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 i learned at leadership conference

we’ve been to london. but more than that, we’ve been changed.

Ben and I had the incredible, most humbling and exhilarating opportunity to see the Church alive. Believe me. I saw it with my own eyes. The Church is alive all across this planet!

God is using Debbie and her brother to invest in the lives of thousands of youth in India. Pekka from Finland is stepping into schools and seeing life change. A lawyer from Germany has started a church in a pub. Danny and Jackie remain faithful leaders at a church in Indiana. Issac and Valerie are forming a community of creatives in south Florida. Al reached out to a Michelin star restaurant in East London about partnering with his church to provide meals for the single mothers in their community and the chefs said yes! Claude was a drug dealer at a young age and found Jesus and is now studying to be a pastor. Jessica and David Oyelowo talk marriage and acting and Jesus being central to all they do.

And while conferences can be quite overwhelming with information, God did something so sweet and intimate with me and Ben. He repeated Himself to us. He used new friends and main stage speakers and His Spirit to repeat what He’s been speaking to us for the past few months. How kind is that? I didn’t fill my journal with a wealth of new information. Rather, I wrote phrases that I’ve written down recently and I let Him wow me with confirmation of what He wants to do in me, in His Church in San Francisco and in this season of life.

Here are a few takeaways. My London leadership learnings:

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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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what is LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE about?

discover why you’re exactly where you need to be

Despite being part of one of the most mobile societies in history, it's easy for us to feel stuck where we are. Whether because of a recent move or because we're still in the exact same place we've been for years, many of us just aren't where we thought we'd be or doing what we thought we'd be doing. Sometimes we may wonder if God knows what he's doing. How can this be part of his plan?

With enthusiasm and contagious joy, Shauna Pilgreen assures readers that, yes, God does have a plan and a purpose for them--right where they are. In fact, he sent them there. She invites readers to "live sent," showing them how to see their surroundings with fresh eyes and renewed energy. Weaving her own remarkable story with biblical habits readers can incorporate into their daily routines, Pilgreen equips us to reach out into our communities with God's love, knowing that our efforts are never in vain.

This is what Amazon says! And here’s what I say…

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