Pikes Peak Prophecy Summit: Behind the Scenes

This article was contributed by Eric W.  He shares with our Extraordinary audience his experiences while in attendance at the Pike’s Peak Prophecy Summit, hosted by Prophecy in the News.  - Natalina, Extraordinary Intelligence Owner/Admin
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Matthew 18:19-20

19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

So imagine what happens when you get over a thousand Christians together!

That’s exactly what happened on July 26-28 of 2013, when the largest prophecy conference of its kind ever assembled to date took place. It was the Pike’s Peak Prophecy Summit hosted by Prophecy in the News and I was blessed and fortunate enough to be able to attend. This mega conference had over two dozen of the biggest names in Bible prophecy under one roof for a three day gala at the Marriot Hotel close to Pike’s Peak in gorgeous Colorado Springs, Colorado.

To say this was a rolling dervish of activity would be an understatement and I enjoyed every second of the conference. The presentations were all outstanding to be sure but the real stories took place off camera and that’s going to be the focus of this piece. I’m going to try and give you a glimpse of what it’s like to be on the ground as an attendee at something like this. I’m going to also share a few special moments and anecdotes. What I’m hoping to accomplish with this piece is to encourage Christians, especially, that there are venues and ways to network and fellowship with Christians besides just the internet, especially if you’re “in between churches” for one reason or another.

THURSDAY:

The adventure began on Thursday July 25th when the bulk of the attendees( including myself) flew in from various locations to either Denver or into Colorado Springs. Many of us favored Denver because it was a nonstop flight, considerably less cost, and ironically a time saver since many of us would have had several hour layovers before catching the connecting flight into Colorado Springs.

The jaw dropping beauty of the place began shortly after departing Denver International Airport, courtesy of a ride given to me by two friends of the ministry, which was awfully generous of them to set up for those of flying in and out of Denver. The adventure and fellowship began right there when Bill and Claudia Koenig joined us for the ride home. We were all exhausted from traveling but that just didn’t seem to matter. That’s going to be one of several reoccurring themes in this piece.

Colorado Springs’ beauty lives up to the hype and then some. I can now understand why it’s referred to as the “Switzerland of the USA.” I am used to being in flat areas of the country like Florida and Ohio so this was a real eye opener for me. I hadn’t seen anything like it since visiting Switzerland briefly back in the summer of 1991. The hour plus long drive from Denver to Colorado Springs flew by in a haze of fellowship and just taking in the gorgeous views.

We arrived at the hotel around 10pm Colorado Springs time exhausted and hungry but I was excited. I charged into that lobby and immediately started looking for anyone familiar. Not seeing anyone immediately, I checked in and started making my way towards the elevator. That’s when my first sightings took place and the charged up sense of excitement I would feel for the rest of the conference kicked into full gear. There was Bob Ulrich, the COO of/ Prophecy in the News, with his back turned to me on a cellphone, putting out several dozen fires but I recognized him instantly. I walked up to him from behind and made myself known without interrupting him in the middle of his business and gestured that I would be eating food in the nearby restaurant. He signaled he would catch up with me. I looked down the long hallway where the tables were set up for the speakers and saw Doug Hamp off at a distance and saw several other people. It was starting to sink in: I was really there and really doing this!

I sat down to dinner and began to eagerly dive in, not having had a real meal for about eight hours. Suddenly I look up and in walks Bob Ulrich, Gary Stearman, and Dan Wright (who is in charge of all the wonderful graphics for the ministry). To say I was starstruck was an understatement. This was a special moment. Hugs and handshakes were exchanged. When I got to dear Gary, I was finally able to share with him gratitude from my family, both for the Prophecy in the News ministry, and for his role in it. The ministry had been a critical lifeline to us during a rather tough trial in the year of 2011 and we credit them for helping us get fully back on track in our walks with the Lord. That entire year had been a very dark trial.

After this we all sat down for a bit and talked about a number of different things while I finished my meal. It was a casual and “get to know you” kind of conversation. If I had come home right after this, it would have been worth it and I stated as much. Bob just smiled and said, “This hasn’t even started yet.” He wasn’t kidding!

