“‘But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.’ James 1:22. The Word that you get from heaven during a message delivered in the spirit of power, that is a light of knowledge that comes from God. But, your mindset has to be put it into practice, to practice it, to practice it. And then it becomes the light of life. Then it can become nourishment for other people also.”
These are the words that come from the podium at the front of the hall, a hall filled with nearly 7,000 people, both young and old, who come from all corners of the earth. They are gathered together at Brunstad in Melsomvik, Norway for the 2016 BCC Summer Conference to hear words that can help and strengthen them in their Christian lives.
This conference is one of eight which take place at Brunstad throughout the year, each one defined by edification-based meetings and a variety of activities for children and youth. Without a doubt, it is a highlight for many.
Spirit and life
“Where Jesus Christ is revealed, everywhere that is, there is Spirit and life,” says church leader Kåre J. Smith. “You can see that; we have meetings, we have conferences, there is Spirit, there is life. It has an effect on us. It has an effect on our young people. There is conversion. There is salvation that results.
“Jesus said ‘My Word is Spirit and life.’ Above all things, we must continue in what we heard from the beginning. We have heard it from our brothers. They have taken it from the apostles, who have heard it from Jesus. We have to abide in it, to do it. Then the Word melts together with my very being, with my mind. And it creates something new in me, something new according to the image of God.”
“The petrol tank is filled”
To be able to come together and hear such faith-strengthening messages is something that the young people clearly value. I meet with Neil Turner (26) who is living in Ulm, Germany. Turner makes it a point to come to the Brunstad conferences .
“Without the conferences, you can sort of get tired of doing things. You can try for a bit, say I am really going to concentrate and be good – but after awhile you just get drained,” he says. “But, when you come to the conferences, the ‘petrol tank’ is filled and you are ready to go. You get faith that the body of sin can really be brought to nothing. The whole body of sin – all these evil lusts and desires that everyone has. That can be brought to nothing; completely destroyed. Utterly destroyed. And that is quite something, I find.”
Rachel Schapf (19) from Winnipeg, Canada is equally enthusiastic about being here. “I make it a priority to come,” she says. “Even though it does cost quite a bit, I try to come here at least once a year.”
Schapf takes a 15-hour flight to attend the conference. But, for her, it is well worth it.
“I come here and get to be with other people, my age and people older and people younger,” Schapf says. “And they all have the same longing in life: a longing to do the good, a longing to follow Jesus. That longing is strengthened here at these conferences. I get help to live the same life Jesus lived. I get words of life that I can take home and use in my daily life. I learn how I can become a better person, someone who can show goodness and love to people. And that is worth every penny.”
Practice the Word of God!
“It’s amazing that this is possible, now in the time of grace,” say Smith. “We are formed by the Word to be more and more like the image of the Son. It’s fantastic. But, we must practice the Word of God.
“This Christianity must be real. It must be true! We must walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the way He wants us to walk. Not to fiddle around with sin. And try to get around things, get away with things. Righteousness with money. Righteousness with everything. As far as the light shines!”
As the conference draws to a close, many leave with the mindset to put into practice the words they’ve heard. By doing this, such conferences are not in vain, but are of significant help and benefit to those who want lead a god-fearing life.