If this was not enough, that same presence and power of the Holy Spirit overflowed into the two morning services and the evening service in a nearly unimaginable way. There were remarkable spiritual decisions and response in both of those morning services with God supernaturally at work among us. The evening service continued in this and was a demonstration of the love and grace of Jesus Christ as I have maybe never seen before as we worshiped and shared the Word one more time. Dr. Larry Dennis, District Superintendent of the Florida District, was present to make a special presentation to Sam Burch in an incredibly moving demonstration of God’s love. We heard testimonies of what Jesus had done over the weekend, and got to pray for people as well as being prayed for in those closing moments. The word “overflow” seems to best express what we experienced of God in these times together.
I was struck in these services on Saturday and Sunday by the hunger for the Word that I saw and sensed in people. There seemed to be such true anticipation in minds and hearts, including the several children that were present in the services. I was reminded again of the simplicity, though not always easy, of what God calls us to do: preaching the Word and loving people in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. This holds true in every size church in every culture and in every time.
One final thing along this same line . . . . On our way up to Sandstone, Chaili and I were privileged to stop in Eden Prairie (Minneapolis area) to see a dear friend. Dr. Norman Bloom used to be a District Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene in Minnesota, but after that went to work at Olivet Nazarene University.
The last time Trina and I were at Sebring Holiness Campmeeting, our daughter, Chaili, was 2 years old. Those were wonderful times as a family, staying in that small room and experiencing campmeeting services and life together. Our family has always had a love for campmeeting. It was a special blessing to us, then to get to go back to Sebring Camp this summer with a 20-year-old Chaili and a 14-year-old Carey. Trina and Chaili had to go back about half-way through the camp because of Chaili’s summer work schedule, but Carey and I were both there for the duration of the 10-day long camp. Carey got to participate in the youth program, staying in the youth dorm and working in the kitchen in addition to all the services and special activities (late night bowling, anyone?). One of the highlights of the camp was meeting and working with Cory and Jess Clark.
I was privileged this year to be the morning Bible teacher as well as one of the main tabernacle evangelists at Sebring. I shared the “Rescued from Normal” (1 Corinthians 11 on the Lord’s Supper) material in the 9:30 morning Bible study, as well as then preaching once per day from 2 Timothy in either the 10:30 morning service or the 7:00 evening service. You can listen to some of the messages from 2 Timothy here. This was more work than I have done before in a campmeeting of this length, but I truly enjoyed getting to share the Word and was encouraged to see some of the response. The teens, in particular, were so responsive each and every one of the evening services (they had their own morning services with Cory speaking). It was great to be close to them and speak right to them as they would sit right down in the front. I was also encourage by so many of the adults who attended these services, including many who would drive in from somewhere just for the evening services, in addition to those where staying in cottages on the grounds.
One of the highlights from my week was when one of my online students and his family drove two hours from Western Pennsylvania to have dinner with me and came to the evening service. What a true joy to get to know them in person and to just encourage one another in Christ. That is what it is all about! Another highlight of the week was the concluding service of the camp. It seemed clear to me that Jesus broke through and upon us in a very powerful way in this service, from the very first moment. The altar was lined with people praying at the conclusion of the service, with many tears during and after, and it seemed like eternity was affected in these moments. I praise God for this powerful answer to prayer.
Perhaps what I was reminded of and renewed in most at Sebring was the sweetness of the fellowship that there is in Jesus Christ. We had wonderful times of fellowship with so many, from our times after service at night with our friends on the kitchen crew, to the times just sitting and talking with people and my fellow workers at the camp, to the times with my family, to the times of worship in the services. I was reminded again that campmeeting is such a special time because it is experiencing Jesus in life together for 10 days. I was moved again in my heart to make these things --- the things that really matter --- the priorities of life. I pray to simply seek to know Jesus and grow in relationship with Him and with one another in Him. That is what lasts past a 10-day camp and into eternity. I am continuing to seek Him with you as we are,
Running together in Christ,
Evangelist, Teacher, Writer,
Husband, and Father