Servants' News

Jan/Feb 2002

Feast 2002 in Hastings, Michigan:
Preparation for Righteous Rulership

by Norman Edwards

The Feast of Tabernacles is a vital time to learn important lessons about the way God deals with man. The Scriptures give a lot of important points to the meaning of this Feast that we should keep in mind:

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always (Deut 14:22–23).

Notice that the stated purposes of the Feast of Tabernacles are to “eat before the Lord your God” and to “learn to fear the Lord your God always”. We will see a lot more about that in scriptures that will follow. But we might ask the question, “When does one learn to trust God more, when one has little and needs God or when one has lots of money to spend?” The Bible mentions the term “tithe” (10%) many times, giving several different uses for it—but never mentions the terms “first tithe, second tithe or third tithe”. It is the understanding of this writer that the Israelites were not commanded to consume an entire 10% of their increase of animals and crops during the Feast days—as they would have to gorge themselves—but that they were to use their tithe for a variety of purposes. They certainly were to plan to have enough to enjoy the feast and to take care of any others who might not be so fortunate.

“But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household” (Deut 14:24–46).

Notice that the only reason to turn an agricultural tithe into money was when the place was “too far from you”. When they arrived at the Feast, they were to turn their money back into food. Hopefully, there would be enough people at the Feast with extra food, who would be willing to sell the food to them. Those coming to the Feast with money should be an exception case, not the majority.

The Bible mentions many different trades: clothiers, blacksmiths, builders, innkeepers, etc. What should they do if the way is not “too far from” them? Should they take their money to the Feast and buy food there? Or should they take their money and buy food in advance and take the food to the Feast? While the Bible does not spell this out in detail, the reason it gives for taking money to the Feast is if the journey is too long or the way is too far. If everyone is to keep the Feast, including shopkeepers and the poor, it seems unlikely that there would be merchants working to serve huge numbers of people coming to the Feast with money and no food.

But lest anyone becomes too worried, the purpose of this article was not to convince you that the only way to keep the Feast of Tabernacles is to pack a trailer full of live animals, grains and vegetables, and drive off to the Feast prepared to butcher, bake and boil. Nor is the message that one must pack 24 sack lunches and suffer through it. The point is that the feasting, both physical and spiritual is the central focus of the Feast. Spending a lot of money and having others serve you is not a lesson or command about the Feast.

Deuteronomy 14 continues on with instruction on how to help others with the tithe:

You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts” (Deut 14:27–15:1).

It is not clear to this writer whether this is talking about observing the Feast of tabernacles “within your gates” in the “third year” or if it is talking about storing up food that the poor can eat when they are in need. Since the very next chapter is about releasing the debts of the poor in the seventh year, is the “third year” tithe a benefit to those who are in debt and still four years away from being released from those debts? On the other hand, there is some logic to observe the Feast locally for those who could not otherwise travel. The expression “within your gates” refers to the gates of a city. The following verses show the need to help the poor of our own localities, but indicate that they are go to the “place which the Lord chooses.”

“And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice” (Deut 16:12–15).

The only place that God mentions choosing for the Feast in the Bible is “Jerusalem” and “Shiloh”. Yet there is nothing in the Scriptures to indicate that He will not choose, by His Spirit, other places today—which could be either regional or local sites. The above verses again emphasizes the need for everyone to rejoice at the Feast. There is to be no “servant class” or “working class” of people who must “slave away” during the Feast so that others may enjoy it. God shows that they were all slaves in Egypt once, and that they are to come out of that. The use of “tabernacles” (“tents”, “huts”, “sheds”) at the feast is to remind us of God protecting the children of Israel in the desert after they left Egypt.

Purpose of the Feast: God’s Protection After Leaving Egypt

“You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Lev 23:41–43).

