If you missed our very first Winter Retreat, I gotta say, you REALLY missed out – we had an awesome time. But don’t worry, I’ll give you the rundown…
We were happy to welcome many friends from our Gracepoint Berkeley church! We’re so thankful that Pastor Ed and Kelly flew all the way up from California in order to speak to us, and that we could spend time getting to know them. They shared a lot of wisdom with us, whether through the messages in the sermons, or in between sessions, or during mealtimes. We also welcomed about 10 of Jon’s peers, who came up to serve and do all the background work that made our retreat possible! They drove up early to set up the entire room, prepare the houses we were staying in, and during the retreat they faithfully took photos, took care of all of the sound, lighting, and propresenter responsibilities…there’s no way this retreat would have been possible without them. It was amazing to see these guys serving so joyfully behind the scenes.
During the retreat, Pastor Ed brought us back to the Gospel through famous passages like the story of the Gerasene Demoniac, the depiction of the thieves crucified with Jesus, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and the Parable of the Sower. Through these he narrated the story of our sinfulness and inability to save ourselves, and how the tension between love and sin, kindness and evil, God and broken humanity, has its climax and resolution at the cross, where Jesus died in our place to save us from eternal separation from God. He challenged us to think about our responses to the cross, and to a loving Heavenly Father who has been waiting for us, sowing seeds of the Gospel in our hearts, hoping that we will turn back home. We also spent time praying, singing, reflecting, and even just getting together with others and talking about the things we were hearing, to process the messages and allow God’s word to have its full effect in our hearts.
We also had some special content, including 2 really thought-provoking workshops put on by our very own staff: “Problem of Pain”, and “Effects of Living in the Internet Age”. It was hard to choose one over the other, but in the end both inspired lively discussions as people shared what they learned with one another. We also were able to watch and hear a couple of powerful testimonies on topics such as prayer life, media consumption, and difficult choices people made in order to put God first in their lives.
And OF COURSE we also had a ton of fun!!
The first day we arrived, we went up and played in the snow, and lovingly shoved massive snowballs in one another’s faces. We also had a gym night, to play some of the classic Gracepoint pseudo-sports like Braveheart and Hand-Basket-Ball. The times we had back in our homes each night were special too, filled with laughter, eating tons of good food, wrestling (at least, the brothers did), and contests of ridiculous and otherwise completely useless feats of strength (also the bros).
We ended with a time of joyous singing and praising God, as we experienced one salvation decision and many more people committing to truly make Jesus the Lord over their entire lives as well! Praise God for all He did, we’re just amazed at how He worked through that weekend.
So basically, if you weren’t there, that really sucks because you missed out BIG time. Don’t worry we’ll have another one next year 😉 See you there!