Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008 New England Bible Conference

I'm back! A week ago Monday I left with several friends for Massachusetts by way of Albuquerque and Baltimore (though we never had to get off the plane) to attend a week long Bible Conference at our "home church," Grace Bible Church in Somerset, MASS.

It was amazing. First because the members of the local assembly there made incredible provisions for us, their guests (I don't know how many people came from other states and nations, but there were a lot of us -- a rough count of the folks I know of tallies at 97.) They provided us breakfast and lunch every day, the foods mostly prepared by members of the congregation, which meant we got to taste an array of the kind of food that the local people actually ate. It was all yummy, but I'm still blown away. There was also an abundance of drinks, and in the breaks, coffee, tea, and various other treats, snacks, hors d'oeuvres. The last night at a "Raptard Party" (that's a party for the Rapture retards -- those of us who believe the Rapture is coming in the next few years) they served lobster. I've never eaten lobster, so that was quite an experience. Very good. Very messy. Very fun.

There was also a lot of rain, which those of us from the desert appreciated. And it was cold. Which I also appreciated despite the fact I wasn't prepared for it. When I packed, I couldn't even conceive of what cold felt like. Should I bring more of the short sleeved tees or the sleeveless? It never occurred to me I might want something long sleeved. But despite the fact that I was able to wear only a portion of what I'd brought, I the cold was a welcome reprieve.

Of course we didn't travel all that way just to enjoy cool weather and rain, nor even to sample local foods. We came for a spiritual feast and a great reuinon of royal family. And boy did we have both!

If the physical food was fantastic, the spiritual food was even better. Amazing. Phenomenal.

The conference was on relationships and there were a number of speakers -- we had about five hours of teaching every day -- and all of them seemed to be on the same pages, teaching various aspects of the same message even though they hadn't in most cases talked to one another or coordinated what they were going to teach on. The Holy Spirit was thus very much in evidence, His hand seen in the almost eerie orchestration of all the messages and songs.

The central theme was relationships, but the one thought that seemed to me to have been most repeated was that you must get your relationship with God in order first, and only then can you get your relationships with people in order.

I'll have more to say on it all tomorrow, but right now I'm still getting unpacked and caught up on all the things that didn't get done while I was away. And trying to recuperate from all the excitement, late nights, three hour time zone shift, and five hours of sitting on a plane.