Southeastern Fellowship Weekend
This year the second annual Birmingham Fellowship Weekend became the first Southeastern Fellowship Weekend. There were forty-two Christ-family members from several states (and one from England), including many new people. Friday evening saw men, women, children and young people arriving from near and far, meeting for the first time or renewing acquaintances and visiting over dinner with stories and laughter; the weekend had begun.
Saturday morning after introductions, Brett Burrowes taught very comprehensively on the scriptural basis of what we believe. First by malting reference to the Old Testament, he focused particularly on the nature of God as Spirit, the ultimate mind or reality, and the only Person in the universe with the freedom to make moral choices. He continued on to discuss humanity as vessels or expressers of Himself, the choice given to man to express God’s character or the reverse of it, and the temptation and fall of man in the Garden and its far-reaching consequences (a blessing in disguise). Brett then explained from the New Testament the purpose of the Law, how Christ totally delivered us from the bond with sin and Satan, the fallacy of the "two natures" view, and our absolute powerlessness.
You may well wonder how so much could be expounded on in one session! Not only was this accomplished with great clarity, but all was very closely related to our lives today. The discussion shed much light on the way human beings operate in the world, both rightly and wrongly, and God’s total provision for the so-called "human dilemma." Thank God for Christ in Brett form!
In the afternoon, Brenda Luttrull, Linda Jarrell, and Page Prewitt taught on "Body, Soul, and Spirit" using diagrams and practical examples offered by the group. We talked about the difference between living from the often turbulent thoughts and feelings going on in our souls and bodies (where Satan is still free to attack us, trying to entice us into believing his false reality) and living from our spirits where desire, will, and mind reside. This is where we are now eternally joined to Christ and where our true identity lies.
Barely away from the starting blocks of our simple exercise, we were immediately launched into a dynamic session of wrestling with the real-life problems of some of the participants, here for such a purpose. The immensity and complexity of some of the problems would have been overwhelming to any but the Holy Spirit, and it was surely He who manifested Himself as the Counselor through the many Christ vessels present and available.
The session continued into late after-noon, reconvened in the evening and resumed on Sunday morning. There was honest, open, and willing discussion, in turn intensely serious and hilariously funny. We had much heart searching, rapt attention, and concerned involvement as we all explored solutions, discerning God’s way in each situation. We were all privileged, indeed, to be part of such a spontaneous and real work of God (see A Fresh Start by Laura Hawley).
Meanwhile, the youth, led by Scott Prewitt and Kari Mace, were having their own Bible study and fellowship time. On Friday night folks arrived throughout the night and time was spent fellowshipping with old friends. Saturday, five new friends joined the group, as this was their first conference. Everyone enjoyed the "Jesus Film" created by Campus Crusade for Christ.
The theme of the lessons for the weekend was "God’s place fo ryoung people today." They looked back in the Bible to 1 Samuel 16 and 17 to see what role God had David fill. David’s annointing and his defeat of Goliath occurred during his teenage years, and our young people realized that today they could follow the example he set so long ago. Other youth activities included a good game of kickball, playing at the park and watching the move An Indian in the Cupboard. There, too, God was working on a level and in a way appropriate to each individual.
After yet another delicious meal prepared by the hard-working members of the Body, we gathered on Sunday afternoon on the front lawn for photographs, snatched last-minute converstaions, excited plans to meet again, and reluctant farewells. What a special time we had spent together–call it Reality, God’s love in action, fellowship, or what you will. And the most marvelous thing, perhaps, is that this can happen anywhere, anytime, and can encompass all of God’s precious people. We only need to be available and willing!