Part 5: NACT Day 3 – the keys to the experience and reality of the Jubilee!

Did you know? The Jubilee was:

  1. Spoken of in Leviticus 25
  2. Prophesied in Isaiah 61
  3. Fulfilled in Luke 4
  4. Carried out in Acts 26

The morning sessions each day of the college training corresponded to the “Keys” section in our Jubilee handbook – the overall section of these messages were referred to as “The Keys to the Experience and Reality of the Jubilee”. These five messages dissected each section of a key verse:

This verse reveals the items of the blessings of the jubilee. Each blessing is explored in each message, which have been summarised below:

Message 1
Having Our Eyes Opened

As we opened this word, the title of this message was brought to our attention – “Having our eyes opened”. Once our eyes have been opened, we will be able to just speak forth God, and then others’ eyes can be opened by us.

The first blessing in Acts 26:18 is the opening of the eyes of those who are fallen, and turning them from darkness to light so that they may see the divine things in the spiritual realm. As sinners, we were all born blind; we are blind by nature. In order for us as young people to fulfil the work of opening the eyes of this generation, we ourselves need to have the vision and see the heavenly riches. Though this sounds difficult, the Lord is so ready to reveal Himself to us – we just need to ask Him! Seeing light and receiving revelation is not through our own efforts, but are fully dependent on the Lord’s mercy.

Oh, Lord appear me today!

As the blind man in John 9, we need to receive the Lord’s anointing of our blind eyes with the word of life (the Lord’s spittle) mingled with our humanity (clay).

Immediately after we receive the Lord through His Word, there is the anointing of the Spirit of life. Anointing is essentially the Spirit – when you touch the Spirit with your spirit, you’ll get the anointing. The blind man went and washed, meaning he obeyed the life-giving Word of the Lord; he received sight.

After we receive the Lord in His Word and have His anointing, He puts us in the position of being sent; we must now be obedient to His sending. If we don’t obey, despite the fact we have all this experience of God anointing our eyes with clay, we will not receive the washing and we will remain blind.

Once we obey the living Word, saying, “Amen, Lord Jesus,” we will immediately have the sensation that something has fallen off our eyes and we will have light!

Students sharing their enjoyment in the morning session

Prayers we could pray in order to receive such vision were suggested:

“Lord, open my eyes. I don’t need knowledge, Lord. I need my eyes to be opened.”

“Lord, show me something by appearing to me. Lord, You appeared to Paul and he saw something, and You told him that You would show him more through Your appearing to him. Lord, appear to me so that in Your appearing I may see something and then tell people of that I have seen.”

“Lord, I want to have my eyes opened like they have never been opened before. I don’t want to be opaque.”

(To be opaque here suggests that we have no ulterior motives, no trickery or anything hidden – we purely just shine.)

Message 2
Turning from Darkness to Light and from the Authority of Satan to God

In the jubilee, we are turned from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God. This turn is a transfer – a transfer from darkness to light, and a transferring from the authority of Satan to the authority of God.

Darkness is a sign of sin and death and the authority of Satan, whereas light is a sign of righteousness and life, and is God Himself. Therefore, when we are in light, we are in God!

By being delivered out of Satan’s kingdom and transferred into Christ’s kingdom, we have been qualified for a share of the portion of the saints.

Hymn 881

In our lives – we need to ask ourselves how much we are still under the authority of darkness. Darkness is not only evil things like gambling, stealing, and fornication but it is a great deal more than this. Every university, every aspect of society, including Christianity, is in darkness; do not think that darkness is found only where there is evil. We may find that actually many of us are still under some form of control established by the self and carried out by the self; this kind of control is the authority of darkness.

The more we tell the Lord that we love Him, the more we are freed, and simultaneously, the more we are restricted and ruled.

We were given three practical main points that maintain our presence in the light and not under the authority of darkness:

  • You need to have a clear vision of God’s economy.
  • You have to be in the Word of God. (Psalms 1:19, 105, 130)
  • You have to learn to deal with the self – this is through:
    1. Fellowship with the Lord – this will expose our self
    2. Being with others – we will find new parts of our self that need to be dealt with.
    3. Have spiritual children – we should care for others, and feed them, and this will also benefit us.

