“Zealous Kingdom Proclaimers” Joyfully Assemble
MORAL, economic, and political crises are shaking the world. Amid all this unrest, however, Jehovah’s Witnesses gathered for peaceful three-day “Zealous Kingdom Proclaimers” District Conventions. Beginning in May 2002, these gatherings were held around the globe.
The conventions proved to be joyful occasions indeed. Let us briefly review the upbuilding Bible-based program.
Day One Stresses Jesus’ Zeal
The theme of the convention’s first day was “Imitate the Zeal of Our Lord, Jesus.” (John 2:17) The talk “Rejoice in Coming Together as Kingdom Proclaimers” warmly invited those present to share in the joy that has always characterized conventions of God’s people. (Deuteronomy 16:15) This talk was followed by interviews with zealous preachers of the good news.
The talk “Take Exquisite Delight in Jehovah Himself” covered Psalm 37:1-11 verse by verse. We were urged not to become “heated up” over the seeming success of the wicked. Although evil ones may misrepresent us, in time Jehovah will make clear who really are his faithful people. The talk “Show Yourselves Thankful” discussed how we can show gratitude to God. All Christians must offer “a sacrifice of praise” to Jehovah. (Hebrews 13:15) Of course, the amount of time we devote to Jehovah’s service depends on our appreciation and circumstances.
The keynote address was entitled “Kingdom Proclaimers Fired With Zeal.” It pointed to Jesus Christ as our finest example of zeal. After the heavenly Kingdom was established in 1914, true Christians needed zeal to announce that good news. The speaker referred to the convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A., in 1922 and reminded us of the historic call: “Advertise the King and his Kingdom”! With the passing of time, the zeal of God’s faithful servants moved them to declare the marvelous Kingdom truths to all the nations.
The talk “Be Fearless in Knowing That Jehovah Is With Us,” delivered on the afternoon of the first day, showed that God’s people are a special target of Satan. Despite the opposition we encounter, however, our reflecting on the many Biblical and modern examples of faith gives us the courage to face tests and temptations fearlessly.—Isaiah 41:10.
Next on the program came a three-part symposium on the theme “Micah’s Prophecy Strengthens Us to Walk in Jehovah’s Name.” The first speaker compared the moral breakdown, religious apostasy, and materialism of Micah’s day with our own times. He stated: “Our hope for the future will be sure if we cultivate an obedient heart and ensure that our conduct is holy and our life filled with deeds of godly devotion—and if we never forget that Jehovah’s day will come.”—2 Peter 3:11, 12.
The second speaker on the symposium noted Micah’s condemnation of Judah’s leaders. They abused the poor, defenseless people. But Micah also foretold the triumph of true worship. (Micah 4:1-5) Empowered by Jehovah’s holy spirit, we are resolved to proclaim this refreshing message of hope. But what if we feel hampered by infirmities or feel limited in some other way? The third speaker said: “Jehovah’s requirements are reasonable as well as reachable.” He went on to discuss various aspects of Micah 6:8, where we read: “What is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?”
Since the world’s moral decay can affect Christians, all of us benefited from the talk entitled “Maintain Chastity by Safeguarding Your Heart.” For instance, our keeping chaste will help us to have a happy marriage. As Christians, we must never entertain even the thought of engaging in sexual immorality.—1 Corinthians 6:18.
The talk “Guard Against Deception” showed that we wisely treat as poison the distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods propagated by apostates. (Colossians 2:8) Likewise, we must not deceive ourselves into thinking that we can indulge our sinful desires without dire consequences.
“Worship the Only True God” was the title of the first day’s concluding talk. As conditions in the world become ever more critical, how heartening it is to know that Jehovah will soon bring in his righteous new world! Who will live in it? Only those who worship Jehovah. To help us, our children, and our Bible students to reach this goal, the speaker released the new study book Worship the Only True God. How delighted we were to receive it!
Day Two Highlights Zeal for What Is Good
The convention’s second day had the theme “Be Zealous for What Is Good.” (1 Peter 3:13) The first speaker discussed the day’s Bible text. He emphasized that a regular, meaningful consideration of the daily text increases our zeal.
Then came the symposium “Kingdom Proclaimers Who Glorify Their Ministry.” The first part stressed the need to handle God’s Word aright. (2 Timothy 2:15) Our making good use of the Bible opens the way for it to ‘exert power’ in people’s lives. (Hebrews 4:12) We should direct attention to the Bible and reason on it convincingly. The symposium’s second part urged us to call back on interested people again and again. (1 Corinthians 3:6) Preparation and boldness are needed to follow up on all interest promptly. The third part recommended viewing each person we meet as a potential disciple and showed that offering a Bible study on the initial call can lead to the joy of helping individuals to become disciples.
“Why ‘Pray Incessantly’” was the theme of the next talk. The Bible exhorts Christians to look to God for guidance in all aspects of life. We need to make time for private prayer. Moreover, we must persevere in prayer, for Jehovah may allow us to keep on praying for a time before his response becomes apparent.—James 4:8.
The talk “Spiritual Conversation Builds Up” urged us to use our gift of speech to benefit ourselves and others. (Philippians 4:8) Marriage mates and children need some spiritual conversation daily. To that end, families should try to eat at least one meal together each day, thus allowing for upbuilding conversation.
The morning program ended with the heartwarming talk “How Dedication and Baptism Lead to Salvation.” Baptismal candidates had acquired knowledge, exercised faith, repented, turned away from wrongdoing, and dedicated themselves to God. After being baptized, noted the speaker, they must continue to grow spiritually and to maintain their zeal and fine conduct.—Philippians 2:15, 16.
