Seeking to be transformed into the image of Jesus

Revive 2011:AIC Youth Retreat

This past weekend (in Jordan, that’s Thursday-Friday-Saturday) I was one of the adult chaperones for the Amman International Church High School and Junior High Youth Retreat.  Our theme was “Revive” and our speaker was Greg Speck.  Matt, led worship with Janelle, Josh, Lauren, Michelle, and Andrew and it was incredible.  Jeff planned a great retreat and I was blessed…

Here are my top five highlights from the weekend:

1) Greg’s talks

I’ve known Greg for about twenty years and have always appreciated his humor and his insight into what it means to be a teen and a follower of Jesus.  He has an amazing way of making God’s truth come alive and connect with young adults.  He spoke four times.  The first was on having “no fear” in the midst of spiritual warfare because He who is in us greater than he who is in the world. 

The second focused on self image.  Greg shared that 1) what you look like on the outside is not the most important thing; 2) God desires that we be beautiful on the inside; 3) God was actively involved in creating us; 4) the fact that Jesus died for us is evidence of our great value.

In his third talk, Greg focused on our highest calling in life: to love God with everything we are and to love others.  He said 1) our love needs to be tough (loving the unlovable and loving even when it isn’t easy…love can break the hardest hearts so faith can grow); 2) our love needs to be vulnerable (we need to reach out and be initiators in loving others); 3) love is a commitment (it’s something we do whether we feel like it or not…it’s a choice); and 4) love now (don’t just give flowers to dead people, give flowers to people who are alive).

The fourth and final talk focused on depression.  Greg shared that feelings come and go, but Jesus is always there.  We all face depression at different times in life and it isn’t sin (though its cause could be sin).  He shared four practical things God did for Elijah when he was depressed in 1 Kings 19 that we can do too: 1) Get enough sleep and eat right (vv 5-7); 2) Talk to someone (vv 9-10 – God there listens to Elijah without judging); 3) Seek a fresh awareness of God’s personal presence with us (vv 11-13); 4) Begin to minister/serve again (vv 15 and 18 – we’ve been called for a purpose so go fulfill it!).  He also reminded us that depression can be a time of growth for us.  All sunshine and no rain make a desert.

Good stuff and really practical. 

2) Great times of worship

Each session began with a time of worship and it was great to be ushered into God’s presence with song.  I ran the PowerPoint so others could worship and it was great to be able to sit back, enjoy the enthusiasm and passion.  It was also cool to watch my son play bass…

3) The red team

We were divided into five teams – red, green, blue, brown (more of a tan really), and pink.  It was largely by age and I since I was leading a small group of 7th and 8th grade boys, I was on the red team.  They were amazing and I loved the times of hearing their hearts, praying with them and making up our “red hot” cheer.  You all were great!

4) The youth

We had 90 youth at the retreat – 45 boys, 45 girls.  They came from many countries and many backgrounds.  One of my favorite things was just walking around and seeing them in groups talking, playing, hanging out, singing.  Rarely was anyone alone and then it seemed it was by choice.  There was a great spirit among the youth and it was fun to be a part of.  They are fantastic kids.  It was fun to talk to several during meal times too.

5) The leaders

I am incredibly grateful to the adults who came to help with the small groups and hang with the youth.  Alex, Heather, Janelle, Michelle, Matt, Lauren, Jeong, Soo Young, Greg, Ruth, and of course Jeff.  You all were great to work with and I really enjoyed hanging out with you all.  Thanks for sacrificing your weekend and sharing your hearts with our youth and with me.  You are a blessing!

Thanks to everyone who had a part in the retreat!  I, personally, left revived!

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