Message 3
Receiving Forgiveness of Sins

4 points were outlined for us:

  1. Forgiveness – not man’s, but God’s
  2. The blood of Jesus – it’s preciousness and power
  3. The way to receive the forgiveness of sins
  4. Thorough – we need a thorough receiving of the forgiveness of sins

Forgiveness means that we are not condemned by God; God blots out our sinful record, and spares us from judgement. It means God sends away from us the sins we have committed, and it results in God forgetting our sins, removing them from His memory. Man’s forgiveness is not so pure and deep – we may forgive but we never forget. We need God’s forgiveness – it is the base of all the blessings of the New Testament jubilee.

The basis of our forgiveness is the blood of the Lord Jesus; it is the means by which our sins are forgiven; apart from the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. Our God is a righteous God, and His righteousness demands that whoever sins must die. The Lord Jesus Himself died, shedding His blood on the cross, and this satisfies the righteous requirement. This enables God to forgive us our sins justly and legally, and we do not have to pay such a price.

We need to see the way to receive forgiveness of sins – the way for a sinner to obtain forgiveness is to repent and believe. To repent indicates a changing of their minds to turn back to God from being away from Him, and believing indicates we receive forgiveness from God by faith.

The way for a believer to obtain forgiveness is to confess his sins and iniquities to God. We should not think that once we have been saved we no longer need God’s forgiveness – we need to go to the Lord continually so His cleansing blood can be applied to our actual situation. God’s forgiveness is continuous, and we need it moment by moment.

“Lord, grant me a full and thorough forgiveness of all my sins, I want to have a clearance of sins from the top to the bottom. I would leave nothing that has not been dealt with. Grant me a thorough forgiveness of all my sinfulness.”

Message 4
Enjoying Our Divine Inheritance

Here, we see there isn’t much of a mention of the freedom, rather, we focus on being brought back to Christ as our portion – although freedom is amazing, the returning to our inheritance is even more amazing! In the jubilee, we can enjoy God as our divine inheritance!

Our inheritance is the Triune God with all He has, all He has done, and all He will do for us. Material prosperity, and anything other than God, is vanity. We should take only God Himself as our portion! We can find everything in Him, and we have absolute enjoyment in Him. In our college years, we must become persons with a definite direction in our human life, and this direction should be God Himself.

How can we enjoy God as our inheritance?

Through the Spirit, and through the Word! After all, God works through speaking. When we come to the Word, we need to look at our hearts – if we come to the Word with a heart that is full of blockages, we will find the Word to be very dry. To gain and enjoy our inheritance, our hearts need to be looked after. The heart is made up of four parts: our mind, emotion and will, and conscience, and each part needs to be dealt with for our heart to be healthy.

  • Mind – purified
  • Emotion and will – sanctified
  • Conscience – cleansed

Our spirit, too, must be cared for. Nothing will become real if we don’t exercise our spirit. We can exercise our heart by turning our heart to the Lord, believing in Him, and loving Him, and we can exercise our spirit by calling on the Lord’s name, rejoicing always, praying unceasingly, giving thanks in everything, fanning our spirit into flame, and not quenching the Spirit.

Practically, when we read the Word, we can enjoy God as our inheritance by:

  • Exercising our spirit to pray-read
  • Musing on the Word
  • Singing and psalming the Word
Saints from Germany, Ukraine, and UK, singing and psalming!

Message 5
Being with Those Who Are Sanctified

The Christian life is not an individualistic life. We touched on Acts 2:46-47 as having some practical points on being in the church life:

46 And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart,
47 Praising God and having grace with all the people. And the Lord added together day by day those who were being saved.

day by day” – this is the church life. We need to see and feel the church life every day!
one accord” – this indicates harmony. Amongst us all, there should be one goal, one vision, and one direction.
in the temple” – this represents the Lord’s table meetings. When we all gather at the Lord’s table, we are all ‘in the temple’.
partook of their food with exultation” – eating is the way! We feed each-other with wonderful food both literally, and spiritually, and we should eat with exultation!
Praising God” – simply, we need to praise God whenever we are together!

