“The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” (Education, p. 57.)
The call for such men and women formed the basis of our 2015 Camp Meeting, “Stand up for Jesus”. Held at Minden Retreat, just west of Ipswich, Queensland, the camp meeting proved a blessing to all who attended. There were over 100 souls in attendance on Sabbath. The topics and discussion groups included, “Dare to Stand Alone”, “Black, White or Grey”, “The World’s Greatest Want”, “Standing for Real”, and “When Jesus Stands for You”. The messages and group discussions were challenging and thoroughly enjoyed. There was also plenty of time for recreation and fellowship together.
We opened the Sabbath program with a message from Benjamin Fuenzalida, “A Challenge to Choose”. Whether we are old or young, as Christians we are faced with everyday choices that impact our spiritual experience for the better or for the worse. Benjamin challenged us to not procrastinate, but make the choice for Jesus today, no matter what the cost.
Paul Chapman opened the Camp Meeting with a presentation entitled, “A Stand Worth Taking”. In Ephesians 6:10-14 the apostle Paul exhorts Christians to stand for Jesus four times. In Jeremiah, we are called to “stand in the old ways”. In view of the coming crisis of faith, we must ask ourselves, are we prepared to “stand” when no one else does?
“None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.” Great Controversy, p. 593.
We also considered a number of areas that will be used to undermine the foundation on which we stand. Finally, we considered the cost of the stand that Jesus took for our salvation and why we should count it indeed a stand worth taking when we stand for Him.
The Sabbath morning program opened with the worship of Luka Faumuina, “When Families Fail”. Here he highlighted the consequences of family breakdowns, and what we can do to ensure our families are a success in standing for Jesus unitedly.
Peter Lausevic presented a powerful and encouraging message for the Worship Service entitled, “The World’s Greatest Need”. This message inspired us to live up to our full potential – God’s ideal for us is higher than we can ever think. God has a plan beyond our expectations and thus a place beyond our expectations. To fulfil that potential, God’s purpose for us, we explored the statement from the book Education p. 57, “The greatest want of the world”. The ideal of Christian character is Christlikeness. God has opened for us a path of continual advancement toward this goal—moral perfection of character. He has also provided the method for us to reach this goal. As we evaluate our own personal lives, we can resolve to be these people today – to be the men and women who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.
The service was followed by a very tasty vegan lunch which was enjoyed by over 100 members and guests.
Lunch was followed by a dedication service for three infants. But right before this service, we were blessed with a short children’s presentation, “People who Stood for God.” It was inspiring to see all the children participate in this part of the program and share what they had been learning in their Sabbath School program.
The dedication service included three families—Josephine and Etienne Decuyper with their daughter Belinda; Camille and Marcus Dammasch with their son Joshua; and Cherith and Ben Dammasch with their son Josiah. Words of encouragement were shared by Ben Thiel and Csongor Matyas and prayers were offered for each of the children and their parents.
The Young People’s meeting that immediately followed this service was very well presented by three of our young men—Jared Chapman, Lachlan Reyes and Keian Reyes. The topic “Dare to Stand Alone” considered many different aspects and Biblical examples of people who dared to stand up for their faith. Our young people were challenged to follow these examples.
Ben Thiel closed the Sabbath program with a subject entitled “Your Spiritual Posture”. Often times our ability to stand for the right in a crisis wavers because during times of ease we were careless in how we stood in our everyday life. Are you a Christian who stands hunched over, head down, or a Christian who stands tall every day, with head held high for Jesus?
After a delicious evening meal, the social activities for the youth began, led out by Daniela Balarezo and assisted by Melissa Chapman.
Sunday morning worship, “Armed to Stand”, was presented by Juan Ricardo Amaya. As the title suggests, we considered the various aspects of the Christian armour that the apostle Paul exhorts us to stand with. “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Ephesians 6:14-17.
After breakfast, Jacob De Souza presented a very interesting topic, “Black, White or Grey?” Often in our Christian experience we may face decisions that we consider are grey areas; that is, there is no clear right or wrong choice in the matter. But, when we consider the Word of God and thoughts from the Testimonies, we see that in God’s perspective, there are no grey areas. We need spiritual discernment in order to see things as God sees them in order to make right decisions.
The morning program concluded with a workshop based on the theme, “Standing When It Counts”. The members of the congregation were divided into discussion groups and each group was given a number of real life questions to resolve. These discussions were absorbing and at times rather animated. They were quite challenging as we really had to give some careful thought to how we would respond in a Christian manner to the actual situations we were presented with. These discussions were enjoyed by all who participated. We must all take a stand at some time or another, and though we might differ on our ideas on certain points, we know that while we remain steadfast to God, following His principles in our daily lives, He will guide us in the pathway of righteousness.
After lunch, the afternoon was spent in fellowship and recreation, which proved a blessing for all.
The evening worship, by Terry Barnett, focused on the significance of “Little things”, giving us pause for the importance of each person no matter how young or insignificant in the world’s eyes they may appear. God has a plan and purpose for each one.
Finally, on Monday morning, Elisabeth Balarezo encouraged us with thoughts on the topic, “When Jesus Stands for You”. This morning worship was based on the verse, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man,” Luke 21:36. We learnt that no one is worthy in themselves to stand before Jesus. Nor will we be made worthy in order to stand, but rather we will be “accounted” worthy to stand. We learnt also that Jesus stands for us in three main ways. Firstly, Jesus stood for us at the fall when he agreed to bear our punishment for sin, then again at the cross when He actually bore our punishment for sin, and thirdly, today he stands for us before the Father as our Sanctifier. There, in the sanctuary in heaven, He ceases not to present us perfect in Himself, presenting to the Father His own righteousness for our sins. This reality we may claim by faith today. Thus, the only reason we will be accounted worthy when he returns is that we believe in Jesus now. But our standing before Him today does not stop with mere belief. It is a faith that watches and prays. It is a faith that works. Those who believe in Jesus for their salvation, we will be found watching, praying and working. Thus when Jesus returns, those who believe in Him, we will be found living a sanctified life.