FRIDAY:

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The next day was Friday, the first day of the conference. I never bothered to try and adjust my body to the new time zone coming from Eastern and that worked in my favor. 6 am in Colorado was 8 am in Ohio where I came from so it worked out perfectly. I jumped out of bed excited, whipped open the curtains, and there’s this drop dead gorgeous view of Pike’s Peak staring back at me. Let me state upfront that I’m not a morning person so we are already into highly unusual territory for me right off the bat. I had gotten about six hours of sleep if even that and I was perfectly fine. That’s how much excitement and adrenaline was already in play. The view was gorgeous enough that I could appreciate it even without any coffee in me!

After breakfast and morning preparations, I made my way to the conference area where a huge line was waiting for registration confirmations and clearance. For the sake of security, conference attendees that were confirmed were required to wear a nifty little colored bracelet with the words “Keep looking up!” all too appropriately written on them. I’m keeping this bracelet as a memento but I digress.

By and large people were patient and eager and the PITN staff had already been busting their tails for over a day to get things prepared so they were already in marathon mode and well up to the task. This would be one of many times throughout the course of the conference where I simply marveled at just how well planned, well orchestrated, and well executed things were.

Doc Group

Brian Vanderkley and his wife Audrey, myself, and Doc Marquis. Photo Credit:  The Vanderkleys

The first person I ran into that I knew through correspondence and via their ministry was Doc Marquis. Doc and I had corresponded every so often about a few things and it came to be that I had volunteered to help him out at his table when I could, so he and I exchanged hugs and I was good naturedly chastised for “being late” and he and I went to his table to finish setting things up. He showed me the ropes and I was ready to go.

The “registration” process wasn’t supposed to start until 9 am technically. That basically got thrown out the window since everyone was already there. People were already starting to come up to tables and most of the speakers were starting to show up. The first presentation was going to be Cris Putnam and he wasn’t due up until noon so we all had time to get our bearings, get to know each other, and get into the groove. I was glad that I was able to contribute a little help behind the scenes. By helping Doc handle things at the table, it freed him up to minister and take his time with certain people throughout the course of the conference. It worked out fairly well. I came and went and I’d check in with Doc as often as I could to see if he needed anything. I hope I helped out enough Doc!

It was surreal and amazing to say the least to look around this sea of Christians and see people like LA Marzulli, Russ Dizdar, Tom Horn, Gary Stearman, Chuck Missler, Ken Johnson, Doc Marquis, and several others in the mix. It was wonderful that many of them could come with their wives and other family members. That was special.

LA Marzulli. Photo Credit: The Putnams

LA Marzulli. Photo Credit: The Putnams

First contact was made with the Marzullis, who had a great table spot right at the corner of where the two main hallways intersected and closest to the main access way in and out of the conference area to the rest of the hotel. I came up alongside Peggy Marzulli and said “I made it!” and she knew right away who I was thanks to correspondences on Facebook and we hugged and chit chatted for a couple of minutes. Then L.A. himself came into the room while I moved around to make way and he recognized me as well thanks to a Skype meet and greet we had done back in December of 2012. Hugs were exchanged and it was a great moment for me because L.A.’s ministry has meant a lot to my family and me. Both he and his wife have been just wonderful.

After this, somehow I stumbled into Bob Ulrich in the crowd and before I knew it he introduced me to no less than Tom Horn himself. There was another quick hug and thanks from me because his ministry and work that he has done has meant a lot to our family. He’s done a lot of work and uncovered a lot of things and talked about a number of issues that frankly no one else has or had until he got there first.

Doug Woodward. Photo credit: The Putnams

Doug Woodward. Photo credit: The Putnams

I also got to meet Doug Woodward and his two co-authors Doug Krieger and Dene McGriff. What a fun table this one was! This table became a frequent stop for me during the course of the conference. Doug Woodward is a special guy and downright inspirational. He came through some rough cancer in his youth that cost him his left leg but that never stopped him or slowed him down. The Lord set him along a path of ministry and it’s amazing what he does and how he gets along and what a wonderful attitude he has. He’s a fantastic writer, researcher, and lecturer. Doug researches so many different and fascinating topics that it would be all too easy to get caught in a several hour conversation with him. Doug is the kind of person that I have a difficult time imagining anyone not liking and getting along with. So thus began the daily routine of whirlwind activity that included seeing presentations, participating in impromptu prayer sessions out in the hallways, meet and greets with virtually all the speakers who were extremely gracious with their time, sneaking in a meal, helping at certain table, and rinse and repeat.

