The Brighton Leadership Conference is just a week away! I think Terry Virgo really set the tone for the anticipation for this conference when he said:
Glorious encounters with the Holy Spirit's power! I was in two minds as to whether to write what was on my heart here. I have been mocked and told off for being too "conference-orientated" in the past, but in thinking about the excitement and the anticipation as to what God might do and accomplish in Brighton, I decided I really don't care. Those who mock and tell me off really clearly haven't experienced conferences like Brighton before obviously! So here goes:
An Apologetic for Mountaintop Experiences.
Isaiah 40:9 - "Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion bearer of good news. Lift up your voice mightily ... lift it up - do not fear".Exodus 24:12 - "Now the Lord said to Moses, 'Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there'".
1 Kings 19:11 - "So He said, 'Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord'".
In his sermon on Jeremiah 33:3, C H Spurgeon wrote the following;
"We may not, whilst on earth, dwell in heaven; but; who can tell how much of heaven may dwell in us whilst we are here? ... Yet you know not but that you may climb where these men did; the steps of the mountain of piety may be steep to look upon, but they are accessible to the feet of diligence. Go on, and you shall yet stand where Moses stood, and behold Canaan from the top of Nebo. Remember that you are as yet upon the lowlands; be not ashamed to acknowledge that you are desirous to climb upwards. Bend your knees, and God will show you in experience "great and mighty things" that you know not yet ...
If any man is content with his own experience, it is entirely through ignorance".
The Observer Magazine has some useful tips for climbing mountains that can, I think, be applied to preparing for a mountaintop experience with God. I've added a few thoughts of my own.
1. Don't rush your build-up.
2. Understand it won't be easy.
3. Picture yourself on the mountain, succeeding.4. Be prepared for lots of 'down time'.
5. When you reach the summit, you will see far.
However the Word of God is even more insightful as to what can be accomplished when one is up a mountain.
1. God Speaks On Mountains.
- Exodus 19:3 - "Moses went upto God and the Lord called to him from the mountain saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel".
I think we can come to Brighton fully expectant that God will speak powerfully through the preached Word of God and through the words given by the prophets. The people have come apart for one reason - to be with God! And it is exciting to consider that He will be faithful and will speak to His people.
2. God Reveals Himself on Mountains.
- 1 Kings 19:11 - "So He said, 'Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord'. And behold the Lord was passing by!".
Terry Virgo spoke of "glorious encounters". This is the ultimate goal as to why I am so looking forward to Brighton! That I might encounter Him and have my life changed forever! Could it be that the Lord passes by (or what Dr Lloyd-Jones called 'revival') when we are together united in worship at Brighton?
3. God Shows Visions On Mountains.
- Numbers 27:12 - "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go up this mountain ... and see the land".
Newfrontiers is a stimulating people to be among because the visions that God has given them corporately and as individual churches are numerous. In the four Brighton conferences I have been to and the two Stoneleigh Bible Weeks, I have seen God reveal progressively more dynamic, more glorious and more daring visions to Newfrontiers. This in turn has raised faith and expectancy for more of God! Could it happen again this year?
4. God Commands Mobility on Mountains.
- Deuteronomy 1:6 - "You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance".
Brighton will indeed be a glorious week. I have absolutely no shadow of doubt of that. But over the years I have noticed that the feeling of regret, nostalgia and sadness as the conference draws to a close has diminished. And the excitement that I am returning to my home, to the city in which I live (for now) and the church to which I belong - equipped and armed with the fact that I have met God - is quite an amazing transforming truth. I long that when I return from Brighton, a week Friday, I will indeed have this word burning in my heart. "Break camp and advance". I shared a while back that I feel God has told me I have been in Bristol long enough. I desperately hope that God may reveal His plans for me, the next steps in my walk with Him.