Saturday, November 7, 2015

My Third Fall Retreat (PART 1)

For the last couple years with Thrive, the Christian fellowship club at school, I've gone to the last three annual Fall Retreats. The way it works is, we go to Highland Park on a certain Friday evening, and it lasts till Sunday at noon. Not everyone stays the whole weekend but a lot of us do. I just happen to be one of them. Nights are pretty tough sometimes, but it's always worth it in my opinion.

I've never done an entry on the retreats before (mainly 'cause there's so much stuff to talk about that it's hard to pin down), but I figure maybe it's time I did.

Friday, October 16th
I made sure I got to the park early, so I'd have plenty of time to run into the guys' cabin and put my stuff down in a small bunk room. I always thought 'The less roommates the better' because then I had less chance of being kept awake by guys' snoring. Still, either way I had little spongy earplugs and my iPod.
I signed in at a table that had been set up outside, at the big church-like pavilion, and saw that there were also big pretzels and hot chocolate mix being served there. Plus, more people were coming, one by one, in pairs, groups, and it just kept going for I-lost-track-of-how-long.

(I rarely checked the time on my phone at all over this weekend, for maybe-obvious reasons. It felt better to just live in the moment with these people)

A nice cup of hot cocoa felt really good, especially after having grown fond of it over watching Once Upon a Time every week (it's a reference to the show, my sister and I do it all the time). But of course it didn't fill my stomach all the way, and I'd been dumb enough not to eat before leaving home. So I went back into the cabin and filled a couple of Pita pockets, that I'd stuffed in my backpack, with peanut butter. After eating a couple of those, my stomachache felt much better.

After being outside and sitting around a small kindling fire, we all went inside the dining hall for a game (teams making the tallest structure we could out of newspapers, asking yes/no questions to figure out the names taped to our backs), and then worship.
I've always been impressed by the contemporary Christian music and our talented musicians who perform it. Mainly 'cause I can actually understand the words! Always handy when the song lyrics pop up our the overhead screen so we can all follow along.

Around 10:00 was our first lesson with our speaker, Brian Musser, about knowing the gospel. The interesting twist he put on it was that it wouldn't just be a sermon. He wanted it to be interactive and have us do something with it. First, he asked us to write down what we could think of "What is the gospel?" And a few times he would invite someone to come up and share the gospel in their own words!
I stayed in my seat for that, but it was interesting seeing someone my age do it.

Brian delved into important aspects like "repent, trust, confess, believe," "Eternity in heaven, restored to God" and others. He put emphasis on knowing your audience, and gave us some good verses that you can really delve into the story with (like Romans 10:9, John 3:16, Romans 3:23-24 and a few others).

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