Our all-day retreat/orientation for HEALING PLACE SCHOOL Of MINISTRY was yesterday and I can hardly contain my excitement for the coming year!
Just a brief recap:
The morning started with an amazing hour of worship followed by an awesome message from Pastor Dino on "The Power of Following Through."
In a nutshell, he said that over this next year, we will come up on something, or something will happen to us that will try to stop us in our tracks -- distract us from our purpose -- but we have to make the decision to "run it over," and keep going... to FOLLOW THROUGH on our commitment.
Life doesn't get easier when you take a bold step out for Christ; if anything, the devil tries to throw everything he can at you that could possibly divert you from your course. We have to know this, be aware, and keep going.
Next, we had a delicious lunch at the HPAC (Healing Place Athletic Center) -- THANK YOU "Cooking For Christ" team! -- followed by a home-run derby. We each got 5 hits and I hit 3 out of 5. Not too shabby considering I haven't held a bat in almost 25 years!
Next, we met back at the Sanctuary where JP gave us the run-down on our next assignment:
We were split up into 5 teams of 8 (or so) and each team was given $100.
We had 2.5 hours to come up with a new outreach idea, buy what we needed to accomplish that goal, and then perform the outreach and get back in time for our 4:30 meeting.
Now, our Church has some pretty AMAZING outreaches, so it was hard to come up with an idea that hadn't been tried before.
I mean, they have even done GUM give-aways!!
Our team had several great ideas: hand out blow-pops at the mall, pass out popsicles to people sitting in traffic... but we ultimately decided to honor our local law enforcement and fire-fighters with some cookies and Gatorade.
We were able to make 4 stops: 2 police stations and 2 fire stations where we blessed them with the snacks and gave them cards signed by each member of our group, thanking them for their service to our community. This was such a cool outreach and each one of us was blessed as much or more than those we hoped to bless!
Our orientation dinner was held at a local restaurant where we went over our syllabi and discussed our various campus ministry assignments.
Then we headed back to HPC for another amazing message from "The Haminator," Pastor Mike Haman.
This was such a Word for me and so many others -- perfectly timed.
Pastor Mike spoke on "Life In The Spirit:" How we will be exhausted and unproductive if we are not constantly being refreshed from within. I love that he said this:
"Busy-ness produces Barren-ness. If your schedule is just getting busier and busier (no matter how noble the tasks), but your intimacy with God is decreasing, you will not be able to produce good fruit."
So very true.
I know this is going to be a year like no other; I can feel it.
In some ways, I am even more excited about the coming months than I was when I first began Elevate.
Have you ever been on the cusp of something HUGE -- and you knew that something really big was about to happen, but you weren't quite sure what, exactly, that was?
That's how I feel right now.
And I love it.