Part 2 is really the meat of the retreat, hehe I rhymed. For real though there was a lot that went on between Friday night and when the students left Sunday afternoon. There was 4 main sessions of teaching with worship. If you have never worshipped with middle schoolers you need to! There is something so freeing about it, it is NOT just standing and saying words out loud. It is an experience, there is dancing, jumping up and down, arms up and shouting praise from the bottom of their hearts.
I’m not even sure I can adequately describe this weekend. Like I’ve mentioned before this was the first time I’ve ever been to church camp, any preconceived notions I had were completely blown out of the water. The students, speakers and worship were all amazing.
The two session talked about Gideon and how God used his tiny army to bring glory to himself and about how living a life for only yourself leads to emptiness. It asked the students to think on some tough subjects like what has your focus? Who are you trying to please? The world or God?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
There was a different speaker for the third session, the discussions we had in our cabin after this was deep heartfelt confessions. Why this was different was because this session talked about how when living a life for God there will be unavoidable trouble that Christians will face. Jesus doesn’t promise an easier life, but a better one. Something that got me thinking really hard was when the speaker mentioned this: “We’ll rub shoulders with people from the bible.” Now I believe that when you get to heaven you’ll get to meet Jesus face to face, I guess I never consciously realized that I would also get to meet the apostles. Just take a minute and think about that. As the speaker said, we live between the cross and the crown.
Our last session of retreat spoke of Nehemiah,
In doing great work for God means that God must become greater and we must become less. I also love how the speaker encouraged the students in attendance to share what is on their hearts with fellow students, leaders and family members, by saying it this way, “Faith is personal, but not private.” This past Wednesday I got the chance to talk some of the students that went on the retreat and asked them to reflect on what they experienced. For most of them it was their first time being at a camp like this, their reflections on how their relationship with God grew over those three days blew me away. They got it, they got that God is greater. Greater than the hurt they’ve experienced in the past, and what they will face in the future. That even though there will be problems in this life, God is greater and has overcome the world.
Have you ever been on a retreat before? What was your favorite experience?