This weekend, we are hosting Bridgepoint Bible Church for a Father/Son retreat! I get the honor of preparing and leading devotionals for the weekend, which I'm really looking forward to. Our focus for the weekend is RENEWAL...
...and our theme verse will be Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will."
This evening, after everyone arrives, we'll be having a big bonfire on our Big Games field. This field is actually the fire break that was cut by local firefighters with bulldozers during the Bastrop Complex Fire of 2011, and it's what kept the majority of these 119 acres from burning (which also gave Camp Wilderness Ridge the opportunity to take over this property and keep the ministry running after the original property was destroyed). When you look to the eastern edge of the property, you see the lush greenery that is over most of the property. But when you look across the clearing to the west, you see the blackened trees that still remain, almost 20 months after the wildfire. But here's the thing, even though this area remains scarred (and will be for many years), among the many, many fallen trees and the many which will never come back to health, there's an understory of new growth that testifies to God's faithfulness. For a few months, many places around here looked more like the moon than the lost pines. But now, you can see, smell, hear, and touch (maybe even taste? I saw some wild blackberries yesterday!) beautiful, rich, vibrant, colorful life. We even have wildflowers this year :-)
CWR was not only sustained, but RENEWED through the fire. Honestly, the fire was a catalyst (unintentional pun) that brought the leaders of this ministry to their knees, asking God if this really was what He wanted them to do. When He affirmed that and provided direction, it meant that this was a thing that had to be taken seriously, and we work each day with that in mind. Also, the fire was what helped Claire and me truly see the character of the camp, and it was through being involved with the rebuilding that we felt God directing us to take a step of faith and move here. It's amazing how God works sometimes.
So this weekend, we'll talk about the ways that God sustains and literally renews the world (like the amazing regrowth after the fire), but we'll round that out by talking about how each of us, in our hearts, needs the RENEWAL that comes through knowing Jesus Christ.
More on that after the weekend...