THOSE WHO KNOW THEIR GOD SHALL DO EXPLOITS
Delegates began arriving at the Hayes Conference Centre from about 2pm onwards on Friday 6 April to attend Word of Faith Centre’s annual retreat for 2012. They collected their keys, schedules and information for the weekend and headed for their rooms to freshen up. Some took a stroll around the grounds of the Centre and got themselves ready for the first session of the weekend.
Elder Christian opened the first session with the main theme, Daniel 11:32 – “but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits”. He encouraged everyone present to pray and ask God to meet them and touch their lives where they needed His touch. He also challenged them, asking them what they had done with Retreat 2011. What we got out of the weekend would depend on what we did with what we heard.
After a time of praise and worship, Pastor Kingsley introduced the choir, who ministered a song. He then spoke on the context of Daniel 11:32, pointing out that it took place in the midst of great hostility. He said that God wanted us to begin to see ourselves as the strong. We need to say “Yes, I will be one of those people that know their God, will be strong and do great exploits”.
Knowing God, he said, is not just about acquiring facts and mental knowledge of the Bible. It’s about a people who intimately know their God. We need to shift from being carnal and soulish. He said that some of us are very soulish in specific areas of our lives. We can be like body builders who do only the easiest exercises – bar bells and bench press and end up with big chests and tiny legs. We can develop parts of our spiritual lives while neglecting other parts, leaving them undeveloped. We may be good at reading the bible, but controlled by our body’s desire for food, nicotine or television. We must learn to be Spirit led rather than body ruled.
He encouraged us to function in the knowledge of who we are in Christ. We’ve already been created in God’s image we have only to pattern Christ. In illustration of his point, he introduced a presentation from the drama team. It was a simple, yet powerful and touching drama on the theme “There is a King in you”. Afterwards, he called forward those who felt ensnared in the vision they had of themselves so God could break that distorted image they had.
After dinner, there was an optional prayer meeting, followed by a meeting of all the officers. Finally, there was Youth Rendezvous for the 15 to 25 year olds.
The next morning, the optional prayer meeting began at 7.30am, followed by breakfast and then the first session of the day. During the time of praise and worship, a prophetic word was given, encouraging the congregation to worship God. He said He was present by His Spirit to heal and deliver. Confirming the word with John 4:24, Pastor Kenny reminded us that worship is of the heart and that we ourselves are the beneficiaries of worship.
Pastor Birkett Bennett shared a testimony of the transformation he experienced whilst in East Africa (Uganda and Kenya) that has led him to a deeper need to pray for the nations and peoples. He said he had a new motivation and hunger to draw closer to the Lord and to sense His purposes.
He said that there is something about greatness that we all admire – it is not limited to those who are rich or talented. Knowledge, he said, is integral, central to greatness. He reminded us that we are His workmanship (Eph 2:10) and that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (Eph 1:3)
Evangelism, he said, is bringing the gospel across the nation to all nations. God can use those things that we have come away from so that when we are redeemed we go back with a redemptive antidote to use those very same things to do great exploits for God.
We are not to despise the things we have come from. We are to give them over to God and His redemptive power will cleanse and purify those same gifts for us to do great exploits. He said that as we pursue our gifts/talents within our domain, through our networks, beyond our own ethnic origins, into foreign territory…we will do great exploits.
He added that when we know God and know ourselves, we are able to conduct ourselves in the right way and to win souls for Christ. God doesn’t relinquish His pursuit of us and neither should we relinquish our passion for the lost.
After lunch there was free time available for delegates to play a variety of sports in the sports hall, football on the field, games in the games room or to go exploring the surrounding area or just walking around the grounds and village. Alternatively, some people simply went back to their rooms to rest.
On Saturday afternoon, Fellowship Hour, led by Sister Marcia, was held. After a short time of prayer and worship, the congregation was told to split into twos with each person taking up the blank piece of paper that had been left on their chairs. Each was given 60 seconds to draw their partner without taking their pen off the paper and without taking their eyes off the person they were drawing. Not surprisingly there were some hilarious results, as well as some suspiciously good ones.
