After a warm welcome and our evening meal, the conference got underway with praise and worship, a time to open ourselves in small groups, and addresses by first Felicity and then Tony Dale.
John White demonstrated the SASHET technique for us and led us into using it in small groups. For a short time the conference was transformed into dozens of small churches of three, four or five. SASHET involves talking about our current heart feelings under the headings Sad, Angry, Scared, Happy, Excited, and Tender. It was a quick way of moving to a place of understanding one another better and beginning to feel ourselves to be a team, a unit, a church!
Felicity Dale opened the proceedings by sharing with us how she recently became an American citizen, and how the ceremony had been solemn, emotional, and exciting - all at the same time. Some of the people going through this step with her were from backgrounds of severe repression and for them it was a step into freedom and democracy.
She then talked about she had also once been accepted as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, and how Jesus himself had stood in her place tomake that possible. We have been adopted as members of the royal family, we have access to the King even in his throneroom.
Felicity reminded us that the world sees Jesus through his people. If we are not representing his love and grace and favour to the world, how will they ever be able to see him?
Tony Dale told us that when we wake up in the morning, we wake up at war. He spoke about the kingdoms of darkness and of light that are both involved in our daily lives. If we do not focus on the things of the Kingdom of Light, darkness is already ready and eager to fill the void.
James wrote that the wisdom from below is first natural, then unspiritual, then demonic. There is a sequence here. The wisdom of this world will move in on anything we have built once the wisdom of heaven is not active within it. We may create sometthing good, but if spiritual leadership is removed it soon becomes a merely natural effort. And in time it has the potential to take the next step and become demonic.
We need to guard our hearts. We are not to criticise one another and pull one another apart. Tony went on to look at the ways mega church and house church can help, encourage, and guide one another. How much better to do that than to judge one another. There is only one church! Large or small, there should never be so much structure that the Holy Spirit is no longer necessary.
Finally Tony showed us some examples of the way we can do practical things to help one another, mentioning in particular, Samaritan Minitries, a medical scheme that really works.