Why the Church needs a retreat

Before I tell you why, here’s our story:

Two years ago while on Sabbatical, Ben attended a FOCUS retreat of HTB London. He witnessed just a few days, but he saw the church in the city venture to the countryside for a week together of worship, encouragement, rest, and recreation. Ben began to pray about doing something similar with our church. He shared the vision with our team. The vision and prayer were now in the making! We would do this in May on the weekend of Bay to Breakers (an “athletic event” in the city that runs from the Bay to the breaking of the ocean waves in the Pacific where clothing is optional, but one cannot run intoxicated) This weekend always affects getting downtown to Epic anyway - so let’s head to the redwoods! We secured the location, speaker, and worship leader. Our Kids director wrote a full curriculum and our team executed the most excellent, well-run weekend ever, full of games, personal tote bags for every camper, and marketing/storytelling that wowed us all. Even a week prior to our first FOCUS, Ben and I were talking with a pastor in London. He said, “you’ll see things happen in a weekend away that would take 5 years to come together from one Sunday to the next.” We shook our heads believing he was telling the truth. We just didn’t know how good it would be!

So here’s why the Church needs a retreat:

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what's on the other side of obedience: a 10 year old story

3,650 sunrises. That’s my story. It’s the side I’m standing on and there’s no going back. You know that moment you tried french fries in your frosty and you’d never dip them in ketchup again? That moment you laughed so hard you snorted, the embarrassing moment passed, and you knew your friendship just went to another level?

Life is the way it was intended to be lived on this side of obedience.

Well, how do I get there?

What will it cost me?

Is anyone else doing it?

What’s in it for me?

Let me check my calendar.

If I’ve got nothing else to do, I’ll think about it.

Yeah. You’re not ready.

The basic definition of obedience is submission to another’s authority. Our another being the Perfect Son of God, who, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)

You’re ready when you submit. Submission - it’s been deemed an old-fashioned word because our world gets more and more selfish, so anything requiring obedience or submission gets ridiculed. So you have to get over that first.

But standing on this side of obedience, submission is worth it! It’s the most freedom I’ve ever experienced. If you know Jesus, you know He does everything backwards and upside down from this world. He says bow low and He’ll lift up. He says last will be first. He says to be rich become poor. I’m still progressing on my faith journey learning from my Maker, but I’ve gotten a few years behind me to taste and see that the Lord, He is good and He is worth following. He’s worth obeying.

And since obedience is active, to stay bogged down with our self-filled questions keeps you on the side of disobedience.

Are you ready now?

Let me tell you a story.

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I haven't always been this way

I believe God set up life to pick up friends along the way. You too? So many of you, God has given to me in this San Francisco season and I’m so very glad you’re here. But I see you and you and you and know that our paths crossed in the town of six traffic lights, in the hills of Virginia, in college ministries in Louisiana and Alabama or in the oasis of Missouri. Perhaps you already know I haven’t always been this way…

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