Reflections on the 2ndUS National Adult Theological Seminar
Thank God! Attending the National
Adult Theological Seminar (NATS) with people close to my age brought a
wonderful feeling to me. Be it group Bible study, testimony sessions, discussing
experiences of our lives or sharing prayer reflections, we could easily understand
each another and reached a resonance. Therefore, I deemed this opportunity to
attend NATS an extra blessing upon the abundant daily blessings from our Lord
Prayer sessions were the focal
point of this NATS. I remembered that I was a bit nervous at the first NATS. I
was afraid of not having enough time to study for the test and having no time for
a shower. Moreover, I was concerned about the cleaning duty assigned to me.
Therefore, I was not able to concentrate on prayer wholeheartedly. I felt much
more comfortable this year since I knew how to manage my time better, so I was
able to put aside my worldly affairs and focus on seeking for the fullness of
the Holy Spirit in my prayers.
On the second day of NATS, during a
lesson on the book of Haggai, the preacher mentioned that if the Lord turned
His back to us, we must have turned away from His teaching first; and whenever
we repent and return to Him, He will return to us (Mal 3:7).
Thank God! Because of the
encouragement of God’s word, we all prayed to God and asked for His cleansing
and mercy. On the third day, two sisters had a strong sense in their prayers
that God was pleased with our prayers and fellowship. Praise the Lord! In the
first prayer session on the Sabbath day, I also experienced the abidance of the
Lord personally: in spirit, I felt the presence of the Lord. Our Lord, who is
filled with enormous wisdom and love, was not far from my side. Even though it
was just a short few seconds, such a moving feeling had suddenly strengthened
my faith and filled me with great joy.
Besides praying for the fullness
of the Holy Spirit, we also joined in interceding for others. We experienced “sowing
in tears and reaping in joy” when the person we interceded for received the
The lessons from the book of Acts
reminded us once again that the development of the True Jesus Church should fully
rely on God’s Spirit and His truth. We should not emulate other churches nor
depend on our own wisdom to plan holy work. The first step is to lead the whole
congregation through prayer and walk according to the truth. In addition, with
strong fellowship and good coordination of our talents, our church will be
prosperous and our members will not be scattered.
The main theme of Leviticus is
“holiness.” This once again clarifies the basic criteria God asked of His
chosen people. We need to deal with our transgressions carefully and pursue the
very essence of holiness. Only then can we offer ourselves as living sacrifices.
When offering living sacrifices, we need to pay attention to God’s instructions;
otherwise, God will not be pleased with our offering. Moreover, we have to be
aware that this world is now full of lust and desire for material things. As
Christians, we need to go against worldly trends and live a pure life without
the addition of “honey” (desire for luxury). Thus, when we encounter any
persecutions in the future, we shall be able to overcome them. Take heart!
Elder Ho from the International
Assembly not only taught us the glory and mystery of the church from the book
of Ephesians, but also shared his precious personal ways of spiritual
cultivation. He often reads out loud the epistles of Paul in order to listen to
Paul’s teachings, and in the four books of the gospel, he listens for the voice
of Jesus. Whenever he does not understand what is written in the Bible, he
meditates upon them time after time and asks the Holy Spirit to guide him. He takes
to heart whatever he learns.
Every morning, he reads the book
of Psalm before he prays in order to emulate the child-like heart of David as
he cried out for the Lord. David believed deeply in God’s mercy and His
unceasing love (Lk 11:13). We should pray to God with the same attitude, and we
will find our prayers not burdensome. But whenever the desires in our flesh
start to work, we need to fast and pray. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit in
order to kill the desires of our sinful nature and not allow them to rule over
us. We must be alert all the time, and only then can the Holy Spirit be
continuously filled within us and allow us to enjoy peace and joy as children
During these intense classes, the
preachers often added “salt” (some humor) to make the lessons more enjoyable. This
way, it made the learning much easier and more impressive.
Praise the Lord for His mercy! It is
hard to describe how much I have gained from this NATS. We are deeply grateful
to those from the training department for their thoughtful planning, their
implementation of the regulations, and their loving care. We also thank those
from the Garden Grove
church for their labor in hosting this event. Hopefully, we can all bring back
to each local church what we learned and let more people share the benefit of
As I returned to Houston, I still felt
the intimate fellowship between the brothers and sisters. I am looking forward
to going to the 3rd NATS, where we will be able to gather together
once again in front of Jesus’ feet to enjoy His wonderful mercy and to praise
His holy name.