2008 Undergraduate Retreat Reflections

It seems like every year at the Undergraduate Retreat God does something “unique” for that particular season in our church. This year, it was the first time that we had three campuses come together from UM, NU, and UIC. Whenever you get people from different campuses together it is hard to build unity, but from our time of worship the various campuses were able to unite in Spirit.

This reminded me of the importance of having a common spirituality. We didn’t have to do a lot of explaining of why we do what we do, but as we were worshipping together, we sensed that everyone was on the same page. The Holy Spirit was confirming in all of our hearts about the power of worship.

After talking with some people, it seemed as if God spoke through the messages and they were challenged to live a radical life for Jesus. I was particularly blessed to see all the people coming up to the front to be anointed (consecrated) with oil to be used for God’s Kingdom. It was a powerful way to close out the retreat.

Now, the hard part is the follow up and the continued faithfulness with our commitments.

Some things that have helped me in the past as well as other people are:

1) CONSISTENT time with God. One important aspect of a retreat is the regimented schedule in spending time with God. We have to keep this up after the retreat. We have opened up the Transformation Center at various times so that you can come and have consistent time with God. Take advantage of some of the morning prayer times and chapel times that we have provided for all of you.

2) COMMIT to LIFE group. There is nothing more applicable to the retreat blessings than to get involved in your LIFE groups. As you live out God’s convictions in the context of biblical community, you will begin to see those convictions solidify in your life.

3) CHALLENGE each other.
Get a wingman or wingwoman (is there such a thing?) and get them to challenge you with your commitments and faithfulness. Spiritual growth is rarely done as a lone ranger. There always needs to be other people that we are being sharpened by or that we are sharpening (Pr 27:17). This helps us in keeping up with our commitments and even aspiring to greater things.

4) CHANNEL the passion into service. Retreats have a way of getting us pumped up but if the passion and excitement is not directed towards serving God, then it will quickly fade away. The crazy thing about serving is that as we serve we realize more of God’s heart. This enables us to stay focused and continue to sacrifice more to build up God’s Kingdom.

5) COMMUNICATE the Gospel to others. The Dead Sea has no outlet for the water that flows from the Jordan River; hence it becomes a basin for collecting deposits. The comparison is simple – people who just receive blessings but never have an outlet to share the blessings will just be sitting there collecting deposits. They will be spiritual couch potatoes. The best way to release the blessings and then receive more is to share the blessings by sharing the Gospel.