Mid-Year Conference 2011 – Thursday

It’s funny how by the fourth day, you seem to not think about the rest of camp that lies ahead, but start to reflect on how much has gone by in the last three days. And to put things into perspective, the start of Thursday makes me think about how there’s only one more night left to enjoy the fellowship with everyone, one more night that have fun and to catch up people we weren’t able to chat with since the last three days; because Friday would pretty much be the end of MYC (and everyone goes *sadface* over that of course).

 

I’m running out of relevant photos so I’m just going to slap random ones for this post, which might not have been taken on Thursday.

 

Bible Study

Today we just looked through the Old Testament references that are in our passage and seeing if they help create meaning in Peter’s letter. Of course, without the passage actually being listed in our booklets, and without using a Bible for cross-referencing, we would’ve been completely useless at figuring out where to get the references from; yes, we’re not all Bible freaks who can memorize huge chunks of the Bible. We were all pretty tired today so I’m glad we had lighter work today. The passage has pretty much come together, I guess we’re all just trying to digest the whole passage and put it all together in our minds, and that takes time, hopefully one day.

 

 

Seminar

Today we spent the morning looking at the idea of “rest” which seems closely related to the “Sabbath”. Again the idea of “rest” originates from Genesis where God rests on the seventh day. And when it comes to thinking about how this “rest” applies to us, I just want to skip ahead to say that indeed the idea of “rest” is not on parallel with the tradition of the “Sabbath” where we actually rest from doing work. Resting one day a week to not do any work is not a command in the Bible that’s relevant to us today; it was a tradition earlier on in the history of the Israelites and some churches today still follow it. However, we saw that “rest” was more a state that we enter into through having peace with God.

 

In the Old Testament we looked through several examples where the king of Israel would tear down idols and turn the nation of Israel back into godly people, and the “land” enters a state of “rest”. It’s clear now that “rest” doesn’t actually mean physical rest, but it’s like being at peace with God, such that all hostility between God and His people are put to rest. In a state of rest, Israel was blessed by God and they were prosperous (it’s wrong here to think that following God leads to prosperity; this is what we call the “prosperity gospel” which is false). However, we see that the idea of being at rest with God is a good thing, because being at war with God can only mean us being crushed by Him.

 

Today, we are also at peace with God through Jesus Christ and so we too are in “rest”. Yet at the same time we are still waiting to enter that “rest” because today we obviously are still in a hostile world and things don’t obviously look like they’re in a state of rest. So, much like salvation, we count ourselves “saved” today even though physically speaking we have not been “saved” yet; but because we are assured of it, we are confident enough to call ourselves “saved” because we know it will one day happen. The same path of thinking applies to being at “rest” as well. As such, being at “rest” has absolutely nothing to do with the Sabbath today.

 

 

Free Time

Here are a couple of pictures that describe what happened in most of our free time this week:

 

SAM_3664 (960x540)

 

SAM_3668 (960x540)

 

I think I already explained before how this year us third years have left the culture of wanting to plays card games like Mafia, or Jungle Speed, but to use our free time to sit down and chat and catch up with people. I think it became more of a need within our faculty because we had such a large group that we all probably never got round to catching up with each other, but rather to meet new people. So we used free time to catch with one another and to chat and encourage one another, which was cool.

 

I spent this last afternoon sleeping because I was dead tired. To be honest I ended up skipping the briefing for second semester mission. I know that I won’t have time this semester to help out with that anyway so I used the opportunity to sleep; probably not the best thing I could’ve done but it really was a tiring week this week.

 

 

Evening Session

The final night’s talk was from Colossians 3:1-17 and the main takeaway point was that we as humans have been freed from slavery to sin to become slaves to righteousness. Carl talked about the idea of freedom and he briefly showed how some forms of freedom are actually not good because it allows us to go and do whatever we want, usually resulting in something that harms us. And so it was good to not be completely free, and in the context of being a Christian, we don’t actually have “freedom” in the sense of what we usually think that word means.

 

By being stuck in sin, we are described to be slaves to sin, meaning we are trapped in an endless cycle of sinning and we are stuck under the penalty of sin which is death. But Jesus frees us from sin, not to become free, but in fact to become slaves again, but to righteousness. I found it interesting that Carl picked up the Exodus and showed how the Israelites were freed from the slavery to Egypt, not to be free and roam the desert as they wished; but freed from the Egyptians so that they may become slaves to God. That’s a weird concept to grasp but because Carl explained why freedom isn’t exactly a good thing (for instance, it allows our society to allow gay marriages for which I am against), we ask ourselves whether slavery is a good thing. The only condition we would require for being slaves, is that we have a loving and caring master (usually not in harmony with the feeling that the word “slave” gives off). Because God is loving and caring, because his slave and servant isn’t a bad thing; we just need to be rid of the bad connotations that we normally associate “slavery” with.

 

This final talk managed to tie in everything we’ve looked at over the last four days. Because of what Jesus has accomplished, for himself, for the human race, and for us, we now find our identity in Him and we now belong to Him and are his servants. Who we are as humans then, is that we’re servants of Jesus Christ, and this is a good thing because by having peace with our master, we are not facing eternal judgement but await an inheritance of eternal life. This does put the perspective back into life; it might not directly give us guidance on how we should live in our daily lives, but it does help us work out our direction in life and help us to realign it with what God wants it to be.

 

 

Final Night

All my ideas will be going over the place from this point on. Traditionally, we have the most fun on the final night because that’s what people would naturally do on the last night of camp. So I guess it’s not really a traditional thing, but more of a natural thing. The harsh thing about it all was that the staff closed off all the meeting areas early in the night (1am is considered early if we’re talking about the final night). They closed these rooms up because everyone was being too noisy and all, and that indeed is a shameful thing to hear; we as a uni got scolded during announcements in one of the evening sessions this week and it’s sad to hear that the final night would be uneventful. Nevertheless I stayed up till 3am playing cards with some of the graduates, who, for them, it would’ve been their final night for their final MYC. This was probably how the last night of MYC should’ve been spent: just calmly relaxing and having light leisure fun with the people who won’t be back next year, and then actually sleeping because it would be a wise thing to get rest before the final day at MYC.

 

So this year, the final night was uneventful as in past years, but that’s okay; wouldn’t have wanted to face blacking out again here and there on Friday. It was a pleasant way to end the night.

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