Some of the 'take-aways' from last weekend's youth retreat.
1. Being spiritual and prayerful does not exempt you from the wear and tear on your body. We came back tired. It is hard to function for a long period of time without sleep. So we were a bit cranky at my house Monday night and Tuesday. We are in real bodies with real needs. So factor that into your spiritual life. we are tempted to forget our limits (at least I am).
2. One of the statements made by a speaker resonated with the kids. "God does not want you to clean your heart up and then give it to Him, He wants your heart now; broken, dirty and in need of healing. He wants to transform your heart." Now the problem with quoting one statement (bumper sticker theology) is there is always the need for nuance. The speaker spent quite a bit of time explaining this. His point is that too often we do not come to the Lord because we do not feel ready or presentable. We are driven by perfectionism. We forget about the faith element. We forget about the love and mercy of God. We neglect relating to our Father in heaven until we think we are ready. The Father wants the Prodigal to return to His loving arms. So go home, broken and dirty, but go home. He will take care of the rest! "Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and put a right spirit within me!" (from a psalm somewhere)
3. The speaker also used a visual: a tree (six foot tall) and a bush (about one foot high). He illustrated the difference between abundant life and just making it. Madison, a young girl in our group, shared the insight that the bush probably thought he was doing pretty good until he looked at the tree. Her point was excellent. We can delude ourselves that we are fine without God. "I don't need an invisible Father in heaven," people say, "I am doing fine." But really are we fine? Isn't there life and death in us? Aren't we all in need of serious growth? And don't we see that need clearly when we look at the giants? God provides the growth if we come to Him. Call out, "Father, help me!"
The healimg ministry of the church is a huge source of that help. I will post on that more this week. God bless!