The above scriptures shows that the purpose of the Feast that is to be taught throughout generations is how God made Israel dwell in shelters—how He sheltered them—when coming out of Egypt. Nearly every Christian has heard the story of the “rebellious Israelites”, how they failed to obey God and how they were made to wander for 40 years and only their children were allowed to go into the “promised land”. God Himself denounced them for their lack of faith and obedience:

Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw My glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed Me and tested Me ten times—not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated Me with contempt will ever see it. But because My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows Me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it (Num 14:21–24).

Other verses show that Joshua (son of Nun) was also faithful and was allowed to go into the promised land. Most Christians generally assume that through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, they have the faith that the Israelites lacked back in the wilderness. We somehow know that if we were there, we would trust God and not do what those Israelites did. So let us think about observing the Feast of Tabernacles, and review those ten instances when Israel disappointed God and see how we would do. The scriptures will be summarized rather than quoted, but you are encouraged to read the whole thing.

As you read these points, please realize that there is a difference between faith and foolishness. For example, a person who disobeys a human law to obey a clear law of God might expect God to deliver him or to be with him while he pays the penalty. But a person who breaks a law simply for his own convenience and then boasts that “God will protect me” may find that God does not. Also, a person who lives by an obscure doctrine which he has read into the Bible may find that God does not protect him from the consequences of his own doing.

For the ancient Israelites, God and Moses were there telling them exactly what to do and God’s will was not in question. But today, if someone shows you by putting 69 obscure scriptures together that Christ is coming in two months and that you need to sell all of your possessions and give it to their work so they can announce His coming, you may wisely choose to wait and see. Having faith in God’s Word, and having faith in a man’s compilation of 69 obscure scriptures are two very different things.

Ten Trials in the Wilderness

1. Threat of attacking military force (Ex 14:5–12). After the Israelites left Egypt, the Pharaoh changed his mind and sent 600 chariots after the Israelites. We might think of this as the superior military force of that time, and then think of military forces today.

If we believed that God wanted us to go to the Feast, but we had to pass a hostile military force with machine guns and tanks, would we go the Feast anyway, or would we stay home in fear? Does even the relatively low chance of plane hijackings or danger on our freeways keep some of us away from the Feast?

2. Going without a water source for three days (Ex 15:22–25). The Israelites had no fresh water for three days so the people complained. As in most crowds, some people probably were carrying enough water, and others probably had been out for a couple days and were getting very uncomfortably thirsty. Some probably shared their water with those in greatest need (pregnant and nursing moms), others may have fought over the remaining water. But rather than trust God, ask God or ask Moses for water, they complained.

It does not make sense to plan a Feast site today with no water. But if the water at a Feast site was cut off for some reason for a few days, would we complain about an awful Feast, or would we trust God to take care of us as needed?

3. Having a lack of food (Ex 16:1–4). After being out of Egypt for one month the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron and wished they could go back to Egypt where they had food regularly. The Bible does not record any instance of anyone dying of hunger or thirst, but the people complained.

Does anyone ever skip going to the Feast because he or she thinks we will not have enough to eat there? And if they do go in faith, are they content with how God might take care of them—maybe sharing a tent and a bowl of cooked grains every morning?

4. Disobeying clear instructions from God (Ex 16:19–20). God told the Israelites not to try to keep manna overnight on the first five days. Nevertheless, some of them did and it stank. Are there clear instructions about the Feast that God has given that we could follow but do not?

5. Not learning from a previous disobedience (Ex 16:22–28). The Israelites were told to gather twice as much manna on the sixth day and keep it till the seventh. Even after the previous failure from disobeying God, some of them went out to gather it on the seventh day, anyway. This is like the child who knows not to throw rocks at his siblings, has to be chastised for throwing rocks at his brother, and then has to be chastised again the next day for throwing rocks at his sister.

Do we ever fail to follow God’s instructions, reap the consequences of it, then do a very similar thing right afterward?

6. Complaining about the same problem, even worse than before (Ex 17:1–13). There was no water at the camp, so the people complained even more strongly against Moses than they did before (see item 2). They again demanded to go back to Egypt and even questioned if God was among them at all. Have you ever had a difficulty at the Feast (not caused by your own sin), but God delivered you out of it, and then you said, “I’ll never let that happen again!”

