The 2015 Feast of Tabernacles – Nothing but JOY!

Remnant Fellowship Feast of TabernaclesNOTHING but JOY!!! That is how Gwen Shamblin has described, countless times, what our hearts should be full of during our Lord’s “Feast of Tabernacles” each year…and that certainly was the case in 2015! This particular Celebration honestly felt like the LONGEST one we’ve ever had…in every GOOD way. It truly seemed like the Celebration started with the Day of Atonement on the previous Sabbath. Gwen had just lovingly guided this Church Body through the most refining, beautiful, introspective “Days of Awe” we’ve ever experienced as a Church. When we say that EVERYONE underwent refining and self-examination and CHANGE, we are not exaggerating. Every Leadership family made changes. Every member in Nashville made changes. Every member outside of Nashville made changes. This was a FULL and wonderful house cleaning. GOD is so merciful and amazing to allow us this opportunity, and Gwen was fully tapped into His Spirit’s leading for all of us. As we look back over the life of this Church Body (since its founding in March of 1999), this felt like the biggest “raising of the bar” we’ve ever been through. Knowing what is required to have a chance at eternal life in Heaven…we are BEYOND THANKFUL that the “bar was raised!” Remnant Fellowship Chamber OrchestraThere is a strong gift and conviction and clarity that is displayed powerfully in Gwen’s messages and writings, and it truly is able to be digested and acted upon by ALL ages. So that’s why CHILDREN can sit peacefully and quietly for a two-hour Assembly…and completely understand all of the words being spoken and the praises being sung. That is a miracle in today’s society! Kids in the United States can barely be “babysat” through a public school 30-minute class without trying to overtake their teachers with noise, restlessness, and flat-out disrespect. HERE…in this beautiful place…the children LONG to hear the Truth and can’t WAIT to sing to GOD! That is POWERFUL!

As we consider all of the amazing things that happened during this year’s Feast of Tabernacles, it’s probably helpful to recount what the schedule was like each day. Remnant-Feast-of-Harvest-24And THAT in and of itself is another miracle and answered prayer. This particular Festival is, as Gwen has described so vividly over the years, a time of “Harvest.” It is a time to be OUTDOORS whenever possible. The leaves are changing colors. The temperature drops a few degrees. It’s a time for hayrides, pony rides, play time for the children, picnics and fellowship, bonfires, and sleeping outside in tents. Because we have made it through the 40 days of the “Days of Awe” and GOD has seen fit in His mercy to ALLOW us to get everything RIGHT before Him, we get to “celebrate” a time of harvest and give BACK to Him, even though it is so minor in comparison to what He gives us, and He LOVES to see His people enjoying His beautiful creation. We marvel at the sky, the sunset, the stars, and the amazing colors that we are surrounded by. With all of that said, NOTE that during this time of the year here in Middle Tennessee (the Nashville/Brentwood/Franklin area), the forecast changes quite frequently. You can check your Weather Apps on your phones and tablet devices one hour…in anticipation of what the plans are for the NEXT day…and it may say something like “10 percent chance of a passing Remnant-Feast-of-Harvest-18shower in the afternoon,” and so you think, “Awesome! We can plan for picnics, hayrides, games, and fellowship for everyone to enjoy!” But THEN, by 8:00am the next morning, the forecast can change (as it did MULTIPLE times this year) to say, 60 percent chance of rain and potential thunderstorms all afternoon and into the evening.” As you can see, it takes a Leader and a Body of Saints who are COMPLETELY Spirit-led to pull off the coordination of activities for 1,200-plus people when you DESIRE to be outdoors to celebrate what GOD loves to celebrate during this time of year. SO – how do you do that? PRAYERFULLY…with great SENSITIVITY and CALMNESS and WAITING on GOD to give clear direction through those weather patterns. And that’s what Gwen and this Church Body did! Check out this schedule layout for the four “primary” days of the extended weekend (Thursday through Sunday, September 24th through the 27th)…

