138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
I love Jesus. And the reason I love Him is because I learned of His love for me when I was on a weekend retreat at just 12 years old. I went on that retreat to hang out with friends and have a fun weekend, but little did I know that this Jesus I had learned about in children’s ministry was about to reveal Himself to me. The speaker shared that everything we enjoy in life has an expiration date – from our favorite food to our favorite seasons, even our favorite people. But then he said this: “grace has no expiration date.”
God’s love for me will not expire and His saving grace cannot be revoked!
At that moment I knew I needed to repent and believe in Jesus!
Unfortunately, over time I went back to some of my old sinful ways as I started high school, but I remained active in my youth group. Even to this day I am still close with my youth pastor. By my junior year, though, I was ready to take a break from the church trips. Work and sports took up so much time already, but my friends kept asking me to sign up for the summer retreat, and so I did. Even though I was taking a break from the whole Jesus thing and focusing on all my sports and work requirements, I made the commitment to go. It was at that retreat I realized once again that everything I held dear and made a priority would not last, and that my thinking was flawed. At that moment, the only thing I could think or say was, “I’m ready now to have a mature relationship with Christ.” As a junior in high school I didn’t know what that really meant; but I did know it was time that I got to know this Jesus, so I began a journey to read the whole Bible and make Him known to those around me. Through this time in God’s Word, there was such an evidential change in my life that I was asked to start preaching, and it took off from there. Sixteen years later, this grace is nowhere near close to expiring; it is so amazing and still overwhelms me, and I cannot be silent about it!
Two of the most significant times in my life – the moment I changed my eternal address, and the day I discovered my purpose for living – happened on two different youth retreats! These retreats changed everything for me. Now, as I sit and work on plans for this year’s Sr. High Fall Retreat, I can’t help but reflect on what God has done in my life, but also to worship and get excited about what God is going to do in the lives of these students during these retreats.
They are going to encounter God and have to wrestle with how they are living their lives; through this, some will come back with a relentless faith.
This should not surprise us because God is still God, and changing the lives of His children still brings Him joy. Instead, we should be expecting it and praying for these students to sign up, to go, to be changed, and to live out a life with faith that is relentless!
Jr./Sr. High Retreats: November 9-11, 2018. Sign up today!