This day we had a great lie in. It was well deserved right? So we all came out in dribs and drabs, got ready and ate breakfast ready for the day ahead. To be honest it wasn’t your normal breakfast, this was a “you’re being rationed one egg and two slices of toast” kind of breakfast. This was definitely a shock for those of us who enjoy a hearty full English. But this was once again a reminder for us to appreciate that sacrifice sometimes has to be uncomfortable. Either way, we made it work.
Now this was the day we would go up into the mountains which apparently had breath-taking views, and honestly, we experienced nothing less than that. After about a 1 hour drive, we arrived at mount Teide which was an opportunity for us to really socialise with the members of the Tenerife Family Church. There was music, mountains of food (no pun intended), and just a generally vibrant atmosphere.
The conversation flowed naturally and we were quite surprised by the genuineity and openness of everyone. There were people there from all walks of life but the common denominator between everyone was that each person had a testimony. It was beautiful, honestly, it really was, and it was such a dreamy moment. The scenery, the atmosphere and the fellowship really were God showing his power.
Now for those of you who would like to know what we took from the discussion, sorry but you have to pay. Haha just joking, true fellowship is free. To summarize the discussion, it was about how to take your Christian walk seriously and grow whilst uplifting others. One thing that Christians often struggle with is the fact that there are people they care for that just don’t take their faith seriously enough, or simply don’t believe. So they may be faced with a situation where they feel they have to decide whether to leave behind those ‘unbelievers’ or ‘lukewarms’ and continue their walk with their church family! We wouldn’t want to compromise would we?
But the interesting thing is that there are 3 reasons as to why this should not be the case.
- The Bible talks about us being the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14-16)
14 In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing 15 so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of people who are crooked and stubborn. Shine out among them like beacon lights, 16 holding out to them the Word of Life. (ISV)
It is our duty as Christians to spread the Word but we must remain blameless whilst doing so. Jesus Christ was accused of being ‘a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ (Matthew 11:18) yet He remained without sin. He did this because His duty was to save others and this has been passed on to us. The message is not that you should test or tempt yourself on purpose, but do not reject people simply because what has been revealed to you hasn’t been revealed to them, but rather encourage them through diligence and faith. Remember, it is you who sows the seed, Apollos waters it, but God makes it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6).
- Consecration is key but then comes ministry
Let’s not jump the gun, Jesus Christ first of all had time ALONE in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights where he was filled with power. During our early days, we all need to spend time alone, where we prepare ourselves to be able to live a holy life before trying to teach others to. Notice that just as explained from Day 1 that all of those who went into ministry faced a time where they had to prepare, either alone, or with other like-minded Christians e.g. the Disciples, Daniel, Jesus. But the word is not just for yourself, it is for others to hear that they may be saved.
- Not everyone has to be in your inner circle
Remember! The Bible says in Philippians 2:12, ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling’ and how sad would it be if you took so many others to heaven but you missed the way because you did not protect yourself? The solution seems clear. Jesus had his inner circle, Peter, James and John, his twelve disciples, the 72 others (Luke 10:1) and probably several more. The point is that you need to choose wisely how much time you spend with people, who you allow to influence you, who you turn to for advice, and who you are calling your friend. You need to have mentors who you can trust in to give you godly advice, you need like-minded people around you who have the same passion for Christ as you, and you need to have those who you are mentoring. These three categories are vital for us to grow, fellowship, and spread the word.
The moral of the story is don’t lose touch with those who need the Word!
After the BBQ we went home and were full of food and awe. We chilled for a bit and washed our very sandy feet (cough Ore), took showers and freshened up for the next thing on the agenda.
THE DISCUSSION –Transparency
This was the session where the bonds between us grew stronger than ever. It seemed that we had been inspired by the openness of the church members at the BBQ but really Mike had planned this from before. Turns out that ‘all things God works for the good of those who love him’! Back to business, Mike opened up by speaking about the importance of transparency in our group. And now transparency is indescribably important to us! First of all, to be in one accord, we need to know one another. We need to be able to strengthen one another. When you bottle things up, the devil will capitalise on your secret and magnify it, filling you with shame, fear of exposure and loneliness. But the truth is, none of us are perfect. We are all dealing with something, whether insecurity, sin, fear, pain or weak faith. Now once we share this, we become accountable to one another and are able to provide the necessary support.
So we acted it out. It was interesting. We went around in a circle and each of us had a moment to share our weakness. Honestly it was beautiful. It was a confirmation of the trust we had for each other and the potential to overcome! The shame and fear that we may have had when sharing was not present. It was the love of God that was present. Genuine care, no judgement, just the desire to uplift one another. Now that was when friends became family. What a soppy moment! May I just remind us all that the love of God does not condemn; ‘Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.’ (Romans 8:1). Friends are supposed to encourage one another to live righteous lives. This can only be done through the Holy Spirit.
The discussion never really had an official end. We prayed after everyone had shared, but naturally, those who felt connected, concerned or convicted continued to share in an even more intimate setting, and for some, this would be their moment of true liberation, shocked by their own ability to be so expressive and to finally be able to proclaim, and see for themselves, that no matter how much power we seemed to give it, God is WAY bigger than our sin.
Stay tuned for Day 4! God Bless x