One of the highlights of my year just concluded. The Stonebrair Community Church’s 2015 Men’s Retreat is in the books as a real winner.
The weather was all we could ask for. No rain, like last year’s event had; warm temperatures, cool mornings actually which is always a pleasant surprise in Texas in October; and high clouds that made for two spectacular sunsets. I actually recorded the sun going behind the trees on the far shore of Lake Palestine for one full minute.
The retreat was held one week later than usual this year. Something about the OU/Texas game falling on the typical weekend of our retreat messed with some schedules. I noticed some other changes this year.
We had fewer vultures circling overhead this year. I never knew if they were residents or migrators in past years. I made it a habit of watching their silent spiraling dance into the sky near our campground each time I sat on the dock soaking up the solitude of the retreat setting. This year there were only two instead of the usual couple dozen and two bald eagles. I learned they were just a passin’ thru like the rest of us.
It was always interesting to see one of them coast along the beach in search of death that would bring it life. That’s pretty much what us men were there for. We needed to find what part of Jesus’s death would nourish us along in our lives.
We had a good proportion of first time attendees this year, along with a good number of father/son or similar combinations in attendance. That’s always great to see. Our teacher even brought his two sons-in-law with him.
The worship times were phenomenal as usual. There’s just something about more than 100 men lifting their voices in praise to the Maker of the universe that does this child of the King’s heart good.
God and I had our typical one-on-one time. When everyone else was assembling for the first session I snuck out onto the dock and re-devoted my life to His service. Before I knew it I was on my knees in reverence and awestruck wonder in the dark of night, yet in full view of Him.
I used the Saturday afternoon free time to catch up on sleep with an hour-long nap. Then I walked out to a quiet cove and soaked up more of God’s wonderful serenity in nature. The stroll back took over twice as long to complete than the walk out did. A lot of thoughts swirled through my mind then.
Michael Easley hit it out of the ballpark each session we had with him. I just wish I had more than ten seconds to talk to him after the first session. That’s how popular he is. His humor and vulnerability combine so well with his practical teaching of scripture. Now you know why he’s been back for three of the six years I’ve been attending these retreats.
We concentrated our attention on Second Peter with the theme of “Be on Guard.” The parallels between Peter’s day and ours is quite remarkable. We’re more ready to stay alert to what’s going on around us, keeping in mind our availability to God’s divine power available in God’s Word, God’s Spirit and God’s people.
We were called to remain on yellow alert at all times, if not higher. We’re praying it’s not too late to save our great nation, but know God has to intervene for true change to take place.
We know God placed us here at this time in history to make a difference. Keeping a lookout for false teachers rising up from within our midst is crucial.
Michael wants to write a book on his theme of “do the right thing the right way then go home.” It’ll be a winner.
Speaking of writing books I’m more ready for next week’s adventure in my life. I hope to witness some sunsets on Lake Michigan as I attend the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference in Muskegon, Michigan. God has orchestrated some pretty remarkable events to show me how important it is for me to go there this year. Your prayers for me are greatly appreciated. I don’t expect the trip to be an easy one.
I apologize for the lack of humor in this Monday’s post. I didn’t sleep that well the past two nights. I did spend more time in prayer, though. A couple of nights in my own bed should make up for it before the cross-country trek.
Keep smiling. Wade