We cannot live our life by feelings – this is very dangerous. We will not always feel high, but we cannot afford to distance ourselves from the Lord or the church life whenever we feel low. We need to live by faith!

If we live by feelings, we will find ourselves skipping the Lord’s table often, but this is not how we can live. The Lord’s table is the Lord’s – it is for the Lord, not just for us! We cannot be selfish and say we don’t want to go just because we don’t feel like it – it is a meeting for the Lord Himself.

The church life is a meeting life, and we should never stop meeting. Not going to the meetings is equivalent to cutting off our life supply. We should meet to such an extent that it becomes a habit, thus producing a meeting life.

One of the best ways for the young people to experience Christ is to find at least two or three companions in the Lord. Finding spiritual companions means we have people to open to, and we can help one another, and solve one another’s problems. If we come together regularly with our companions, our weaknesses will be swallowed up, our problems will be solved, our spirit will be strengthened and refreshed, and our love for the Lord will be more fervent.

There are 3 main principles for finding spiritual companions:

  • They should be believers (2 Cor. 6:14-18)
  • They should be those who can be of mutual help
  • We should have 3 kinds of companions:
    1. Companions at our spiritual level, for mutual spiritual help
    2. Companions more experienced in the Lord who can lead us
    3. Companions who are younger and weaker whom we can help and lead

Within our companionship, we need to fear God, respect one another, and reject natural affection – our nature will always come with sin and death. If we love each other with a spiritual love, death cannot penetrate and defile our relationships.

Together, we can flee youthful lusts and pursue Christ as righteousness, faith, love, and peace!

Part 5: NACT Day 2 – in the training and spending time with the Lord

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champign accommodated 2800 trainees during the NACT in two different university housing complexes, Ikenberry and Florida Avenue Residence (aptly acronymned as ‘FAR’).

The majority of the European saints stayed in Ikenberry. Ikenberry had seven different halls available to the saints: Hopkins, Bousfield, Snyder, Scott, Weston, Oglesby, and Trelease halls.

Scott Hall University Housing, with Ikenberry Cafeteria in the background.

Like typical American university halls, many of the rooms had two single beds and storage space, and corridors had shared bathrooms. In some halls, the rooms were arranged in suites with two to four rooms sharing a bathroom and sometimes a common area. We used the common areas near our rooms for our small group fellowships during the week.

Sisters in accommodation

During the college training, we were arranged into five different cohorts, which corresponded to the colour of their badges: light blue, medium blue, dark blue, pink, and red. Each cohort ranged from around 300-700 trainees and had the morning sessions in five different meeting rooms.

Throughout the day, each of the five cohorts also had a different schedule from one another! This was mainly so that the mealtimes could be staggered and we could all eat in a timely way. The saints coordinating the NACT ensured this college training would go smoothly in order for all the students to make the most out of the training and to gain Christ every moment. Thank You Lord for their service to You!

An example of the NACT schedule located at the back of our name badges.

There were three meetings each morning (the grey boxes on the schedule): morning revival fellowship, a morning session on the keys to experiencing the jubilee, followed immediately by a special fellowship meeting, and then each evening all the trainees gathered for the evening session in the State Farm Centre. Aside from the meetings, there were assigned times for memorising verses, Bible reading and ministry reading, recreation, small group fellowship (in groups of about 10 trainees), and evening room time, and of course three meals a day at the cafeteria.

It was really helpful to have a detailed schedule during this week. In order for the Lord to work Himself into our whole being we must redeem the time we have in our day. We should pray to allow the Lord to flow into our spirit moment by moment. We can enjoy Him as the Jubilee when we eat, rest, do activities, in the meetings, and in the mornings and evenings! Praise the Lord He is so available to us!

Singing in the light blue cohort.

