In the youth department we have just returned from the youth and young adults fall retreat at Newport News Park. We had a total of 38 people camping. The topic for this year was, “The light shines in the darkness”.
The leadership left Thursday afternoon to set up camp and prepare for the weekend and youth and young adults began to show up Friday morning. The kids relaxed in the many hammocks we hung in trees by the water, had many bike rides, made s’mores, monkey bread and popcorn over the fire. Later we engaged in a nighttime game of flashlight tag with the older hunting the younger. We ate well and even had an Italian food cooking challenge over little campfire stoves. The winners of this “Iron Chef” type challenge were David, Ashton and Josiah, all from our Restoring Moms Co-op. They made an amazing meal of homemade bread with brochette and smoky fettuccine Alfredo with Italian sausage. Amazing! They wore their red chef hats that they had won with distinction!
We had four lessons; Friday night was the introduction of the two kingdoms at war, the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness. Acknowledging that the ultimate battle has already been won, but there is territory to be protected or taken back.
Lesson two on Saturday morning was about understanding strongholds…the formation of them and the nature of them. We discussed how the skewed thinking, that is a stronghold alters the thought processes and behavior of a person. We talked about bitterness, jealousy, deception, perversion, infirmity and other strongholds and how they may take root and what are some symptoms of each.
Lesson three was practical instruction in pulling down strongholds. Knowing that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds…we learned to Repent, Resist and Renew. Repent of wrong behavior that is reinforcing and defending our stronghold. Resist the enemy by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony and loving not our lives even unto death. Renew our minds through the Word of God, memorizing, speaking, reading and displaying it.
Lesson four concluded Saturday night by remembering that if we take back territory the enemy had previously taken from us, we will be strengthened to go forward as bearers of the Light. Like a lamp on a stand, or a city on a hill, we will take the light and love of Christ to a dying world! “And the darkness has not overcome it” according to John 1:5.
It was a fun time, with good memories made and a fun t-shirt to commemorate the weekend, I pray that as the song “No Other” says ‘I can see strongholds coming down, I can see Jesus reaching out”. I want our youth and young adults set free from strongholds to carry Jesus to a dark and dying world!
I want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to the regular staff, David Carmichael, Abby Carmichael and Nick Jordan…so many, many hours devoted to worship, preparation, running things and cleaning up. Very little would happen without them! Also thanks to Scottie Marshall and Nora Nelson for being on site adult leaders…So many dishes, so little time. And thank you for your prayers and support for trusting your precious children to us!
The Student Ministry worked hard and created a lovely walking path through the trees to offer an inviting walk for the community to join us at Restoration Church.