I’m back on the grid after a few days of taking my first personal retreat. Thanks for praying for me while I sought to meet with God. He never disappoints.
My agenda: outline The Forgotten Way, learn from the resource, write a dozen songs, learn So Will I on the hammered dulcimer, come face-to-face with my sin, accept forgiveness, read Scripture, and hear exactly what God has in mind for my next steps. All in 2-1/2 days.
Yep. That’s they way I’m wired. Nope. That’s not what happened.
I did get through Ted Dekker’s book, some 18 pages of hand-written notes (no electronic devices were allowed on my trip). I’ll continue to process through that and perhaps offer some highlights of the three main movements for in the Way, Truth and Light sections. Those who carry the label Christian need to be reminded of the truth that Christ is IN us. We have work to do on that front.
Studying So Will I was really enjoyable. I found great beauty in the lyrics by grouping the verses, choruses, and bridge. Take a look at the lyrics when you can. The verses proclaim: God of creation, God of Your promise, and God of salvation. Each chorus begins with “As You speak,” and includes, “I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made, say, and done.” The lyrics are full of “If…” questions throughout the choruses and bridge that all end with the assertion So Will I. We offered these assurances at Exponential last week during our pre-conference. God did not disappoint!
My agenda was ambitious, to say the least. God was not moved to fill my agenda. I did not learn the hammered dulcimer overnight, did not write a single song, did not convince God to satisfy my desire, though I demanded to know what He wanted from me, He was not moved.
Finally, exhausted, I crawled into bed. At 5:45am I heard the answer: Rest, Remember the Sabbath.
I had proudly declared that the personal retreat was not because I needed to rest, I was going to wrestle, to fight, to learn. God said, rest. He reminded me that I’ve not honored the Sabbath. That somehow I’ve elevated myself above needing a day of rest and reflection on Him. The fourth commandment is not a suggestion or wise saying, even for reborn Christians. Throughout the Bible, the NIV includes the word Sabbath 154 times. Hmmm. Maybe God is serious about this idea.
I packed my guitar and dulcimer and set it aside and rested.
Sunday, my official start of the retreat, I had a big lunch at Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant in Central, SC. After spending the morning reading and studying, it was a good break and a huge meal. When I checked into the bed and breakfast, I learned the breakfast part was a self-serve continental breakfast (mostly pastries) affair. I decided to do something I hadn’t intentionally done in recent memory, I fasted from food. I really wasn’t the least bit hungry during the trip. I walked from The Eagles Rest to The Potter’s Place in the sunshine on Monday, but mostly prayed and wrote and listened. God never disappoints.
I returned yesterday, turned on my devices, cleared emails and messages. The world somehow survived without my immediate response.
Thank you for praying for me while I was away. Turning off the phone was important and significant. That’s how it started at Exponential last week (a whole different story). That’s what I needed. Thanks God.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8
However you make that work in your weekly rhythm, I hope you find rest.