Just got back from the Wild Street weekend away at Port Hacking. Normally I’m a bit fearful of big church weekends away because I don’t sleep well, you have to share a bathroom with half the campsite (slight exaggeration) and I just get exhausted and overwhelmed by all the people. Well those things all happened this weekend, but it was also really, really good.
Peter Jensen spoke to us on the topic of the Holy Spirit, and it was a real treat to have him and his wife Christine giving their time to us so generously. I was greatly encouraged and comforted to remember that although we humans have many problems – we’re ignorant, lost, selfish and self-willed – God loves us. He loves us so much that he sent Jesus to take on our punishment, and gave us the Spirit to work in us day by day, helping us to become the people he made us to be and reminding us that we no longer need to fear condemnation. All we have to do to receive his promise – that we will be with him in eternity – is to trust.
The point that really struck me (made me cry and rejoice at the same time) was Peter saying the Holy Spirit’s work is to assure me of God’s love for me, because I’ve been saved by faith not works. Sometimes our consciences speak louder to us than the cross and we obsess over what we have and haven’t done, that maybe we’re not good enough, or we’ve ruined our chance for salvation. But the Holy Spirit applies the gospel to our consciences to give us God’s peace.
Peter also said “you can’t cleanse the conscience without the blood of Jesus”, then quoted that wonderful verse from Rock of Ages:
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to your cross I cling.
Naked, come to thee for dress
Helpless, look to thee for grace
Foul, I to the fountain fly
Wash me Saviour or I die.
I was leading singing for the whole weekend too (though we didn’t sing that song), and I think people enjoyed the music. Paul K made a good selection of songs, and people were singing with great gusto, which is always a good sign.
The other thing that Peter said was never give up praying for people you know and love to come to or come back to the Lord. While they are alive, it’s never too late for God to save someone. It renewed my conviction to pray for a few people in my life.
I had some good chats, prayed with people, got to know some people better, cried a little, laughed a lot. It brought home to me that, flawed and sinful though we are, I really do love my church family. I was talking to one of the girls about how I hadn’t been sure whether I should change churches when we moved to South Hurstville and she said she was really glad that I hadn’t because she loved being at church with me. How nice is that?!
We also dressed up on the Saturday night for spy-themed trivia. I’m not sure any spy worth her salt would wear a pink wig, but I was going for…I don’t know, a manga French theme or something?