Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
May 27–June 2
Each summer brings whirlwind tours of repeated travels, many times back to back. Today is my first day back home after being gone for nearly three weeks straight. And even though it was only three weeks, I feel like, for the Kingdom, there were enough memories made to fill up an entire year. When 2012 ends and someone asks me, “Herb, what was your favorite ministry memory of 2012?” I know already, it’s going to be Lake Junaluska on a Thursday morning.
I was in the main auditorium speaking to a group of about seven hundred-plus on the subject of God’s prevenient forgiveness. I was coming to the close of my presentation, building to the climax, but before I could get there, a gentleman in the back of the auditorium jumped to his feet and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Hallelujah! I’m free! Praise God, I’m free!” He kept shouting it over and over again. (You can hear it on the recording.) Everything came to a screeching halt; all eyes became fixed on my new friend as he shouted to the rest of those in the room, “I’m finally FREE!” It was a beautiful moment for the Kingdom, for this man had just taken the first bite of the banquet feast. Then the whole audience broke out in loud applause. I so wish you could have been there.
Each morning, just before lunch, I spoke before the more traditional audience in the main auditorium. But each evening I had the distinct privilege of speaking to college students and young adults. I say this kind of tongue in cheek, because in all reality, the room was packed out each night not with only young adults, but also those more “young at heart” from the morning session. The material for the morning sessions was taken from my book Finding the Father, but in the evenings we were covering material from the new The Jesus Dialogue series on our website.
I found myself staying so late each evening, one night to the wee hours of the morning, answering questions and helping folks whose picture of God was experiencing an extreme makeover. I witnessed one miracle after another, and as I drove away when it was all finished, I could say with all confidence, surely this week the Kingdom was enlarged.
Next I departed for North Dakota!
Bismarck, North Dakota
I had never been to the Dakota Camp Meeting before, so I really didn’t know the kind of genuine treat I was in for. I spoke two nights in the main auditorium before heading to South Lake Tahoe. The group here in North Dakota was so kind and open. I met so many beautiful souls. While I was there for a very short time, I received many invitations to come back. (If some of you dear souls in the Dakotas are reading this, I was in North Dakota this January in the winter, and now that I see that you guys really do have warm weather options, I’ll come back anytime, but let’s try to make it in the summer!) I look forward to many more trips to the Dakotas in the future.
The NEW Jesus Dialogue
South Lake Tahoe
I want to thank the church there in South Lake Tahoe for their passionate desire to reach out to their community with the message of Jesus and not simply reheat traditional evangelical Christian leftovers. I love your passion! This series was amazing. If you’ve ever been to that little church there, you’ll know it’s not very big. So they rented a seminar room at a local resort on the lake and we packed it out. We had a very good mix of people from all walks and life experiences. Some were familiar with “church” and had positive experiences, some were familiar with “church” but had very negative experiences, and some had no experience with “church” whatsoever. It was exciting.
Night after night, as we simply looked at the teachings of Jesus (in contrast to contemporary evangelical Christianity), the lights began to come on! Wheels began to turn. It was a revolution for many who attended, one paradigm shift after another. By the last weekend, in light of many confessions made during the meetings and a desire to start doing things differently (by church members and non-members alike; see the presentation Where Do We Go From Here?), we had a few who decided to risk coming to church. And before I left on Sunday, we even had one baptism there at the resort pool! I LOVED it!
The recordings of this series at South Lake Tahoe are up on the website now. You can listen to them under the updated The Jesus Dialogue series. It’s my prayer that as you listen, you too will hear the “euangelion” proclaimed by Jesus . . . The Kingdom Has Come!