February 1, 2017
Wharton Year-End Retreat
The end-of-the-year activities at the Apostolic Faith Church in Wharton, New Jersey, included a Christmas musical and skit titled “For Unto Us a Child Is Born” on December 18, and a three-day retreat from December 30 to January 1. The Christmas musical began with the congregation singing Christmas carols, followed by the instrumentalists playing “Symphony No. 36” by Mickel Rondeau. Victoria Timbilla, from the elementary class, gave a recitation about the birth of Jesus and beautifully sang “Happy Birthday, Jesus.” The skit depicting the birth of Jesus, His ministry, and His ultimate sacrifice and death on the Cross, included intermittent music selections.
The three-day retreat was a blessed time filled with the presence of God. On Friday evening, Bisi Odulaja gave an interactive teaching on “Submission.” Taking his text from Ephesians 5:21 to 6:9, he brought out that God has ordained roles and instructions regarding submission, concluding that the ultimate submission is to Jesus as our personal Savior.
On Saturday morning, Akinola Fawole gave a teaching on “Self-Denial.” Using Scripture references from Luke 9:23-26, Matthew 19:28-29, Luke 14:28-31, and James 2:16, he emphasized that self-denial will cost something, and will involve giving up lawful pleasures for the sake of Christ, and putting God first by depending on His Spirit and making a conscious decision to follow Him. A time of prayer followed the teaching.
In the afternoon, there was a youth forum moderated by the youth leader, Daniel Tetteh, and Robert Makasi. The discussion focused on how young people can apply submission and self-denial to their everyday lives. Some of the young people shared their personal testimonies, and a questionnaire was given to gather feedback on what activities could be implemented in the New Year to help the youth in their Christian walks.
The watchnight service on Saturday night began with a violin prelude, “Walk with Me,” followed by the youth choir singing “Shine, Jesus, Shine.” The adult choir then sang “The Millennium.” After the congregational singing, testimonies were given about healing, deliverance, and many other spiritual victories. James Timbilla, the pastor in Wharton, spoke about the year in retrospect, after which the congregation prayed in the New Year. In closing, the choir sang “Together, Together,” intimating the spirit of unity, and then the congregation sang “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”
The congregation came together again on New Year’s morning, and the service started with an instrumental number, followed by the choir singing “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah.” Before the message, Ifeoluwa and Joy Fawole sang “Each Step I Take.” Taking his texts from Revelation 3:11, 22:7, and 22:12, Brother James brought out that the coming of Jesus is getting closer, and he encouraged the congregation to look up, for their redemption “draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
The congregation in Wharton is thankful for the presence of God that was evident in all the meetings, and their prayer is that they will continue to be faithful and ready for Christ’s soon coming.(Mouse over the image below to click through the album.)