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GBC Church Retreat 2016

 

GBC Retreat 2016– Image 1 of 63

We give thanks to God for the recent Church Retreat, whose theme was “Gospel and Community”. There are many things to be grateful for, including safety, good health, delicious food and a more than comfortable venue – but most of all, we appreciated the solid Bible teaching and the renewed fellowship among attendees that characterised this retreat. Many people said how they felt that the smaller numbers this year contributed to a warmer atmosphere and helped them to actually interact with most, if not all the campers.

Another difference this year was that everything was done ‘in-house’, from the Bible teaching to daily devotions to the children’s programme. The fact that there were no outside speakers emphasised the family feeling and reassured us that God has equipped us as a church with the gifts and talents necessary to help each other mature in faith; we just have to be willing to exercise these gifts and serve each other in love and humility.

Hence the characterisation of this year’s camp as a retreat reflected not just the forest location of the venue, but more importantly the opportunity to withdraw as a church family, to strengthen and encourage each other, and to spend quiet hours listening to God. It was about understanding the gospel afresh, and having understood it, to make it real in our communities by living it out and passing it on.

Here are some of the heartfelt reflections penned by campers throughout the four days:

Give thanks…

“…for love and warmth in our new and renewed friendship at this retreat.”

“… for a safe and uneventful camp where many people remained healthy and were able to enjoy themselves.”

“… for all the seeds sown in people and may they go on to bear fruit.”

“… for gifted servants who brought us messages from God’s Spirit!”

Pray for:

“Peace in all the speakers for giving their sermons and enabling them to get rest in order to lead the church.”

“For all the non-believers invited to camp for God to work in the people around them to bring them closer to God and understand Him.”

“Pray that we will understand the significance of the rest given to us because of Jesus’ work on the cross. Pray that the remainder of our lives here on earth will be lived by striving to enter the final rest that awaits us by obeying and believing.”

What I have learned…

“Do not isolate myself but be open to embrace new and existing members in my fellowship in church.”

“Be a lighthouse, not a clubhouse.”

“I’ve learned that we need to devote ourselves carefully to serve one another; walk in the way of the Lord; humble ourselves and walk with the leaders in our church in order to see changes; respond in obedience if we trust in the Good News.”

“I’ve learned that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good, even when I go through valleys and mountains. He is faithful to see us through difficult moments. We need to focus on the Lord’s goodness. Just give thanks, sing praises and proclaim His goodness all the days of our lives.”

“God has already won. Why there’s still evil is because He’s giving people more time to repent and turn to Him. Thank God for His salvation and grace. It’s totally His work and He is good all the time.”

“I want to be a palm tree – it grows in the desert but it has roots as long as 100m deep. If we are rooted in Christ we can withstand life’s trials and crises, coming out stronger and having grown in our faith, and producing fruit for ourselves and being able to bless others.”

“The rest of God is not a rest from work but a rest in work. It’s partnering with God to do what He is calling you to do by His grace, and leaving the part you can’t do in His hands.”

“The gospel is not just for non-Christians, it is also for Christians. The message of the gospel does not just achieve its purpose when we accept Christ, it constantly convicts us. We must not forget that Christ not only died for our sin, but that He was resurrected and conquered death. Because of that, our faith is not futile. The gospel is sufficient for us to overcome our problems. We have to see our issues through the lens of the gospel.”

“God wants us to share our lives openly, honestly and deeply as a community of faith – sojourners.”

“Ps 92:8 God is on the throne and Jesus is there with him: 'but you, O Lord, are on high forever.' I give thanks to God because He is in control no matter what the circumstances, and He is working out His purposes in the world. I thank God for the Good News.”

“Good works need to be carefully considered, planned and executed, and we should not be casual about this. For me it is to be deliberate in coming alongside others to build the bond of love.”

“Trust is an ACTION. I trust God by obeying His commands and not obeying my senses. It's not a zero-sum game for Christians – we don’t serve to benefit ourselves, and we serve despite the costs. Whoever loses his life for the sake of the gospel will save it.”

“We see so much evil in the world today that sometimes we forget that we are evil too. When we remember that, we can respond in a Christ-like manner to those who hurt us, intentionally or unintentionally. With deep roots in the gospel and the humble appearance of a palm tree, we can rest in the promises of the gospel and look back at God’s initial calling.”

“I personally feel that being united in what is most important in our hearts is the most precious spiritual character to me. If we truly believe that the gospel is the most important thing in our lives we will find it pure joy to ‘cut the rope’ and serve one another. I challenge the youth ministry to willingly be a gospel-centred bunch of people and to go that extra step! All in all, our good works will point the world to Jesus!”

“To live in perspective of the second life, which is imperishable, rather than the life on earth which is perishable, by wisely using our time, resources and gifts.”

“To ‘cut the rope’ is to insist on the gospel and to trust in its power in our ministering and sharing to others.”

“We are so fallible. We cannot and do not give thanks because we forget God’s love and we don’t recognise God’s faithfulness. Must remember GOD ALWAYS WINS. The battle is God’s.”

“God is powerful and good all the time because He can deliver me out of my darkness into light. The lesson for me is to be patient and continue to trust Him according to His time and plan.”

“Preach the gospel to myself every day and then live out my Christian faith.”

“The gospel is Good News! Make our community visible to the world that they may find the Lord through our attractiveness.”

“Rest in what God has already accomplished – Christ died for our sins and was raised again – and what He will bring to completion when all nations will be gathered to worship Him.”