Thanksgiving Retreat. A time to be challenged and recharged. Being in awe of the wonders of God’s workings this past year. It was indeed very refreshing to watch the video testimonies from all of our Gracepoint-wide churches and to hear from our very own Pastor Manny, flying in from California.
He preached from Hebrews 12:1-2, reminding us that the Christian life is like a race, and we’ve been handed the baton of the Gospel. Pastor Manny highlighted the spiritual lineage of many other heroes of faith who went before us, living out the Gospel message so that it could be passed down undiluted. Now, many of us at that retreat have received this good deposit of the Gospel, and we were challenged to guard it as a precious entrustment, as well as be the ones that pass it down to faithful men and women.
Throughout the retreat, we had entertaining (and interesting) performances, powerful praise times, and a lot of downtime to bond over lunch, dinner, and breaks in-between. There were other times where we gathered in small groups to share and pray for one another, including an opportunity for the older members of our church to share advice to the younger.
As the retreat neared its end, we studied the lives of Jacob and Joseph, who both had the potential to be visionaries; yet, one fell into despair while the other lived with incredible faithfulness. As we each thought about the dreams we’ve let die, we were exhorted to turn back to God in faith again, and to remember that He is with us, has ennobled us, and wants to do more through us. We were challenged to once again dream God-sized visions and allow ourselves to be inspired.
There was one last special element – where older staff members of our church passed down actual batons to the underclassmen, entrusting to them a precious gift and praying for them. It was a meaningful and symbolic time. By the end of the retreat, many of us were stirred to give our lives to God, with several students making significant decisions and commitments! Praise God for all He’s done this past year and through the retreat!