  • Thursday-AM-IMG_9592THURSDAY, September 24th – Saints arrived from outside of Nashville all day long! Gwen hosted her 1:30pm Radio Show at the Weigh Down Building in Franklin. The Connection Café was open, and GOD gave everyone a warm, sunny day. And for the evening, Gwen opened up her home for a Celebration of all of our NEW MEMBERS in the Church…plus those who recently had relocated to Nashville. Once again, GOD provided perfect weather for this OUTDOOR event!
  • Thursday-PM-IMGP4770_stitchFRIDAY, September 25th – The rain chances really starting fluctuating by Friday morning. For the daytime hours, the hope was for families to be able to enjoy the Church Grounds…with picnics and lots of activities for children. But the rain chances and the sky itself looked very OMINOUS. Nevertheless, we went forward to being outdoors…and wouldn’t you know it – we had just a few sprinkles of rain and everyone was able to enjoy being outdoors. Remnant-Feast-of-Harvest-12But we were READY at any moment to bring everyone inside if the sky had opened up and exploded with storms. SO…once again…Gwen was watching hour-by-hour for clear leadings from GOD as to what to do. We were READY to make changes without a single second of complaining, and GOD held off the weather! For the evening hours, we had PLANNED for our “Formal (very dressy) Kickoff Assembly” to be INSIDE our Sanctuary, and our BIGGEST rainstorm for the entire weekend happened in perfect timing with our plans. Remnant-Feast-of-Harvest-04Everyone was inside while the rain fell outside! We heard a moving message from Gwen, waved our palm branches in celebrating as we sang praises to GOD together, and a dance party continued late into the evening!
  • SABBATH, September 26th – The PLAN for the MORNING hours was for the Audio, Video, and Lighting Tech Teams to begin setting up for an outdoor praise and worship Concert for the Sabbath evening; HOWEVER, the morning started with STEADY RAIN…with a forecast stating that it would CONTINUE into the evening. Remnant-Feast-of-Harvest-22How do you plan for an “outdoor Concert” with lots of equipment, instruments, and setup time…when you don’t know if there will be any break in the rainy weather? What do you do? Cancel all outdoor activities for the weekend? NO. In fact, Gwen felt led to move the outdoor Concert to SUNDAY evening. Prior to the Sabbath morning when the rain was steadily falling, we had not planned ANY specific activities for Sunday evening. So this provided yet another awesome opportunity to be “Spirit-led.” Instead of FORCING “our schedule” onto GOD and trying to “make things happen” the way we had originally planned for them to happen, we submitted ourselves to Him and followed His leading through what were HIS decisions for that day. Remnant-Feast-of-Harvest-17And what happened as a result? On that Sabbath morning, a previously unplanned “Q&A” session with Gwen took place in the Sanctuary…and it was one of the best, most informative, educational, convicting mornings that any of us have ever had! Gwen had incredible, wise, discerning answers to EVERY question asked…without any prior knowledge as to what those questions would be! As she said that morning (paraphrasing what she shared) – Sometimes GOD moves the rainy weather our way so that we will huddle up indoors and DIG even FURTHER into His Word. And THAT is what happened! NO ONE regretted a single second of how GOD arranged things for that morning. And since the Grounds weren’t yet ready for an evening picnic outdoors, we still gathered at 6:00pm for an awesome time of INDOOR fellowship and a great meal together. Saturday-PM-IMG_4007LATER that evening, 65 tents were set up on the Grounds so that several families (as the Lord led them) could “sleep under the stars” as GOD’S people did thousands of years ago at this same time of the year. The rain stopped and the “campout” was a huge blessing and success to all who were involved!
  • Sunday-AM-IMG_8234SUNDAY, September 27th – Our morning plans involved us being inside the Sanctuary for what ORIGINALLY was going to be our “closing Assembly” for the weekend, and Gwen delivered yet another powerful message and painted an awesome picture of what a True Remnant family is supposed to look like. It was incredible! NOW – you’ll remember earlier that we MOVED our outdoor Concert to Sunday evening because there was no way to do it on Friday or the Sabbath evening. GOD sent rain that shifted our plans. And what did HE do for an encore? How did GOD handle us shifting the concert to Sunday evening? Check out our Weigh Down Ministries Facebook Group Page and try to COMPREHEND the utter and sheer BEAUTY and MAJESTY of the “light show” that HE put on display for that Concert. We didn’t need expensive flashing lights. Remnant-Feast-of-Harvest-26We didn’t need to “create” any kind of atmosphere for worshipping and praising Him in song. The Tech Teams set up the stage and sound equipment…and we WORSHIPPED GOD to one of the most breathtaking sunsets any of us have ever seen. It truly was HEAVENLY.

You see – as Gwen has stressed so many times, it doesn’t take a well-oiled, perfectly executed manmade “plan” to experience “nothing but joy.” We have learned HERE that it takes a heart, mind, and soul SURRENDERED to GOD. And then HE paints the skies, gives us Truth, lifts our hearts and voices, and lays everything out SO perfectly…that you literally are left reflecting upon the weekend you just experienced and thinking…that HAD to be GOD! Yes, it was “nothing but joy,” but more than that, it was a Celebration of the wonder, majesty, and awe of GOD Almighty! Praise Him today and every day for His perfect plans. May we ever and always be SURRENDERED to them…with great gladness and gratitude inside and out. He deserves it!


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