“Stand up. Close your eyes. Focus on your reason for being here. Commune with Him. Tell Him you won’t leave the same way you came.”
With these words Pastor Kenny Ogunji welcomed delegates to Word of Faith Centre’s 11th annual retreat at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. The Holy Spirit was welcomed into every session and then there was a time of praise and worship followed by a time of waiting on God.
During the time of waiting, there was a tongue and an interpretation as well as some prophetic words. Among the words, the Lord said: “I will do among you if you let me just as you have said and have asked, you will not go back the same. If you let me I will mould and shape you so that you become like my son Jesus Christ. My desire is that you become like Him. You will leave here a changed people that will do exploits for God…”
The meeting broke up for dinner. After that there was an optional prayer meeting at which more prophetic words were given. In one God said: “I’ve come among my people to dwell in them… I have desired you as my people… It’s out of your oneness that I will show forth my glory. If you will be careful to remain one in me, in your thinking and planning, you will know God’s presence more in your midst… I am a God who works with one, so in all your seeking to be one, I will remain amongst you if you will be one…. I’ve come to unite you under my wing in purpose, thinking and to usher you forth into places you’ve not considered.”
Following a time of praise and worship, the second session was led by guest speaker Pastor David Hamilton who spoke on revelation faith and the importance of obedience in exercising faith.
He strongly challenged the notion that faith is spelled R-I-S-K, arguing that there is no risk when we hear from God and obey what He says. “He doesn’t call us to blind faith. When you hear Him speak, be obedient.” Pastor David interspersed his teaching with testimonies of how he had seen God work in this very way in his own life. He also pointed out that unless we are obedient to what God is saying to us now, we will receive no further revelation. However, as our obedience continues, we will develop discernment and our knowledge of God will increase leading to revelation. He also counselled that if we want to know God’s will, we need to spend time in His word.
After lunch, the afternoon was free and children and adults alike spent the time in various forms of recreation including playing sports, socialising and sleeping. People were invited to sign up for the Saturday evening jamboree hosted by the youth.
Pastor David also spoke at the third session. After a time of praise and worship he spoke on the importance of sanctification for faith. He said that sanctification is important for living in the here and now and that faith is the connecting link between human weakness and divine power through which God’s power becomes available to us.
Beginning after 9pm with praise and worship, the jamboree included songs, dances and other times of praise and worship with a guest session led by Muyiwa. The evening culminated in a period of worship during which everyone present danced around the hall circling it seven times in an act of spiritual warfare. The evening finished late into the night.
Despite the lateness of the previous night, most delegates were able to pack their cases and strip their beds and make it to the first session of the day on time. Following a time of worship, Pastor Kenny spoke on the key text of the retreat, Hebrews 10:26-38.
He reminded the congregation that it was no longer business as usual. We were to turn our wills over to God and allow Him to do what He wanted. Then he called for the infants, i.e. those aged three and under, to be brought to the front for prayer and blessing.
He then spoke on faith using the key text as well as Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17 and Gal 3:11 among others. He encouraged us to imitate the early church which turned their world right side up. We are carriers of His presence and our bodies are His temple.
He broke off his message to call the 15 to 25 year olds forward for prayer, followed by the four to 14 year olds, who were individually anointed with oil. He resumed his message looking at where faith begins, why we should live by faith, what it is and is not based on. Faith, he said demands dependency on God (Prov 3:5-6); must be rooted in His word (Ps 19:10, Ps 119: 105) and is expressed through good works (Jas 2:18). Ultimately, he concluded, it produces right living, right motives, right thinking and right relationships.
In the final session of the retreat, the 15 to 25 year olds were prayed for again, and then single parents, followed by those seeking jobs.
Pastor Kingsley Blake was the last speaker. He spoke on hindrances to faith, including the danger of unbelief (Matt 13:58, Rom 4:19-20, Matt 17:20 & Mk 9:22-24).
He challenged the congregation to confront negative thinking, such as thoughts of constant failure and defeat. He pointed to negative pictures and images in our minds that needed to be overcome through meditation on the word. By contrast, a picture from God can create a powerful positive image in our hearts. The session closed with prayer for those who were unwell.
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