Monday, 12 September 2011
Forum 2011 - A Nostalgic Review
I know quite a few of my colleagues have already blogged about their experiences, but I thought I'd still add some more fuel to the fire.
I went into the week hoping it would be wonderful. I was not disappointed.
From the journey down in a lovely Ford Galaxy hire car to the exquisite camping food (see below) to the excellent teaching (read below) to the privilege of leading a seminar with MJ Axelson, Forum 2011 was a week I'll never forget.
What a privilege it was to hear great Bible teaching from the Directors at large of uccf:thechristianunions as well as Rebecca Manley Pippert, Graham "Danno" Daniels and Mark Meynell.
There was a really helpful focus on the heart and how it is the love of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, displayed in the gospel, most clearly at the cross, that captures our hearts and draws us to worship. We heard a lot about evangelism too, but it was in this context of being warmed by the gospel and so the motivation was never allowed to be anything other than the love of, and our love for, God and in the grace we have received. How refreshing and completely freeing that is.
Not only that but the atmosphere was superb. There was a real sense of unity amongst all of those present. A unity which wasn't forced but totally natural, or maybe I should say supernatural, because of our status as children of the Living God. The music and sung worship was a joy to be part of, ably lead by Olly Knight and the rest of the band we sang of the great salvation we enjoy, the wonderful unity we have and committed ourselves to running the race with endurance. Olly has written some excellent songs too. Check them out on the Forum Sessions via iTunes.
I was extremely privileged to serve on the prayer team this year. It was amazing. Many students were really touched by what they heard and the challenges from the Word, applied to peoples' hearts by the Spirit, were many and varied. How great that, in my own weakness, I given the opportunity by God to pray with a number of students over the week, and even see prayers answered right there and then!!!
Although camping has the downside of being at the mercy of the elements (as we experienced on the first night) and generally means far less or lower quality sleep, those factors pale into insignificance when compared to the added value of team bonding and proximity to students. This was of course helped by having a team leader who loves to cook and took the time to work up a wonderful menu, the like of which I have never experienced while camping. The photo below is a breakfast of scrambled eggs and prosciutto with toasted bagels!!!
The final thing for me to say on this matter is regarding this being my final Forum. It has been a privilege to attend and take part in all of the last 5 Forums as a CU Staff Worker. I know that the Lord has used the conference to really challenge people and most of all to further Kingdom work amongst students.
As I looked around at various times during the week I realised how much I will miss it and how great the need is. May God continue to use CUs for HIs glory, to display His love and bring many people into His Kingdom.