Bible Hour and Evangelistic Sermons
Bible Hour takes place in the morning so that the day begins with exegesis and biblical conversation. In California, we walked through the Gospel of John under the guidance of R Wade Paschal. Beginning the day this way helps to center our minds on God and open our ears to what the Spirit will whisper throughout the Christian Ashram experience. Evangelistic Sermons close out the day and provide a personal account and the practical application of a life lived in Christ. Tom Albin was our California Evangelist; he shared stories that were entertaining and educational, stories that sparked laughter while illuminating ways in which we can live the Gospel.
The salt-and-pepper-ness of Bible Hour and Evangelistic Sermons is not limited to their corresponding time slots, even though the sunrise and sunset teaching hours make for a thought-provoking day. It is in their provision of love and life. We learn to love Scripture by day and to live Scripture by night. We come to appreciate and apply. The synchronicity of these two hours is not cause for an overwhelmingly lettered or underwhelmingly simple day; I found the balance complimentary to my faith, encouraging and engaging.
Although I cannot speak for every Prayer Group, I would like to share the ways in which mine interacted. As I mentioned last week, it takes no time at all for Christian Ashramites to become your Christian Ashram family. My PG embodied this caringly and transparently. We spent our time sharing our heaviest burdens and, in return, received Spirit-inspired prayer and blessing. I would like to share that I experienced the immediate power of prayer unlike ever before through my PG. By the third morning of the Christian Ashram, I was undeniably dog-tired. Lethargy replaced the alertness that kept me open to the Spirit throughout the first two days; trying to balance my time between the adult agenda and youth games was fatiguing. My coffee consumption was running rampant: two cups at breakfast, a cup for the Bible Hour, another cup at lunch, a few for the afternoon, etc. I was afraid that the thumping in my chest and the weight of my eyelids would prevent me from seeking God, so I asked my PG for prayer.
It happened without my noticing it. I didn’t need coffee to keep going, my eyes were opened, and my concentration centered. Through their prayer, I found peace, I heard God’s voice, and I was receptive to learning, listening, and loving. It may seem small—yes, they just helped me wake up and (quit) smell(ing) the coffee—but this is just the surface of our outpouring, our vulnerability, and the power in our intentional prayer. If Christian Ashrams are reunions, then the PGs represent our immediate families.
Healing & Wholeness
Healing & Wholeness occurred on the last evening of the Redwood Christian Ashram celebration. Stations were set up, and we were invited to sit with groups of two individuals that anointed us with oil and prayed over us as we are called to do in Book of James.
“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” –James 5:16
But this is not where the story ends. God moves when God moves. And the prayers of Dave and JT brewed in my mind and heart like a bold coffee. As the Christian Ashram came to an end and as I packed my bag, preparing myself for the flight home, the loneliness I wanted cast away crept back into my heart. I did not want to leave these friends. But as my heart ebbed, the prayers from Healing & Wholeness flooded my mind. I realized that God is there wherever I go, that I am never alone. My loneliness transformed into solitude and I was reawakened to God’s omnipresence and grace.
The prayers of the Christian Ashram family have renewed my embrace of the love of Christ. Through Healing & Wholeness, my faith has become more real and more whole.
The UCA is truly a blessing from God. I love the Redwood Christian Ashram family, and I look forward to loving the Texas, Minnesota, and New Brunswick Ashrams as well. I am thankful for the guidance, prayers, and enduring love of the UCA. They live as Christ has called them.
It's not too late to consider experiencing a Christian Ashram for yourself. Please visit this link for more information.
*These quotations are from the "What is an Ashram?" page.