Hawaian Chuck

Chuck Missler. Credit:  The Putnams

The next person I met in the hallway was Dr. Chuck Missler. Here I was with a moment to actually have a brief conversation with someone that many of us had grown up with, studied with through his ministry, and cut our teeth with so to speak. I admit to being starstruck for a few seconds but I was able to thank him for his years in ministry and how my family and I appreciated everything he had done in service to the Lord. I mentioned that we had been praying for his wife for the ghastly problems she’s gone through in the past year or so with cancer in her sinus area. http://www.kingshighway.org/nancy-missler-updates/

Dr. Missler and I actually had a meaningful moment where we both matched notes on how frustrating it is to have a loved one suffering and you wish there was something you could do about it but you cannot. I thanked him for coming to the conference despite that kind of heavy burden on his heart and that’s where we exchanged hugs and went our separate ways in the crowd. I didn’t want to monopolize his time certainly and I took great pains to constantly be aware of that during the course of the conference.

Bill Salus

Bill Salus.  Credit: The Putnams

That first evening there was a special dinner presentation with Bill Salus as the featured speaker. I had been fortunate enough to run into him and his lovely wife in the hallway a few times and that was exciting. I’m a huge fan of Bill’s work and he’s been a huge blessing to us. I really think he’s uncovered a missing link of sorts with his research into Psalm 83 and other passages throughout the Old Testament that line up with Psalm 83. The dinner situation began with me walking in one of the side doors and seeing Bill Salus already on stage getting ready to speak. Bob Ulrich himself was handling the special tickets conference goes had to pay a little extra for to have access to this event. I sat down at the nearest table to the side entrance I had just come through. The next thing I know Dr. Stan Monteith and his wife Barbara, Gary and his wife Doris Stearman, LA and Peggy Marzulli, and finally Cris and Shelley Putnam all sit down at this same table with me. Once again I had a few moments of surreal reflection where I just sat there like: This is really happening.

Group Dinner Photo.  Credit: The Putnams

Group Dinner Photo. Credit: The Putnams

There wasn’t a lot of opportunity at this table to really get into any serious conversations since, of course, Bill was speaking at the podium and it was dinnertime but we had fun at that table. Cris Putnam sat next to me on my left and this was another person that I’ve had a number of friendly correspondences with once again thanks to the internet. Cris has done some amazing research and the two books he has co-written with Tom Horn are absolute must-reads. I was used to seeing Cris on TV or hearing him on the radio being very serious talking about serious subject matters so it was fun to watch him laughing and having a great time. That’s true for everyone that was at this conference. Everyone was having a great time in fellowship and in the Spirit. It was a wonderful experience.

SATURDAY:

The following morning, Saturday, began a special morning routine that I would enjoy through departure on Monday: Breakfast with the Gilberts. Yet again, this is a situation in and of itself that made the entire trip worthwhile.

Sharon and Derek Gilbert of PID Radio are wonderful folks in ministry that I’ve kept tabs with for quite a while so this was another special moment for me. They’re both fantastic writers, researchers, lecturers, radio personalities, and other various talents. Together I don’t think there’s anything this special couple hasn’t gotten into and covered at some point. We can’t forget their dog Sam T. Dachsund, of course, who had to stay home but always merits a mention. Sam is the secret power behind it all! The way this morning routine was established went like this: I had finished breakfast that Saturday morning and watched them walk in and sit down at another table. I figured I’d greet them quickly on my way out and not intrude on their privacy. So I came up and introduced myself and they knew who I was again thanks to correspondences, Facebook, and so forth.

Warm greetings were exchanged and the next thing I knew I was invited to pull up a chair and join them. From that point forward, breakfast time was a sweet, special time of fellowship. I consider the Gilberts dear friends coming off of this trip.

