Winter Retreat 2018
By the World
February 2, 2018 • Brian Motte
You know those lovely dirt roads that we all love to ride on? On the day they are groomed, they are wonderful - smooth and clean; but within a few days, the cars, rain, snow and ice begin to ETCH their marks on the road. Eventually they begin to look more like a crater on the moon than a road that we are supposed to drive on. What was once a beautiful drive through the country is now so bumpy that you will need to drive back later to pick up the parts of your car that fell off because of the trip. This has happened to each one of us. God created us to serve and worship him. It was part of us that was beautiful and holy. But then over time, the world began to ETCH out what was once God’s perfect design. And now? Now we no longer resemble who God created us to be. We now live to worship ourselves. We worship our • Pleasure (Materialism, Opinions, Sensuality, Consumerism, Entitlement) • Pains (Failures, Tragedies, Imperfections, Heart Ache) • Identity (Success, Beauty, Acceptance, Sexuality, Career, Life Purpose, Fantasy World) • Knowledge (Education, Researching/Living for the Unknown, Theoretical Science) Even when the tractor driver (God) shows up and says “it’s time to get you all smoothed out and back to the way I created you to live”, we still don’t want to give up on some of the ruts that have been formed in our lives. We have grown to like those ruts. They are familiar. They are predictable. They are comfortable. If God were to ask you to give something up that you enjoy or that has defined who you are, would you be willing to give it up so that you could do what pleases Him?
February 3, 2018 • Wes Morris
Remember that dirt road, the one that looks more like a crater on the moon than a drivable road? Many of us look at it and realize we don’t have the tools or the ability to fix it. As we come up to the road we think, “This is just how it is going to be.” Many of us make due, thinking, “This is just how it is, who I am, and all there is.” Sometimes we accept the ruts because the things harming us are things we enjoy. The ruts may have even left some scars that are hard to forget about. We realize that we don’t have the tools to fix the mess our lives and have become, so we throw in the towel and resolve that: “This is just how my life is going to be.” The world may have ETCHED you and left its mark. Maybe it has scratched you up so badly that the original person God intended you to be is unrecognizable or unfathomable at this point in time. But that does not mean that you are a lost cause. It does not mean that you are not fixable. However, it does mean that we need someone specific to fix us, to forgive us, to free us from our past and the way the world has ETCHED us. We need someone to tenderly fill in our holes and resurface us again. We need our Creator to come find us where we have wandered off to. We need Him to heal. We need Him to transform the way we think about our lives, our purpose and our past. Only then can He remold us into what He created us to be from the beginning.
By God's Word
February 3, 2018 • Scott Johnson
Have you ever looked at one of those images that if you stare at them long enough and maybe cross your eyes a bit, you begin to see a rocket ship, a dinosaur or something else? Some of us look at the picture and see it immediately. Others of us never see what is supposedly there. And because of the frustration or even our own laziness, we seek out others to help us see what the picture is supposed to be. Reading the Bible or the Word of God can be exactly the same way. Some of us can read the Bible and immediately learn from it and see how we need to apply it to our lives. Others of us read it and think we are reading some other language, as if we need someone to translate and explain it to us. Only then can we understand it. We don’t realize it, but over time we begin to live and believe things that may or may not be biblical. Instead of examining the Bible ourselves, we ask others to dictate what it says, who we are supposed to be, or how to live our lives. We make decisions about things like: • Life after death • Heaven and Hell • Who God is • How God operates • What we should do with our lives We make these decisions based off of asking others... • What do you think you see? • What does the Bible say about _____? • What do you think about? But the whole time we should be reading the truth of the Word of God for ourselves and letting the Holy Spirit guide us in what His Word teaches. This may take time, work, and even cause frustration, but as the age old adage says, “No Pain, No Gain.” Or at least that is what my coach once told me...
February 4, 2018 • Brian Motte
Many of us get really excited to know that Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins. We even like taking time out of our lives to thank Jesus for this gift through worship. We will sing songs, raise our hands, bow down in reverence, and cry out in repentance or joy. But then we find ourselves sitting next to our friends at school, at work, or on the sports field and immediately we feel embarrassed about all that we were just grateful to Jesus for, to the point that we often sit there silent because of shame or embarrassment. But that is not how it’s supposed to be. We have the only thing that mattersfor all eternity. “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes” Romans 1:16 So rather than letting the world ETCH us and who we are outside of church, camp, or among other believers, we need to begin to be the ones doing the etching. We need to ETCH our friends, teachers, family and coworkers with the Good News about Christ so they too can experience salvation for their sins, freedom in Christ, and true joy, just as we have experienced.