I had the priviledge of sharing with Atlantic Avenue Church of the United Brethren's youth ministry this past weekend for their Survivor Retreat. Pastor Dustin Staples and his wife Ashley are good friends of mine, and it was great to share ministry together with them. The group was about 30 kids plus adults (probably close to 50 there total), with students ranging from 7th grade to seniors.
The Survior Retreat is based off of the Reality TV show. When we arrived, the students were split into three tribes and competed in various challenges throughout the weekend. It was great to see some of the older kids working so well with the younger students. It makes for a good first retreat experience when you get included in the activities.
I spoke each night in the evenings around a camp fire. Not a little fire, a big roaring fire. I spoke on 1 Peter 2:11 which says, "Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires which war against your soul." We examined the life of Daniel and how he lived as an exile, yet lived differently than the culture. We looked at Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and other teaches to see that Christians should live lives that will be counter cultural. Some examples were to pray for your enemies; turn the other cheek; and caring for the poor, hungry, and naked. And we concluded the retreat by looking at Esther, another Exile, who was placed in the King's palace for such a time as this. The students were challenged to consider all the places where the move and live and how God has placed them there for a purpose.
Now that I'm back home and getting ready for school to begin, I am hopeful that I will be able to post more frequently and thoughtfully in the coming months!