On 20-21 February I spent a weekend at the Koinonia Campsite in Evans Head, 50kms south of Ballina on the far north coast of NSW.
It was the annual houseparty of Tenterfield Anglican Church, 50 Adults and 30 children had made the 2.5 hour, winding 200km journey to spend a weekend together.
When I told my friends in the coffee shop about this, they were amazed that people would travel such a distance for a weekend on the beach.
What could be the attraction, surf, fishing, a festival perhaps?
We sang songs of Christian praise, we prayed together, we heard the Bible preached, we enjoyed Bible discussion groups, we ate, we played games and we slept, before the 200km journey back home.
The world thinks we are crazy to waste a perfectly good weekend with such activities, so why do we do it, what do we know which causes us to get excited about such a weekend?
We have 3 convictions which drive such activities.
First, we believe God gave His son, the Lord Jesus to purchase, by His life, death and resurrection, a people of His very own who are zealous to do good.(Titus2:14) None of us is an island, God redeemed a people, we belong to a spiritual family of brothers and sisters, who share a common faith in our elder brother, Jesus Christ and who call God, Father. God is not the father of a dysfunctional family which never meets and never enjoys a weekend away. It is good to remind ourselves that we belong to an eternally secure family.
Second, we believe that God our Father nourishes and sustains His children through speaking to them. He has spoken through prophets in the past, but He has spoken to us in the complete disclosure of Himself in Jesus Christ. We have access to this perfect revelation of what God is like, His purpose and plans for the future, because God has given the Holy Spirit to His apostles and messengers, and the Holy Spirit has giuded them to accurately record what Jesus said and did.( John 14:26; 16:13)
Christians know that in reading the Bible they are hearing the voice of God, so there is no more vital time than when they hear that word explained, applied and they take it up to study it together and encourage eachother to repent in the light of it and trust and obey the God who thus speaks.
And the last conviction which drives us 200 kms from Tenterfield to Evans Head, is the love God has given us for one another, I need their encouragement because living as salt and light in the world is hard, I need to offload my concerns on those I know will understand. But it is never one way, I don't go to get, that is only partly it, I go also to give, to serve, to encourage as a fellow traveller, who knows how easy it is to lose saltiness and how comfortable it is to cover over my light.(Hebrews10:24-25)
Thats why Tenterfield Anglican has a weekend away, thats why I am here to preach on Romans 12-15.
And that is why Christians need no convincing of the need to be in Church and to join up to a Bible study group, and have such weekends away.
We have a conviction about God, about the Bible and about our fellow believers!
We are in a privileged family, make the most of it!