Young Life Leader Retreat & Weekend Camp

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were 2 out of 500 Young Life leaders in the Tennessee region at this year’s Leader Retreat at Sharp Top Cove.  It has taken me a few days weeks to digest the weekend, and honestly I still feel my mind going back to relive the worship and lectures getting even more out of it. So bear with me, I’ll try to make my thoughts as fluid as possible… =)

During the week leading up to the retreat I prayed fervently for God to prepare my heart for the weekend.  Specifically I prayed for God to soften my heart, open my eyes and my ears so I could receive His message with an open heart and mind. I prayed that this weekend, as we worshiped alongside hundreds of other believers and leaders, would fill me up and re-energize my spirit to be bold as I chase after the amazing sophomore girls at BHS and to be intentional with every interaction. I prayed that this weekend away from all worldly distractions, would deepen my marriage with my husband, strengthening our bond as one in Christ. Most importantly, I prayed that God would move mountains in my heart to deepen the roots of my faith in Him.  The parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-9) was stuck in my mind the entire week:

“Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

I have struggled for a while with my wavering faith, becoming more and more aware of how my faith is like the seed which fell on the rocky ground; though I hear the Word and receive it with joy, the root is not deep, and so it is short lived.  It is discouraging to know this, and yet at the same time, I know I cannot let it way too heavily on my heart because this is the process of growing faith. I know God is working in me because I am constantly aware of my weak faith and seeking Him for strength, where as in the past I was not. But oh how I desire an unwavering faith in Him.

I was blown away with His response to my prayers.  No matter how old I am or how deep my faith is rooted, I will always and forever be in awe at His response to our prayers.  Tom Job was the speaker for the weekend. I had not heard of him prior to this but just after 2 days of listening to him preach I can say with certainty that this is one godly man (and absolutely hysterical)!

Each lecture lifted my heart higher and higher, it was almost unread. His last lecture was my favorite. It was about being in love with Christ. His reference in this lecture was John 21: 15-17 when Jesus came to the disciples on the boat and the first question He asked was "do you love me?".

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon
son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”
He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep."

His words of encouragement through this lecture filled my heart up. He said, "Staying in love with Christ is the only way you'll make it through being a YoungLife leader. AND, the only reason you should be a YoungLife leader is because you love Jesus. Make Christ your first love." Amen!

It definitely can be trying at times as we chase after high school students. They have 300x more energy than you could ever have, it's crazy!  It's so fulfilling watching them grow year after year, seeing your friendship with them deepen into something more meaningful, but still, we are only human and our flesh is weak. Tom's encouragement was to make sure we wake up each and everyday, ready to fall in love with Christ all over again. Only then can we start our day the right way, filled with the Holy Spirit, completely in love with our one and only Savior.  Only then can we lead our friends according to God's will and plan.

This weekend we are heading back to Sharp Top but this time, with 150+ BHS students. My thoughts and prayers this week have been consumed by this amazing weekend coming up, asking God to equip me in ways I didn't even know were possible to lead my group of sophomore girls,  to use me as His instrument to help them know their Savior. 

Please pray for me, my group of sophomore girls and all the other leaders and high school kids at camp this weekend. Pray that we leaders would be well equip to lead this high schooler's towards a relationship with Christ. Pray that our hearts would be soft and aligned with His will, amongst all the craziness of the weekend. Pray that God would open the eyes and ears of the high schooler's and soften their hearts, so they can readily accept Christ into their lives.

 "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."  Ephesians 3:14-19.

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