Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reflections on Holiness Summit

Posted on the Michigan District Church of the Nazarene web site:

Hundreds were powerfully impacted across the Church of the Nazarene in the state of Michigan as we recently gathered for the first Tri-District Holiness Summit. God alone knows how many were sanctified wholly or what the ultimate result of the Summit will be. I have asked Carol Casarez to share a glimpse of this great, Spirit anointed time. May your heart rejoice and your spirit renewed as you read her words. God is at work making us Michigan Nazarenes into a holy people! John Seaman

There is no doubt in my mind and heart that GOD STILL MOVES and GOD STILL SPEAKS. One only had to attend the Michigan Tri-District Holiness Summit held at Saginaw Valley Church of the Nazarene, Saginaw, Michigan, this past Sunday and Monday to be very aware God is not finished with His people, nor is He being silent in these days of such high anxiety in our world. I attended this event knowing that God would be present in a dynamic and unique way as several hundred Nazarenes gathered to give Him our praise, and in return to hear His proclamation. I am sure everyone attending this summit left knowing they had been on Holy Ground. There is no way we could return back to our assignments without having been stirred and changed by the very voice of God through His servants Susie Shellenberger, Linda Seaman, Mark Quanstrom, and Dan Bohi.

As my husband and I headed to the Holiness Summit on Sunday, I was reminded of how God had Moses assemble the Israelites at the base of the mountain to await His message which He would deliver through His servant Moses. I knew God had a message He wanted to deliver to the Michigan Nazarenes, and I could hardly wait to hear what He had to say.

Susie Shellenberger is a very gifted and talented woman of God who can communicate cross-generationally. Teenagers in the Sunday night service left there having heard the message of sanctification/holiness in a language they could understand and relate to. She connected with everybody, but I felt the teens who made the effort to attend left there knowing God loved them and wanted them to be distinctly different from their peers. We were all called to sacrifice, to surrender all so that God might live through us and reach this world that is so desperate to see integrity, purity, honesty, and hope…those traits they cannot find in the world, but only in God’s Holy people.

Linda Seaman was asked last minute to fill in for a speaker that was unable to be at the summit. Linda is someone who melts our hearts when she speaks, for she herself expresses the heart of God. It was how God prepared her ahead of time to be ready to speak to us that emphasized to me how God is ALWAYS in control! That one of the speakers would not be there did not catch Him by surprise. Linda’s servant heart was prepared to speak His message, reminding us that God wants us to be more than a GREAT church…He wants us to be a HOLY church. We must humble ourselves and pray and seek His face, and His leading, and live as He calls us to.

Dr. Mark Quanstrom, a professor at Olivet Nazarene University, has the gift of taking the intellectual and making it simple so that we can understand what God wants from us. He spoke on being willing to pay the price, if we want the prize. Just as Naaman had to humble himself and dip seven times in the filthy muddy waters of the Jordan River to be delivered from his leprosy, we must be willing to live in complete obedience to God, if we want to experience His presence in our lives. Partial commitment doesn’t cut it. Divided loyalties causes us to lose out on God’s best. We must be more concerned about what God thinks of us instead of what people think of us.

It seemed each service built on the one preceding it. Our fourth and final speaker on Monday afternoon was Dan Bohi. It was as if John the Baptist himself had come out of the wilderness and told us to prepare for the way of the Lord. God is moving in Dan’s life and ministry in ways witnessed by the first century church. Souls are being saved by the thousands, bodies are being healed, the Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of those who will give Him the freedom to move and work. It was a Pentecostal movement of the Holy Spirit, such as in the book of Acts, that we witnessed Monday afternoon. We closed out the Holiness Summit on our faces before God, crying out to Him to touch His people once again! It was a supernatural moving of the Holy Spirit that perhaps many had never witnessed before in their lives. Dan simply followed the mandate given to him by God: Preach the Word!

Some of us have come back home knowing we must preach God’s holiness to our congregations as we never have before…boldly, firmly, expectantly…for God wants to continue to move among His people. Some of us have come back home very aware we must live each moment as an example of Christ, so that a hungry and hurting world knows who to turn to in times of crisis. When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, He gives us the power and the boldness to reach out to others… For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.(2 Timothy 1:6-8)

I pray God continues to make His presence known in our lives so that we can make a difference for Him. I felt there was enough power poured out amongst His people during this Holiness Summit to turn the state of Michigan upside down for God’s Kingdom. Now…let’s just DO IT!! Let’s live lives that are distinctively different in our world…HOLY LIVES!

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