Camp Meeting 2017 FRIDAY REPORT
25th June 2017
Dr Chidi Ngwaba spoke simply about the spiritual dimension of depression in his final health lecture at SEC Camp Meeting, this Friday morning, and the importance of having faith in Jesus Christ.
Peppering his lecture with medical insight, spiritual truths, personal stories and video extracts, Dr Chidi spoke about how important it is for us to live out the purpose that God has for our lives. If we want the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – Galatians 5.22 -23), we need to plant some seeds. ‘Even if you don’t feel like being kind, be kind. Live above your feelings’, he said.
‘Lots of us like to complain. We complain about our home, our church, our Pastors, the SEC. I like the idea that you should never be able to complain unless you have a plan of action yourself’. Mother Theresa had a complaint. She saw that nobody was doing anything about the poor people of Calcutta. But, she didn’t leave it at complaining.
If there was ever a prescription to get rid of stress, resentment and depression, Dr Chidi said, it is found in Philippians 4:4–8. He spoke of five counsels in this text which speak to mental health issues.
- When things are going well, rejoice. When things are not going well, rejoice. (Verse 4)
- There are times that we need to express ourselves (quietly, clearly and gently), rather than allowing resentment to build up and fester inside. (Verse 5)
- Remember that even if things are going badly, God is with you. (Verse 6)
- The peace of God is the antidote to blood pressure issues and mental health problems. It is the heart and mind that fails when we are under stress. (Verse 7)
- Long before we had modern psychology and psychiatry, the Bible taught us to concentrate on what is positive. (Verse 8)
In conclusion, Dr Chidi said, ‘diet and exercise are great ways of tackling depression, but without putting into practice a relationship with our creator, it is difficult to find proper peace’.
The last weekday of Camp Meeting, brought various announcements reminding all that the Sabbath would soon to be with us. The passing of time was also very much in evidence in the Prophecy workshop given by Brother Tristan Cunniah. Postponed from earlier in the week, the audience heard of various events and comments from the past couple of decades that point to the fulfilment of prophecy.
Many of the presentations were continued from earlier in the week, such as Stewardship and Treasury. Often dealing with important changes in procedure, presenters took the time to remind participants of the spiritual basis for all that is done.
One workshop had no description in the Camp Meeting programme, just the title “SEC Media Roku Box, Pastor Vili Costescu”. Anyone who dismissed this workshop as being just a technical explanation of how to set up a Roku box, missed a demonstration of the rich variety of programmes available through the SEC Media App, and that is only one of many Adventist Apps available.
With Camp Meeting 2017 reaching it’s climax, and soon to end it is worth pointing out that programmes you missed, or want to see again will be available on the SEC Media App.
Dr Duda continued his series of presentations by looking at the exile of God's chosen people. His main scriptural references were: Amos 6:8-14 (what do you do when your people stand for different things to what you stand for), 2 Chronicles 36:15 (historical account of Israel's disconnect from God) and 2 Chronicles 36:21 (enjoying the sabbath rest).
Dr Duda talked about the exile of God people where his repeated point for emphasis was "Exile is not about geographical location, it's about the state of your soul when you forget your story."
The people of is was in exile for 70 years God' people ends up in Babylon. Their cry is expressed in Psalm 137:1-6, “By the rivers of Babylon where we sat and wept…How can we sing the song of the lord when we are sitting in a foreign land?”
Israel's Exile: What did the nation loose?
- Their intimate relation with God – God was no longer dwelling with them.
- Institutions – temple and kingdom.
- Power and wealth - the cause of their suffering.
The result of their rebellious nature:
- Slavery and oppression in a foreign land under a foreign king.
- Their story ends in silence, suffering and shame: has God failed?
- They lost their mission, identity and purpose.
Duda skilfully depicted Christ as the one who will ultimately redeem His people. Christ has the credentials being fully Jewish, as found in Mathew 1. Christ brought rescue and redemption so that all can live freely.
