Monday, 22 November 2010

One to One with Rob Rufus and Nigel Ring

I found this interview between Nigel Ring and Rob Rufus taken just after the "Together on a Mission Conference" in Brighton in 2006. It's so stirring.

NR: Were you brought up in a Christian family?

RR: I had an incredibly happy childhood but my mother was an agnostic and my dad was an atheist but a very good father. From about three years of age I was conscious of God's Presence and about the age of seven or eight, I began to read the gospels. However in my high school years I really went out of my way to undermine Christian faith; but I was longing for them to win the argument. When I finished high school my dad had convinced me that Christianity was a modern form of sophisticate superstition but I had the privilege of leading my dad to Christ many, many years later, three weeks before he passed on!

On "call-up" in the military I began to ask questions about the meaning of life even more. Then at university I got very involved with the Hare Krishna movement. I even joined a Hindu Ashram full time.

NR: Had you met Glenda at this stage?

RR: We met at university and got married. We had our first son Jay (Hindu for victory) by the time we had joined the Hare Krishna movement. In the meantime Glenda had an amazing encounter with God and was "born again". I ridiculed that a martyr could save the world. It seemed foolish that Jesus died on a cross; He could have done better as a teacher. One day a man wanted to join our community. I asked him how long he wanted to stay and he said as long as was necessary! That night he suddenly sat straight up and pointed at a picture of Krishna, shook his head and just said; "Jesus Christ is the pure sacrifice of God and He is the only way" - a pretty courageous thing to say in a Hare Krishna temple!

I was suddenly aware that I was not right with God. When I got up at 2am he had gone and I never saw him again.

NR: Angelic?

RR: I don't know Nigel. For months I tried to increase my performance in Hindu rituals. Then in the Ashram on my own, Jesus came and said; "My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Come follow Me!". So I was "born again" in a Hindu temple! That was in 1977.

NR: Did you walk straight out?

RR: I did leave as I was called up again by the South African military. But I went back and witnessed to every single one there. I heard later that some I had spoken to had left the movement.

NR: I think your second child had been born by this stage?

RR: Yes, Ryan was conceived whilst we were in the Hare Krishna movement. He is now part of our leadership team. We also have a daughter Bonnie who leads worship in our church.

NR: When you left Hare Krishna, how did you engage with a church?

RR: We went back to the university on a post-graduate course. I met Christians who had fasted for forty days for us when they heard we were going to the Hare Krishna people. They burst into tears and were amazed! We joined them as a community of people.

NR: How did you plant a church?

RR: After I graduated God called me to plant in our home town but there was nothing supernatural there. I began to read Acts and God asked me; "Do you believe everything that is My will will automatically happen?". I said; "Yes Lord!". "Do you believe it is My will to save people every week and add them to you?". I said; "Yes Lord!". "Do you believe it is My will that people get healed miraculously?". I said; "Yes Lord!". "Then how come it isn't happening?".

He spoke to me about going to sit under the ministry of Kenneth Hagin for three days. Initially I was quite critical and analytical but I watched the miraculous happening. Then God said; "Lift your hands - you can do this!". The Presence of God came on me overwhelmingly and powerfully for the first time in my life. The next Sunday our church was hit by the power of God. People with deaf ears began to hear, different people began to cry out. I felt God say; "Pray a blessing over the people". So I asked them to stand and said; "Father would you bless ..." and I didn't get any further.

I heard this amazing rushing sound through the building and saw people being picked up and carried two to three rows through the air. We had never seen anything like this. I called out and said; "You have seen that God is real. Come and get saved!". People literally ran to get saved that day. Even the local rugby team visited and broken bones were healed. The church grew by hundreds. Then God said; "I am going to lift this heavy anointing off you for a season and I want you to get to know me. I am going to link you with people that I want you to be accountable to. I want you to develop your doctrine and knowledge of Scripture. I am going to bring this power back on you at a later stage".

It was at that stage I met Dudley Daniel.

NR: Has God brought that power back to you?

RR: Every year I asked God; "Is this the year?". Every year He would say; "Be faithful - this is not the year". By 2001, 2002 I wondered if God would ever do this again but at the beginning of 2006 I heard God say; "This is the year not just for you but for much of the wider body of Christ". He promised He would restore this power at a higher level and I feel certain that as the year progresses we will see this more and more.

NR: Is this world-wide?

RR: There is fresh expectation in many parts of the world and reports of some unusual signs and wonders. I think 2006 is the year our Lord is taking His finger off the "pause" button.

NR: Such ministry comes out of an intimacy with God. How did you deepen your personal walk with God?

RR: I love to get out to solitary places; the mountains and the forests. When I first planted a church I would spend a day or two every week alone with God, not trying to prepare messages but wanting to get to know Him. I learned to fine-tune my spirit to hear His voice and talk to Him about who He is. He said; "Rob I want you to ask Me questions about Me. If you open your heart to me, I will open My heart totally to you - and reveal things to you". I found that if you develop a depth of relationship with God in the solitary places I could start hearing His voice in the noisy places. I can even stand in Mongkok - one of the densest population areas in Hong Kong and hear the voice of God.

NR: Many leaders would ask; "How did you carve out that time? Did you have a team with you?".

RR: Yes I did have a good team but there is also unnecessary guilt that comes. One day sitting on a mountain looking out over factories where members of my congregation were working, God said;

"Son those people want you here - they want you to come with dew of heaven on your shoulders and speak the living word of God".

NR: Moving in these dimensions, do you experience opposition?

