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Monday, March 29, 2010

Springview Reflections: Community

I'm a very independent person. I want to be able to do everything by myself. I don't like having to ask for help. I'm incredibly stubborn on top of that. This means God is constantly having to remind me that he created us to do life together. Our retreat was a great reminder of this.

Why do I think that some how I can handle doing life on my own? Honestly it is just plain stupid. There is great value in building healthy relationships with other people. We learn from each other. We pick each other up when we fall. We encourage each other. We challenge each other.

I spent the weekend with some incredible people. We were all at different points in our journey. We were all completely different. As we shared our stories, our struggles and our victories we shared ourselves. Through all of that I learn more about myself. I get a bigger glimpse of God.

Sure we are all human and far from perfect. We'll make mistakes along the way and have to learn to forgive each other. I want to learn to be a better friend to others, to learn how to help others on the journey better than I am now.

Springview Reflections: At War

Ephesians 6:12 "For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places."

I know what you are thinking. "I thought this was a spiritual retreat. What's with all the weapons?" There are the obvious explanations. During a free afternoon David Joe and Chuck (pictured above) taught us how to shoot. It is a way of life on the farm. We carried the rifle with us as we hiked through the woods in case we came face to face with some wild boar or coyotes. And we brought machetes to help clear the path.

Then there are the not so obvious observations. It wasn't our theme for the weekend but the subject of spiritual warfare came up many times. I'm guessing all of us could identify the recent attacks from the enemy in our individual lives. Most of us came to the retreat feeling beat up and to some extent, defeated. But I'm not sure the conversations about these things would have ever come up if we hadn't started talking about weapons, how they work, and their purpose.

The battles we are fighting are part of a very real war that far too often many like to ignore. We can't though. We know how the story ends. God dominates! But knowing that ending doesn't me we get a free pass to not fight the battles. This weekend we got to talk very openly about these battles and we got to encourage each other along the way.

If shooting some guns and swinging some machetes is what it takes to get students to dialogue about our real battles, I'll shoot targets in a corn field any day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Springview Reflections: Get Out of the Way


There is a lot prayer and preparation that goes into any retreat. Last weekend was no exception. We planned a few activities but for the most part we wanted to create the space and freedom for students (and staff) to connect with God in their own ways. Knowing that, I came with some goals for me personally.

By the time we arrived at Springview, I had already revamped all of our plans for that evening. By the end of campfire that night it became evident I was there to do two things. 1) Stay out of the way. 2) Be available. All of the sudden I had new goals.

I'm so glad I discovered that on our first night because I'm afraid I would have missed somethings otherwise. I wonder what would have been different if I wouldn't have pushed aside the original plan and focused on these. What would I have missed? What would others have missed?

I wonder how often we get in the way of something greater that God is trying to do. My original plans to do some extra reading and writing were good, but they were nothing compared to what God had in store. It leads me to ask this question.

Where else am I getting in the way of what God is trying to do?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Springview Reflections: Wash Over Me


During Impact's Spring Retreat last weekend a group of us hiked to this waterfall. As I watched Ty playing in the fall I realized it was the perfect image of the conversation I was having with God at the moment. So I grabbed my camera to capture the image.

I had visited this fall last November on a personal retreat. During that visit I was reminded of Jami Smith's Wash Over Me where she sings "only you can take this life and make it look like Jesus." Since then I've been praying God would do that with my life.

This weekend I found myself reflecting on how I've grown during those months and how there is still so much growth that needs to happen. We hiked further down stream on this trip and I looked at all of the stones whose rough edges had been smoothed away by the running water.

I long to be like those stones, smooth and shaped by the power of God. I'm not there yet but I'm taking steps. Just like David I keep praying that God would wash over me, cleanse me and smooth my rough edges.

Psalm 51:2 "Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin."

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A little time

I love spending time with friends. Drinks at a coffee shop, a wheat-free meal, movies, chasing possums, coloring pictures, watching hockey, sitting in silence, sharing stories, building campfires...I don't really even care what we are doing as long as it involves being together.

It makes a huge difference when you take a part of your time and give it to someone else. You learn about other people's lives and the journey they are traveling. I've learned this about friends I've spent time recently. There have been moments of sharing both tears of joy and pain. In some moments there were lots of words shared and other moments just the peaceful stillness of each others presence.

This last week has been another reminder of how we have been created for community. A little time with a friend may just be the very thing they, or even you, need.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Change: A Love-Hate Relationship


I’ve always hated change. It is full of uncertainty and I can’t prepare for that. I don’t like not being prepared. Most of the time that is still true but I’m starting to find the beauty in change.

Not all the changes life has thrown at me in the last several months have been easy. Some come with great freedom and I welcome them with open arms. Most come head to head with my stubbornness. A few still come despite my kicking and screaming in resistance.

Perhaps the difference is the result of a better attitude. Perhaps I’ve just learned to accept that I can’t control things. Perhaps I’ve finally faced the reality that change happens. Regardless of what it is I’ve learned change brings an opportunity for growth.

I finding that growth from change may just be worth the uncertainty. I’m learning more about who I am and how God has created me. I’m constantly being reminded of how passionately God is pursuing me and how deeply he loves me. I’m being challenged to do more to live in community with others. I'm learning to trust. Had life continued as it was before, I fear I may have never grown in my understanding of these things.

I’ll probably always hate uncertainty. But somewhere in the middle of this love-hate relationship with change is the beauty of God molding and shaping me. That I love!