By Jill Jamieson
Then Moses said, ‘I pray, show me Your Glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you .......and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away, and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen - Ex 33:18-23
Coming from various parts of Australia and New Zealand, about 100 people gathered at Salt on the far northern NSW Coast, for this year's CWM Conference. For clarity, conviction, and insight of the teaching alone, the trip would have been worthwhile; but there was more, much more. The sweet hour of prayer each morning before breakfast; the worship preceding each session, lifting the spirit and preparing the heart to receive; the fellowship with old and new friends; the extensive range of available books, DVDs and CDs (we all missed Maureen O'Brien this year due to her sickness); and the rekindling of that blessed hope as an anchor of the soul; these were the elements of the conference. One verse and chorus of a hymn in particular made a deep impression on me. Sung to the tune of the Maori Farewell, it goes like this:
Lord take my life, and make it wholly Thine, Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine; Take all my will, my passion, self and pride; I now surrender - Lord in me abide.O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee; Send a revival - start the work in me; Thy Word declares, Thou wilt supply our need, For blessing now O Lord I humbly plead.
As each day the natural light around us faded, the light of the Lord shone with greater brilliance.
Devotional and Directional
This year's conference was remarkable for its earnestness and seriousness of purpose, with a sense of urgency permeating the gathering. The theme, Show Me Your Glory, took us with Moses up the mountain to consider his bold request and the many facets of God's reply. We caught a glimpse of the glory revealed, each speaker reflecting a different colour of the divine spectrum. The presentations were a delight, each reinforcing in the hearer the inestimable love of God and a rekindled confidence in the immutability of His Word.Phillip Powell introduced the theme. The goodness and glory of God, enthroned in His character caused Moses to cry out, "Show me Your Glory!"
In all, seven times, perhaps even eight, this 80-year-old prophet climbed the trackless rocks of Mt Sinai to meet with God. Experiencing a deeper intimacy with God than any other man, Moses was straightway tested by God in the area of ambition. He turned from the condemnation of Israel, and instead, interceded for the nation, thereby passing the test. Significantly, Moses pleaded with God; he did not demand or attempt to call down fire. Before we call down fire, like Elijah, we must first be able to call down rain.
Moses enjoyed the Presence of God and it is this same Presence today that makes a people a church. Jesus takes the broken crippled pieces of human life, and makes something beautiful of them. The work of the Christian is not welfare but evangelism. Thus,The greatest wonders are not in Nature, but in grace. A regenerated soul is a greater marvel than the marvel of the springtime. A transfigured face is a deeper mystery than a sunlit garden. To rear graces in a life once scorched and blasted by sin is more wonderful than to grow flowers on a cinder heap. If we want to see the realm of surpassing wonders we must look into a soul that has been born again and is now in vital union with the living Christ. Even the angels watch the sight with ever-deepening awe and praise (John J Howett). (More on pages 9-12)
Bill Randles spoke with his usual passion and clarity, over three sessions. Typical of every person saved, he reminded us, God opens our eyes, and we see things we never saw before. When God reveals Himself, the conviction of sin is painful, horribly so. There is no pretence, no hiding before God. With the woman taken in adultery, everyone else had left until there was just her and God. This is the place we must all come to.
In the light, everything is seen, and in a real church, the secrets of the heart are revealed; we should be willing to be just exactly who we are. Beware the church that provides a shelter for the sinful heart. The sickness in the church today is deep. Contrite is a word that has fallen out of use.
Ugly is all that denies or distorts the beauty of God. The world loves ugliness, being a revolt against the expression of the God and Fountainhead of Glory. Worship is not an emotional expression. It is seeing the smallness of self and the greatness of God.In his third message, God-centred or Man- centred Gospel, Bill observed that the true gospel restores what was lost in Eden. If you don't get the meaning of "good" right, you cannot be saved. The woman saw the fruit and said it was good. Man wants to start with human need while Jesus starts with the character of God. Righteousness is conforming to God's standard, but sin is high treason against God. In the case of the Rich Young Ruler, Jesus let him go away sad. Some people need to leave the church sad, for it may just be their salvation.