In this post, we will also share a little more about the morning revival fellowships. Each morning started with a lot of enjoyable and releasing singing, encouraging us to turn our hearts to the Lord. Then some brothers shared with us some principles related to spending time with the Lord in the mornings.

Matthew 6:6

‘But you, when you pray, enter into your private room, and shut your door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.’

When we wake up to a new day, we must build up a habit and set a time to be revived and meet with God. Having a personal time with the Lord removes any barriers we have between us and Him. He deals with the blockages in our heart and our growth in life increases! When we have an intimate time with Christ, we can enjoy Him and His word in a deeper way.

We learnt how to build a more intimate relationship with the Lord (EAT!):

  • Early – rise early in the mornings to find the Lord. This can be 5, 10, 30 minutes earlier than the time you usually wake up.
  • Audible – speak! This is where our being goes. Our mouth is connected to our spirit and the Lord wants to hear our voice (S.S 2:14)
  • Tethered – our mind should be tied to something solid, as our mind tends to wander. If our mind is tethered to our spirit and the Word, we can focus on the Lord and look fully unto Him.

Each morning after this fellowship, we would find a spot around the campus and spend 30 minutes for personal morning revival. Some days we might feel tired, some days we might find our mind wandering, but every day we are practicing to build up this private, intimate, and spiritual time with the Lord!

Hymn 643 – stanza 2

Take time to behold Him,
The world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret 
With Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus
Like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends, in thy conduct
His likeness shall see.

Hymn 643

Part 5: NACT Day 1 – It’s all about Jubilee!

Our trip to the NACT began with saints arriving at O’Hare airport to catch a shuttle to the campus – it was filled with tired saints and their luggage (we had been staying in Chicago, but those from the U.S. had flown in that morning from their various states). Thankfully, those coordinating the transportation had arrived hours earlier and arranged a wonderful system to prevent chaos!

Then, we were driven to the campus – time for the 3 hour coach journey! Many of us found ourselves sleeping most of the way to have a well rested start to the NACT.

Spot the UK sisters!

Once we arrived on campus, we dispersed to our respective buildings to register (again, with a well-arranged system). We were given our lanyards and outlines, and even more excitingly, our water bottles, pins, stickers, and other goodies!

After some time settling into our dorm rooms and exploring the campus, at dinner time we had our first taste of the very abundant supply the cafeteria provided. Every meal of every day was a full buffet selection, including unlimited ice cream and drinks – we certainly weren’t going to be hungry this week! There was even an app especially made for the dining halls in order for us to see the food schedule and plan exactly where we were going to line up first – with so many people, there’s no time to waste!

Now, the training officially began. The NACT – the North American College Training – occurs every four years (regional college trainings take place in the other years), with the previous one (the first) happening in 2015. This year, 2,784 total saints checked in, including 1891 students (1375 from the US and 516 from other countries), 890 serving ones, and 44 current FTT trainees. The total number of saints has nearly doubled since four years ago! Praise the Lord!

On the first evening, we all piled into the State Farm Centre – a large sports stadium – to have our very first message. It was amazing to see the stadium filled with so many students who love the Lord Jesus! Each day, our evening meetings were held here in the stadium – together with everyone (the schedule during the day was in smaller ‘cohorts’).

Before the messages began, we had a joyous time singing all together, and with the screens displaying the words at the front, nobody needed to be looking downwards at their outlines – we could just stand freely and sing with our faces uplifted and enjoying. Down at the front were the saints serving on the music service, complete with a conductor. The atmosphere during the singing was really wonderful. New songs were ‘introduced’ throughout the week, and we would end up singing these new songs every message after learning them!

After a short minute or two to pray with our neighbour, the spoken messages commenced. Our topic this year – summarised on our bottles by bright exclamation marks – was on the Jubilee!

There were three different colours of water bottles

Over the week, there were seven messages in this main line, summarised below:

Message 1
An Introduction – the Sabbath Year and the Year of Jubilee

The Jubilee can be summarised in a phrase with three key words – the Jubilee is a time of rest, enjoyment and shouting! Christ is the realm of full rest – in the world we see so many struggling and labouring to find this satisfaction and peace, yet man obtains rest not as a result of his own labour, but as a result of God’s labour.