Paul McGuire.  Photo Credit:  The Putnams

Paul McGuire. Photo Credit: The Putnams

Right off the bat I have to give special mention to Paul McGuire. A lot of people including me were familiar with Paul’s writings and work but had never seen him in action before like this. Simply put: He blew the roof off the place in all the right ways with an important message about Satan’s tactics and how the church needs to be ready as the Luciferian globalist plan nears its endgame. Paul is my dark horse winner of the conference and from what I gather the consensus agrees with me.

Chuck Missler.  Photo Credit: The Putnams

Chuck Missler. Photo Credit: The Putnams

Here’s a sampling of small, special moments that can happen during the course of one of these conferences. LA Marzulli and I were both in the packed main room for Chuck Missler’s presentation on Saturday night. We were both near the rear of the room. As Dr. Missler started talking, I had what could only be described as fanboy moment. Here I was in a room and there’s Dr. Missler LIVE and in person doing what he does best. I’ve kept tabs with Dr. Missler for years as I know many others there had including L.A. This was a special moment and very likely a once in a life time opportunity for a lot of us. I looked back over at LA and made eye contact with him and did this silent “Wow, it’s Chuck Missler!” with a big grin on my face and he returned a very similar grin and enthusiastically responded with “I know!”

Another special moment of sorts later that night included an impromptu mini prayer session with LA, a mutual friend from his blog named Ally, and I. We prayed over the blog, the people who participate on the blog, and one person in particular who has recently had his wife pass away and has been under heavy spiritual attack. This kind of ministering was typical of what was going on at any given time during this conference.

I couldn’t get over how the speakers never rushed people away at their tables when they weren’t giving presentations. I had a number of conversations with many of the speakers during the course of the conference and I took great care to not monopolize their time but they never rushed me along, either.

Ken

Ken Johnson. Photo credit: The Vanderkleys

Dr. Ken Johnson and his lovely wife Donita were folks that I had the good fortune of running into frequently during the course of the conference. I almost joked with Dr. Ken at one point about being his shadow and stalking him but thought better of it. If you’ve never availed yourself of Dr. Ken’s books you need to make that happen as soon as you can. Dr. Ken has a gift for making things easy to follow and easy to understand and he covers a wide variety of topics across the Biblical spectrum. They both were very generous with their time and Dr. Ken took the time to walk me through a couple of questions I’d had coming off his latest book, Fallen Angels. Dr. Ken makes it look easy when it isn’t. He knows how to do this great research and unearth a lot of things most people don’t know and then make it easy to follow and enjoyable.

I have to mention Doug Woodward once again here for another neat little anecdote. We had several conversations throughout the course of the conference and he doesn’t know it, but he made a remark to me towards the end that got my attention and that I’m praying about. The Lord may have been trying to tell me something and may have used Doug to do it. There was a certain controversial situation that had occurred and I had told him about it and he made the comment “I wonder if you have a spiritual gift there” or something to that effect to me after I’d described the situation and what I’d done.

I’m not sure exactly what spiritual gift would be in play there…discernment perhaps?…but whatever he meant (there) got my attention and I’ve been praying about it ever since.

Doug’s two co-authors on The Final Babylon book were sharing the table with him and were just great to chat it up with. Doug Krieger is a ball of energy that will outlast just about anyone and take seconds. Dene McGriff was content to be a little more laid back but was equally gracious and enthusiastic with everyone. “Woody” was right between these two guys most of the time and you could( just) tell he was completely in his element. Their book and subject matter are certainly controversial but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. They certainly took great care to answer any questions people had about it.

Dave Brennan is the kind of person that you meet and you’re buddies inside of five minutes. I hadn’t heard much from him lately before coming to the conference and that was my fault. Lo and behold I saw two new books from him on the table and asked him what he’d been up to. We would run into each other constantly and match notes on elevation illness issues of which we both had some annoying symptoms and just kind of “check in” with each other. Dave does some great work and brings some fresh ideas to the table. I definitely agree with him on the idea that an Israel-Iran conflict could kick off “everything else” down the road from Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38, etc. etc. I think he’s got something there. You can see the trappings for it in the news right now as I write this.

