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July 11th, 2011

God Loves You: What Really Matters

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Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

Today’s sermon about “Does God hear your Heartbeat,” spoke to my heart and brought to mind the struggle I have with feeling loved by God. In the months before my father died, I would go with my youngest son, JJ, who was 6 years old, and give Grandpa a big hug and a kiss before bed. This had been my nightly ritual from my earliest childhood. But, in his last months, my usually undemonstrative Dad , perhaps as a way of saying goodbye if that night were to be his last, said every evening, “Always remember I love you. ” It was something that has stuck with me and made me realize in times of stress and difficulty that if my human father could speak to my need and know how much I needed to hear those comforting words, then my heavenly Father knows that and much more. The Feast in Kelowna in 1998 was one of those times of great stress for our family.

Though the  Feast has not always been a happy time, the lessons learned are always valuable. One of my husband, Jeff’s, favourite little sayings about this time of year comes from a comic in the Jerusalem Post a few years ago. We Anglos wish each other a “Happy year” but the Jews wish each other a “Good year” and the punch line is, “What is good for us does not always make us happy! I have to acknowledge the wisdom of this in my life.

My most “memorable” Feast was a non-feast in many ways. It had begun poorly a week earlier when our church disfellowshipped us and said we would not be welcome at our planned feast site. We were never really told why, but we could surmise that they did not appreciate my husband for writing about the need to establish an impartial way of effecting justice in the churches of God. So now our feast plans were up in the air, and we were dealing with major emotional turmoil. The pastor, who had oversight of the feast site, was a good friend of ours and he said, “Y’all come anyway.” But we were just looking for peace and we knew that our presence would be a real red flag in front of the bull. No, we needed another option. Mom had talked to some of her friends and they had encouraged us to come join them at another feast site in the vicinity, so once that was settled we could carry on with our travel plans as anticipated. More

July 10th, 2011

Alone at the Feast: What Really Matters

1 Comment, Articles, Carolanne Patton, by CGP.

 

Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

There I was at Ambassador College in Bricketwood, England, and not feeling my normally confident, cheerful, nerdy self. I wasn’t happy and perhaps I was in denial about the source of my trouble.

There I was living my “dream,” one I had worked for since those days in summer camp 5 years earlier when I fell in love with my SEP counselors’ tales about college, and I learned about England from a campmate who was a bona fide Limey.  But now, I was seventeen, had completed Grade 13 and was in England, the home of my ancestors. The campus had a wonderful rural, small town atmosphere that was just what I was looking for and I was already busily engaged in and enjoying classes and work.

But something was amiss. I had gained 15 lbs in just a few weeks, and I was feeling awkward in my new shape. Working in the kitchen with access to unlimited food, clockwork tea and biscuit breaks, and regular visits to the common room for Horlicks, ginger beer, the ubiquitous nuts and raisins, or gouda cheese could account for the changes. But there was something deeper. I had great roomies, interesting classmates, stimulating professors, but perhaps being quiet or shy outside the classroom setting, had hampered me in making new friends.

Then the feast came and the whole campus moved in a grand bus caravan to the holiday camp at the seaside town of Minehead on England’s west coast. Bus trips and I have never had a good relationship; I can still vividly remember in exquisite detail all the horrors of my two-day trip to SEP camp in Orr, Minnesota, during the height of the Detroit riots. I have since learned I have severe petro-chemical sensitivities that explains why diesel fumes puts me into a tailspin of nausea and vomiting. So I knew I was in trouble as I anticipated a day trip in a coach along winding English roads.
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July 8th, 2011

Adventures to Share: What Really Matters

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Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

Sometimes the traveling to or from the Feast can be a great adventure with many lessons learned. My second year at college I joined a group of students, with varying levels of French fluency on a train trek across Europe to the idyllic mountain village of Praz sur Arly. I don’t know why we thought we needed to carry all of our meager wardrobe across the continent, but it seems that most of us showed up ready to go with a huge valise and flight bag that would have kept us clothed for months. We were either going to build major muscle groups in our arms or destroy our spines. More

July 8th, 2011

Eliminating Idols

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Eliminating Idols from cogwebcast on Vimeo.