In terms of the numbers and the year of jubilee, we see in Leviticus 25:8-10 that after seven Sabbath years – 49 years (the Sabbath year marked the end of seven years) – was the 50th year, and this 50th year is the year of jubilee. But of course the jubilee shouldn’t be experienced for a merely one year; the jubilee shouldn’t be a momentary experience, but is meant to signify a full period of time – our entire Christian life! 

Oh, Lord, make us those who enjoy the jubilee our entire lives! Thank You that You are the reality of the jubilee! We can find rest and enjoyment in You!

Message 2
The Age of Jubilee

In the second message, we explored Leviticus 25 further, seeing the jubilee as the proclamation of God’s redemption. Here we looked at the typology of silver – supported by passages from Exodus 26 and 30 – and therefore the indication of God’s redemption through the blasting of a silver trumpet in Leviticus 25. What an amazing proclamation of freedom and release!

We also saw the year of jubilee in Leviticus 25 as referring to the age of the jubilee – the New Testament age of grace where all the slaves are liberated into God’s salvation and every man’s inheritance is restored to him. Everyone here on earth is a slave, a slave to sin, and grace is God coming down to man to be their everything and their enjoyment.

Lord, we don’t want to be slaves anymore.

The third point of the message delved into how the year of jubilee is the age of Christ as grace dispensed into us for our enjoyment; the New Testament jubilee is an age of ecstasy! It was so refreshing to hear that the jubilee means having no worry or anxiety, and all things are satisfying to our heart, and simply exultant. But, we can experience such peace and satisfaction only after we have gained the all-inclusive Christ as our enjoyment; it is Christ within us who enables us to be calm and free. We need to spend time with the Lord to gain Him, and we don’t have any excuses not to – when you really love something, you will always have time for it. Spending time with the Lord makes us those who love the Lord!

Message 3
The Blessings of the Jubilee (1) – Being Recovered to God as Our Portion

Again, the importance of this statement was stressed to us – the jubilee is not just a happy few days and is not simply a word, it is a living. Perhaps despite being a Christian, we find ourselves unhappy and we think we are so far from the jubilee. However, this is when the jubilee is truly for us. We can see this in Paul’s experience in Acts; he was suffering in a very dark place when he was in prison, and this was when he could touch and live the jubilee.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

Philippians 4:4

We were also reminded that contrary to the belief of the world, we don’t need to do anything and we need to realise this – all we need to do is just enjoy! Our eyes are always on ourselves, focusing on our failures…

Lord, open our eyes, so we just look away unto Jesus!

The speaking brother walked through the verses in Leviticus that show how the allotted portions of the good land being returned to everyone who had previously sold their possession, just as the believers will return to God as our lost divine possession. In the New Testament, the believers’ inheritance is not a physical land, it is the all-inclusive Christ. Note the use of the word inheritance – we were created in order to contain God! If man does not contain God, he does not have his possession, and he remains a poor, empty vessel. Satan tries to produce many subtle substitutes – these things may not be inherently sinful or ‘bad’, but they will take up space in our beings, and that is a problem. We need to learn to empty ourselves from all these other things, so we can contain our true possession (Christ) and receive what has been prepared for us.

The central thought of God is that God wants to be our enjoyment, and we enjoy Him as our portion through the Word and by the Spirit!

Message 4
The Blessings of the Jubilee (2) – Freedom

When is the age of jubilee? We are actually in the age of jubilee now – we have our portion!

But we need to beware, as Satan wants desperately to take us out from the land. We need to know the Word, as the Bible exposes Satan’s tactics, and will prevent us from being deceived so easily.

  1. We need to see the bondage, Satan’s scheme.
  2. We need to see God’s saving way – this way is simply our coordinating with God!
  3. Lord give us vision, that we wouldn’t be blinded. Lord, let us see these things!