Russ Dizdar.  Photo Credit: The Putnams

Russ Dizdar. Photo Credit: The Putnams

The Dizdars. Where do I start with these two special folks whose ministry has had a huge impact on me personally and my family? Pastor Russ is one of our pastors-at-a-distance for sure and a staple at my house. I’ve learned so much through him that when I saw them in person I got choked up. Russ Dizdar runs a very specialized and challenging ministry. He knew who I was on sight and that was a great moment with a big hug that’s been coming both ways. It didn’t take long before I started teasing him about his coffee intake and that would be an occasional rib through the rest of the conference. “You drank a coffee and an espresso at the same time?!”

His wife Shelly is a sweetheart. She had a great time and it was fun chatting with her while she kept watch over the table. Shelly has done a lot of important work in the pro-life circles and I’ve never met someone that knows the ins and outs of that scene better than she does. If you have any conviction whatsoever in wanting to get involved on a more proactive basis in regards to anything pro-life at all, Shelly Dizdar is who you want to go to. Incidentally, she also saved me Saturday night on(at?) dinner. There was a huge line going into the hotel restaurant and it was painfully obvious that there was no way that getting dinner and getting back into the conference on time was going to be a realistic expectation. Mrs. Dizdar slipped me the tip of going along the other side and doing take out from the bar side. Voila! That was a half hour saved right there! The tip worked, Mrs. Dizdar! :)

Cris Putnam.  Photo Credit: The Putnams

Cris Putnam. Photo Credit: The Putnams

This story would be incomplete without mentioning Cris Putnam. Cris was the lucky person that got to give the first presentation on Friday to kick off the conference at noon. The word lucky is written tongue in cheek because Cris’s plan to knock his presentation out of the way early so he could relax and enjoy the rest of the conference backfired briefly. When you’re the first person that goes up you run the risk of being the person that ends up being the final beta tester for any potential technical difficulties that were not uncovered and this is what happened to Cris. It was a brief five minute delay and after that we were off to the races. Cris gave an outstanding presentation and it was an ideal way to kick off the conference on Friday.

Fast forward back to Saturday and the Cris Putnam anecdote I’m going to share. We had a group of hecklers (from a certain blog that I shall not name) book themselves on the eighth floor of the hotel. Their mission was to disrupt and heckle people at this conference and confront people they deemed heretic, which was just about everyone. I even ran afoul of them myself in the hotel lobby and had tipped off several people about the problem. That night several of us are were chatting in the hallway and up comes Cris Putnam laughing and he starts telling us how he went up to the eighth floor and took all these people all on. Now if you know Cris at all, this is absolutely vintage. Cris is a big fan of “iron sharpens iron”….aw heck, who am I kidding? Cris enjoys debates and arguing and he had a great time going right into the center of the hornet’s nest and kicking it. That’s vintage Cris Putnam. Thankfully the hecklers were removed from the hotel the following day. Satan tried to take several shots at this conference while it was in progress and I’m happy to report he failed. I also have to mention Cris’s lovely wife Shelley. Shelley is the main source of the wonderful photos I was given to procure for this piece. They far and away eclipsed any photos my humble camera had taken. The Putnams took a slew of photos during their week in Colorado Springs and as far as I’m concerned many of those photos are worthy of being published.

SUNDAY:

This final day of the conference was a sprint to the finish line and a mix of farewells to some of the folks who would be leaving very early the next morning and I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to say farewell then.

Barrie Schwortz.  Photo Credit: The Putnams

Barrie Schwortz. Photo Credit: The Putnams

This presentation may have been the highlight of the entire conference for me for reasons both on and off camera. It’s difficult to make that call because there were so many special moments throughout this conference but this one has to be near the top. For many people, the Shroud of Turin is a controversial subject to say the least, with any number of speculative conclusions to go around. Barrie Schwortz and two of his colleagues were invited as guests to present on all the known facts about the Shroud up to this point. They did a wonderful job answering many questions and addressing a number of the skeptics’ points and questions. They presented in the main auditorium and also had a table on the floor like the rest of the speakers did during the course of the conference.