We need to realize that sometimes, even though we pass a test one time, God tests us in the same way again, and we must trust in God again.

7. Looking to a human leader rather than God (Ex 32). When Moses was gone up to Mt. Sinai for a long time, some of the people began to think he was dead and wanted Aaron to make a golden calf. They apparently attributed all of God’s works to Moses and when Moses was gone, they were willing to forget about God and asked Aaron to lead them back to the religion and land of Egypt.

Have we ever greatly changed our religious practices because a religious leader died or because we left his group? Did we make our changes based upon our understanding of the Scriptures, or did we simply do whatever seemed easiest to us?

8. Complaining about other stuff (Num 11:1–3). The Bible does not say what the people complained about when they were encamped at Taberah, but God caused a fire to come and kill some of them. The previous chapter is about frequent moving and setting up camp, so maybe it was the moving—maybe it was even their housing that they complained about.

This writer has heard many stories of people who survived great disasters traveling to or at the Feast—including floods, tornadoes, robberies, collisions, etc. Some have thanked God for deliverance and are ready to go again, others are angry at God and fearful it might happen again.

9. Complaining about the menu (Num 11:4–34). While they were encamped at Kibroth Hattaavah, some of the people complained about always eating manna—remembering the variety of food that they had in Egypt. Moses became so upset with them that he asked God to kill him rather than have to continue to work with them.

“So the Lord said to Moses: ‘Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone’” (Num 11:16–17).

While these 70 leaders helped Moses rule, it should be important to note that God has never again worked powerfully through a man like Moses, the only exception being Jesus. When we go to the Feast, what do we hear more about, what God is doing there, or complaints about the food?

10. Rejecting the way God has made as too difficult. (Num 13:25–14:20). When the twelve spies returned with their report on the land of Canaan, which Israel was preparing to enter, only two out of 10 (Joshua and Caleb) had confidence that God was able to help them defeat the superior military forces of that land and give it to them. The people grumbled and wanted to go back to Egypt again. God was so angry at the people that He considered wiping them out and making a new nation from Moses, but Moses persuaded Him to change His mind.

We Need to Come Out of Our Own Egypt

If we keep reading past the end of point 10, above (Num 13:25–14:20), we come right back to Numbers 14:21–23, which is what launched us on the study of the ten times that Israel disappointed and disobeyed God. It was just so easy for them to see the human, physical reality of Egypt, rather than the reality of God—even though they received miracles and blessings at His hand.

I would have to be honest and say that this has affected me. Even though God has supplied every significant need at the Feasts we have sponsored, I have still seriously considered not sponsoring a Feast some years. Let me acknowledge some of what God has done:

• My first year working independently, 1995, I had neither money to go to the Feast, nor confidence to organize one. An independent site in Florida was cancelled a couple of days before due to a hurricane, so I offered the use of our services building in Springdale, Arkansas—about half of the people came. God put me into Feast planning before I had time to think about it.

• God caused someone to give me some sound equipment that I did not know I needed until later—but have used it extensively.

• Every year, someone has come to the Feast who was able to run the sound system.

• During the last two years, God sent people to help purchase and prepare the Feast meals.

• In the year 2000, Danny Smith told me he was coming to the Feast site more than two days early. I told him that I would not be able to be there that early and wondered what he would do. As it turned out, Danny was busy doing important things the whole time.

• I have always had enough money to make the needed deposits and cover the needed expenses at the Feast. One year I paid for two families’ motel rooms so they could come and did not receive enough money to cover it. But a man who did not even come to that Feast found out about it and paid for it.

• God has also sent speakers, children’s teachers, musicians and others needed to make a better Feast of Tabernacles.

These and other points that show that God has taken care of our needs at the Feast do not mean that we should not plan or that we can plan carelessly. But they do show that if we try to serve God and do the best that we can, that He will take care of us. We do not have to be ashamed that we live by the grace of God, rather than by man’s brilliance, man’s strength and man’s money.

