A week after the rally has wrapped up and I’m wondering how it all went so quickly. It was a full schedule, bursting at the seams and I left feeling similarly – bursting and full, uplifted, inspired, reminded of my calling as a child of the living God.
The theme for this years’ rally – or rather, The Biennial Convention – was In His Presence. It seemed to also be naturally coupled with the idea of being in the presence of his people. In the presence of his people, I will praise His name, as the song goes. For his name is exalted here on earth and in heaven above. One of the most singular joys of the rally experience is the
opportunity to share in the testimony and experience of saints around the globe. Not only did we have visitors from Hobart to Townsville, New Zealand and Fiji, over the weekend saints from Europe, the UK, PNG and Canada sent in video greetings. Their inclusion was an edifying reminder of the scope of the revival centre work. Although separated by great distances, we are rejoicing in the same spirit, guided by the same doctrine. For those who were unable to make it to Melbourne last weekend, know we were rejoicing in your presence, felt despite the distance.
We had two meetings a day, a two pm and seven pm, each jam packed with ministry, musical items and missions. Steve Rowe, all the way from Auckland played some favourites, singing lyrics pulled straight from the Psalms set to rousing, soulful melodies. There were a capella groups, ‘prog rock’ – which is, I guess, progressive, although I’m not entirely sure – jazz and acoustic items alike. Everything from bold belters to dulcet whisperers. Even our principal pastor, Simon himself, got up to belt a few tunes with his family band. Bit of a Peter Garret vibe if you ask me, with just a few less dance moves. One might argue however, that all musical items paled in comparison to the experience of singing choruses together. With a full hall, packed to capacity, hundreds of voices joining in chorus to sing praises to God. There’s nothing quite like it. (Even when you don’t know all the words).
When the Holy Spirit informs the words spoken from the platform, you can feel the presence of God through the ministry. And that’s the kind of blessing we were privy to over the weekend. Talks ranged in style and delivery, but the message remained strong. Pastor Brett from Wellington reminded us of Moses, who had to turn aside to see the glory of God, reminding us to be deliberate, conscious and free of distraction when committing our time to God. Jason Scarlett from Melbourne reminded us to make use of the spirit, speaking in tongues and letting the spirit make intercession on our behalf. Pastor Justin Kells from Brisbane – reminding us of the transgressions of Adam in the garden – posed the question, is being in the presence of God through the Holy Spirit enough for you? Pastor Fred Wade reminded us that our walk in the Lord is a vocation and not merely a vacation.
There were many more edifying, inspired thoughts from pastors near and far. Far greater an experience, however, was to operate the spiritual gifts (as the church is instructed to do in Corinthians) as a spirit filled congregation as we did during our Sunday communion meeting. It was during the operation of the spiritual gifts that we heard the Lord speak to his saints. What a joyous blessing and privilege it is to be In His Presence.
There a countless people to thank for all their tireless efforts over the rally weekend. To the kitchen staff, the car park staff, the musicians, the backing singers, the audio visual staff, the chair-movers, the curtain-pullers, the sound staff, the coffee machine staff, the Sunday school staff, the design team, the poster printers, the communion staff and to everyone else near and far and in between: thank you. A rousing thunderous applause to you all. I use the term ‘staff’ but of course I mean volunteers, volunteers who took on a massive undertaking with smiles on their faces and the joy of giving in their hearts. Of course, a special mention goes to Stewart Shaw in coordinating the bulk of it all.
So going forward we hope you got something out of the rally! It was an uplifting time and if you feel the need to revisit any or all of it, most talks and items are available online to watch again and again and again.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.
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