Over 1,700 Seventh-day Adventists gathered for “Revival,” to rest and allow the Holy Spirit replenish them during the annual South England Conference (SEC) Camp Meeting at Pontin’s Camber Sands Holiday Park, Sussex, on 6-12 June, 2016.
Once all attendees checked into their chalets and unpacked for the week long programme, Camp Meeting kicked off on Monday evening with the Musical Prelude Opening Ceremony, chaired by Mike Johnson, SEC Music Director. As SEC President Richard de Lisser was unwell, the conference’s Executive Secretary, Douglas McCormac, officially welcomed all attendees. Led by McCormac, the whole congregation stood to pray for the opening of the meetings and for the presidents’ health.
Special guest and president of Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), Danny Shelton, launched the spiritual aspect with a challenge. “We are getting ready to do something big in London. We can’t let lack of faith stand in the way,” Shelton said. According to the speaker, New Age and eastern religions are growing faster than Christianity in London. There are more registered witches than Christian preachers in the city. People are still searching and this is the time when Christians need to tell their story.
In a later interview, Shelton said: “When you realise that you’re not here by accident, you are not a member of the Adventist Church by coincidence, but by divine providence, it gives us a certain responsibility and a certain privilege God has given us to give present truth to a lost and dying world.”
Shelton recounted several inspiring conversion stories he had encountered during his time at 3ABN, which prove that “modern-day miracles are still happening.” But, despite running a Christian TV station that is available 24/7 across eight networks worldwide, he mused: “it’s a shame that people have to use TV to find God.”
Remembering the stony reception he had received when he tried to talk to a six feet three inches tall, 300 pound wrestler who sat next to him on a flight, Shelton reminded his audience that no-one can tell ‘who’s ready and who’s not to take the Gospel by simply looking.’ One has to take the plunge to tell their story and the story of Jesus Christ to their friends, to their neighbours, and people they meet.
Shelton stated that one can only help others once they have helped themselves. “I am encouraging everyone revival in ourselves, then we can help others. Because, once you have the love of Jesus in your heart, you can’t help but share it,” said the Evangelist.
[by James Shepley and Natasha Mirilov]
Preaching on the experience of the blind man in Mark 8:22-26, American guest speaker, Pastor Debleaire Snell, and speaker at the Commitment Service, drew several powerful object lessons for the congregation.
Intercession matters. The speaker said that people need to intercede for others, as the friends did who begged Jesus to touch the blind man. But faith is personal. Like the blind man, one needs to develop their own faith in God, which may mean being called away from places of familiarity and security so as to lean more closely on God.
The preacher continued by making the comparison of the mother eagle making the nest uncomfortable to encourage baby eagles to fly, so God may stimulate people ‘to spread their wings to become the disciples He wants them to be.’ God is taking his people on a journey. But on this journey, they have to be willing to follow His directions, in His time, not in theirs, as He sees the hazards that they don’t. The Israelites learned that lesson the hard way, and spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness, when they should have made it to the promised land in three weeks. God doesn’t abandon those who even make a wrong turning. Like a GPS, He gives them new directions.
Pastor Snell admitted being perplexed as to why Jesus had chosen to heal the blind man’s sight with spit. But, he drew a spiritual application for the church. “There is power in every part of the body of Christ,” said Snell. So, why did Jesus apparently need two attempts to heal the blind man? The Pastor said that the issue was the man’s faith. His faith was being strengthened. Like the blind man, people need a two touch experience. The first touch of conversion and justification is important, as well as a second touch of sanctification to revive spiritually and personally, and to help see without distortion. Many stood for Pastor Snell’s closing prayer to indicate that they wanted just such a second touch experience with God.
[by James Shepley]
[James Shepley and Natasha Mirilov]