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 (Manna 52: Spiritual Renewal)
Reflections on the 2nd US National Adult Theological Seminar part 2
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Reflections on the 2ndUS National Adult Theological Seminar part 2

Hsiu-Lan Lee—Houston, Texas, USA

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 Jesus Christ.

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 Holy Spirit.

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 of God.

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 this grace.

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.

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Author: Hsiu-Lan Lee