It’s good to be home out on Bittersweet. As soon as I got home I put away my things and plowed a little snow. It was good to get some brisk air in my lungs. It’s warm inside now and it’s peaceful here tonight.
I’ve just returned home from a trip up into the northern lower peninsula to speak to Fathers and Sons at Camp Barakel. Chris Knoblock and Luke Cyrus did music in the East Side Chapel where I spoke four times. Paul Gardner led chapels. My brother Nathan led music in the West Side Chapel. J. J. Sherwood, Lead Pastor at Five Points preached to teens this weekend on that side. My brother Kevin and his family are on resident staff, so now speaking at Camp Barakel is a bit of a family reunion. 2019 is my 21st year speaking at Camp Barakel.
It was cold outside but the fellowship was rich and warm. There a big fires roaring everywhere. Young men cut wood all summer to fuel the fires all winter at Barakel. After chapels and around mealtimes there were many conversations about the chapel talks. The older I get the more I enjoy conversations about the things of the Lord with people who love the Lord. I wish I could describe the gospel-rich warm Christian atmosphere there. As easily as words come, the gospel songs, prayers, conversations, chapel times are so spiritually enriching to me that it is impossible for me to describe them.
At night in my pine-paneled speaker’s quarters I lie under the warmth of my covers and pour out thanksgiving to God for such a place where Christ is so beautifully exalted.
Walking in the Light
Last week I posted this on my FaceBook site. Some of you may have seen it. I wanted to send it along with the Bittersweet Farm Journal this week.
Thoughts in preparation for speaking to men and sons:
I’ve been innocent and I’ve been guilty.
I’ve been blackmailed when I was guilty …and slandered when I was innocent.
This one thing I know. There is power and freedom and fellowship and great joy when you learn to make a life-long habit of walking in the light.
Live honestly and humbly and openly before God and others.
When you walk in the light the Accuser himself has no power in his cosmic blackmail and you need not live in bandage to any man. Jesus will be your older brother and defender.
When you walk in the light the blood of JESUS Christ cleanses from all sin and He is our Advocate when we are guilty.
An Inside Look
Last weekend I spoke for a Father-Son Retreat at Camp Barakel. My preaching is without a manuscript. I preach from abbreviated notes, but I sometimes write out pieces of what I’m going to say ahead of time. Friday night men and sons came from all over the state and other states and I opened the session with something that sounded something like this:
We are here to deepen our fellowship with the Lord… We are here to deepen our fellowship with those we love. Maybe some of you are here to open your heart to God in a new way. This is a good place for these things…
We are in a wonderful place to deepen our fellowship with the Lord and with others that we love.
Henry VanDyke wrote that the Bible is an “outdoor book” most of what is recorded in the Bible happened out under an open sky.
Jesus was an outdoors-man… He was strong enough to walk for many miles over rugged terrain. To learn his men followed in his dust. The walked with God—the Christ.
Jesus’ great discourses were outdoors on the steps of the Temple, in the open market, on Olivet, and other mountains, perhaps the great peak of Arbel overlooking the broad vista the Sea of Galilee and down the Jordan River valley.
Jesus spent much time training his men and teaching people and healing people and casting out demons -out with the sun on his head and the wind moving the trees—out on the open lake, or in the mountains or on the banks of the river.
He still meets with men in such places, maybe He will meet with you
if you turn our heart toward Him.
The moon is waxing toward full this weekend. Did you know that when Jesus—the one who spoke the moon and stars and worlds into existence— was on earth and had nowhere to lay His head sometimes he spent the night out on Olivet under the full moon…
You know the heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above is a display of his handiwork.
Jesus lifted up his face to his Father and prayed with his men in the outdoors. Maybe this weekend you will see the breath of your prayers hanging silver on the night air.
Maybe you will have some time for what David Hansen likes to call “A Long-Wandering Prayer.”
When Jesus walked on earth he often shared meals with his men. On one beautiful occasion in a post-resurrection appearance he called his men to join him for breakfast around a fire of coals glowing on the shore. It was there that he called to their hearts and simplified what it meant to follow him with a simple question repeated three times: Do you love me? We will share meals this weekend.
Jesus sang hymns with his disciples. What a delightful thought—Men, secure enough in their fellowship to join their hearts together in song. We will do that this weekend. I pray with all my heart that you will do it with all your heart.
Rich is the son who has a father who isn’t afraid to lift up his voice in heartfelt praise to His creator. Happy is the man who’s son has sworn allegiance to Christ and seals it with holy vows and hearty singing.
This weekend we will gather here in the sacred and consecrated place between the fires four times. Christ will be among us. For those with ears to hear He will speak to us and to hear Him with our hearts is to be transformed.
And there is a great pleasure in that for men who have developed a taste for it. [ill] In a letter to a friend C. S. Lewis descried the long conversations with Christian friends that resulted in him becoming a follow of Christ. At the end of the letter he said something many of us will experience this weekend: “…is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire…”
All these things to men whose hearts are tender will be means of grace for us this weekend.
And we want to be aware when we are smelling the tang of wood smoke and listening to the cold in the winter forest and sharing a meal that Christ is among us.
When we quiet our hearts and listen to his word, when we pray, when we sing, when we testify, when we indulge in the pleasure of rich Christian conversation about things that really matter and really last—Jesus is among us and drawing near…
And men who are in fellowship with Him are more likely to be in fellowship with those they love. A strong fellowship with God strengthens our fellowship with those we love…
So tonight let’s center our hearts on the thought of fellowship.
Ken Pierpont | Bittersweet Farm | Summit Township, Michigan | January 21. 2019