Family Camp 2006 Day 3

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The speaker spent the final talk on the camp's theme: Blessed Family, the church as a community.

Scripture Lesson: Acts 2:41-47 (NIV)
41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

A Lesson of Reminder from Martin Luther (1483-1546)
The night before Luther had to face the court to defend his stand on justification by faith, he was so fearful. It was during this night that he wrote one of the most spectacular hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God. The next day, with full courage, three strong words rang in the midst of the members of the court, "Here I stand!"

Lesson: May we too stand firm in the Lord, trusting only in his own righteousness. There should only be reformation, not revolution; we must stay with the church (sola fide). We must take the Bible seriously (sola scriptura). We must arise and shine, being alive in his saving grace (sola gratia). And pastors must defrost lay people making them a priesthood in service to the Lord (sola sacerdos).

The Acrostic Theme
F - fervent in prayer
A - adore our God
M- minister with care
I - intercede for one another
L - love God and our neighbours
Y- yield to God

1. Fervent in Prayer
1 Thess 5:16-18 (NIV): Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

How can we pray continually? Unceasingly? We need to remember to pray at all times; be it times of sadness, or joy, anger or calm. Kyrie eleison, Lord, have mercy.

2. Adore our God
We need to be physically fit to worship God. I am reminded to cut back on late Saturday nights to be fully fit the next to go to God in worship. There is a need to discipline ourselves to be prepared mentally and emotionally to come to the Lord in worship and adoration.

"For to worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God."
~William Temple

3. Minister with Care
Why do we need to minister? Because we all need to grow. We need to build each other up towards maturity. We are also reminded that this ministry of care also include the caring of our pastors, in encouragement and support.

4. Intercede for One Another
I am being introduced to yet another finger-related prayer model:

The thumb, pointing the mid of palm - reminds us to pray for the people and things that are most dear to heart, those that we are most concerned of at the moment
The index finger, used to point others on - reminds us to pray for people who lead and teach: our superiors, teachers, lecturers, pastors
The middle finger, being the "tallest" of the five - reminds us to pray for the very important leaders, e.g. leaders of countries
The fourth finger, the weakest one - reminds us to pray for the weak, the needy
The little finger, the smallest - we still need to pray for ourselves, but the least and the last, but still a need

5. Love God and Our Neigbours
When we truly love God, we will end up also loving more of one another. The speaker quoted 2 references:

The Dessert Father Dorotheos of Gaza, a 6th century monk: Suppose we were to take a compass and insert the point and draw the outline of a circle. The centre point is the same distance from any point on the circumference. Now concentrate your minds on what is to be said! Let us suppose that this circle is the world and that God himself is the centre; the straight lines drawn from the circumference to the centre are the lives of men. To the degree that the saints enter into the things of the spirit, they desire to come near to God; and in proportion to their progress in the things of the spirit, they do in fact come close to God and to their neighbor. The closer they are to God, the closer they become to one another; and the closer they are to one another, the closer they become to God. Now consider in the same context the question of separation; for when they stand away from God and turn to external things, it is clear that the more they recede and become distant from God, the more they become distant from one another. See! This is the very nature of love. The more we are turned away from and do not love God, the greater the distance that separates us from our neighbor. If we were to love God more, we should be closer to God, and through love of him we should be more united in love to our neighbor; and the more we are united to our neighbor the more we are united to God. May God make us worthy to listen to what is fitting for us and do it. For in the measure that we pay attention and take care to carry out what we hear, God will always enlighten us and make us understand his will.

The Iona Holy Communion: The people in the Iona community in the north of Scotland practices a feeding of bread to each other as a follow-up of the taking of bread and wine from the Lord during Holy Communion. It is an awesome practice of love and giving that will bring one another closer to each other with the act of feeding each other. (I could not however, find any link in the internet concerning this and therefore have no further information on this.)

6. Yield to God
How do we give to God, to yield to him? How do we store treasures in heaven? Unless we can offer ourselves, our time, our wealth, our all to God, we are only but lip service. We need to show that we are not living for ourselves only.

Closing: Mother Teresa's Do it Anyway*
The speaker chose to close the session with something that has now become something very close to my heart:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

These words really touched me as it encourages me to do good anyway regardless of the situation, how unbecoming it may seem. I am going to do it anyway, since it is not between them and I, no, but it is, God and I.

"Well done! Good and faithful servant."
How I hope and anticipate to hear these words, though in apprehension will I face my God in the last day.

updated on 7th June 2006

* The verses below reportedly were written on the wall of Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta, and are widely attributed to her. Some sources say that the words below were written on the wall in Mother Teresa's own room. In any case, their association with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity has made them popular worldwide, expressing as they do, the spirit in which they lived their lives. They seem to be based on a composition originally by Kent Keith, but much of the second half has been re-written in a more spiritual way. See here.

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3 comment(s)

  1. Awesome post Maeghan! I didn't know these thoughts came from Dorotheos of Mother Theresa. It sounds like the camp was very interesting....glad you're back!

  2. that should be "or" not "of" Mother Theresa. I was just sooooo excited.

  3. Hey Julia,
    Glad to be back too but was too bogged down by work, work and work. Nevertheless, I thank God for a time of refreshing up in the hills :)