What an enjoyable few days I have experienced seeing old friends and making new ones. A few days that included visiting, eating, preaching and repeating it all the next day. I had the privilege of spending a few days in an area where I once pastored and spent time with people from both congregations that I pastored in Michigan. I enjoyed visiting with two professors, one from college days and the other from when I attended Seminary. Reconnecting with former college friends, members from three churches that I pastored, pastoral colleagues, and people I have known from across the country. What brought us all to one place for a week? Family Camp. The meetings took place at Indian Lake outside of Vicksburg Michigan. We stayed with folks we knew from Detroit. I was one speaker for the family camp the other Rev Tara Beth Leach from Pasadena, CA. The services, the setting, and meeting new friends and spending time with old friends made the time go by quickly.
The idea behind these services is that it is a good thing to carve out time and space in our calendar for spiritual renewal and refreshing. Some space and a place where we can be introspective and examine our lives and where we can grow in our relationship with God are essential. Getting away and dedicating time to listen, reflect, and connect to the Lord and respond to His voice is a powerful discipleship tool. The week provided many things, but it gave us space and allowed us a place away from our routine to pray, listen, and respond to the Lord.
Why is it a good thing to put in your schedule a time for spiritual renewal?
• There is a need to feed the soul. There is much talk these days about self-care. We should develop our minds and take care of our bodies is an accepted truth. The same is true of our spiritual life. We need to feed and nurture our spirit.
• If I do not put something on the calendar, it will not happen! To-do lists and New Year’s resolutions are excellent, but they often are short-lived and short-circuited. The reason is that nothing changes until something becomes a part of our routine. Nothing becomes routine until it becomes an actionable item on our calendar. For personal and spiritual development to become a part of your day it must be on your schedule.
• Being in a community is essential for spiritual growth. It is vital to grow together. Being in community is a corrective against excess and misaligned viewpoints. I learn by listening and watching and interacting with others. Throughout life, I have received needed encouragement, correction, and support from the family of God.
• Memories tomorrow spring from actions today. Memories have been created because I spent a week at Indian Lake.
• Slowing down is essential. For most of us, life comes at us fast and hard. To hear the voice of the Lord, I need to quiet myself and take time to listen and reflect. A week away from the routine allows this to take place.
• A change of scenery is a good thing. I spent time at the lake, took part in multiple services a day, spent time at each meal talking with friends old and new, and stayed up late talking and sharing with friends. It was restorative. A change of pace is a much needed corrective to the fast-moving world in which we live. It is a time to allow the tension to be relieved and to get some much-needed rest.
• You receive strength to go back renewed and refreshed.
More items could be added to this list. There is no replacement for time spent with God, family, and friends. My hope is it will enable us to share this with people who need to know the Lord and the community of faith. Thank you, Indian Lake Nazarene Family, you have made and continue to make a difference in the lives of many, and I pray God’s blessings for a continued impact into the future.