I had several chats with Barrie over the weekend but one in particular had taken place the day before, on Saturday, that has stuck with me ever since. His conversation with me had a number of personal elements that he ended up bringing out into the open on Sunday. Barrie took at least ten minutes of his time with me and was happy to answer several questions that I had posed about the shroud. After that we ended up talking about several other subjects and my esteem for Barrie went up through the roof very quickly. We had a great time. Everyone that was there will agree with me that Barrie and his colleagues were extremely generous and gracious with their time and were happy to talk to anyone. This became evident again even during his main presentation which was filmed for video. I am not sure as of this writing if the generous hour long bonus Q&A session that we had with Barrie following his presentation will make it to video or not. I sincerely hope it does because several of us were able to ask some questions that brought up some important details about the Shroud that simply didn’t make it into the main hour long presentation. That is simply the nature of this animal. When you have people trying to squeeze several hours worth of material into one, certain details will get lost.

Privately and out in the open Barrie definitely won the crowd over. Barrie is clearly a sincere truth seeker and many of us believe he’s very close to it. There is at least one person I spoke to in ministry, who is friends with Barrie, that went so far to say he suspects Barrie might even be a Nicodemus. Whatever the case may be, please pray for him. In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus Himself said: “7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” This is Barrie.

Barrie himself graciously thanked everyone for the warmth, love, and graciousness he and his colleagues had experienced at the conference. This was an encouraging confirmation for all of us that the conference was on the right track and the Holy Spirit was having His way. Barrie impressed all of us repeatedly with his candid honesty and humility. He admitted that his years of researching the Shroud had forced him to really reflect on exactly what he believed and he admitted it was still a work in progress. He even went so far as to relate how several people at the conference had asked him if he were a Messianic Jew or not. He told them honestly he was not and related how some of the people became concerned on his behalf and became teary eyed and concerned for him. Then Barrie said something to all of us in that auditorium that brought some tears and a standing ovation. To paraphrase, he told everyone that he wasn’t Messianic but not to be upset because “I’m not dead yet.” I’m choking up and having chills now just writing that and remembering it. I’m praying for you, Barrie, and I’m thrilled that I got to meet you and can’t thank you enough for your gracious time and efforts. Keep asking, seeking, and knocking! I hope we get to meet again. I know I’m speaking for a lot of people who attended this conference. You are always welcome.

As if this weren’t enough, after Barrie’s presentation and dinner, there was another very special event that took place Sunday evening. The day before some of us had traded out our lunch tickets that we had paid a little extra for as a favor to the PITN staff, since they had accidentally overbooked that lunch. As compensation to 25 of us that did this, they scheduled a Q&A with L.A. Marzulli, Gary Stearman, and us in one of the breakout rooms.

This was an extremely generous gesture by all of them and it was a good 30-45 minutes of what essentially became a loose church service of sorts and a meeting of the minds. It was not video recorded for the conference DVDs, either. The entire group was of one mind and one Spirit as we matched notes on a number of issues. A leading issue and theme that the group brought up was how grateful we were to ministries like Prophecy in the News for standing on God’s Word and not being afraid to shine the light where angels fear to tread, even if it means recriminations. Another commonality that we all expressed was the lack of fellowship issue which we all agree was a symptom of end time apostasy and the “rushing to and fro” society as whole. We talked about several sensitive topics that I am going to keep in confidence. This was a very special impromptu meeting. This is also another example of how generous, flexible, and tireless everyone was. By all rights, they didn’t have to do this for us and yet they did. This was a private and off the record meeting of sorts that ended in both L.A and Gary praying over the entire group. I couldn’t imagine a better end to the conference than this, as far as actual events go. After this some of us caught David Olander’s  Greatness of the Rapture message and the rest like me were content to loiter in the hallway, fellowship, and start helping people disassemble and pack for the trip home the next day. The evening ended later than it should when I went out with Bob Ulrich and his family to a late dinner but why not? You don’t say no when you go on trips like these.

MONDAY:

This day was bittersweet. It was the mix of looking forward to going home and reuniting with the rest of my family, combined with not wanting to part ways and end the fellowship that had occurred over the weekend. I was looking forward to going home in one sense to catch up on some rest but it was difficult to say goodbye to everyone. The beauty of it is: I know I’ll meet them all again either somewhere else down the road and certainly “up there” some day. There really is no such thing as “good bye” amongst Christians when you really think about it and that’s encouraging.

