This weekend was so refreshing. We’ve been attending Central Presbyterian Church in Merced, CA, and this weekend we got to attend the church family retreat at Mount Hermon – SEE LINK. Our speaker was Dr Earl Palmer, and wow was it refreshing to simply be combed by God’s Word in 2 Timothy. He literally preached through every verse throughout Friday to Sunday, and we all were so refreshed and encouraged. We had a lot of fun and fellowship together, and we were united around God’s Word, worship, and the fellowship of God’s children all weekend. How could you dream up anything better for a church to do to experience unity and refreshment around the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, the God-Man! Dr Palmer didn’t dance around with nice popular phrases or tickle our ears so-to-speak. He simply reminded us by way of joyfully getting into Scripture with us of how refreshing fellowship with God is when we simply get into His Word and enjoy His presence.
God was merciful to us as a body of believers, and I know we were encouraged together about the future of not only CPC but the local churches around us. May we all gather around God’s Word and grow in our affection for one another according to God’s plan for His people. He intends good for us and for those He touches through us as His kids.
On a lighter note, my wife and I got to help with childcare one of the nights during a session while the adults heard God’s Word preached to them. It was a very special time of playing with the kids and watching our son interact with and enjoy several other kids around his age and a little younger. He started showing off at one point and was running across the room and landing on a pile of pillows. During one of his passes, he ran into another little boy who handled it quite well, but Jackson’s nose began to bleed. With a little wipe up and comforting, he was back to playing hard right away.
Maybe this is what a retreat like this does for a local church. There is some comfort we needed and benefit from after having bumped into each other. In the arms of our LORD, we remember that we are on the same team and aimed at the same things for the glory of our Savior and LORD. The Father ministers comfort to us and refreshes us, and we watch each other being comforted. We look at each other in the arms of our Redeemer, and we are refreshed to see each others’ comfort and encouragement. We are more prepared after this to jump back into mutual care for one another throughout the year and jump back into reaching the community together with the love of Christ.
May our local churches be refreshed through rest every Sunday and through various other contexts and refreshment together, but may we also use the energy we gain from these contexts to do the work of ministry as God’s children. May we rise from these contexts and praise our God together through demonstrating God’s faithfulness and steadfast love to a hurting and dying world around us. We are not, in fact, after temporary pleasures when all is said and done, as comforting and encouraging as they are. Our ultimate aims are eternal and divinely given, so we can labor on knowing God is working in and through us to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil 2:13).
May God’s perfect pleasure show up in our lives this week as we serve and enjoy the King, as we rest in and enjoy th Father, as we are used of the Holy Spirit for God’s perfect ends in our lives, and as we look to the Redeemer, Jesus Christ Himself, as the Head of this family, the Master Whom we follow, and the Shepherd Who leads us with a steady and loving gaze.
In His presence and joy,