When I first heard about the Ruach Conference some months ago, I knew it would be a can’t-miss event for spirit-filled believers everywhere. And let me tell you, day one of the conference certainly lived up to those lofty expectations.
After a brief time of worship, the conference began with a greeting from the pastor of the Redemption Point Church, Kevin Wallace. Pastor Kevin noted that he felt a burden to host the Ruach Conference after hearing about another conference which existed only to shut-out and shut-up spiritual gifts and the moving of the Holy Spirit in today’s church.
He didn’t call-out that conference by name, but I can only assume he was talking about last year’s Strange Fire Conference hosted by John MacArthur in California.
I posted a response to MacArthur’s rhetoric right here at joelabarker.com–a post that has been my most-viewed and commented-on to date.
I don’t believe Pastor Kevin’s vision for Ruach was for the conference to be the “Anti-Strange Fire” conference. Rather, the heart of this conference seems to be just what it’s branded and billed to be–breathing fresh life into the spirit-filled church.
For this worship pastor, Ruach’s vision became reality in the two sessions I attended with the incredibly anointed Ricardo Sanchez.
The Grammy award winning worship artist said some things during those two hours that made me uncomfortable and downright convicted in my heart.
It’s really easy to become complacent in ministry. That’s especially true when you feel called in multiple areas, as I am. Sometimes you get lost in the shuffle between where you are now and where God is calling you to go. I’m not making excuses, I’m just telling you the truth.
Truth is exactly what Sanchez shared.
Among the first noteworthy comments he shared was this little gem, “the presence of God will always come where the presence of God is invited.”
Well, yeah. I’ve said it many times. I’ve proclaimed that very fact on my fair share of stages. I’m just not sure I’ve really believed it every time I’ve said it. Today, I believed it.
Sanchez continued, “when God’s presence comes, the Kingdom comes with Him.” Now, that I’ve never heard. But man, did that open up my heart right off the bat.
Think about that for a minute. When we experience Him in worship, we are experiencing the presence of the Kingdom of God.
I recently had a few moments like this in worship.
Leading worship at my home church’s Fall Campmeeting just two short weeks ago, we reached a different dimension than I’ve ever experienced. I began flowing in prophetic worship and it was like God literally sat down among His people in that church.
His Kingdom broke through and that experience has changed the way I view worship. And of course, Ruach happens at the perfect time to reinforce and confirm what God began two weeks ago in my heart.
There were many more quotes and topics I could share from our time with Ricardo Sanchez, but the time of worship we had with him toward the end of the session deserves a mention here.
It only lasted five or six minutes, but our small group of about 25 worship leaders experienced a shift in the spiritual atmosphere as Ricardo led a medley of worship songs before our time was up. He was touched. We were all touched in just a brief few moments. Further driving home his point that God shows up when He’s invited.
Dan Reiland’s leadership talk followed the worship breakout session.
I was excited to hear from Reiland. He’s a can’t-miss interview on multiple podcasts that I subscribe to–including the 200 Churches podcast where he’s a monthly guest.
Learning some of the ins-and-outs of leadership from someone of his stature in the Kingdom was a treat. I discovered that I’m mostly a “learned-leader” with some qualities of a “natural leader.” I think I also discovered why I battle the aforementioned complacency issue as well.
The treat of day one, however, was the evening service with Reinhard Bonnke–a true giant of the faith. The short video prior to his taking the stage was enough to make a Presbyterian shout. Bonnke claims 74 Million people have been saved from Hell through his ministry via the simple proclamation of the Gospel across the globe.
That’s just an astounding number. And watching his videos through the years, I believe the reports.
Bonnke talked a bit about his age and the successor to his ministry, Daniel Kolenda (Tuesday speaker). There were moments in the message where Bonnke’s heart was revealed in such a way that you could feel his burden for souls. Not just souls on other continents either.
His emphatic statement, “America shall be saved” brought much of the near-capacity crowd to their feet.
Bonnke continued, “Africa has given me incurable faith for America.”
The statement “incurable faith” messed me up. I’ll have more on that topic in a later blog post, I guarantee it.
Only an evangelist like Reinhard Bonnke could give a compelling altar call for salvation at a conference primarily for pastors and church leaders. About 20 people responded too. The night services are open to the public, so I’m fairly certain those that responded were not backslidden preachers, but you never know.
In all, day one was incredibly refreshing content-wise. It was also a treat to spend much of the day with my parents and some friends in the ministry. Not to mention meeting many folks face-to-face that I had only met via social media prior to Monday’s opening sessions.
Day one of Ruach was nothing short of incredible. I’ll have more as the week progresses.
*My next few posts will feature my reflections on Ruach Conference 2014 hosted by Redemption Point Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. These posts are not official recaps. Just my thoughts.