The outline showed us that those who had sold himself into slavery regained his freedom, showing that in the jubilee, the believers have been released from all bondage. A key warning, though, is that it is possible to be in the land, but still bound. We may find ourselves still looking down, and not freely standing to see the riches of the land we stand on. Has the Son set you free?

The natural human condition after the fall is one of being poor, captured, and oppressed. Fallen human beings are in bondage under sin, in the self, under the hand of Satan. Everything in the world is designed to encourage this fallen nature, but it has become so normalised that we may even be numb to it. But praise the Lord, in the jubilee we obtain freedom, and are released from the bondage of slavery!

Scriptures from Matthew 1, Colossians 2 and 3, Romans 7 and 6, and Luke, Galatians, 1 Peter, and Hebrews, remind us that as believers we obtain freedom in Christ from sin, self, the flesh, the old man, law, Satan, the world, anxiety, and all kinds of troubles! Though sin is a law, God has given us another law – the law of the Spirit of life, which frees us from the law of sin and of death (Romans 8:2)!

This law will work automatically, spontaneously, and effortlessly when we remain in contact with Him.

Message 5
The Blessings of the Jubilee (3) – Being Returned to the Church as Our Divine Family

Those who sold themselves into slavery were also returned to their family – signifying how we will return to the church as our divine family. The prodigal son in Luke 15 illustrates this jubilee; he returned to his father and to his father’s house having previously left this home and having sold his possessions and himself. He was fully repentant and expected to work as a hired servant, yet when he returned, this was the year of jubilee to the son – the father rejoiced and welcomed him with a feast – his son had returned! The father’s house represents the church where we enjoy God the Father in His love. May we all come home to our rightful dwelling place, and not be wandering in a homeless state!

In the same parable, we can see that although the son certainly has a need to come back, the father himself has a need too, the need for the son to return. This need is greater than the son’s need. We need to turn our eyes from the earth and from ourselves to see that there is a need immensely greater than our need – God’s need. He needs to church as a house to rest and to do His will, to accomplish His eternal purpose.

‘I was lost, now I’m found again!
I was dead, but now I live!
Come rejoice with us, and be merry then.
Back in my Father’s house again!’

Message 6
The Propagation of the Jubilee (1) – The Contents of Our Divine Commission according to the Vision of the Jubilee

This message was a very special message. The main focus was on the Lord’s appearing. In Acts 26, eyes had to be opened… But in order for our eyes to be opened, we need to be blinded first. And the only light that can blind to open is the heavenly light. God is a God of purpose. Acts 26:16 says He “appeared to you for this purpose“.

God works by appearing; He accomplishes His economy through His appearing in different ways. We need God’s appearing again and again – just as Paul kept seeing Jesus again and again and again. Every appearing from the Lord is a call from Him. The world now hates the appearing of God, but we need to be those who seek, who love and treasure His appearing. Paul had a complete turn – He was turned “from the authority of Satan to God” – after seeing the Lord’s appearing; this is what can happen to us when we see the Lord.

‘ To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Acts 26:18

All these blessings – forgiveness of sins, our inheritance – can be gained once our eyes are opened. We need to pray over these contents and ask the Lord to make them our experience and reality. Only then can then begin to bring others into the same experience and enjoyment.

This was the last evening meeting, and during it the college and university-age students were invited to stand and go down to the front of the stage if they had a calling within to ask the Lord, to pray, and to desperately call on the Lord, to see His appearing. Hundreds of students began to file down to the front, even to the point where not everybody could make it down. Then, we stood and prayed both personally and with those around us, and finally the brothers prayed for all us, whether sitting or standing. That night, we all consecrated ourselves to the Lord’s appearing, and the Spirit truly touched us all.

Students filed to the front of the stadium to consecrate to a life of desiring and loving the Lord’s appearing.

Message 7
The Propagation of the Jubilee (2) – Proclaiming the Gospel—Christ as the Jubilee of Grace

The final message was on Saturday morning and focused on our commission. These points will be summarised in our last post of the NACT – look forward to it!