Families Find Refreshment Around God’s Word
The Re-Fresh Retreat held each March in the beautiful treed landscape of Sunset Lake Camp in Wilkeson allows attendees to listen to spiritually enriching presentations and interact with Adventist friends they may only see once a year at camp meeting.
“Re-Fresh offers a refreshing of our souls,” says David Yeagley, Sunset Lake Camp director. “We want to get our lives back into perspective and find spring cleaning for our spiritual journey.”
Yeagley led 65 participants through a creative prayer time where they filled in the phrase “God, You are …” with words and attributes such as mighty, forgiving, worthy, long-suffering, funny, real, gracious, trustworthy, merciful, understanding, wise and ever with us.
The family-friendly worship service involved youth worship leaders from Auburn Adventist Academy, Auburn’s Sylvan Chorale and the ukulele choir from Buena Vista Adventist Elementary School’s fourth-grade class.
Keynote speaker Bill Knott, Adventist Review and Adventist World editor, introduced the audience to an interactive format of preaching. Knott presented two initial questions to consider during the main presentation: What did you hear? What did it mean?
Knott shared stories about the crippled woman in Luke 13:10–17 who was healed on Sabbath, blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46–50 who received his sight and the betrayal of Judas Iscariot in John 13. When Knott finished presenting the stories, the sermon wasn’t over but went immediately into a dialogue with the audience discussed the application of the stories to life, ministry, the church and the community.
Knott says the interaction format allows him to learn just as much from the sermon as the audience. “This is what it means to gather around God’s Word,” Knott says. “Open the Bible, see what lessons God brings to mind and be amazed at what you discover.”
The Re-Fresh Retreat will feature Karl Haffner in 2016 and Randy Roberts in 2017.
Luke 13:10–17 — Crippled Woman Healed on Sabbath
The woman came to worship at the place where she could find healing. She wanted to hear the word of God and to be in His presence — and her life was changed. Maybe it is time we rediscover the simplicity of Jesus. Maybe it’s time to look deeply into our own hearts and ask, “Where in my life do I need the healing hand of Jesus?”
Our place of worship every Sabbath is a place of healing. It is a place where you encounter two powerful forces every week: the Word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We need to partner with God in healing people. In our churches and communities we need to speak healing words, observe healing silence and practice appropriate healing touch. We need to love people the way God loves us. Worship is where broken people find healing. We are not “good” people; we are “hopeful” people who are broken, overworked and stressed. Jesus came to bring us restoration, to break down barriers and to allow people to worship. The courts of heaven are a most reverent and loud place to be with thunders of praise. Let’s rearrange our priorities to partner with God in healing people.
- Love people;
- Be intentional;
- We all need healing;
- Jesus’ love took immediate precedence over everything He did;
- Accept people as they are;
- A simple touch healed complex matters;
- Take action, connect with people, and listen to God’s direction.
Mark 10:46–52 — Blind Bartimaeus
Bartimaeus could only trust his ears, not his eyes. He heard the commotion, but needed to ask his friends who was passing by. His friends identified the passerby as “Jesus of Nazareth.” Bartimaeus identified the passerby as “Jesus, Son of David.” He believed in the One who he asked to heal him and loudly called out for mercy.
When you approach the presence of Jesus, it is better to err on the side of volume. You don’t have to whisper. A cry for help is sweet to Jesus’ ears. Keep crying out to Jesus. Jesus is still in the business of healing hurting people. No matter what the rebukers say, Jesus will hear you. Take heart, rise up. Jesus is calling you.
- Jesus offers hope for change;
- Come boldly to Jesus with our requests;
- Don’t let discouragement get in the way;
- Be transparent with our needs;
- Have an open friendship with God;
- Jesus is near to us even if we don’t see Him;
- Give opportunities to bring needs to Jesus.
John 13:1–5, 21–30 — Judas’ Betrayal
Judas Iscariot deliberately hurt the one he said he loved. He represents in our minds an extreme measure of evil, yet his actions reflect many of the choices we make. Throughout his ministry, Jesus showed grace to Judas by giving him a position of trust, washing his feet, extending signs of friendship and feeding him with the “best food” at the table.
Judas was being sought by the relentless grace of Jesus. From Judas’ story, we learn it is easy to be saved and hard to be lost. This brings to mind the song, “Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go.” Don’t resist the love of Jesus. Lose yourself in God’s grace and mercy.
- Jesus loves me;
- Jesus died for everyone, even for Judas;
- I am not above Judas;
- We have daily choices to make to follow Jesus;
- Jesus preserved Judas’ privacy and dignity;
- Pray for those who hurt us;
- Don’t give up hope too easily;
- Jesus’ last words to Judas where filled with grace.