The title's not exactly true. There were two groups of kids at the retreat: Kids in SidexSide made up of people 7th grade and older. And kids in "Snodaze" for people 7th grade and younger. To my surprise, my youth leader decided that all 180's 7th graders were going to go to Snodaze, so that's where I was placed. At first, I was dismayed. I mean... I kind of wanted to go to SidexSide because I figured the sermons and music would be more... Well... "Olderish" I guess. And I have to admit, the music in Snodaze was a bit childish. We sang songs I sung in third grade at my church for pity's sake, but, the sermons were excellent. Snodaze's preacher, Todd Erickson, was really good. The theme of the weekend was "Fearless." Pretty much being able to proclaim and speak out fearlessly about God and not being hindered by fear. In the first sermon we learned about Slavish and Childlike Fear. As it says in Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge- What is that fear?
Slavish Fear results when we fear the punishment of God. We do everything out of fear of wrath and not out of devotion to Him.
Childlike Fear results when we love and want to please God so much, that we're desperate to follow God's will and our fearful of doing anything not according to God's plan because we're so anxious to follow him.
A verse that goes with this is 1 John 4:18, which over the course of the weekend, has become one of my fave verses: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
So it says: "There is no fear in love." And then it reinforces this statement in the following sentences of the verse. If we're fearing God's plan and will for us, our relationship with Him isn't right. "The one who fears (slavish fear) is not made perfect in love."
That's something I struggle with. I mean, what if God wants me to go and be a missionary in Iran or something? I'd be extremely fearful, but I would do it, but, to be honest, I don't know if it would be out of Slavish Fear or Childlike Fear. *sighs* It's something I have to work on.
The next sermon focused on Childlike Faith. In Mark 10:14, it says: When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children."
What's so amazing about those children? They wholeheartedly and easily rely, trust, and have faith. For example, if my Dad were to tell my little brother Caleb to jump four feet down off my top bunk, and that he'd catch him, he'd trust him in a heartbeat. No hesitation. They're so trusting that doubt or indecision never even crosses their mind. That's Childlike Faith. Whatever God says to do, we do it, casting complete, unwavering faith in him. Childlike Faith is to trust that whatever He desires for you to do, you do it, trusting him just like a believing, relying child. What exactly is faith? Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Does faith save you? This morning, I brushed my teeth, having faith completely that water would spew out of the faucet and out onto my toothbrush. Obviously, it did. No, faith alone isn't enough. But faith in Jesus is a whole different story. The story of Shadrach, Meshac, and Abednego is an extraordinary example of faith in Jesus, a superb display of Childlike faith.
After these two, there were three more sermons. One focusing on God's constant companionship with us and his omnipresence, the next on Ephesians 6:10-20 about the full of armor of God, and the last one on our Hope given to us from Jesus by his resurrection. Without that act, our faith would be futile. If His death on the cross had been the end... Well. There would be no "hope". One of the questions asked in the sermon was: What is your hope? It's not like a "I hope so!" hope, it's a firm, certain hope. If we cast our faith on people, we'll be disappointed cause we all mess up. But in God our Hope is as solid as a rock. We'll still be confronted and persecuted on this earth, but every time we fall, we'll fall on a Hope as a powerful and substantial as that.
Aside from all the sermons, I had a LOT of time to just hang out with my friends around the campus. With Caleb from Ballin' With God and Joey (my cousin), I played basketball practically non-stop. I even gave up tubing off this massive tubing hill to do it. It was pretty much an obsession during my time there. *grins* I also bought and ate junk food (much to my mom's dismay) including a Twix bar (best candy bar in the world; anyone who disagrees... well... you're missing out :D), a Mountain Dew, and peanut butter M&M's. Not much but immensely filling. Oh, and I forgot to mention, every night the people in my dorm and I had these awesome devo periods and on Saturday night, Jimmy, my youth group leader, put me in charge. I felt pretty good about that knowing Jimmy trusted me enough to lead it so yeah, it was really cool. :D
*goes back and looks over what he's written* Wow, I wonder if this is the longest post I've ever made... *laughs* I know, compared to most people's longest, this entry is mini, but to me: it's a record.
Alright, well I better close this post before it gets too long.