Originally I wrote this recap for our church bulletin. Thought I would post it for others to enjoy. – Kevin
As I prepare to share with you the following article, I can hear the Mission Impossible theme song playing in my head. After all, how does one adequately express with words how great of a retreat 85 of us were able to experience recently in Winter Park, CO?
Our theme for the week was “Journey to the Summit.”The objective was to look at different spiritual encounters, which occurred throughout time with God and His people. Many thanks to Michael Miller, Jeff Jenkins, and Dalton Deffenbaugh for delivering great messages on their assigned mornings.
The reason I wanted to see this retreat come to fruition was simple. I longed to see an opportunity where our church family could get away from our part of the world and gather together to focus on our faith, our church family, and our immediate families. In the time I have been able to be at Lewisville, I have often found a need to strengthen the relationships I have with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I was prayerful that a week together in one of the most beautiful places on earth would benefit each of us greatly.
You may be wondering, “What did ya’ll do?” Each morning at 8am, we would assemble together for 30-45 minutes to sing, pray, hear a lesson, and discuss the day. Each family was given a Family Bible Study guide to use at their leisure throughout the day until we reassembled at 8pm to sing, pray, and share our studied conclusions from our family study. It was great to have an opportunity for our members of all ages to share their insights from God’s Word. You would have been deeply impressed with the quality of answers shared from our young campers (ages 10 and under). And yes… we learned that Batman is a great peacemaker by my 5 year old!
The remainder of the time was “free time” with a few scheduled events planned. For example, on Tuesday a large group of us rode a train from Georgetown to Silver Plume. A few of our number explored an old silver mine. On Wednesday, a third of our group went rafting while a large group traveled to Grand Lake to hike, fish, shop, and see several different species of animals. On Thursday, most of our group enjoyed the Winter Park Resort Base Park, where we rode the ski lift to the top of the mountain, enjoyed the Alpine Slide, along with several other family-friendly opportunities. Other activities included driving through the Rocky Mountain National Forest, going horseback riding, shopping, and visiting some of the surrounding towns and communities.
As I reflect upon our week together, I must say that I lost count of the number of people who stated that they wished this retreat could last longer and/or how badly they wanted those of you who were unable to attend to be there with us. I was even challenged to “bottle up” this experience to share with our family back home and to remind all of us daily of our experiences together.
Here are a few of my observations I came away with from our time together, and long to better apply to my daily walk with our Father.
See the Omnipotence of God
Psalm 90:2 states, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Isaiah added, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth (40:28).” It was great being able to see God’s creation in ways we don’t see everyday. We witnessed some of the most beautiful terrain designed by our Heavenly Creator. Although we are not able to see mountaintops, moose, and elk everyday, we can still see the work of the invisible through the visible things He has created for us to enjoy. We each should take the time to see the beauty in everything He spoke into existence.
Study His Word Daily
Twice daily we were able to assemble for devotionals, with all ages being able to meet together in a small setting to study the Word together. It was so refreshing for my family to have three generations sitting down to read and meditate upon His statutes. I know each of our lives are busy, but may we each make the reading of His Word a priority in our own lives. For those with children at home, our time with our kids is fleeting and we must make the most of the opportunities to instill the faith within the hearts of the next generation. Paul shared with Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Spend Time with Your Family
Most families are constantly on the go. We live in a very fast-paced society and as a result, many families are suffering for it. One of the greatest blessings in my life is when my stepfather entered the life of my family and instituted that each night we eat together at the dinner table. As I reflect back, I cannot express how grateful I am for that act. It allowed my family to spend quality time discussing the affairs of the day and to verbalize our experiences to each other. It was also a time of deep prayer and love. How much better would our society be if we learned to slow down and spend time together?
Seek to Know Our Church Family Better
As one family stated, “We liked being able to get away from the Metroplex rush/daily schedules/demands and go somewhere that is quite different than what we’re used to. We loved being able to spend time with your family as well as others we didn’t know as well.” As I read the “one another” passages found in Scripture, I am quickly reminded of the need to spend time with my church family so I can minister and be ministered to. My family realizes we need to create time and make it a priority to have more people within our home to foster deeper relationships together.
Here are what a few others had to say:
“We loved the beauty which surrounds us; the smell of pines which envelopes us. The power and sounds of rushing water splashing down hillsides are everywhere. We enjoy the wonders God created for us and yet as we look at Abraham and Isaac we understand that all of this is of no consequence. Nothing in or of this world should come between us and our relationship with our Father. God tested Abraham to see if he would faithfully give all. and the good news is Abraham was willing.
We face so many distractions each moment and sometimes those moments are an endless strand. God calls us to be holy, to stop, and put on hold the busyness of this world and worship him. This past Family Retreat at Winter Park gave us the opportunity to be still, focus on God’s word and God’s family. We enjoyed the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We cooked, rode trains, hiked mountains, rafted rivers and we marvelled at God’s creation.”
“Quality time with other members, having fellowship and fun together, which draws a greater closeness to our brothers and sisters in Christ of all ages.”
“Our devotionals were done by Kevin Langford, Michael Miller, Jeff Jenkins, and Dalton Deffenbaugh that were timely for today and should be applied to our Christian lives today, with great lessons, with question and answer period, and fantastic singing.”
“Great location set on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Forest, only 1 hour and 45 minutes from Estes Park, and 30 minutes from Grand Lake Colorado ( the largest natural lake in Colorado). Our condos in Winter Park were equipped with kitchens and all amenities needed, with beautiful scenery all around.”
“There were a variety of activities for all ages, with numerous children’s activities right in Winter Park, with shopping, restaurants, horseback riding, and wildlife all around us. At Grand Lake there were a variety of activities including Kayaking, boating, horseback riding, shopping, restaurants, and if your were fortunate you would see Bruce the Grand Lake Moose!”
It was an incredible retreat! I look forward to next year’s retreat at the Red River Family Encampment on June 27–July 1, 2015!