RR: Yes! The enemy is against the anointing because it destroys the yokes, lifts the burdens off people's shoulders and breaks his strategies and attacks. There are anti-Christspirits trying to get the church to be more secular, to run programmes, entertainment with human wisdom. Reaction is mainly from religious people; the world longs to experience something that is supernaturally authentic. We need to redeem the supernatural back to sound theology, basing it on good doctrine, expressed by people who have healthy marriages, healthy families and so forth.

NR: Where do you find your own peer relationship that will keep you secure and where you weigh each other's ministry?

RR: A very good question! When God exploded into our church I had no understanding of proper Biblical government foundations or biblical wineskins. I had difficulty in hosting a big crowd! As I mentioned, it was then in 1984 that I was introduced to Dudley Daniel. I first met him on his day off. He came out of his study in a pair of shorts and hugged me. I got the shock of my life! I felt God say; "I have joined you to this man forever!". I began to realise that Dudley had an apostolic wisdom, understanding and grace on his life. He helped us lay proper New Testament patterns and Victory Faith Church is still very healthy today.

NR: How did New Covenant Ministries begin?

RR: When Dudley was baptised in the Holy Spirit, his denomination kicked him out. He was invited by a small group in Bryanstone, Johannesburg to pastor them. He also felt God say he should build relationships with pastors who are lonely, wanting friendship and looking for togetherness. Out of that came the phrase; "Friendship before function". This began to reflect what Jesus revealed so wonderfully with His friends who were disciples.

There were many BBQs with humour and laughter. Slowly the idea of a trans-local team began to develop; that is when I got involved. God began to open up the oath He made to Abraham to bless all nations. We began to see that we would have to plant New Testament local churches in every nation.

NR: Did you have a particular strategy?

RR: In Scripture proven ministries took the initiative to break new territory. For example Paul and Barnabas having established Antioch moved on. Dudley relocated to Australia. This sent a big signal to us all. We thought South Africa was going to fall apart but God actually blessed us. Then God called Glenda and me to join him.

NR: Were you creating South African churches?

RR: Not at all! As we planted we started working with indigenous people and they started coming on team. We wanted to reflect the culture of the kingdom not a religious sub-culture.

NR: Have you found that God has given you favour with particular sections of the community?

RR: In certain countries, doors open through situations of poverty. In others, it has come through Christian businessmen and women like Priscilla and Aquila.

NR: How did your next transition come about?

RR: When Dudley felt called to work into the USA, he handed the visionary leadership of Coastlands International Christian Centre over to me. In 2002 after seven years God called us to go full-time trans-local equipping churches in evangelism, signs and wonders and miracles so we handed the church over to Dudley's son Tyrone. Then our hearts began to turn to Asia and Glenda and I planted a church in Hong Kong.

NR: Did you know people on the ground?

RR: There were five people in Hong Kong and five young people from South Africa to help us for 6-12 months.

NR: How have you grown?

RR: Originally I thought we would build primarily with ex-pats using the medium of English. However Chinese people started coming because they heard about the Presence of God and were attracted to the message of grace. One young, very intelligent and hi-tech Buddhist man came. The Presence of God was so powerful in the meeting that he began to weep and said; "They are not singing about Buddha, they are singing about Jesus so He must be alive!". He gave his life to Christ and we baptised him very soon after that. We are, probably about 95 adults at this time plus children.

NR: Do you have any comments on multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-lingual church?

RR: When diverse ethnic groups come together that reflects the wonderful finished work of the Cross! The idea of the homogenous church for me is foreign to the Scripture. We are enjoying being a rainbow church.

NR: Has the signs and wonders ministry opened doors for you in Hong Kong?

RR: Yes! There is a lot of idol worship that opens people up to demonic influences so when God sets people free they go and tell their friends. The potential to have exponential growth in Hong Kong and into mainland China is enormous. The secular humanistic money culture has left a real emptiness in people's lives.

The Presence and power of God is a major means to impact that part of the world.

NR: Can you disciple others into this ministry or impart it to others?

RR: Both! The main way is through impartation. It is through association with people that are moving in the supernatural like Elijah to Elisha or Paul to Timothy or Moses to Joshua and so on. There also needs to be practical instruction; how to co-operate with God; how to co-labour with God; how to partner with God. I love to coach even in services on a Sunday morning - "This is why we are doing this".

NR: You referred earlier to what God was saying about 2006. Can you expand on that?

RR: I came to London in 2005 and I was praying in Richmond Park and suddenly I felt the clear voice of God saying He is going to come with a visitation of His glory to the British Isles. It may seem unlikely or like wishful thinking but I just felt it so strongly. He said He was going to call me back and have some involvement in facilitating, in a small way, some of those things. Something would rise up within these British Isles. It would be for everyone who is hungry for God. It would require people to look at wineskins to avoid another charismatic movement that will run for a while and then burst.

Those who have been faithfully establishing wineskins for years need to start looking with expectation that they have not laboured in vain. Others will need to be looking at Scripture and to people who have built according to a Biblical pattern. This is the time to prepare for this visitation by building proper Biblical government and pattern into the church.

A Biblical wineskin embraces three elements:

1. Biblical authority structures which is proper government based on what the Bible teaches not on democracy.
2. Biblical vision which involves going to the nations and involves reaching the lost.
3. Biblical values - how we do it, with integrity, humility, with team, accountability etc.

Prophetic ministries around the world are picking up an excited expectation of something significant. This time hopefully we won't have a Philistine cart with our Uzzah's and Ahios. We will receive this visitation with a lot more reverence and honour who this is for. This is for the honour and pleasure of our great God not to make certain movements more famous or our churches grow faster. This is to see the glory of God come into the nations that multitudes can be saved.

NR: Thank you so much Rob - An excellent place to conclude!