“Do you have something you need to exercise? Exercise yourself toward godliness!” Bright lights illuminate the stage and everybody’s attention is on Kåre J. Smith , who is speaking from the podium. Brunstad Christian Church’s annual Pentecost conference is in full swing.
It’s the weekend of May 26th, and around 350 friends have travelled from all ends of Norway to Harstad. The rugged northern Norwegian landscape is breathtaking; clouds billow above the mountains, and small waterfalls grace the cliffs lining the highway.
But this is no ordinary tourist expedition. These travelers are here to experience Harstad’s Brunstad Feast live, and in addition to the feast, take part in the Pentecost conference, both of which are being held at Harstad Kulturhus. BrunstadTV is on location, and the events are broadcast via satellite and internet to the friends all over the world.
A sharp and clear message
The auditorium is filled with faces, young and old, who look genuinely interested in what is being spoken. Kåre Smith starts the first meeting of the conference, and as he speaks, the message is sharp, clear, and easy to understand. He talks about the importance of exercising oneself toward godliness (1 Tim 4:7). “It’s so deep in our human nature to live our lives based on what other people think about us; to seek honour of man. We need to live our life before God’s face. Exercise yourself in serving God, regardless of what people think.”
“It’s so deep in our human nature to live our lives based on what other people think about us; to seek honour of man. We need to live our life before God’s face. Exercise yourself in serving God, regardless of what people think.”
Bernt Stadven follows up in the same spirit. “In trials and tests, when you are tempted, use the opportunity to put to death that which comes from your flesh, your sin. That is what it means to exercise yourself toward godliness.” (Col. 3, 1-13)
“I feel the word go straight into my heart”
Other brothers, including those from the local church group in Harstad, continue with God’s word, and after hearing many faith-strengthening messages, the youth have the chance to testify. They flood the stage and one by one, step up to the microphone.
These young people are filled with thankfulness for the words spoken at the conference, and they testify of their longing to become free from seeking honour. “We are called to a life of complete transformation!” says one of the young brothers.
Adrienne Hairston, who is among those who have given their testimony, says that the most important thing she wants to take home from the conference is to establish an inner life with God. “I have heard this so many times before, but never as powerfully as at this weekend. As I sit here in the meeting, I feel the word go straight into my heart.”
Choices in everyday life
Andrew Courage is one of the many friends attending the conference, and he says he has received real spiritual help on this trip. He is deeply thankful for ‘guides’ who practice what they preach and are therefore able to lead others into a deeper life with God.
Andrew explains further about this thought-life or “hidden life” with God. “All the choices I make in ordinary, daily life must come from an inner conviction that they are the correct choices before God’s face.”
The weekend draws to a close, but the words that have been spoken continue to work in the hearts of those who heard them. There is no doubt that the friends have received a renewed desire to be among those described in one of the songs sung during the last meeting: “Those with a mind that is faithful and true, fearing the Lord, they His will gladly do! Standing before Jesus Christ at His throne, they seek to please Him alone.” (Ways of the Lord no. 60)
“Those with a mind that is faithful and true, fearing the Lord, they His will gladly do! Standing before Jesus Christ at His throne, they seek to please Him alone.” (Ways of the Lord no. 60)