Retreats

One thing I love about being a Christian is the “retreats” that churches plan for their members.  I don’t an unsaved person who has the opportunity to attend youth retreats, couples retreats, family camps, etc.  We are truly blessed as Christians to have such a luxury – such an opportunity to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. 

One of the things I’ve noticed in my own life, though, is that decisions made at these places are often temporary.  Our fire goes out.

I had the opportunity recently to spend four weeks listening to messages from Evangelist Terrence Calvin.  What an amazing man of God.  I must have heard 8 messages from him (and all different).  God spoke to my heart in every single one.  The first messages I heard from him were on finding a good church and why you should be in church.  I’ve never questioned going to church, but definitely where I go has been a huge question in my mind lately.  (And please don’t think that there is anything wrong with my church! LOL)  But the Lord has different pastors to minister to different people.  I’ve had the opportunity to sit under a pastor/pastors for 25 years of my life that were highly educated men.  I took for granted the things I learned from them.  And now I am realizing how important those years were in my life in shaping who I am today.

Probably the last message I heard from him spoke to me the most.  It was an odd evening.  We went to an Independent church in Digby, a church that is perhaps a little different than anything I’ve encountered before.  Some people I know started singing a song called The Potter Knows the Clay.  If you have me as a friend on FB you know I wrote the words of that song in a note on my profile.  At the end of the song the pianist continued to play as the pastor, Mark Thren, talked about how the Potter does know the clay.  How much pressure it can take, how much heat.  It is so true.  Our God does know exactly how much we can take.  When we’re at the lowest points in our life, God knows.  He is so faithful. 

I’ve really been struggling with some things in my life, circumstances beyond my control.  The Pastor’s words just touched something in my heart that opened me to the realization that God is in control.  He joined the couple as they sang the song again and then they moved into a song called Press On.  Wow.  The floodgates just opened.  It will take a very long time for me to forget that service.  God is so faithful!  I cannot even tell you how exciting that thought is.  When the evangelist got up to speak he had one point.  I think he preached for 15 minutes and I don’t remember a thing he said, other than that he didn’t want to disrupt the Holy Spirit’s moving that night. 

I know that often emotion is looked down upon in Independent Baptist circles but I think we’ve gone so far to the other side that often we won’t allow God to break our hearts to get us to the place we need to be.  Emotion is a wonderful gift from God.  I thank Him for tears, for that stirring in your soul that makes you want to shout HALLELUJAH at the top of your lungs.  I love Pastor Calvin’s statement that a lot of people are going to have throat cancer from trying to choke down an “Amen” because it’s not seemly in church.  LOL 
May God open our hearts and allow us to express how we feel.  If we can do it at a baseball game why can’t we do it to praise the Lord for what He is doing in our lives!  Praise HIM for giving us opportunities to learn more about Him, and to get our hearts right.

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