Before God reaffirmed the covenant with Jacob it was essential that Jacob, renamed Israel (Prince with God), and his household were “idol free.” When Israel left Egypt, it was with the understanding that the idols of Egypt had been vanquished by the God of their fathers: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Isrealites were leaving behind all the trappings of false worship and embracing the worship of God that He would prescribe when He met them at Sinai. Jeff Patton talks about God’s covenantal purpose in fashioning us, the Israel of God, into His image. So what are the idols in our lives that we must renounce in favour of the worship of the true God?

July 7th, 2011

Who’s Really Guilty? Adam or Eve?

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Adam and Eve and the Forbidden Fruit

Is Eve more guilty than Adam?

By Jean Jantzen

In our modern twentieth century perspective, most people within the Christian community suppose that Mother Eve was totally responsible for the fall of humanity and the dire consequences that followed her actions in the Garden of Eden. The origin of mankind’s trouble begins with the encounter between Eve and the beautiful serpent in the Garden.  It is in this garden where Eve succumbs to the temptation to partake of the fruit of the tree of good and evil.  Was only Eve then responsible?  What was Adam’s role or accountability in this major historical event?  If Adam and Eve were put on trial for their part in “the forbidden fruit episode”, what would be the outcome?  It is the popular view that I would like to explore and see if there is any validity to the accusations…

 

 

July 7th, 2011

Feast Firsts: What Really Matters

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Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

It was the first day of the Feast and I was sitting wrapped in blankets and wheezing to the music over the web, instead of sharing in the joy of singing hymns with a ballroom full of brethren. So who wouldn’t feel a little sorry for themselves? But the minister’s admonition was to give and rejoice at the Feast, so how was I going to do that? Well, here I was shivering in my quilt, with my box of Puffs at the ready. Perhaps after observing 44 feasts I could share some of my experiences and lessons learned for the next few days. As Mom always said. “The best way to get out of yourself is to do something for someone else.”

Remember your first feast? I sure do! I was 10 years old and in grade seven when my Dad surprised everyone, Mom included, by saying he would take us to the Feast in Jekyll Island Georgia, 1500 miles away, but the closest feast site at the time. It had only been a very few months that Dad had been driving Mom and us kids to church in Toronto – a good hour’s drive from our home in Burlington. This too was unusual for my Dad. He wasn’t interested in “Church” but I think he wanted to assure himself that Mom was not getting into some strange kind of cult. I don’t think Dad was convinced of the spiritual merits of the trip down the Eastern seaboard, and it would be a big financial burden as they had not planned for it, but we could share a house on the beach with my uncle and his family to keep costs down. I just think he wanted an adventure – the classic road trip. And it was that and much more. More

July 6th, 2011

Shine the Light: What Really Matters

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What Really Matters

Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

I awoke his morning to the squawks of our resident ravens, and the soft morning light filtering through the green canopy of alders that separates us from the wetlands. The pains are still there but I feel like I’ve had my first really restful sleep in the past 2 weeks.

I let my mind wander back and the crisp autumn air and dance of sunlight and leaves reminds me of my 6 years of feasts in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. There are so many memories it is an effort to corral them into order, and I am left with a certain sense of loss when I contrast the present with the past. But each time in life has its own joys and challenges.

I was a young teen who had bought early into “God’s way of Life.” I enjoyed the blessing of a Mom who really lived what she learned. Dad was a firm believer in the God of the bible and wanted his “kosher hams” to know God’s commandments and live them, but Dad had no use for organized religion, though he supported Mom in all her efforts to “civilize us” by teaching us the scripture. Dad attended the first couple of feasts with us, then perhaps having satisfied himself that we were safe and not under the sway of some weird fanatical religious scam artists, he stopped coming. He would tell us he was relishing the idea of a week of peace without us all, and would thereafter give us the car, some money, and send us all on our merry way. He said this with his mischievous look, so I knew it was only half true. Though I think it did give him a few days to indulge himself in his passion of flying small aircraft, something he rarely did when we were home.

As a teen everything about the new feast site in the Poconos was “supersized”. I’ve wondered if it was this way for the adults and concluded, yes! This was quite a convention even for modern standards.  I wondered how many times in the history of God’s people since the temple was destroyed had such large groups come together to praise God. Perhaps those golden years of the Church of God when the membership was growing rapidly to finally reach over 150,000 baptized adults were unique.  So, there we were in the Poconos, more than twelve thousand people rejoicing together in God’s feast, meeting in one tent or tabernacle for services, two and sometimes, three times a day for 8 days. More