It is important that all of us think about the degree to which we live “in Egypt”. Egypt provided the Israelites with homes and a stable supply of food. However, they were not free to worship God as they wanted. The wealth produced by their hard work went to advance the cause of Egyptian religion and government. The people had little control over their own destiny or that of their children.

Today, in most western nations, everyone has a place to live and something to eat. However, most people are not free to openly worship God or use biblical principles in their work, in their schools or in government. Over 50% of the wealth produced is consumed by the secular state to further its secular-humanist agenda. People’s concept of “right and wrong” tends to be formed by what the state does or does not punish—not what God says. False ideas enter children’s minds through schools and mass-media, whether parents want it to or not. Some Christian parents are afraid to physically punish their children as the Bible instructs, lest the state take them away.

While most people reading this article probably have more freedoms than the Israelites did in Egypt, slavery-like conditions are encroaching upon us. Human-promised physical security just seems to reach out and tempt us, and say “it is smarter to trust me than it is to trust God”. Certainly, the “sins of Egypt” are all around us.

Feast of Tabernacles observance should be an oasis in this “wilderness of sin”. It should be a shining light of what God’s people can do using His principles to enjoy feasting together, praising Him, talking together, entertaining each other, and looking out for the needs of everyone there. In summary, it should be an example of righteous, enjoyable life among the people of God.

Prepare for the Promised Land

Since the purpose of the Feast of Tabernacles was to remind us of how the Israelites lived in “tabernacles” after they left Egypt (Ex 23:42), we must realize that God was hoping to train the Israelites for an important purpose—just as He is hoping to train us for an important purpose when we keep the Feast, now.

We previously quoted God’s instruction on keeping the Feast from Deuteronomy 16:12–15. Additional Feast instruction follows:

“Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you” (Deut 16:16–17).

God wants people to learn to thank Him for their blessings, and to share them. This message has been preached extensively by many groups, so we will not dwell on it here, except to say that the Hebrew does mean “three times a year” (not “three seasons a year” or “seven times a year”, as some groups teach in order to collect more offerings).

The next instructions are very much a part of the lesson of the Feasts:

“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the Lord your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment. You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Deut 16:18–20).

This is a clear command to all of the people to set up righteous local governments. “In all your gates” is a reference to all the cities that God gave them “according to your tribes”. There is no extensive government plan or group of laws here, but the principle is very clear: the officials were to do what is right, as opposed to what is best for their own economic gain. Today, most government officials seem to believe that they can do whatever they want to benefit themselves as long as they do not get prosecuted for violating any of the hundreds of thousands of “laws” on our books. If they can avoid prosecution due to a “legal technicality”, then it is “all right” in the eyes of most people. Yet God clearly shows that righteous judgment is necessary “that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

God was doing a wonderful thing for the Israelites. He was defying the typical human systems where the strong, wealthy and educated oppressed the weak. God fairly divided the land among the people (Deut 33:54). He set up a system whereby debts would be forgiven, slaves would be freed, and lands would go back to their original owners, even if somebody misused their property (Lev 25, Deut 15). He told them to use silver for money (the Hebrew word for money is “silver”). He commanded them to not even own the instruments for unjust business (Deut 25:13–16). It would have been very difficult for people to rise up and oppress others. God did not give them a human king, rather they demanded one later and God warned them that a king would oppress them (1Sam 8).

The last two verses of Deuteronomy 16 give one more vital instruction needed to prepare a people for righteous rule: they were not to follow the religious practices of other people.

Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the Lord your God, and do not erect a sacred stone, for these the Lord your God hates (Deut 16:21–22).

God hoped to give the Israelites a year in the wilderness so they could just be with Him, away from the distractions and sins of other nations. He wanted them to learn to trust Him, and to get along with each other. When all but two men failed to trust in God, He gave them another 40 years in the wilderness to learn to trust Him. Only Joshua and Caleb from the original group of adults, and the younger generation went into the promised land.