Bob and me.  Photo Credit: Derek Gilbert

Bob and me. Photo Credit: Derek Gilbert

This was the day I finally got to spring my “surprise gift” on Bob Ulrich. Bob is a fan of fast sports cars and especially the Ferrari Testarossa. It’s been a continuing running joke and theme when( he and I) we correspond so I couldn’t resist. I was able to find him a neat Hot Wheels detailed toy of the Testarossa that is display worthy. He loved it. The Gilberts snapped a photo of us together with Bob holding his new toy. It was a fitting farewell of hugs with the Gilberts, the Hoyts, and several others before Bob himself drove me back to Denver International. That ride was another special time of fellowship where testimonies were exchanged and some other stories that will have to saved for another time. Bob is sitting on a treasure trove of some amazing stories.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

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I hope from reading this piece, that you at least take away some encouragement, that there are other venues for fellowship and networking and connecting with other Christians out there should you be in a situation for one reason or another where you feel marginalized, isolated, need a spiritual recharge, or just want to take things to the next level. Conferences like these can help you in all of these areas although they aren’t cure alls but again: You never know what the Lord is going to do and what kinds of doors he’s going to open for you unless you put yourself in the mix.

Prophecy in the News has been such a huge blessing to my family and I. This was personal. I was sent as the family emissary because the other family members were unable to travel for varying reasons. It meant the world to us to have at least one of us go in person to thank all of these special people in person and dole out a little love in the process. It was worth it just for that but there was so much more.

For the increasing number of those of us who are un-churched or “in between churches,” a conference like this can be a real eye opener. Imagine being lost near starvation in the Sahara desert and suddenly you crawl up to a seeming mirage of a gorgeous oasis except it ends up being real! That is a broad analogy of what going to something like this can be for a lot of Christians and that was certainly what I took away from the conference. I found myself almost experiencing a spiritual reverse culture shock of sorts. To go from anemic fellowship levels to something like this was akin to a starving African stumbling in out of the Sahara into the middle of a banquet and being given carte blanche.

If you’re someone who feels like you’re isolated and starving for fellowship, going to one of these conferences can do wonders for you and open some doors. You will have an opportunity to network with any number of like minded Christians and the world will be a smaller place when you leave. Can you even put a dollar value on that in today’s society? I can’t. I talk to Christians that even go to “good churches” that feel this way, let alone the increasing number of us that are “in between churches” as they say.

As great as these conferences can be for their presentations, the real story is what happens off the camera and that’s what I wanted to give you all a glimpse of here in this piece. Believe me, there was a lot more that happened but this would be a thirty page piece if I really tried to document all of it. Personally I can say that I’ve made some new friends, established some new contacts, and forged stronger bonds.

I can’t stress enough: Find a way to go to a conference hosted by your favorite ministry. It’s worth the time, effort, and money to do it. You’re going to experience a level of fellowship I daresay most people aren’t used to experiencing…and isn’t that tragedy?…and you’re going to witness to others and very likely be part of some ministering opportunities as well.

If you are someone who has been on the fence about attending a conference like this for any number of reasons, I was right there with you. I had all the excuses ranging from cost, time, don’t like to fly, don’t like to travel, and something I’ve crafted to art form levels over the years: laziness.

It meant something to me that there were people that really wanted to meet me and have me come. I think that’s what pushed me off the fence. There was a personal element to it from several people in ministry that I’ve kept tabs with for awhile and a certain individual, who knows who he is, that somehow became a very good friend in the last year or so. It got to a point for me where I honestly couldn’t say no in good conscience and every indicator that I could look for said “go.” I’m so glad I did and I can’t urge the rest of you enough out there: If there’s a favorite ministry that you support that runs a conference like this…by hook or by crook…find a way to get there. It’s SO worth it. You never know what the Lord is going to do and how He’s going to do it once you jump in the pool.

Just so you know: I’ve already registered for the next Prophecy in the News conference in late March 2014 in Orlando. Should the Lord tarry some more, at least I have that to look forward to along with whatever else He may bring across my path in meantime.

Since Prophecy in the News is the ministry that’s at the center of this particular piece, there’s only one appropriate way it be concluded:

Gary KLU

Special thanks to the Brian and Audrey Vanderkley, Cris and Shelley Putnam, Derek and Sharon Gilbert, and Prophecy in the News for giving me permission to use their photos for this piece.


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