what; eXit winter retreat ‘10
the characters of GOD;
love/ holiness/ justice/ trinity
when; january 15-17th
where; black lake bible camp
why; to learn about and love Him
so. it’s already almost 1am, but i feel if i don’t write at least something down right now, it’ll slowly start slipping away. therefore, here is a synopsis of my weekend notes, meaning that it’ll be choppy/trailed thoughts. bear with me please? :)
i went this weekend to my church college ministry’s retreat. i went with a mission; a purpose to find out where i am with God. to discover where i stand, so i can learn and grow closer to Him. we left on friday in the afternoon, headed to a very familiar place. black lake has been the retreat spot for many summer youth group retreats, so many of us were really comfortable in going back there, except in a college ministry setting.
our speaker was pastor phil bryant, who was apparently a previous pastor for new life in 2006 or so. he is a very passionate speaker and it’s obvious just how much he loves God and takes his Word seriously. when we got to the conference center at the camp, he introduced the retreat weekend with the theme of ” God’s character ”. we were there to learn more about Him; as pastor phil said, “you can’t love something you don’t know.”
the first evening service centered around the theme of holiness. according to definition, ‘holiness’ is “to be separate”; since God is holy, he is completely distinct. pastor phil went on to discuss the common question of “how good is good enough?” God, being holy, is separate from evil and has become the one standard. so to answer that question, there is only one requirement — that you are holy. however. there is no “middle area” of holiness — you are either holy, or you aren’t. and since He is holy, that means we’re not. no matter what “percentage of good” we are, if it isn’t 100%, we are not holy. this really hit me, because pastor phil went on to say how “we don’t want God to be holy because of the implications it has on us.” since God is the standard, he has a zero-tolerance policy. so we need to be that 100% holy; 99% is just not enough.
in the morning, we discussed the topic of God’s justice. pastor phil brought in an interesting concept. he demonstrated that we live by the equation of 0 * X = 1, where 1 is God and we are nothing in comparison, 0. but as any mathmatical person can see, this equation is impossible to balance. or so you think. pastor phil went on to discuss how we need to remove ourselves from this equation. by removing the 0, the equation becomes X = 1. and the only possible solution is then 1 = 1. God provides the X, which is HIMSELF. wow. God wants to provide us with grace — even though humans would justify with punishment, He is not in human terms.
romans 3:5, 23
love. a topic that’s been discussed many times over. but still, we can’t get enough of it. i feel like we can never hear about it enough. about His unconditional love. something from this service that struck out to me was when pastor phil said, “God cannot love you any more or any less than at this second.” how true is that? His love for us is unconditional; that no matter how many times we hurt Him, He still loves us dearly. so to grow closer to Him, we need to learn more about Him. Love Him. i mean, pastor phil discussed how Jesus, being God, can do anything he wants. and yet, he walked 30 years in our shoes just to get to know us better.
we finished with the trinity. an interesting point that pastor phil brought up was how people try to bring an earthly counterpart to God’s glory. and why? we are human, He is divine. NOTHING can compare to his love and glory. and yet, we are so desperate to try and explain the trinity; the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. He exists in 3 persons for you, because nothing can show you His love like this.
luke 3:21 &
1 peter 1