Each day at Encounter we attend 3 classes. Monday however, I only went to two because of my Covenant School Appointment which you can read about in yesterday’s post.
We entered into a completely dark room and sat on the floor. We began to hear a story being told in a soft voice. Another voice slowly emerged as another voice, traveling around the room, whispered words of discouragement. “You are not good enough! Why would God want to use you?” On and on and on the voice went getting louder and closer making it difficult to concentrate on the story being told.
After a few minutes we were instructed to stand and move through an opening in the black curtain that surrounded the room. I was led into an adjoining room draped with white curtains. At the far end of the room were two chairs sitting side by side and a flat screen TV sitting upon a platform in the corner.
One of the teachers began using the two chairs to illustrate the relationship between God and His people. At first the chairs were next to one another because God was with Adam and Eve in the beginning. Then throughout time God got farther away because of the sinful act of Adam and Eve. This trend continues over and over again as shown in many bible stories. We can each witness this in our own walk with God. This certainly apples in my prayer life. After Encounter each year God and I are great! I pray a lot and try to invite Him into my life throughout each day. When I have a bad day and get frustrated or angry I tend to stop my communication with God. This is one of the many examples where my chairs get pushed apart. Another example would be when I get stressed and busy with school and life because I tend to place everything else first on the “to do list.” Encounter, bad circumstances in life, and moments of peace are the times in my life where the chairs are pushed together. I thought this illustration was a great way to show that God was meant to be with His people.
We were NOT intended to be independant!
The next activity was simple, but I loved the way scripture was utilized to teach some characteristics of God. We were split into small groups, each given one scripture to work with. We had to finish the sentence, “The Lord is…”
Then they showed us a powerpoint on the television making a list of the characteristics. Here is list of characteristics with their paired scriptures.
Romans 15: 5-6
Speak to Others
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reject other Vocies
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
Help in Weakness, Connect us with God
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
1 Corinthians 2:10-12
Gives Knowledge about God
these are things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows are person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1 Thessalonians 1:6
Gives us Joy in Sorrow
You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of se ere suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
Better Character in Us
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.Against such things there is no law.
1 Corinthians 12: 7-11
Spiritual Gifts, Manifestation
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All of these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Acts 8: 29, 39
Physically Leads and Guides Us
The Spirit told Philip, “God to that chariot and stay near it.”
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.
Luke 24:49 and John 14:12
Empowers Us with Holy Power
I am going o send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
A Better Companion than We Give Him Credit For
But very truly I tell you, it is for for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
When we allow the devil to possess us, our chairs get pushed apart. We start to fall into temptation and make decisions that neither we nor God is proud of. Fortunately, we can become possessed with something much better than Satan. We can be possessed by God by allowing these characteristics to sink into our hearts and therefore our lives.
At the end of the class, we got to start a prayer wall behind one of the white curtains. We were supposed to ask God to assist us in one of the areas of the characteristics we discussed. We exited through the black room, that now contained black lights so that we could see. This time, the walls said things such as “do not be afraid” and “I love you”. You see, the first time we were in there we were so focused on the words of Satan that we didn’t realize the words underneath.
If we are possessed by God, Satan is defeated!
Gimme Gimme Gimee
As I walked into this class, I was given a lanyard with 3 key hooks: green for money, gold for time, black for props. Each of these contained 4 key rings that could be traded and used in the games we were going to play. We participated in “the game of life,” spending the rings in each of these categories in hopes of gaining more.
I know the above picture isn’t in great quality, but it depicts a dance and that led to a dance off competition complete with disco balls and costumes.
I played for a few of the games but quickly decided to sit out and just watch. (I know, I’m lame, but watching my friends drink coffee grounds in water was more than enough for me.)
At the end of the game, the top player in each category was awarded a prize. Carson was handed a $50 visa gift card. The teachers told him to enjoy it for the remainder of the class.
The point of the class was that we should store up our treasures in heaven because those of this world are worthless.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20
Remember this song?
The wise man built his house upon the rock… and the wise man’s house stood firm!
We need to build our houses upon the foundation of God because he is solid and will allow us to stand firm!
Then they asked us this…
“If all of your needs could be met what would your life be like?”
For me, I would probably still go to school to become a nurse because I love to help people. I would defiantly attend the school that I choose regardless of the cost. Someday upon graduation, I would work for a few years part time while being a mother of lots of children. I would probably adopt a lot of children and help as many people as I could. I would try to volunteer at my church in children’s ministry and teach my children how to be servants of God as well.
Towards the end of class, the teachers showed us this video.
I really enjoyed this illustration. It was by far the best part of the class.
We tend to hear this message with our ears and not with our hearts.
Ezekiel 36:26 says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
With God’s help, I can allow this message to move from my ears to my heart and allow it to consume my life in a positive way.