British Easter Conference
The eleventh annual British conference took place from Easter Monday to the following Friday in the lovely surroundings of Hothorpe Hall in Leicestershire. From mid-afternoon on Monday folks began to arrive from England, Scotland, Ireland and the U.S.-most of us reuniting after several months and eager to catch up on the details of what had been happening in each other’s lives.
The mornings were spent in Bible study, with adults and youth together being taught by Scott Prewitt. Scott took us through the books of Philemon and 2 Timothy in such a vivid way that we could picture Paul under house arrest in Rome as he wrote his appeal to Philemon on Onesimus’ behalf and later in a Roman prison dungeon awaiting execution, deserted by almost all, as he wrote to Timothy what was to be his last known letter. There were many lessons to be learned from these letters, all with very practical applications for today. It would be impossible to cover them all, but I will mention just a few. We saw that Paul’s appeal to Philemon was not based on a human rights issue pleading the injustice of slavery. Paul’s appeal had a spiritual base; reminding us that spirit is the core of everything and leaving us little scope to complain when things seem "unfair." From Paul’s letter to Timothy, we learned that Timothy was Paul’s protege and chosen successor, demonstrating the value of the mentor/disciple relationship in passing on what we know to another person. We were reminded that if we are truly walking the Christian life, there will be hardship and persecution, and that there are no short-cuts to doing God’s will. Our true purpose on earth is to be God’s "workman"–knowing His word, using it to "correct, rebuke and encourage," and passing it on to others with wisdom and determination, "in season and out of season." Through these letters we saw that feelings of devastation, abandonment and great discomfort were a normal part of Paul’s experience–but they never dictated his actions. Having risen above the feelings and lived from the spirit reality, Paul could confidently face his Maker with the certain knowledge that, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
at a challenge to us all! No room here for a comfortable easy life.
Afternoons and evenings were spent largely in informal discussions. A recurring topic during the week was work. We talked about the importance of having a good attitude at work and not entering into the petty whining that so often goes on behind bosses’ or colleagues’ hacks. We are called to be a light to others in our work-place. We talked, too, about having boundaries at work; knowing what is and what is not our problem and about good communication strategies when dealing with problems. I think most of us learned a great deal from these discussions and have returned to our work with new insights. What a blessing it is to have the mind of Christ revealed to us in all areas of life.
Other discussions focused on inter-cession and on how far we are willing to go in laying down our lives-our comforts and securities-so that others may live.
Page spent some time teaching on body, soul and spirit-familiar to most of us, but always relevant. We also looked at Zerubbabel’s life and his part in God’s plan. The opening sentence in one commentary reads: "Sometimes God’s ownership of a project is only recognised after our best efforts have failed." Sound familiar? As we read on, we saw how an initial excitement in fulfilling God’s task was followed by a deep sense of hopelessness when nothing further was accomplished for six-teen years. Zerubbabel’s task of rebuilding the temple was eventually completed: "`Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty." (Zech.4:6)
While adults and youth spent part of the week together, the youth had time apart also. The topics they discussed included temptation, alcohol, respect for parents and boy/girl relationships. They also found time to go to the cinema together, visit Kim’s new house in Leicester and play games. On our last night together we all enjoyed some cake as we celebrated Christina’s birthday.
Thank you to God and His people for a wonderful week.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 13 No 3
- Our Cutting Edge
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Faith understands that God reigns…
- About Unconditional Love…
- From Chaos to Completion
- Bible Study: Ask…and Receive
- British Easter Conference
- Zerubbabel Focus–Rebuilding the Temple: The Business of Zerubbabel, 1997
- How It Really Works
- The Race
- Questions & Answers
- Tape Talk
- Area Fellowship News
- The Real Problem: Satan’s Lie
- The Mailbox
- Words to Live By…