Starting this Friday we will have our annual congregational winter retreat for the Ann Arbor church. Then in a couple of weeks we will have our first ever congregational winter retreat for the Chicago church.
As I was reflecting on the past 10 years of our church, I realized how one word can catapult and be a catalyst for a group of people. The word, “transformation” has always fueled my heart for doing what I do. Not only seeing transformation in people’s lives, but also seeing it in our various spheres of influence. We want to get back to some of that vision for transformation at this retreat, hence the theme of the retreat is “The Transformed Life.”
On another note…
In the last couple of weeks (since the start of the new year), I have sensed God placing a few things in my heart for this 2007 year. It arose more out of symptoms that I started to notice in my heart (which of course was confirmed by Christina).
For some reason, I started to notice that I have lost a lot of my “youthfulness” and “fervor” in my walk with God. At first, I tried really hard to dismiss it with the excuse of maturity. I also tried to explain it by my busyness and tiredness… flying back and forth from Ann Arbor to Chicago is taking a toil on me.
But as I get down on my knees and pray… I have come to the conclusion that it is more because I have neglected some key elements in my walk with God.
Three specific areas that the Lord started to speak to me about were – humility, hunger for God, and holiness.
1) Humility – being humble before God is easier said than done. I have lost perspective of who I am in light of God’s grace. The higher you go up in leadership, the harder it is to be a servant. Descending into greatness is an art.
2) Hunger for God – Christina would always yell at me and the kids about munching on things before dinner. Trust me… it really does ruin your appetite. No matter how good dinner is, when your cravings are satisfied… it is just hard to eat from the banquet table. Busyness is the appetizer and love for self is the candy that ruins all appetites.
3) Holiness – this is one of the first things to go when a person loses their hunger for God and their humility before God. We end up becoming our own god. When we pretend to be God, then there is no one above us to tell us what we can and cannot do. This is why God had to send prophets to get the attention of the Israelite people. Holiness is a life that is cultivated in worship and obedience. I am guessing when God said, “Be holy, because I am holy” that it was not a suggestion.
I am praying that God will do some great things at this retreat… we need to get back to that one word – transformation!
The words of Keith Green’s song, “My Eyes Are Dry” came to mind: