183 Parker RD Benton, TN 37307 (423) 338-5545 sctreehouseproductions.weebly.com
Thanks and blessings to everyone who made this trip possible for our family!
Let me start with an apology…a warning of sorts. I have no idea how this newsletter should go. I have waited a week now for some word from the LORD telling me how and what to write this month. One of my struggles is that I have no idea how to express everything that our family felt and experienced at the Messiah Conference. Many of you have had intense experiences with the LORD in which you could not find words to express it to others. That is where I am. If you’ll remember from last month, I wrote this,
“Going to this conference would be a week of 'different' with no escape! … Chris and I both felt it was needed and a perfect opportunity to give the entire family some grounding.”
Well, that is what we experienced. So much so that recently (as we were attending a local Baptist church where Chris was speaking) when the pastor told us to stand for the benediction Susan and I were taken back when English came out of his mouth and not Hebrew!
Our week started when we entered the Messiah College campus and passed by a tent in which several Orthodox Jewish men sat ready to engage any who would listen to them try to refute the truth of Yeshua as the Messiah. (Okay, so maybe this week was going to be intense.)
After checking into our room and a supper meal, we moved to our first worship service. (In most of the services, Susan, Christopher, and Jonathan were in the Youth/College/Young Adults service. Gideon also had a preteen service 3 of the 7 nights. He was with us the rest of the time.) I wish I could explain the heavy feeling of the LORD’s presence in our worship services. I don’t think I have ever felt it before. I was so exhausted that night, but so excited as well. The music portion included a dance circle on the floor next to the side of the stage. Absolutely lovely, that is the best way I can explain it. There were several circles within each other. Each one following the leaders as they led the group in worship to the LORD using traditional Jewish dance.
Those circles moved so gracefully and beautifully. I was mesmerized watching worship that I had never known before. I sat there thinking that this was what it meant to dance before the LORD (Ps 149:3; 150:4).
The next morning we hit the ground running and didn’t stop until we got home to TN. I heard great clarifying talks on the Spirit of the Law as opposed to the Letter of the Law, whether our salvation is a contract or a covenant, and many more. One speaker spoke on temptations and strongholds in our life. He had some amazing things to say, but one that stuck with me was this:
We need to stop trying to win victory over temptation. Yeshua has already won the battle for us. We need to claim that victory and walk in it.
It doesn’t mean we won’t be tempted, but it does mean we already have victory over the temptations. I was able to use that with Susan later in the week as we spoke.
Another class was on raising our children to be spiritually sound. Several great things were mentioned but the one that spoke to my heart had to do with worship. The Rabbi was listing core values to teach our children and one was that they learn to worship the LORD. He then stated that they wouldn’t learn if they don’t see us worshipping. Ouch. Do my children see me truly worshipping? I have to say that before that week they had seen me worship with reserve, but not abandonment. (Ok, so my abandonment still had some reserve, but I’m working on it!) Interestingly enough, that talk came on the morning of our Wednesday evening worship. “So what?” you might ask. Well that evening part of our music was to come from Paul Wilbur. See, a few years ago I got to where I could hardly listen to the radio anymore. Music, even Christian music, usually just irritated me. This annoyed the children. They wanted to listen to our local station in the van yet I rarely made it all the way to town without turning it off.
Then I found Paul Wilbur’s music. I really liked it. So much so that the children began to accuse me of having some kind of teenage crush on the guy! They had been ribbing me for some time about getting to see him in person. And I will admit that I was excited. I had seen some of his concert clips on YouTube and was looking forward to seeing it live. So, back to letting my children see me worship with abandonment. That evening I joined a beginners dance circle on the opposite side of the stage from the beautiful, big circle I mentioned before. And I worshipped. I danced and sang (when I wasn’t counting my steps) and only looked at Paul Wilbur twice. (Once doesn’t count because he was speaking and not singing.) Granted, Chris and the boys were in their seats, but they could still somewhat see me. However, Susan was there with me. She stood opposite me in the circle, facing me, her view unhindered. Did she see me worship with abandonment? I hope so. I’m pretty sure she saw me in a way that she never has before.
I could go on and on, but I’m almost out of room. I do want to mention that the older 3 children went on a day outing to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. They also participated in the Young Messianic Jewish Alliance’s night of worship for the adult crowd. They held up their lights of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust (both Jew and Christian) in the darken auditorium as we proudly watched them worship with growing abandonment. We sat in awe as our youngest son looked angelic, crying and blowing his shofar in worship one evening. Gideon had been challenged to take his shofar blowing seriously as a call to lead others in worship and only as he felt led by the Spirit. We watched Susan dance with more grace than she possesses in normal everyday activities. Jonathan and Christopher both worshipped, as we have never seen them before, with reserve, yet true worship, their faces glowing in the dim light of the auditorium.
One of the afternoons Chris and I sat with some leadership from Kol Dodi Nashville (sponsors the Chattanooga group) to reaffirm our calling and purpose for this group. It was a wonderful time of discussion and prayer. Overall, this trip proved to be the grounding for our family that we had hoped for. Thank you for your part in that foundation.
Christopher put together video footage from the “Youth” portion of the trip as well as our quick stop in D.C. Keep in mind that the worship dance footage was taken on the last morning and everyone was exhausted! (If you look closely, you’ll see Susan!) Thank you to Misha Goetz for permission to use a portion of her new song.