Swartz Creek Fest - September 2010

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“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”  (Matthew 18:20).  But when hundreds gather together in the name of Jesus Christ, the blessings are great indeed!  Such was the case during the Labor Day weekend in Swartz Creek, Michigan (Sept. 4-6, 2010), where almost 400 people assembled for fellowship, to be blessed and encouraged through God’s Word.

The weather couldn’t have been nicer, with sunny, cool days and low humidity.  The rain that was expected held off until the conclusion of the final service on Monday, and we rejoiced in God’s perfect provision.


“Listening with Anticipation” was the theme presented Saturday evening by Br. Waldemar Makus, pastor of the Swartz Creek church.  He challenged us all to be ready, to await with eagerness the blessings of God throughout the weekend, just as Cornelius and his people were anticipating the arrival of God’s messenger, the apostle Peter: “We are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God” (Acts 10:33).  Oh, that the Lord would give us the same intense longing to listen and then obey “all the things” He reveals to us!


With earnest passion, Br. Nimz presented the great value of sending heavenward a 3-pronged prayer request, based on Isaiah’s vision from the Lord in Isaiah 6: 1 – 8.  First, that we may tangibly experience the Lord’s presence, His glory & majesty, so we can truly worship Him and draw near to Him.  Second, as a result of our encounter with the Holy God, we are so humbled that we must bow before Him, to acknowledge the state of our sinfulness and our need for a Savior.  We must cry out to Him for forgiveness, so we can be fully reconciled to Him.  Finally, now that we belong to God, He has a specific task or purpose for each one of us.  As He calls us by name, will we respond in faith and obedience and tell Him, “Here am I, Lord, send me”?



Br. Sieghard Schulz, the newly initiated pastor in Waterloo, Ontario, asked us all a probing question.  Can we echo Jesus Christ’s own words, when He said, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up”?  (John 2: 13 – 17).  After a sobering and in-depth look at God’s church today, often found in a watered down and lukewarm state, Br. Schulz urged us to examine our hearts, to make sure we too are consumed by earnest zeal for God’s house and His truth.  We are living in a time of spiritual chaos with exposure to conflicting teachings and false worship.  May the Lord help us shine brightly on the hilltop, intent on God’s purpose of proclaiming His truths alone.



A very fitting continuation of the morning message was presented by Br. Reinhard Roesler of Toronto, Ontario, when he spoke on the importance of advancing the building of our spiritual house, after the foundation has been laid.  “Leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection…” (Heb. 6: 1-2).  Our foundation must be secure in Jesus Christ, the solid rock, before we go on to build the walls, supporting  beams, and eventually the roof.  Br. Roesler reminded us to do a thorough job cleaning up past transgressions and making restitution, like Zacchaeus did, so the foundation will not begin to crumble.  For enduring and ultimate strength, we have to fully surrender our lives to Christ, through sanctification, in order to be fully usable by God.

Meanwhile, all the children got to step out during the afternoon service, into the beautiful outdoors for a Sunday School session, based on the theme, “Do you have a jingle in your pocket?”, a lesson on financial stewardship.  JINGLE was an acronym for the following:

J - JESUS. Did you know that almost half of Jesus’ parables have to do with finances?  From His Word we learn the importance of giving freely, and of tithes and offerings.  As always, Jesus is our perfect example.

I –INTEGRITY. That means being righteous and honest in all our decisions, financial or mundane.

N - NEEDS. You see, many of us get confused between needs and wants.  We think we need a computer, or that latest video game, or those $200 Nike shoes, but those are “wants.”  God promises to provide for our needs.(1 Tim. 6:8)

G – GIVING. 2 Cor. 9:7 God loves a cheerful giver! We can’t ever out-give the Lord.  When we bless others, God blesses us in return.

L –LAZINESS. Mom and Dad, if you detect an attitude of laziness in us, please love us enough to help us remove it.  Would you teach us skills that will help us be all we can be for Jesus?

(2 Thess. 3: 30)

E - EXAMPLE. Parents, as you train us in the ways of the Lord, we will be watching and learning by your example. Please show us what diligence looks like, by modeling it for us.  Teach us to work.  We will eventually follow your lead by example, so please make sure it’s a good example.


As the day drew to a close, Br. Sieg Schuler from Aylmer, Ontario helped us all take a serious look at the religion of double-mindedness, based on the grievous sin of the Israelites, who “feared the LORD, yet served their own gods—according to the rituals of the nations…”  (2 Kings 17:33).  They passed these formidable habits and sins down to their children.  Br. Schuler effectively drew the parallel between these Biblical times and our complacent and eroding generations, and reminded us that in order to be authentic Christians today, we must do three things: 1) Allow God’s Word into every compartment of our heart and life.  2) Have an overwhelming desire to please God.  3)  Watch our spiritual diet.  Whatever we feed our minds and hearts – pornography, movies / internet programming of ill repute... - is what will come out, and will have far-reaching consequences for our families.  Every single area of our hearts must be controlled by God, through the transforming and renewing of our minds by His Word.  May we be single-minded in our service to the Lord Jesus.


The Fest’s concluding service was led by Br. Harry Klinger of Hamilton, Ontario, with the theme, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…”  (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2).  From the time of our birth to our death, we journey through the seasons of life.  Br. Klinger likened each season to a time period of our lives, both physical and spiritual.  The spring season is the beginning of our lives, where we are so dependent on others for help and care, but can already be held accountable to our awareness of the need for God’s forgiveness.  The summer season is the time of our youth, where so many embark on a journey of self-indulgence and sin, like the prodigal son, only to find that the things of this world never satisfy, because God has set eternity into our hearts (Eccl. 3: 11).  Only God’s peace and grace, with faith in the Savior Jesus Christ can fulfill.  The fall season represents the time of middle age, during which many important decisions are made successfully only if guided by God’s standard of truth.  It should be a time of maturing in faith, growing in grace, and doing good works in humble service to our Lord.  Finally, the winter season symbolizes the retirement years, which should still be active in the Lord’s service mentoring and encouraging others.  Are we serving God through the seasons of life?  May we fulfill God’s plan and purpose for each of our lives, by walking daily with Him.

It is a heart-warming beauty to behold the body of Christ working with the goal of ministering to one another in a spirit of unity.  The songs of worship from the various choirs and music ensembles raised our hearts in praise to our Almighty Creator.  The teamwork of the surrounding churches enabled our small, local congregation to serve food to the masses, with ease and gratitude for all the provisions brought in.  May the Lord bless and reward all the efforts that went into our Fest weekend.  What an honor to be part of a vibrantly thriving Church of God, that strives to bring glory only to the cause of Christ.

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