Just came back from the KCC Centenary event at town hall on Friday night. It was great to hear from Phillip Jensen, Don Carson, Peter Adam and Frank Retief speak all on the same night, plus other little footages from previous years' Katoomba Youth Convention events. There was one video with John Chapman trying to introduce his own book, and then Al Stewart came out - still with some of his hair! And that was 1988. A very encouraging night. But I think I am too tired now. I will come back tomorrow to finish this blog entry off, including summaries from each of the 4 talks.
Updated on 14 June 2003 at 11:35pm
The theme for this meeting is to celebrate 100th year since the establishment of Katoomba Christian Convention, and it is still going strong, and still influencing many Christians in Sydney and other places. In the program there are video footages of interviewing people who have attended various conventions, and the reason that they kept on coming back. They have also showed videos of some past speakers, and we have seen the younger version of John Woodhouse (Moore's principal now) and the younger version of Michael Raiter (Moore/Mission) - they look very young in those videos.
Honestly I have only been to Katoomba Youth Convention twice (2001 and 2002), and went to Men's Katoomba Convention once. They were good experiences. The teaching was great, and the fellowship with other Sydney-sider Christians was encouraging - however it does not give me that much impact compare with conferences like MYC. That's why I did not have the urge to go this year. Even though there are international speakers with very challenging topics, but the depth of the teaching somehow does not stimulate older Christians who seek more understanding of the Bible, especially in KYC. I found out I went there the second time mainly for meeting up with the old friends, but that's about it. Anyway, it's probably because people in FOCUS/St. Matthias has been spoiled with good teachings every week...
Nevertheless, KCC has continue to make big impact to Sydney today. When you have Christian conventions of thousands of people, you know that you have left some influences in the society...
Actually, the talks are the reasons that many of us were there last night. The topic was on "Holiness", and it was a great line-up last night. Here's short summaries from last night's talks.
The theme for Phillip's talk is on the dual citizenship of Christians. He started by saying usually gathering in the Bible brings forth safety, fellowship and salvation, but scattering usually means condemnation. However, there are gathering of evil in the Bible, as we see in the Tower of Babel and the great pagan city Babylon. However, even when the Israelites were exiled in Babylon, God has called them to live there peacefully, and prosper as the city prospers. However, they were reminded that they do not belong to the city - their home is still Jerusalem. Paul also reminded the Philippians about the same thing - they might think that they are Roman citizens, but their real citizenship is in heaven. Today, KCC and other Christian organisations are doing similar things to us - reminding us that Sydney is not really our home city. Our home city is in heaven.
The theme for Don's talk is on the Holiness of God. We look at the definition of holiness, and what it is not. It actually concentric. The inner circle shows it is what God is. He is unique, and all God's character is bounded up in one single world - Holy. Things associated with God can also be called holy as well, like the things in temple, as well as the holy people - they are used for the purpose of God. Theologians might have debated what is the fundamentals of character of God, but in here, holy is what really makes God God. However, God also called us to be holy. It is something makes God "God", but now the holiness of God is extended else way. He did not ask that we need to be God, but he asked us to be "mine".
In Isaiah 6, the whole earth is full of his glory, and all of us can see it. But then the holy God is followed by a humble servant. Isaiah - "Woe to me" - he knows that he is unclean, but the sacrifice God provided has washed the sins of Isaiah away. However, people will be hardened by the message God asked Isaiah to pass on - the message of repentance and salvation. How can it be? But it is very common in the Bible. Because I tell you the truth, you will not believe. It is the truth that turns people off. Sometimes it is the truth that is the most offensive.
How long o Lord, should this continue, asked Isaiah. But we see a stump from the root of David - the holy stump. Picked up from the New Testament - Rev 4 - Holy Holy Holy. This God sent his son, whose blood is avail to make other people holy, to become a holy people. Sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the thing that makes people holy.
The theme for Peter's talk is on us being made holy, but we also need to make every effort to be holy. Often we think about the holiness of God - God is holy God and we are unholy people. But gospel of Jesus Christ, is that the holiness of God is so compassionate, that the holy God can make unholy people to become holy people by the death of his son. Holiness of God is something God has given to us as gifts - it is the presence of God in our lives. Glory of God has made us glorious. By one sacrifice, he has made us holy forever. Not just by the death of Jesus, but by the resurrection of him as well. Those who were made holy are confident to enter the most holy place by the blood of Jesus, and since we have the great high priest, let us draw near to God with sincere faith.
Can unholy people approach holy God? No way except one way - Jesus our high priest. And you need that high priest today.
We should also rejoice in the free gift God has given to us, but we need to make every effort to be holy. Are you making every effort to be holy? It is doubtful. People come to talk about problems, but not sins. They want a problem solver God, but not a sin forgiver God. People might say that their aim in life is to be Christian, but make every effort to be holy should be our aim.
The quest for holiness can make people cranky. It should be a call to be God-like. The character change is the big miracle.
Hebrews 12:15 talks about this bitter root, which sometimes we do not see but will grow and eventually separate us from Christ. What kind of bitter root in our lives will make us unholy? Like Esau, despising God's given special privilege?
The theme for Frank's talk is on how do we go out as God's holy people, and how do we conduct ourselves. The world Peter looked in is not very different from the world we are in today. Full of empty lives. It is also the world facing judgement. He called us to get out of the darkness and into wonderful light. We have been redeemed from the empty ways of life, saved from the judgement that is going to come.
It is a great privilege in 1 Peter 2:9 - we are royal priest-hood and holy nation. Change of our lives declare the excellency of God. We were once not his people, but now are, so in our lives we should present the excellency of God's grace and mercy.
Christians are learned by Christian principles. We have big big answer to big big problems. Continue repenting everyday. Exercise self-control - something we need to force ourselves to do. But mercy of God is that he forgave us in this world. So in this world we need to live our lives and deal with other people in the way that glorify him. We know that this world is the world that rejects Christ, and we should not let this get away. We are evidence that God changes lives, and we can change your life as well.
Updated on 15 June 2003 at 8:42am
Overall, I find the talks for the night very challenging. At the end of meeting David Cook came and challenged us that Sydney is not our home city, even though we have been living here comfortablely. Instead, the heavenly Jerusalem is - that's the home that God promised to the Christians. However, I wonder how many of us will continue to have that kind of mind set in the core of our thinking after we step out of the Town Hall on that night. I certainly find it difficult. THe living style in Australia is comfortable - way too comfortable for Christians today to put their full hope in heaven. But it should be our constant reminder that we do belong to heaven...
And we need to live in the way that is fit to our heavenly lives in the future. As Peter Adam challenged us with putting efforts into our holiness, we ought to live in the way that glorifies God. Not just because God is holy, but it also has impacts on people around us, especially non-Christians. The distinct life style of Christians should somehow present the excellency of God's grace and mercy, as Frank Retief has suggested. Too many times people have been burnt by the church of hypocrites, and it does bring bad name to Christianity. It is especially important for those who are in the teaching position, as they are the one who everyone looks up to...
As Vivian and I tried to prepare for the "Stress and Priority" seminar for the coming Friday, we realised that there is no way that Christians can be less stressful. In fact, being a Christian should be even more stressful as we should be stressed by putting effort into our godly and holy lives. Is that what you are stressed about?
Updated on 16 June 2003 at 13:16pm
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