“FILLED WITH GOD’S FULLNESS”
Retreat 2008 held at the Hayes Conference Centre, in Derbyshire, over the Easter weekend was characterised by healings, salvation, teaching, fun and fellowship, among other things. It was WOFC’s thirteenth retreat and the main theme was taken from Eph 3:19, filled with God’s fullness. The first session on Friday evening, held after dinner, was taken by Pastor Kenny Ogunji. As with all the sessions, it began with praise and worship and then the congregation read Ps 24:1-10 and took time to wait on the Lord. There were several prophetic words given. These encouraged us to seek God’s face and to leave our burdens at the door. Other words reminded us that God promises to instruct and teach us in the way we should go and that He has given us the desires of our hearts. Pastor Kenny also reminded those present that God’s purpose is to bless, but that obedience is paramount for that blessing to be manifest. Among other things, he urged the attendees not to try to put God in a box, or to try to dictate to Him about how or when to move or limit Him in any way. He is sovereign. That evening there was a prayer meeting held to pray for the retreat proceedings. Youth Rendezvous – the 15 to 25 year olds also met in the evening and were ministered to by Pastor David Shosanya.
PAYER AND PRAISE Saturday morning began with an optional prayer meeting at 7.30 am, followed by breakfast. In the next session, after the praise and worship, there was a time of ministry, when people were invited to bring the desire that they had in their heart before God. Also, many sick people received prayer and were touched by God. Pastor Warren Jones spoke, reminding the congregation that they had been filled in order to fill. Focusing on Jesus‟ last command in Matt 28:18-20, he drew on Gen 1:28 to remind us that we are called to be fruitful and multiply. The message covered the old and new creation (2 Cor 5:17, 1 Cor 15:45-47), God’s command that mankind procreate, the stages of procreation (2 Cor 5:11-14; Acts 26:14 & Gal 4:19). He also drew comparisons between human genes and the spiritual replication principle. Gen 1:28, he pointed out, is a blessing, not a command and has to do with promise. God sets us free to do whatever is in His heart for us to do, so we have the possibility, potential and propensity for procreation. The junior church went out for its teaching sessions after the praise and worship. The children followed the same theme that the adults had. One teacher reported how shocked she was to discover how much the children had taken in. She said that it was clear that they know their stuff and that the word is in them.
FREE TIME!! Saturday afternoon was given over to free time with opportunity for recreational activities. However, the cold weather meant that only a few youth braved the cold to play football on the sports field. The majority of children, however, went to the sports hall where they played badminton, football, and basketball as well as having fun with hoola hoops, bean bags and skipping ropes. Some of the adults went shopping in the nearby town, while others went walking in the grounds of the conference centre. Pastor Kingsley Blake was the speaker for the third session encouraging us to become more aware of what we have in Christ and to activate it. He covered the role of the law, the primary purpose of spiritual warfare and the limited power of the evil one. He also said that what is inside of us will be manifest in what we express. Using Rom 8:2, Gal 5:1; Eph 2:19-22; & Eph 3:1, he said that we are not to hold back in our expression of love to God, so that our relationship with Him could be liberated. He said that we should learn to praise – our expression would be dictated by our faith. He gave David as our example in that he had an audacity with God and did not hold back in his expression of praise. Pastor Kingsley also urged us to meditate on and fill our minds with God’s word and particularly to focus on His love (Gal 5:6 & 1 Jn 4:16-19).
YOUTH ABLAZE Saturday night was given over to Youth Ablaze, a concert given by the youth. God used them to bring His message through skilful dance, mime, drama and song. Afterwards, Pastor David Shosanya conducted a conference call with Christian singer/broadcaster and presenter Muyiwa in which he shared his testimony. God did a mighty work among the youth with many of them rededicating their lives to God or giving their lives over to Him fully.
The fourth session on Sunday morning was taken by Pastor Kenny, who spoke briefly about the background to the church in Ephesus using Acts 19 and Rev 2:1-7. After the praise and worship, he called people forward who wanted to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. There was another powerful time of ministry and many were filled and spoke in tongues for the first time. One new Christian attending retreat for the first time told how she was prayed for, was filled and spoke in tongues. She also felt that she was healed from a serious illness and since retreat has seen physical manifestations of her healing. She said, “It definitely changed my life. I was apprehensive about going, and I wasn’t going to go because I didn’t feel well.” However, she was persuaded to go. During one of the ministry sessions one of the pastors laid hands on her and from that point she felt different. “Everything just changed and I felt stronger. It was a lovely, peaceful weekend. I’m really glad I went and I’m always going to go now.” Another attendee told how her sister, a believer, had come to retreat for the fourth year running and was truly touched by the Holy Spirit. She attends a church that teaches that the gifts and working of the Holy Spirit are not for today. During the praise and worship, for the first time ever, she raised her hands in worship. When people were called forward to be filled with the Spirit, she responded, was filled and received the gift of tongues and was also slain in the Spirit for the first time.
SPIRITUAL DNA In the fifth session on Sunday afternoon, Pastor Warren continued his discourse on filled in order to fill. He focused on the stages of procreation and how they can be applied in the spiritual. (See 2 Cor 5:11-14; Acts 26:14; 7:58-60; & Gal 4:19). He said that we needed a sense of the lostness of the lost and the terror of what happens to souls that go to hell. He urged us to be passionate about winning souls for Christ. Looking back to the promises that God made to Abraham (Gen 13:16 & 15:5) and drawing on creation (Gen 1:20) and some spectacular statistics of how many species there are of creatures in the seas, he encouraged us to reproduce in kind spiritually, replicating our spiritual DNA.
Everyone agreed that Retreat 2008 was a success, with many being ministered to, receiving physical, emotional and spiritual healing and simply enjoying fellowship with their family in Christ away from their usual setting. Perhaps the best highlight of all was that several people gave their hearts to the Lord, while others rededicated their lives. This account gives just a flavour of what the Lord has done, but as it says in John 21:25 “there were also many other things that Jesus did...”
** RETREAT 2008 **
"FILLED WITH GOD'S FULLNESS"
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