Complete restoration occurs with the healing of the nations in perfect community. The only way to redeem a broken story is to embed it into a bigger story. The question remain: What kind of community is God looking for? People who have been restored and renewed by the saving grace of Christ.
You and I can be part of that kingdom.
Youth Director, Pastor Anthony Fuller, kicked off the hour by encouraging all the young adults present to be willing to take risks and think outside of the box. Why not try football ministry? How about Nando’s ministry? He pledged his support and attendance to that one! He gave those present a charge: "don’t wait on the pastor, don’t wait on the church board. Just be ready to go!"
Dean Culinane, preacher of the hour, drew our attention to what true evangelism looks like. He made it clear that everything that we do is evangelism: because people are watching! He drew the young adults’ minds to the boring sermons they may have heard over the years. But then shocked them with the point that our lives are preaching worst sermons than the boring sermons we don’t want to hear – because the world is watching. Based on John 21:17, he stressed that the only qualification necessary to win people for Jesus is to love Jesus. Nothing more, and nothing less.
The evening unfolded around a wooden cross, standing in the middle of the room: a powerful visual reminded of the central them of communion.
Pastor Amos Mitchel led the first half of the service, preaching a stirring word: grace, not condemnation. He challenged each person present to remember that they are a WIP (work in progress). Based on this, he reminded the young adults that they have no right to judge anyone else, because though the grace of God anyone can change.
"God has shown you grace. Why can’t you show it to someone else. Amen."
Pastor Nathan Stickland led a prayer session based around God’s promises to rejoice over His people found in Zechariah 3.
The second part of the service was led by preacher Andrew Fuller. He laid his past bare and shared ‘unorthodox’ experiences on London Transport – and invited his audience to come clean and confess any similar experiences. Andrew continued the theme of the letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, focusing on the church of Sardis. He informed his audience that this church could do good works, but had no Christ: thus making it a dead church.
Fuller powerfully demonstrated how the fact that the church doesn’t realise it is dead, is proof that it is dead! He charged the young people to not allow anyone in the church to ever push them out of the church: because the church does not belong to any man. It belongs firmly in the hands of God. The speaker stressed that once you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, no human impediments will stop you getting to Him. The Spirit was truly moving it the place – in fact, Pastor Jonathan Burnett declared the message to be the best sermon he’d ever heard. And there were no dissenting voices – only words of agreement. Camp meeting 2017 is going from strength to strength as far as the youth of the church is concerned.
The Teens’ Ministries team warmed up with a Bible challenge. Volunteers went head to head to see who could find random texts the fastest! After a few rounds of this, Gnashe led the teenagers into a prayer session. Seven teenagers came forward to share the reasons why they pray:
“I can thank God for all He’s done for me.”
“I can ask Him to make me a better person.”
Devotional speaker, Dean Culinane, spoke about righteousness. He explained that in his early days in the church, righteousness would always be spoken of in terms of ‘what you should do’. No one ever spoke about why you should do it… He challenged the teens to ask themselves why they are doing the things that they are doing.
HOLIDAY BIBLE CLUB
Today the children learned that change for the better is possible, especially if God is instrumental in being a part of the transformation. What better biblical character than the apostle Paul to illustrate that truth.
The drama team did their part in setting the scene according to the Polar Explorer theme. After that they went on to dramatise the conversion of Saul, the hated and feared Christian-persecutor, to Paul, the loved and respected apostle and writer of over half the New Testament.
The teachers did their part by re-telling the story, before helping the children to make crafts that had to do with “seeing” things differently, by making binoculars, then drawing around their feet and writing a scripture in the foot space, about following in the steps of Jesus.
The making of the binoculars seemed to be the highlight of the day for many. True, they were a bit flimsy and needed much glue and string to stay together, but there may well be a child or two that will take them home and dig them out later in life. At that point, if it didn’t happen today, the truth about seeing Jesus afresh could well become life transforming for them.
[ - PC: Ligia Buzac]