“Because so many people were coming and going that they didn’t even have a chance to eat, Jesus told them, ‘Come away with me… to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)
Last year I spent a few days with three friends that did more to refresh my soul and spirit than just about anything I did all year. We went to a place in Georgia where all of us could clear our minds… catch up on some rest… and just be ourselves.
It was one of the most beautiful, serene, and relaxing places I’ve ever been to in my life. I think I had that sense because of two things: 1) There is something relaxing about being in God’s creation; 2) There is something refreshing about being with friends who share a common experience and love for the Lord with you. I found both at this retreat.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being with my family and I love being around all my friends in Muscle Shoals… but the men I went was with on that retreat understand me in a really unique way (And I think I understand them in a somewhat unique way also).
We share a common experience and bond that is difficult, if not impossible, to find anywhere else. We all understand the unique and quirky life of pastoring a church. We all have walked the same path to varying degrees. We all know the joys, frustrations, highs, and lows of tending sheep where wolves are always prowling. We all live in fishbowls and glass houses. We’re all pastors.
It isn’t easy for any of us to leave our homes, families, and churches for several days. The fact that we leave means we know there will be a lot we all will have to catch up on when we get back. But we all have decided it’s worth it.
This year we’ve added two more pastors to our group. Two more who need to get away to a quiet place. Two more who share our common experience. Two more who will help us laugh… gain insight… encourage one another… and add to the refreshing that comes from Christian brothers fellowshipping with one another.
We will talk about theology. We will tell stories. We will laugh. We will be serious. We will take a few day trips. We will build a fire and discuss politics… the second coming of Christ… life… kids… and we will pray.
I’m asking you to pray for us. Ask God to give us a renewed vision and passion for serving Him. Ask to to give us all a safe trip. Ask God to speak to us through one another. Ask God to manifest His presence to us while we fellowship with one another.
I must confess a certain amount of selfishness in going on this retreat… I know I will reap great benefits from going. I wish more people would do the same kind of thing we’ll be doing (Notice I wrote WOULD, not could or should). I wish there was some way I could get people to see the immense spiritual benefit to taking a trip AWAY instead of TO. I wish there was some way I could get people to focus on God for a few days rather than amuse themselves with mindless entertainment OR somehow do BOTH instead of just one. If I could do that (As Jesus suggests in Mark 6:31), I think we would find ourslves closer to God for the effort.
Pray for: Buddy, Jimmy, John, Ray, Rob, Ryan, and myself.