Together on a Mission - Day 1.
Describing the Brighton Leadership Conference almost demands presupposed experience of such a conference. It truly lived upto it's mountaintop experience! Others have blogged on the conference and I highly recommend their accounts. I do not claim to be able to blog on a level like theirs however. My blog will be something more of a report of an encounter. I have touched something of the Presence of the Living God at other Bible Weeks but never before have I had my life so radically changed - coming back with clear direction as to laziness and sin in my life that must be dealt with - as will become clear.
We hit the ground running somewhat at Brighton because we were blessed to go to Church of Christ the King on Sunday evening before the conference began. Tom Eaton was speaking. During the singing of a spiritual song, the "penny dropped" for me in terms of suddenly realising what the Cross was all about. This may sound basic! The song was about the cost of the Cross. John Hosier then came up and prayed and this one line of his prayer hit me like an Exocet. He said; "Love constrained the Son of God to go to Calvary". I suddenly saw it! John 3:16 - yes. 2 years in the Cross-centred SGM - yes. But I didn't "get" it. I appreciated the Cross as the beginning of all things. I saw it's value. But with that one line I suddenly realised that the Cross was the ultimate expression of the love of the Godhead towards unworthy sinners. Nothing tops it!
Day 1 - Session 1.
We were led in worship by Stuart Townend and sang awesome proclamations of truth such as; "See What a Morning" - "We stand and lift up our hands (Holy is the Lord)" - "Who pains the skies" - "All hail the Lamb" and "O Church Arise". The charismatic was instantly in evidence at the conference. P J Smyth brought a prophecy that was in essence proclaiming "Babylon will fall!".
The speaker was Stephen Van Rhyn - the lead elder of the Jubilee Church, Cape Town. I had experienced this impressive guy's preaching at last year's "Let the Nations Be Glad!" where he brought a remarkable sermon on suffering. This year he had definately grown in maturity and excellence. His text was Acts 7:59-8:8. And it was to answer the question: What were the significant ingrediants that aided the significant advance of the Gospel?
"We exist not because of our careful strategy but God and God alone ... our greatest need and greatest resource is God. Gazing comes before going!".
"From a human perspective, God used a human and his courage to turn the situation around in Antioch. Our actions matter".
3. Diversity of Gifts.
"Acts 8 and 11 outwork Ephesians 4:11-12 wonderfully. Philip goes as an evangelist to begin the work, then Peter comes as an apostle to establish it so Philip can go on".
4. Multi-Coloured Expression.
"We must line up with God's passion for diversity. "God is more glorified in diversity than uniformity. He will find passionate admirers in every diverse people group in the world" (John Piper)".
5. Pressure, Hardship and Persecution.
"These difficulties were a catalyst to advance into God's prophetic purposes for them".
6. The Transforming Grace of Almighty God.
"Acts 8 and 11 paint one of the most beautiful pictures of grace in the Bible. Saul goes from persecutor to pastor in 3 chapters! Breathe in grace and mercy from God and breathe out grace and mercy to others!".