Similarly, today, Christ is working with many believers, but only a small number of them will be ready to rule with Him (Matt 22:14; 25:1–13; Luke 12:42–48; Heb 11:35; Rev 3:21; 20:5–6). The Feast of Tabernacles offers a time when we can draw away from the world to be sheltered in tabernacles by God—to learn His lessons, and then to be ready to help people into His Kingdom—to rule in righteousness and to avoid false religion. Most of us do not have a year to be in the wilderness with God. But if we live 46 years as an adult (age 20 to 66), they will spend a total of 367 days at the Feast of Tabernacles, which is roughly one year. If you like numbers, it took 46 years to build the temple at the time of Christ (John 2:20), and so our bodies are spiritual temples (1Cor 6:19) which may also take 46 years to build.

This article cannot cover all of the important details that we need to learn from the Bible to be ready to rule with Christ for 1,000 years (Rev 20:6). In many ways, the job will be the same. The Bible makes it clear that the land of Israel will again be fairly distributed among the people (Ezk 47:13–48:35). The Israelites were sent in to destroy some evil people (Deut 7:1–5), but they were primarily intended to be a living, wonderful example of God’s way to the other nations around them (Deut 4:1–7). Similarly, the Kingdom of God will include the defeat of evil forces, and an example of righteous living to others.

While there are additional spiritual lessons to be learned that are not covered in the instructions to the ancient Israelites, there is much that we as believers need to learn from what God has written in the Old Testament. Let us learn some of it at this Feast of Tabernacles.

The Hastings, Michigan Feast Site Daily Themes

This year, we will sponsor a Feast site at Winding Creek Camp, Just outside of Hastings, Michigan. We cannot promise to teach everything mentioned in the first part of this article, but we will try to make a good start at it. Everyone is invited to participate and help in any way they would like. Winding Creek Camp is a cheerful-looking place with a very good, heated air-conditioned meeting/dining hall. It also has outdoor and indoor recreation facilities for basketball and volleyball, plus an outdoor pool, field sports and more. There are many “tabernacles” to dwell in on the grounds—it would easily accommodate 200 Feast-goers. Food and accommodations are covered at the end of this article.

The dates of the Feast will be according to the commonly used Jewish Calendar, beginning Friday evening, Sept 20, through Saturday evening, Sept 28. The first night (Friday) we will have snacks available from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and a brief service from 8:00 to 8:45 p.m. The rest of the week will include morning services, and various afternoon and evening activities—the exact schedule to be set later. But most importantly, here is the theme for each day and what we hope to learn:

1. Purpose of the Feast of Tabernacles. Read the scriptures about the Feast of Tabernacles—hear a message about them.

2. Meet the brethren. We expect a diversity of people at this Feast, many of whom have not met together before. Be prepared to talk for about three minutes on how you came to know God and how He has changed your life.

3. How has God blessed you? We will hear and sing a lot of praise music on this day. Be prepared to talk about blessings you have received. We plan to write down these things that we are thankful for, weave them into a song, and let everyone who wants to participate in recording it (singing, playing, clapping or otherwise). This may take some time during the other days of the Feast, but the plan is for everyone to be able to go home with a CD of this song and possibly other original music that brethren may bring. Hopefully a “result” of this Feast will be a recording praising God, rather than complaining like the Israelites.

4. How has God protected you in difficult times? Just as the ancient Israelites easily forgot the miracles that God did for them, so we easily forget the miracles God has done for us. Be prepared to talk about the miracles that God has done for you or your friends—things for which there is no known physical explanation. We plan to record some of them for printing in a Servants’ News article and may record them on a CD, as a permanent record of what God has done for us in this age.

5. How can we prove God to the outside world? While people who have known God all their life have little reason to doubt His existence, there are many today who are confused on the issue. “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” (1Pet 3:15, NIV). Everyone will have a chance to answer this, and we will present some interesting proofs of God through creation (Rom 1:20).

6. What does God expect His people to learn and do today? We will read Scriptures from New and Old Testaments emphasizing what God expects us to do today. While our personal lives are important, emphasis will be placed on how we are commanded to interact with others.

