Recently the youth of Bethel, and their fearless youth volunteer leaders, journeyed to Camp Nakamun for their annual winter retreat. The theme this year was: “Enter the Story.” Throughout the weekend, we retraced the “Story of God” in the Bible, moving through the acts of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Re-Creation.
Students were given an opportunity to meditate on God’s Word, focusing on one of the acts of The Story. One group of students chose to study the Creation – looking through many articles and commentaries to learn more. Another dreamed up stunning dramas based upon the Fall in Romans 3 and Genesis 3. Those who chose Redemption wrote short stories, poetry and songs about Jesus’ saving work. Finally, the Re-Creation group created paintings and sketches to portray what they imagine the New Heavens and New Earth will look like. When everyone gathered together to share their creative works I was incredibly blessed by the thoughtfulness and depth that went into each students work.
The highlight of the retreat was certainly an extended time of prayer and intercession that broke out. On Saturday November 21st, the youth of Bethel experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit and felt God’s love in a powerful way! Students in High School and Junior High laid hands on each other and prayed blessing. Broken before God and each other, many made commitments to Christ and to follow after Him daily in their lives. Our time of prayer changed the complexion of the weekend. Students voted to keep on praying instead of going outside and playing a wide game! (You know God is working when…)
The message that night was on the parable of the Lost Sheep in the book of Matthew. While the sheep in Luke’s account are unbelievers, in Matthew the sheep represent believers who have lost their way. As one by one we realized our own lostness, we were encouraged that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who always goes after His own. God loves us all so much that He will pursue us until the very end. The Love of God changes everything!
- Pastor Ryan
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