses.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Abadir goes right back to the point about letting go of the intellect. He says that the only way Moses could make such a declaration in the face of certain annihilation was by letting to of reason and letting God speak through him. If Moses had trusted what his eyes were telling him (that they were about to get their ass kicked by the Egyptians), he wouldn’t have told the Israelites not to worry. He then went on to say, “if you are an intellectual, you see the visible and you are a deceived man. God’s territory is the invisible.”
Again, he hits on intellectuals and not that I consider myself to be some towering genius, but I have a geeky streak in me, and so I try to examine things and think about the world around me. But putting that aside for a moment, let’s just deal with his reading of scripture.
Going back to his first example from Exodus 3, how is it that the burning bush represents Moses and then by extension, those who want to operate in the prophetic (a phrase that came up over and over that night, though I’m not sure precisely what it means). I mean, it’s pretty clear from the text that God was using the burning bush to get Moses’ attention. And it’s not Moses who speaks out of the bush, it’s the voice of God that emerges.
And then in Exodus 14, Abadir makes the point that it was only by letting go of his intellect that Moses was able to tell the Israelites not to worry about the Egyptians, but the Bible makes it clear that Moses was in on God’s plan all along.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” So the Israelites did this.
Now God didn’t tell Moses that he was going to part the Red Sea until he got there, but still, God told Moses that the Egyptians were going to show up and so when they do, contrary to Abadir’s advice, Moses uses his mind and deducts that the things that God has told him have been right so far, so there’s reason to believe that God will deliver them. Logical deduction led Moses to make the statement he did to the Israelites, not some spiritual indwelling or super-spiritual utterance.
Now I could go on with other examples of what Abadir said that night, but it’s not very different from the examples I shared above, and I’m getting pissed all over again so I’ll leave it at that. And I don’t want to dis the speaker or the people who enjoyed the event. I mean apart from what I consider to be a questionable reading of scripture, I didn’t hear anything that I would call heresy, although admittedly, I’m no expert in orthodoxy. And if people got blessed by the event, kudos for them.