This was followed by the “Regardless of…” exercise. Now in groups of six, the congregation was asked to come with statements based around “Regardless of my situation I have xxx in Christ”. Sister Marcia reminded us that we needed to be like a dog with a bone holding on to those scriptures. Communion was taken and a hymn about the blood of Jesus was sung and the meeting closed.
After dinner, there was a short break and the Praise Jam began. This comprised a range of people displaying their talents. There were poems, raps, dances, songs, testimonies and even a piano recital. Pastor David Shosanya preached on the main theme – those that know their God shall do great exploits. He pointed to Esther, born for such a time as this and instructed by her uncle Mordecai.
He also mentioned Daniel, led by the Holy Spirit. He encouraged both adults and youth to get involved in the political realm to exert a Godly influence over issues that will shape generations. He said that we were to take scriptural truth and make it relevant to the political scene. It was not just about praying, but about taking relevant action too. Otherwise the void will be filled by humanism and atheism. He challenged God’s people that if they were to do great exploits, they needed to step out in faith.
Before praise and worship began, Pastor Kenny challenged the congregation to allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and check our attitudes. If we had been unpleasant to someone, reducing them to tears we needed to go and apologise. If we verbally tear down God’s creation, how could we expect to receive His blessing.
Sister Marcia gave a similar word, saying that if we had spoken about others we needed to apologise to God for judging and embrace that person. Pastor Kingsley came to pray, but before he did so he warned that strife provides an open door for the enemy to come in. He brought a prophetic word reminding us that we bear responsibility for the flow of the anointing. As we flow with God, hearts will be mended, bodies healed, futures set and assignments of the enemy stopped.
After the prayer Pastor Kenny called forward those who had received prayer on Friday evening whose healing was not yet complete.
During the time of praise and worship, a prophetic word was given about the sons of God and the fact that they needed to rise up and look God in the face and work with Him that He might do exploits through us.
After the time of praise and worship, Pastor Kenny called the older generation forward for prayer. Pastor Birkett prayed and prophesied over each one in turn.
Next Pastor Kenny called the 11-14 year olds forward and asked Pastor David to pray with them. They stood with their mentors and teachers behind them and the congregation stretched out their hands in prayer. Pastor David prayed for a personal experience with the Holy Spirit. He then invited the older generation to go and stand with them to be bridge builders and repairers in the relationship between parents and children.
After that, Pastor Kenny called forward people who had experienced a pattern of negative circumstances. God said that He wanted to break the pattern. Pastor Kenny led them in a prayer of repentance from idol worship, broke the umbilical cord to each person’s ancestry and reversed every curse.
After a 10 minute break, Pastor Kenny taught on the outcomes of knowing God. He emphasised that the knowledge of God is paramount and will shape our destiny. He also pointed to the power of affirmation that we are to continue to say what God has said even in the face of contradictory circumstances. He broke down our knowledge of God into three areas: His name, identity and attributes; His ways; and His will.
He said that unless we had been in a place where we had to prove God, we would not really know Him – all we would have would be an intellectual knowledge of Him. God has permitted our suffering for it to transform our lives. Transformation is not possible when everything is easy. Sometimes He has to take us through very hard times so that we change to become more like Jesus. Ultimately, he said, knowing Jesus would help us to stand firm and do great exploits.
After a time of praise and worship, Pastor Birkett Bennett took the last formal session of the retreat. Basing his message on Daniel 1, he said that the knowledge of God leads us to greatness and empowers us to effect change. He said that God had chosen us, we were not accidents, and He thinks about us in the present and the future. Suffering plays a part in our destiny and God can use it to bring out the best in us. God allows it for our redemption, not for our destruction. We should not underestimate what God has placed in our lives and see ourselves doing exploits.
Daniel, he said, purposed not to defile himself with the king’s delicacies; there is a conqueror’s diet that we must eat. We also need a disciplined lifestyle so we are able to pass by our favourite things if we need to. He called God’s people to stand if they felt called to get involved in the political arena in the UK. He charged them to use their gifts to speak for God and minister to the nation.
Once the meeting was over, thanks were given to Sisters Donna, Paulette and Annette for all their hard work in organising the retreat. After that, the work of clearing up and packing up equipment began and delegates began to make their way home.