7. What will we help Christ do in the Millennium? What does the Bible say about this? Will the world be divided into countries, states, counties and cities? Will everyone be a farmer? Will we have money? Cars or horses? Tithes or taxes? Can you do whatever you want on your own land? If your neighbor wants to use his property for a junk-yard or a skunk farm, can you do anything about it? What should happen if the road between your town and the next one is too narrow, but the people along the road do not want to sell the land needed to widen it? The simple, and the complex issues need to be discussed by those who hope to rule with Christ for a thousand years (Rev 20:6).

8. The Eighth Day, a new beginning. We will read and study the Scriptures about this day, and rejoice in what God has done this Feast.

There will be messages and discussion on each of these subjects each day—both in morning sessions and evening studies. We also intend to have a variety of recreational and social activities. A Karaoke night and Feast Variety Show will certainly be part of the activities, so be working on your song, skit or story that everyone will enjoy.

Feast Food Plan

Last year, at Chadron State Park, we prepared all of our own meals in the kitchen we rented. The meals were good and nearly everyone enjoyed preparing them. (I did overwork one person, who never complained, but her family let me know later—I think we can avoid that this year.) We plan to prepare the meals ourselves this year. The kitchen facilities at Winding Creek Camp are excellent. At some point in the future, maybe we can all bring food to the Feast and all work together, but for this year, we will purchase the food centrally and ask those attending to pay for the cost of it and help in the preparation of it.

Planning and record keeping are too difficult if we try to let every person purchase every meal individually (God’s meal plan with manna was a whole lot simpler than ours!) So please decide if you would like to purchase all 8 breakfasts for $25, all 8 lunches for $30, and all 8 dinners for $30. Prices for children 3 to 12 years old are $15, $20 and $20 respectively. The price for all meals is $85 per adult and $55 per child. They are inexpensive enough that if you miss a few of the meals, you still have a “good deal”. There will be no Friday evening meal, and the Final Saturday meal will consist of good quality left-overs. (If anyone can only attend part of the Feast, but would like to participate in the meal plan, please make special arrangements.)

Breakfast will consist of a variety of eggs, pancakes, sausage, toast, cereal, fruit and beverages. Lunch will offer diverse sandwiches, soups, salads and hot dishes—some will be outdoor picnics if the weather is warm. The dinners will consist of a variety of good food (last year we had sloppy Joes, pot roast, spaghetti, baked chicken, jambalaya and steak). We will try to let those helping to organize the meals that they are best able to do. Each main dish will be accompanied by appropriate vegetables, salad, bread, beverages and dessert.

If, for whatever reason, one chooses not to participate in this meal plan, nearby Hastings has numerous fast food restaurants, an Applebees’, Big Boy and Ponderosa Steak House. Anyone is welcome to bring their own food and eat with the rest of us. If anyone has special dietary needs, please contact us (see end of article) to see if we can help you.

Lodging and Transportation

Winding Creek Camp has numerous “tabernacles” in which Feast-goers might stay—from cabins with one double bed, to larger cabins, to two-story lodges with many rooms. These facilities have electricity and are nice-looking, inside and out, but they do not have central heating or plumbing. There are nice bath houses about 20 to 50 yards away. We are welcome to bring electric heaters or electric blankets—some rooms will support a 1,500-watt heater (the most powerful typically available for a normal outlet), while others share a circuit between two rooms, so a 1,000-watt heater (the “medium” or “low” setting on many heaters) is all that will work continuously. We can do what is practical to prepare for colder weather, and then we can ask God for nice weather, and accept whatever He gives us.

Most rooms have one double bed, but there are some single beds. Some cabins have doubles and singles, ideal for families. We will let you know the exact number and sizes of beds you will have when you make your reservation. You will need to bring your own bedding (or sleeping bags if that is your style). Families are certainly welcome to use either larger cabins, or multiple rooms in the lodge. Rooms have closets and dressers, most floors are carpeted.

