This past Thursday we held our Winter Conference at the Chapel. Our speaker was Whitney Kuniholm, President of Scripture Union (www.scriptureunion.org). I have used Scripture Union Bible Reading notes for fifty-five years. They are interdenominational and international so you are exposed to a wide range of devotional writers. I commend them to you.
Whitney is a great story teller, and illustrated his talks with vignettes about his own life. Since he has worked for Prison Fellowship as well as Scripture Union he has many interesting and compelling stories to tell.
His first session was on understanding where we are on our journey of faith. That requires being honest about who we really are and where we are at. He encouraged us to write down on an index card where we thought we were at in our faith journey and then discuss it with others at our table. I wrote that I was comfortable, but was that good? Perhaps I am too comfortable. We had a discussion about Christian teachers who make us feel guilty. Was that a good thing or not? Then I wrote that I was thankful for all my blessings. And I surely am. God has been so good to me. I am profoundly grateful. Then I wrote that I was concerned about the future, about family, about health, about the economy. There is no end to what I can be concerned about. The challenge is whether I can trust God for all those concerns?
The second session was on meeting God every day. He asked us how we connect with God. Then he asked us to think about how we have met God or experienced God in our lives. How are we aware of his presence in our lives? Psalm 42 spoke to us of our desire to meet God. He talked about making time for Bible reading and prayer each day, and looking for the deeper reality in life day by day.
The third session was on how we can find our God-given mission in life. And the last session was on how we can make a difference for God. Using the story of the healing of the paralytic in Luke 5:17-26, Whitney focused on the comment that Jesus saw the faith of the four friends who brought the paralytic to him: “When Jesus saw their faith….”. Jesus uses our faith to help others. But we have to be ready to take action as they did. We must be willing to accept forgiveness as the paralytic did. We must be able to spot ministry opportunities along the way.
Every one took something different away from the conference. God spoke to each of us according to our need. We are all at very different places in our journey. There is not one message for all. I was impressed by Whitney’s willingness to share so much of himself, warts and all; by his obvious love for his family and for others, as well as for God; and by his ability to respond to situations in such a way as to allow God to work in him and through him. My prayer is that likewise I can be open to the leading of the Spirit to be willing to respond to needs as they arise; that I may be ready to take action, and be able to spot ministry opportunities along the way.