Monday, May 01, 2017

I Retreated

I have neglected blogging for quite a while...but I wanted to share today.🔋

This week-end I was inspired, refreshed and blessed to be at WNC Local Pastor Retreat . Being a mentor to a group of these folks gave me the opportunity to hang out with some really dedicated preachers for the week-end.

Ed and I made the trek up the Old Fort Mtn. to Ridgecrest. We checked in and quickly realized that to go anywhere was up. (I discovered how very out of shape I am.)

The retreat was good for my soul because I was surrounded for two days by a portion of God’s beauty that can only be exhibited by the lush, green mountains of North Carolina in the spring time. I was also blessed to have a chance to be in worship when I was not the leader. I miss that sometimes. Being simply a worshiper allows me to rest in the presence of God in a totally different way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the privilege and opportunity to bring the Word on any given occasion, but it is also good to hear and soak up the words of other great preachers. We had one of those. Rev. Dr. Winston Worrell, brought a soul-stimulating message that presented the provoking statement, “I thought he (Jesus) was the one.” Dr. Worrell said that many people today are disillusioned with church just like the men on the road to Emmaus. 

The “Dones,” as he called them, are people who are burned-out on ministry, fed up with organized religion and who have become spiritual refugees. They not only present a challenge to the church, but without them the church is much the poorer. 

Rev. Greg Moore took us further into renewal by encouraging us to form a more intentional time of being with God. He showed us the The Trinity, an icon created by Russian painter Andrei Rublyov in the 15th century, “reading” it with us, and noting that we (all of God’s creation) are what is missing from the table. He posed the question that God is continually asking of us…of humanity. “Where are you?”

Then Rev. Moore offered us the good Wesleyan method for answering that question through more intentional times of prayer. What really intrigued me with the talk he gave was when someone asked the question: If this Wesleyan Way was so great at keeping the Dones from becoming the Dones...why did we ever leave it. Rev. Moore said this: It was too hard.

Bingo! The Christian life of faithful discipleship is hard. Not only is it hard, it is risky. Not only is it hard and risky, it is not popular. Because it will not make you rich, or keep you from having a health problem, or make all your dreams come true. Sorry. No. 

What a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ is promised is inclusion in the life of God, which is peaceful, powerful, and eternal. When we mistake discipleship for easy, fun and with the promise of the good life, we to move it from the divine to the secular. We become consumers. Discipleship is not what we have, it is the incarnation of Jesus in us...Jesus, who gave his life for the world.

The Holy Spirit used Rev. Moore to convict me. I don’t spend nearly enough of my time with God in prayer. That is hard to admit…I am a pastor, and I lead a community of faith. 

I retreated, and I remembered that I am convinced that the more time I spend with God, the more peace and power as a disciple I will have; more time at God's table, and the better I will be able to discern God's heart, both for my life and for the life of the church I serve.

Pray with me...Lord, I will try to be at the table me keep my word. Amen.

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