The camp is charging us $8.65 per person per day for everyone age 3 and up, plus an additional amount for electricity—not completely certain yet. This charge is the same no matter where a person stays. In order to keep the math simple and help families a little, we are asking for $10.00 per person per day, $8.00 per day for children 3–12. We will have other expenses, including main building heating/air conditioning that we will pay from offerings given.

Recreational vehicles are welcome and water and electric hookups are available. There is a dump station, but no sewer hookups. The same per-person rate applies to RV Feast-keepers as to those staying in the lodges and cabins.

For those who would like to stay at motels: Brookside Motor Inn, (616-945-4182) is less than a mile away on the south edge of Hastings on M-37. Rooms sleep 2 to 4 costing $40 to $50 per night or $160 to $200 per week. Some have a kitchen. This motel is very close to the highway and not particularly fancy, but would work for someone spending most of their time at the Feast site. Adrounie House (800-927-8505) is a very beautiful 6-unit bed and breakfast in downtown Hastings. Ask for their discount “corporate rate” from $60 to $90 per night. You can see the rooms at Full breakfasts are included. Parkview Motel (616-852-9489) is 6 minutes away on M-43 on the north side of Hastings. Per night costs are $47 (single), $54 (double), $59 (room with two beds) with $5 extra per person. Lamar Cottages (517-852-9489) are 12 minutes east on M-79. They have kitchens and everything but linen for $300 to $345 per week, sleeping 4-6. Gun Lake Motel (616-792-2028) is about 15 minutes away with rooms ranging from $50–$60, but a nice weekly rate of $175–$200. Rollaways are $5 per night, extra people in sleeping bags are permitted. Chicago Point Resort—North (616-795-7216 or 517-321-4562) is about 20 minutes away right on the shore of Gun Lake with 5 nice condominiums. Weekly rates range from $480 (2 bedrooms) to $700 (4 bedrooms); $80 to $120 extra if multiple families are sharing the same unit.

Winding Creek Camp requests that those who do not stay there, but use the facilities during the day pay $2.00 per person per day as a usage fee (children 0–2 excluded).

Winding Creek Camp is located about a mile south of Hastings. Take M-37 south out of town. Look for a road that angles off to the right—a small sign says “Campground Road”. In about half a mile, you will see lots of cabins and buildings on your left.

For those interested in flying to the Feast, there are three airports all about 45 minutes away: Grand Rapids, Lansing and Kalamazoo. Car rental is available, but we will also try to arrange to arrange to transport you if necessary. A person should be able to observe the Feast in Hastings without the need for their own vehicle.

How to Make Your Reservation

Please make reservations as soon as possible, even if you may have to change them later. Below is a summary of the rates for all 8 days. Fill in those that apply: (click here to open this as a form in separate window which you can print off and mail)


___ adult breakfast × $25 = ______

___ child breakfast × $15 = ______

___ adult lunch × $30 = ______

___ child lunch × $20 = ______

___ adult dinner × $30 = ______

___ child dinner × $20 = ______

___ adult lodging × $80 = ______

___ child lodging × $64 = ______

___ use fee for each person

staying in a motel × $16 = ______

___ extra $10 (adult) or $8

(child) staying the 9th night_____


Total cost: _______


If you cannot stay for the entire Feast, or have other unusual circumstances, please adjust the above form accordingly. Please send a 10% deposit when you make your reservation. A check, money-order or the Paypal online service ( may be used. Facilities will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis—desirable accommodations may be given to others if no deposit is paid. Please send the entire balance by September 1 so we can buy the food and pay the campground managers.

Click this PayPal button to use this service to make your payment

More information will be printed in Servants’ News as it becomes available. If you need more information now, use the contact information below. If you are planning to stay at a motel, make your reservation directly with them, but also contact us.

If you would like to stay at Winding Creek camp, do not contact them directly, but contact Church Bible Teaching Ministry, PO Box 107, Perry, Michigan 48872-0107;; 517-625-7480.

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