Strategic Perspectives Conference:
Flooding Couldn't Dampen the Conference in Tennesseeby Rita Cregar, Koinonia Institute
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gives the following definition of PERSPECTIVE, n. [L. perspicio; per and specio, to see.] 1. A glass through which objects are viewed. Webster defines STRATEGIC only in its related form of stratagem, which he understood as an artifice or device intended to give some ad-vantage (usually militarily) to the user.
To be strategic is to be deliberate and intentional, moving with a desired goal in mind. Seeing us as participants in the epic struggle of good and evil in this world, believers need a military advantage when viewing the glut of information, events or objects with which we are confronted on a daily basis.
For several hundred believers seeking truth, the Strategic Perspectives conference, held April 30 - May 1, 2010 at Grace Chapel in Leiper’s Fork, TN, held just such an attraction. Grace Chapel is nestled in picturesque middle Tennessee and the setting enchanted conference goers as they arrived. Little did they know that a staggering and unprecedented rainfall would hit the Nashville area during this conference and throughout that weekend, complete with flash floods and storms that raged throughout Tennessee.
Friday: The Calm Before the Storm
The lazy warm Friday afternoon was inviting. In the nearby pastures, horses grazed lazily in the spring afternoon and an excited and anticipatory group of KI members was treated to a preconference summit meeting in the large “barn” fellowship building on campus. The group spent some time in fellowship before organizer, Richard Stevens, called the group to order. It was a relaxed time of sharing as many experienced KI members related the journey of their particular study path.
Mary Miller expertly guided the group through the concepts and vision of the Issachar Data Base. In a fascinating inside look, two recent five-minute bullet briefings to the IDB were viewed and discussed. Chuck Missler and Dan Stolebarger then delighted the group with a free-for-all question and answer session.
After a dinner break, the conference officially began. Grace Chapel’s worship team facilitated the journey of a packed house that quickly shed the dust of the day and entered in. Pastor Steve Berger welcomed the conference to Grace Chapel and introduced the first speaker, Mousab Hassan Yousef, the son of a major Hamas leader, and himself a prominent figure in Middle Eastern politics. CBS news personality, Don Teague, spoke with Mousab in a casual interview style from the plat-form.
Mousab enthralled the conference with his harrowing story of intrigue, betrayals and unimaginable choices. He focused the group on his choice of love and God’s choice of him, and gave a unique perspective—that of a man caught between two worlds and understanding both.
Following this panorama from a world few have experienced, Pastor Steve Berger again took the platform and proceeded to enlist the group in a “heaven revolution.” Detailing the journey of love, pain and deep belief that he and his wife, Sarah, have traveled since the accident that ushered their nineteen-year-old son through the door of Heaven almost nine months ago, Pastor Steve brought the conference with him as he explored the truth of heavenly life. Leaving the first day of the conference with several new perspectives on life, love, world events and our eternal occupations, the conference adjourned for the night.
Saturday: A Storm Like No Other
The skies were gloomy, but sunny faces joined together Sat-urday morning at Grace Chapel as thunder pealed overhead and rain pelted the arriving attendees. After the worship team once again masterfully ushered participants into that holy place, Dan Stolebarger began his exhortation. Encouraging the conference to prepare to become an invading army, Dan eagerly enlisted the group as he detailed the pitfalls, perils and possibilities in such a transformation.
Left with Dan’s Holy Spirit arsenal perspective, the group adjourned for a break. After the break, the mood and perspective shifted as Chuck Missler took the platform. With some well-placed thunderclaps as his backdrop, Chuck expertly guided the group through his thoughts on the Magog Invasion, using Ezekiel and Psalm 83 as perspective parameters. Reeling from this massive download, the conference broke for lunch. Meanwhile, the rains were torrential; a few people looked worried, it was raining hard.
After lunch, the astute and amusing David Nasser came to the podium. He explained that he always prefers to have a conference spot on a rainy Saturday afternoon after lunch. Threatening to “go jihad” on anyone that fell asleep, David proceeded to make sleep all but impossible as he engaged his audience with a challenge to put feet on their faith and become truly engaged in this world. Reminding the conference of the realities of life outside our safe and comfortable little walls, he brought the perspective of action to our strategy session.
After another break, a concerned-looking Pastor Steve Berger told the group he was very glad they were so full of the love of God and that this love for each other might be sorely tested in the coming hours. Nervously, attendees guessed he might be hinting at the weather, and the next speaker, Don Finto, con-firmed that the roads were closed. This pressing fact was soon lost however, in the wonder of Don’s enthusiastic and heartfelt message about the role and calling of Israel in God’s plan. Telling the conference that deepening darkness was coming over the world, he emphasized the miracle of Jewish eyes being opened in our day.
As Don finished, Pastor Steve announced to the conference that in those preceding hours we had unknowingly inhabited an island as the flood levels rose in nearby creeks and rivers. The police had cleared the use of one road at that time and many conference attendees chose to leave early while they still could do so. Don Teague and Rafraf Barrak bravely went on with their presentations, which are included on the conference DVDs and audio CDs.
Natural disasters notwithstanding, what an incredible blessing this gathering of minds was to all that were present! No one could leave unchanged and this was certainly an event none will forget.