When Wayne Barber was 9 years old, he heard a message at Vacation Bible School and decided he didn’t want to go to hell.
He was told all he had to do was pray a prayer and be baptized and everything would be fine.
So that is what he did.
But it wasn’t until he was an adult, after having done youth work for several years, that he really knew Jesus—when he had a “New Covenant relationship” with Him.
And that is why Barber is coming to The Cove in August—to help other people find the joy and freedom in a New Covenant relationship with Christ.
“One day, I just asked God to show me how He saw me,” Barber recalled. “He did, and I cried for three days. In fact, I cried so much that my nose bled!”
Barber would say he spent the time between 9 years old and his true conversion as someone living an Old Covenant life: church had taken the place of Christ in his life. He knew the “rules” of Christianity like the Jewish believers new the 613 rules of the Mosaic Law in the book of Hebrews. He knew how to act and what to say.
But something was missing.
This August, Barber hopes to impart the truths he learned from the book of Hebrews to those who attend his seminar, From Shadow to Substance: A New Day and a New Way. He wants to distinguish—once and for all—New Covenant living from Old Covenant living.
“When we study in Hebrews, we are going to jump right into it, as our High Priest, Jesus intercedes for us,” Barber said. “It is through Him that we have a relationship with God. Israel, under the Old Covenant, did not. Only the priest could go into the Holy of Holies. So, these Old Covenant people were guilt-ridden. It was a ‘do or die’ mentality.
“But we are living under the new promises that Hebrews 8:6 talks about—we have the promise of eternal life. There is no way sin can interfere. With Jesus as the Divine Intercessor, we can come directly into the throne room.”
Even though most Christians understand the basics of who Jesus is, Barber wants to remind the people in his audience at The Cove that our relationship with God is based on His love and mercy, not His anger or His judgment.
“Too often, we forget that there is no need to clean up before we come to Him. He is the One who does the cleansing, not us. His goodness and His mercy are the things that should cause us to bow before Him, and it is His kindness—not fear—that leads us to true repentance.”
His prayer is that those who attend his seminar will be set free from the bondage of Old Covenant thinking and that they will live securely in New Covenant thinking. And He also wants to leave them with tools for New Covenant living long after the weekend at The Cove is over.
“For many of us our spiritual lives become mechanical. We can drift very quickly when we get hung up on the Old Covenant mentality, and what we do takes the place of Whose we are. And then church takes the place of Christ—like it did with me,” Barber said.
“Flesh is about achieving; grace is about receiving. I want to see people living out that grace.”