I love youth retreats. Each time I have the opportunity to go off with a group of kids and adult volunteers for a weekend of worship, praise and study, I always come back spiritually uplifted. This past weekend we had the opportunity to take our middle school and high school students away for such a weekend. What an awesome event it was. We spent the weekend studying the theme, “Can You See Him?”
We talked about seeing the Lord in several different aspects of our lives.
First, we discussed seeing Him in our blessings. Many of us are guilty of failing to see the Lord in our lives when everything is going great. It’s almost as if things are so good we have no need for God. James said, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). Our lives are as good as they are, because God is as good as He is. Every blessing we enjoy is because of Him.
The second aspect of seeing Him in our lives that we discussed was seeing Him in our struggles. When life is good we generally forget about God. When life is bad we generally ask the question, “Where is God?” Friends, God never leaves us. The Hebrew writer reminded us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6). When our lives are filled with sorrow, pain, struggles and burdens, God is there. He is waiting for us to turn to Him. Peter wrote, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (I Peter 5:7).
Not only is the Lord in our blessings and struggles, but He should also be found in our friends. Some people spend more time with their friends than they do with their own families. If we are going to spend a large amount of time around a certain person, that person needs to be someone who exemplifies Christ. Paul said, “Do not be deceived: bad company ruins good morals” (I Corinthians 15:33). The people we are friends with influence us. That’s why it is important that we spend time with friends who help us see Jesus. Their positive influence will have an impact on our spiritual life.
Of all the places for people to see the Lord, perhaps the greatest place of all would be in our own lives. When people see us they need to see Jesus living in us. Our behavior and actions need to be like those of Jesus. In fact, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). When people watch our conduct or hear us speak, they need to see actions and hear words that bring our Father in heaven glory. Your life may be the only sermon some people ever hear or read. Make sure it’s a sermon that will glorify God and make Him proud.
This past weekend was very special. It was the first of what I hope is many more youth retreats with the Karns congregation. We had a great retreat. The kids and adults who attended made it better than I even imagined. We even had one of our girls respond to the invitation on Sunday night when we returned home. My hope and prayer is that all the students were as blessed by the retreat as I was. I hope all those who attended look for opportunities every day to see Him.
Now that’s Something to Think About!