To Retreat You Must first Surrender
The military definition of retreat is to withdraw from enemy forces as a result of their superior power or after a defeat. There are many reasons why an army would need to retreat. Here are some valid points below:
• To make time to recover
• To make time to plan
• To evade attack
• To lessen force of an enemy’s blow
• To delay battle to wait for an ALLIE
To many, retreat can have a negative connotation of weakness, however retreat can be of vital strategic importance physically, and even more so spiritually. I was bless to have the opportunity to go on the Christ Apostolic Church: 1st in the Americas 2015 Youth Ministry Retreat at Sandy Cove Retreat Center in North East Maryland the this summer. During the retreat I was able to gain so much knowledge in only a matter of three days.
My experience at the retreat this year was amazing. I was truly impressed with way that God working in the lives of the members of this church. This was a retreat for a “youth” ministry, so most the age of the participants range between 14-25 (with most of the youth leaders being in their early to mid thirties). Although young, these brothers and sisters in Christ were on fire for Christ and you could see the fruits spiritually. There were young teenagers speaking tongues, young adults being stirred up by the deep worship, people prophesying on other lives, passionate weeps of release, genuine “real talk” sessions were people could bare their burden with one another, powerful thought-provoking sermons : THE HOLY SPIRIT was moving.
Although most kids the came to the retreat wanting to grow and was expecting for God to show up in a new way in their lives. However there were some kids that came with harden hearts, only present because there Mom/Dad/Siblings/family members had paid for them. Their efforts were lack luster in regards to praise and worship, they were falling asleep during sermons and their overall participation was poor.
I truly believe that the reason why these Guys were INACTIVE was not because they were did not believe that God is real, or they thought they were to cool to pray and worship. The real reason was the fear of the unknown. God was taking some these youth to new levels that people can only image spiritually and the lack luster retreaters were frighten that God could possibly take them to same place or even higher.
The one of main pastors said something very insightful that really stuck with me. He said “God wont give you the spirit if you are not going to be obedient to it.” So those that were chilling on the side had no opportunity for God to use them because of their lack of obedience, and the lack of obedience is the result of FEAR! Fear of the unknown, fear to change, fear of lack of control, and most of all fear to surrender!
Although it seem that I’m coming down hard on these inactive retreaters, I actually sympathize with some of these youths. Reason being, I think there are many times were I personally and many other Christians fall to our thoughts of fear. Sometimes you can just get frozen by an imagery perception of fear. There was actually a point in the retreat I found my self in this actual place. As I mentioned before the Holy Spirit was definitely present our entire time at this retreat. In just seconds, the vibe of retreat could have change from a chill out session to a deep discussion of the word, somber worshipping or fervent tongue spoken prayer. Because of this unpredictability, during the retreat I was on edge, thinking “what happens if I lose control and I start speaking in tongues and start seeing visions…how am going to feel. Because of this unknown, I started to have thoughts fear and this influenced my praise and worship and prayer time significantly in a negative way. Because I did not surrender my false perception of control, I wasnt able to seek God fully. But the truth is, I was never in control. As a Christian, I know that God is the master and ruler of all things, thus He is in “control” of all things in heaven and on earth. So me holding back because of the fear of what the holy spirt will do is just foolish. My fear was just slowing up a process that I was so desperately looking for: to feel God presence in my life and to get connected to what’s real. But one thing about the present of God is that I have learned is that, although omnipresent and all powerful, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman; he only goes where he is invited!
The bible lets us know that Jesus left us the Holy Spirit a helper.Romans 8:9 tells us that if a person does not possess the Holy Spirit, he or she does not belong to Christ: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation for all those who believe: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
– Timi Ogunfowra
Calling All Sons Lead Facilitator