That afternoon, two main points were stressed in the talk “Be Modest, and Keep Your Eye Simple.” Being modest means having a realistic view of our limitations and our position before God. Modesty helps us to keep our eye “simple”—focused on God’s Kingdom, not on material things. If we do this, we need not be anxious, for Jehovah will supply our needs.—Matthew 6:22-24, 33, 34.
The next speaker showed why we should “Trust Jehovah Completely in Times of Distress.” How can we cope with such things as personal weaknesses and financial or health problems? Let us ask Jehovah for practical wisdom and request help from others. Rather than succumb to panic or despair, we should bolster our trust in God by reading his Word.—Romans 8:35-39.
The final symposium of the convention had the theme “The Quality of Our Faith Tested by Various Trials.” The first part reminded us that all true Christians face persecution. It serves as a witness, strengthens our faith, and affords us an opportunity to demonstrate our loyalty to God. Though we do not needlessly jeopardize our lives, we would never use unscriptural means to avoid persecution.—1 Peter 3:16.
The second speaker in this symposium addressed questions relating to neutrality. Early Christians were not pacifists, but they recognized that their prime allegiance was to God. Likewise today, Jehovah’s Witnesses hold firmly to the principle: “You are no part of the world.” (John 15:19) Since tests of our neutrality can arise quickly, families ought to make time to review the Bible’s guidelines on this subject. As the third talk in this symposium pointed out, Satan’s aim is, not necessarily to kill us, but to pressure us into becoming unfaithful. By faithfully enduring ridicule, immoral pressures, emotional pain, and infirmities, we bring praise to Jehovah.
The warm invitation “Draw Close to Jehovah” served as the title of the day’s final talk. Understanding Jehovah’s cardinal attributes attracts us to him. He uses his limitless power to protect his people, especially spiritually. His justice is not harsh but moves him to make endless life available to everyone who works righteousness. God’s wisdom is evident in the way he used imperfect humans to write the Bible. Most endearing is his love, which moved him to make provision for mankind’s salvation through Jesus Christ. (John 3:16) The speaker concluded with the release of the heartwarming new book Draw Close to Jehovah.
Day Three Focuses on Zeal for Fine Works
The theme of the convention’s third day was “A People Zealous for Fine Works.” (Titus 2:14) The morning got off to a fine start with a family discussion of the day’s text. Next came the talk “Is Your Confidence in Jehovah?” The nations have misplaced their confidence by relying on their own wisdom and strength. In contrast, however, Jehovah’s servants courageously and joyfully rely on him despite calamities.—Psalm 46:1-3, 7-11.
The part entitled “Youths—Build for the Future With Jehovah’s Organization” addressed this question: How can a young person really get the best out of life? This is not possible by pursuing money, possessions, and prestige. Our Creator lovingly urges youths to remember him while they are still young. The speaker interviewed some who have reached out in Christian service during youth, and we could sense their joy. And how beneficial it was to receive the new tract, Youths—What Will You Do With Your Life?, designed to help young Witnesses to lay the foundation for an everlasting future with Jehovah’s organization!
Next came the absorbing Bible drama “Stand Firm in Troublesome Times.” It traced Jeremiah’s long career from his youth to Jerusalem’s destruction, which he had zealously prophesied. Jeremiah felt unqualified for his assignment, but he fulfilled it in the face of opposition, and Jehovah delivered him.—Jeremiah 1:8, 18, 19.
The drama was followed by the talk “Be Like Jeremiah—Fearlessly Proclaim the Word of God.” Present-day Kingdom proclaimers are often the target of misinformation and malicious propaganda. (Psalm 109:1-3) Like Jeremiah, though, we can deal with discouragement by taking delight in Jehovah’s Word. And we are confident that those who fight against us will not prevail.
Timely, indeed, was the public discourse, entitled “The Scene of This World Is Changing.” Our day has been marked by dramatic change. The Bible foretold that such conditions, including a cry of “peace and security,” would lead up to God’s fear-inspiring day of judgment. (1 Thessalonians 5:3) It will bring about wonderful changes—the end of all wars, crime, violence, and even disease. Rather than trust in this system of things, then, this is the time to pursue godly devotion and maintain chaste conduct.
A summary of the week’s Watchtower lesson was followed by the final convention talk, entitled “Abound in Fine Works as Zealous Kingdom Proclaimers.” The speaker pointed out how the program had stimulated us spiritually and encouraged us to rely on Jehovah. In conclusion, we were urged to be clean, loving, and zealous proclaimers of God’s Kingdom.—1 Peter 2:12.
With a spirit like that of Jehovah’s servants in Nehemiah’s day, we surely returned home rejoicing over the spiritual blessings received at the “Zealous Kingdom Proclaimers” District Conventions. (Nehemiah 8:12) Has not this stirring convention filled you with joy and determination to press on as a zealous Kingdom proclaimer?
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A New Study Aid!
At the conclusion of the convention’s first day, those present were delighted by the release of the new book Worship the Only True God. It is designed to be studied with those who have completed a study of the book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life and will undoubtedly strengthen the faith of those “rightly disposed for everlasting life.”—Acts 13:48.
Image on book cover: U.S. Navy photo
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Help to Get Closer to God
The final speaker on the second day of the convention announced the release of the new book Draw Close to Jehovah. It includes four main sections, one for each of Jehovah’s cardinal attributes—power, justice, wisdom, and love. Each section of the book has a chapter showing how Jesus Christ provided vivid examples of God’s qualities in action. The primary purpose of this new book is to help us and our Bible students to build a closer and stronger relationship with Jehovah God.
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Spiritual Guidance for Young People
The third day of the convention was marked by the release of a special tract entitled Youths—What Will You Do With Your Life? Designed to help young Witnesses to make right decisions regarding their future, this new tract gives Scriptural advice on building an everlasting career in Jehovah’s service.