Posted by Chris Mason on 11th November 2013
I don't know about you, but preparing for a weekend away in our house is not a straight forward affair. It involves a whole lot of packing, lift sorting, toys / blankets & cuddly toy selection, charging of a million technical devices, and the usual injection of a last minute altercation with someone in the family as we prepare to jump in the car at the end of a long week with tired children for a couple of hours on a motorway. This year was no different but instead of it involving just our family, we joined the Derry's and made the journey together. Gareth and I headed down earlier with a volvo full of toys, pa, lamps and bags (via a pub lunch) and went about setting up the venue in relative quiet whilst Lisa and Elea picked up from school and sorted out all the kids, bundled them into the car and drove, what must have felt like a school bus full of hyena's, an hour and half down the most windey roads known in England.
We all arrived safely and were joined by 40 others from The Oak over the coming hours on what would prove to be one of the most amazing weekenders we've ever had at The Oak.
It was amazing for many reasons, some of which were:
The accomodation and food worked...
It sounds like a very practical thing, but our experience has been that when the accomodation (the combination of bedrooms, meeting venue, dining and cooking areas, and childrens space) and food work, everything else is so much simpler. This year it all worked - so much so we are thinking about booking it for next year!
We were served by some incredible people...
Roger & Cheryl, from Kings Church in Cockermouth, gave themselves completely over to serving us on the friday and Saturday by talking, praying with, building friendship with us and leading our adult teaching sessions - they truly blessed us as a church. We heard some amazing teaching from Galations on our identity as 'Son's of God' and all that that carrys.
Dave & Hazel, also from Kings Church in Cockermouth, led our children amazingly and Dave taught the adult teaching session on Sunday morning. They served and served and served us allowing our parents to be ministered to and our children to be led.
God met us...
As we planned for this weekender we were aware that we wanted to do all we could to get us into a place to encounter God. Our musician team (which is now a little bigger after some unheard of gifts game to the fore) left loads of space and allowed God to do new things in us - it was an amazing time of soaking (being drenched) in God's presence - we so enjoyed it.
God spoke to us...
Throughout the weekend there were some very powerful moments as it felt like God spoke clearly to us through prophecy. There were prophetic actions that paved the way for new gifts to be expressed, scriptures read over people that will resound for many years and prophetic pictures that will stay in our minds for a very long time. Let me share a couple of them with you...
Using a scene from Shakespeare in Love, Graham shared how a policeman type figure constantly goes around brandishing the name of the Queen and uses the power of that name. Graham drew our attention, or lack of attention, to the powerful name of Jesus. That through His name we have access to incredible things.
As Graham finished speaking we spent about 2-3 minutes speaking the name of Jesus out before responding in song.
It was one of those perspective moments where we were drawn into the presense of God and reminded just how amazing, powerful and grace filled our God is in giving Jesus to make a way for us to be able to use that incredible name. I wonder, what does His name mean to you?
On Saturday night James shared a picture of a mirror, a dirty mirror, with a reflection hidden behind of us all as children - a beautiful image of innocence and freedom. Following the teaching Roger had brought that morning, Roger then expanded on all the things that cloud us from understanding our true identity and freedom in Christ. These things that cloud our understanding are like the dirt that stops us from seeing our true identity.
Roger and Cheryl then spent time with many in the room praying for people and it was like a mass window cleaning session as God met many people through tears and laughter and freed many of lies that have held them back from living in the grace of God. I wonder, how do you see yourself?
If you missed the teaching sessions they'll be online in a few days. In the meantime, why not take the opportunity to encourage one another.
Bring on next year........
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