Doctrinal and Discerning
Aeron Morgan took Psalm 57, and over three messages demonstrated the truth that even in the most severe of circumstances, God is sufficient, and that time spent with God early in the morning shapes our attitude for the day. David is not one thing in public and another in private. Fleeing and hiding from the murderous Saul, he shows the believer what to do when afflicted and distressed. God has divinely worked to bring things to His divinely appointed end, and tribulations point us to that hope. When God acts, it is always with mercy and truth, and He is not a threat to those who belong to Him. God comes to the aid of those who seek to honour Him in every circumstance. Though David was buffeted in adversity, he did not allow his circumstances to affect his faith. The character of a believer is puzzling to his unsaved friends. As John Bunyan put it, 'the best in Christians is not seen in the best of circumstances, but in the worst.' And G Campbell Morgan: 'The triumph of trust is most conspicuous'. The dark places of trial do not obscure the presence of God. In summing up, Aeron commented:You can tell when a man knows God; in trouble he can praise God still. But before there is an awakened dawn, there must be an awakened heart. The psalmist takes the deep things of God and reveals them to us. The excited heart is awakened to action, praise and worship. (More on pages 16, 20, 21.)
Justin Peters brought a timely warning for every true believer to avoid the distorted doctrines of the Word of Faith (WoF) preachers, and of going beyond the things that are written. The true faith denying WOF is sadly growing all over the world. Positive confession, a skewed doctrine of the Fall, the insufficiency of the cross, and the teaching that faith is a force, are just some of the hallmarks of the WOF preachers. Justin emphasized the great need of the day for believers to distinguish between judging on matters of doctrine, and the hypocritical judging of another's motives and actions.It is essential for believers to understand that false prophets are not going to look like false prophets, and that the ability to perform miracles is not necessarily a sign that God is the source.
Many poor souls are left after these so-called miracle meetings to pick up the broken pieces of their lives. Claiming divine revelation knowledge, the WoF preachers have insulated themselves from biblical criticism.Justin speaks from personal experience, and has thoroughly researched the beliefs and practices of WoF. For further information, visit www.justinpeters.org (go to www.cwm.org.au CETF Archives for more by Justin Peters.)
Decisive and Defining
Jeffrey Whittaker's burden is to see the end time church come into true revival. To this end, his message entitled Fool's Gold: the Emergent Substitute took us on a virtual tour of one of Brian McLaren's Everything Must Change recent conferences, which Jeffrey attended.
Every Christian needs to be on the alert as this accelerating movement seeks to undermine everything that has gone before, and replace it with the so-called new truth of the Emergent Church: “I am, we are, everything is!”In his second message—Heavenly Mansions or Psychic Shacks?—Jeff treated us to a lively look at The Shack, the recently published universalism-style novel wrapped in political correctness and new age imagery, deceiving and distracting many in the church. He concluded:
My recommendation is to pick up a copy of Pilgrim's Progress, or better still, read your Bible.In his final message, Jeffrey drew a vivid comparison between the church of Laodicea, which had “cooled off” due to the ambient temperature of its surroundings, and the church the Lord urged it to be—Gold Tried in the Fire. When we are in the wilderness, we are dependent on God for everything; beware therefore the mindset of self-sufficiency that has no need of anything.
(More on pages 13- 15.)
Werner Schultz, as a pastor and an engineer, reminded us that Jesus Christ is the manifestation of the total glory of God, and He is the life giving Word who lived amongst us. Only sinlessness allows the glory of God and the flesh to dwell together. He is the Word of life, not merely about life. God wants us to be close to Him in this life by faith, the picture of the cleft in the Rock, but in this life we cannot see His Face. One day we shall see His glory, but we cannot 'work it up' here.
Ian Aitken, as a builder and a pastor spoke from his knowledge of construction. To be born again is to have a brand new nature, not simply a renovation. Regeneration is the distinguishing feature of the new man. There is one light on the narrow way, but many lights illuminate the broad path. The old nature likes where it lives and the process of eviction takes a long time. Fellowship becomes possible ONLY after regeneration takes place. There is no possibility of going astray when entering the narrow gate, as opposed to the many distractions along the broad way. Referring to Abraham and Lot, Ian warned of the danger of pitching your tent towards what seems pleasant, but illusory. The old nature cannot give God glory.
Finally Fayek Iskander brought a special message relating to his ministry to Muslims. He emphasized the importance of using the truth of the Word of God when witnessing to Muslims, and to establish that Jesus is the true Son of God and not just another prophet. He told us that many Muslim religious leaders and those who study the Islamic texts harbour private doubts about Islam. But, unfortunately, they do their best to avoid reading the Bible and keep their people away from reading it. When we are successful to make them read the Word of God or get the Gospel message to them, we will have achieved our goal. The truth of the Gospel will lead them to salvation in Christ. (More on pages 6 & 7.)
In all, it was a remarkable conference. Mike and Mercy Roberts, who once again took care of all the recordings, have made them available on both DVD and CD, through the CWM Office at Loch Sport.