Weekend in New York 1995
This year’s Mid-Hudson Valley Conference began on Friday afternoon, November 10, with airport runs, shuttling in folks from different parts of the country and sitting down Friday evening to a wonderful dinner with warm, informal fellowship. Storytelling of other conference experiences was the focus of most of the conversation.
Saturday began with a group break-fast and introductions, which continued for a while as new folks arrived throughout the morning. Conference-goers came from Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. The outof-staters outnumbered the New Yorkers.
When everyone was settled in, Brett Burrowes began a session that took us from God’s plan for creation to humanity’s sin and God’s path to salvation. Brett presented each topic so that the information could be applied personally.
Brett started with God as the sole provider of meaning and purpose for each person’s life, and His desire to communicate His design to us. God accomplishes this by providing us with His written Word, the Bible. God chooses not to withhold His design from us when we exercise faith and receive His communication.
God’s purpose for creating us is to have persons who are an image, an expression or representation of Himself. Brett then defined what it means to be a person: a conscious self, a social being who has a concept of right and wrong and can make a choice between the two. Because we were made in God’s image, we make choices. God made a choice to be love, but love can only have meaning if it is free–if one has the option of withholding love. So for God’s love to be expressed in community, humanity had to have a choice in the matter. Otherwise, we could not be full persons. By placing a tree in the Garden of Eden and commanding Adam and Eve not to eat its fruit, God allowed them to have choice. He did this so that they might know that they were full persons, for we can only know a thing by knowing its opposite.
Brett went on to review how Satan’s temptation and its consequences became God’s opportunity to fulfill His purpose to express Himself through us. As a result, Adam and Eve (and their descendants) were left with trying to control their own lives, needing to fill the void of meaninglessness. Brett described this void as the root of all addiction. Since we cannot fill ourselves, we are left with one option: to realize our need. We are all in the same position as Adam and Eve. We need to know that we are sinners and are powerless to do anything about it.
Next Brett discussed God’s plan for dealing with our sin choice–to declare us "not guilty" if we trust in His son, Jesus Christ. Since we are all guilty, God needed someone totally innocent, who had infinite value, to take our place. For God to deliver humanity from the plight we got ourselves into, He had to sacrifice the God-man, Jesus Christ, His Son.
This presents us with making a decision about how to apply God’s plan to ourselves. Brett explained that each person needs to appropriate Christ’s atonement by faith. Recognizing my condition as a sinner and my powerlessness to change, I need a Savior. All that I can do is accept God’s gift to me. I don’t do something to believe; I just receive.
Brett pointed out that as a result of God’s gift, Jesus Ch ist, and my choice to accept Him, a spirit change takes place: "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Eph. 2:1,2). "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him (1 Cor 6:17). Because God is greater than Satan, He can break Satan’s hold on our life. Furthermore, Gods union with us cannot be broken because there is no greater power than His. Satan’s power can only be broken when we apply our faith. When we do apply our faith, we become dead to sin but need to go on consciously reckoning ourselves as dead to sin.
We continued the teaching on Saturday with Pat Mace explaining by way of circle diagrams, the capacities of spirit, soul, and body (1Thess. 5:23). Smaller group discussions followed spontaneously. Saturday’s evening meal was a culinary delight, provided by Kathy Anderson’s husband Chris. This was Chris’ first conference and he greatly endeared himself to many of us with his superb rendition of Eggplant Parmigiana. The evening reconvened with a personal, heartfelt testimony by Becca Glaser, followed by individual discussions and conversations lasting into the late evening and early morning.
We began Sunday morning with a group breakfast, followed by a Norman Grubb teaching video. We did not quite make it through the entire tape, as travel schedules began to intervene. However, from what we did see, Norman’s tape was a fitting capstone to a wonderful, warm weekend.
It is exciting and a privilege to report that a newcomer to our conference received the Lord Jesus Christ into his heart as his own personal Savior one week later. This person attributed much of the prompting to make this decision to the clear picture presented him from Brett’s teaching.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 12 No 1
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Weekend in New York 1995
- The Letter to the Romans
- The Mailbox
- God’s Promises
- A Look at a Book
- Questions & Answers
- The Walk Through The Bible
- God’s Wonderful Plan
- New Light on the Twelve Steps
- Excerpt from After C.T. Studd
- Tape Talk
- Words to Live By