June 10 – June 16, 2017
It was one of the most wonderful weeks in my life. Six of us, along with three older brothers and sisters who were there to teach us, spent a week together in “The Hookses” in Wales. “The Hookses” was a house surrounded by nature where John Stott, a dear servant of the Lord remembered by many, wrote many of his books. His grave can also be found in the village nearby.
Although John Stott was widely known for his prolific work, many, Christians or not, remember him as a “man of grace”. My week at “The Hookses”, just like my past two years in this church family, was filled with grace too. In “The Hookses”, there are many precious photos of Stott and friends as well as many spiritual books written by a wide range of authors to read. A lover for bird-watching, Stott’s book, “The Birds Our Teachers”, can also be found here.
In these six days, we prayed together, we sang together. We shared every single meal together, we studied the scripture together. Some of us didn’t know each other beforehand. But because of shared life of Christ, we opened up to one another easily. The beautiful nature surrounding us was nothing but a depiction of “heaven-meets-earth”. Meanwhile, the time I spent with the brothers and sisters was nothing but a foretaste of the new heavens and new earth to come.
Everyday, we spent the morning and early afternoon to study the word of God. We used the time after late afternoon to enjoy the nature and rest. We covered many topics: from God’s Kingdom to “practical skills” to read the Bible; from discussing what the Church is to exploring how to express God in our daily work life.
My favorite part is, without any doubt, God’s Kingdom, which was the first topic that we covered. We spent about two days on it, using primarily the book, God’s Big Picture, by Vaughan Robert. It is an excellent book that deserves much more recognition that it has at the moment. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody.
Written in a way that is easy to understand, Robert’s book clearly presents the overlooked fact that the binding theme of the Bible as one big narrative is indeed nothing but the Kingdom of God. He used the definition of God’s Kingdom as that given by Graeme Goldsworthy, that God’s Kingdom is “God’s people under God’s rule in God’s place”. With the aid of this book, we studied how Jesus Christ fulfills all the promises in the Old Testament. In addition, Robert created a wonderful chart that explained how the Kingdom of God has progressed,
Regarding practicals skills to read the scripture, we used primarily the book, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. It is another fantastic tool that brothers and sisters can add to their bookshelves.
I have attached some more photos below, and also, there is a video on Youtube recording the sweet time Stott and his friends had there.