Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Men's Retreat, Pt. 3

Hello All,

I had mentioned that I would provide pictures of the Men's Retreat. Unfortunately, my pics did not turn out very good, so I will have to go back on my promise for now. Other guys took shots and I'll do my best to gather them. For now, I will have to give what Chick Hearn used to say was a "words eye view."

Our retreat took place pretty close to home at the Aliso Creek Inn and Golf Course in Laguna Beach. It's tucked away and presents a mountainesque atmosphere, but does not force us to drive to the mountains, which would have taken a possible 6 hours out of our weekend. The place is a little rustic and a little conference center, with a 9 hole golf course right in the middle of the campus. The place was perfect for us men.

The next important part was the speaker. This took a little longer to find. I had made the reservations for the place almost a year ago; our speaker was secured just 4 months ago. I had asked several speakers and had been turned down on each call. I was wondering what was going on, and why this had been so difficult to secure. Did we have leprosy? Were we uncool?

In the end, it was the Lord who sovereignly had a choice that was perfect for our men. Back in July, not looking for a speaker at that moment, but checking in on Sanctuary's website, a church in Beaumont led by Pastor Rod Collins, I had a brilliant idea. Pastor Ridge Burns, an associate Pastor at Sanctuary, had a recorded message on their website. I listened to about 5 minutes and remembered where I had heard Ridge before. Back in the 90's, Ridge had spoken at Saturday Night Life, a service that I played drums at. I remembered that he was funny and engaging, but was also a very powerful speaker.

I called; He accepted. I knew that he would be good; he turned out to be great! The Lord really spoke through what Pastor Ridge prepared for us and both Pastor Chris and I felt that we could not have had a better speaker for our men on this weekend.

He spoke to us about a day in the life of Jesus beginning in Mark chapter 4. The thrust of his messages ended with an observation of God's power, and men and women marveling at this man that they reverenced. This man Jesus changed the rules. The seas obeyed Him, demons were sent out by His word, a girl was raised from the dead and a woman was healed from a humiliating, lingering issue of blood. In each of the sessions, the Spirit of God cut deep into our hearts, touching on issues that every man can relate to. I looked around during each of the sessions and noted that the men were eating up every word, a gift that is rarely exhibited.

That included me by the way! For all the retreats I have done, I have found that often times, because of my worries or the administrative detail that I have to attend to, I mostly casually observe. This weekend was different. It seemed that at every session, God was cutting me deeper and causing me to confront my own stuff. It was not just Ridge, but Robert Custer in our room Friday night, Mike Shepard at the Laguna Beach prayer meeting at 6:30AM Saturday and then Sean Sullivan at the 7:15AM devotions. God just kept moving upon my heart, the lump in my throat growing with each passing moment. It was difficult, but really refreshing to be so moved.

I was not the only one, as there was a great amount of evidence that this was a wide spread phenomenon, something that made me feel that we had succeeded. To me, as the Pastor who oversees Men's Ministry at Kingsfield Church, this was the highest goal, the one which mattered the most. I was so grateful to be a part of this weekend, and to have given some direction to it, though I will never take credit from the Holy Spirit, who reigned in our hearts in a major way.

And here was THE sign that this weekend was a success: I can't WAIT for next year! The problem will be topping this last year, which is actually not my problem at all. I am sure that the Lord will be just as faithful in all the years to come to the Men of Kingsfield Church.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

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