FOLLOW HIS STEPS
The meeting opened with prayer. Then the convener, Elder Christian, asked us what we had done with Retreat 2010. He led the congregation to confess that they would purpose to leave wiser than when they came, to have more understanding than when they came, and that their faith would arise to apprehend and take hold of what God was doing.
After a time of worship, the main speaker was Pastor Kingsley who opened with the key scripture of 1 Peter 2:18-25. He reminded us that Jesus lived based on principles that had been proven and tested over time.
This is how we are to live our lives, to follow His steps and pattern ourselves after Jesus. However, he also reminded us that we are to come to Jesus with a mindset and a heart that is ready to change. It is a big insult to Jesus to say that people should take us as we are. He died and gave everything and suffered for us.
He loves us as we are, but does not accept everything we do and the way that we are. He demands change and transformation. We’re called to be transformed into the image of God’s dear son. We need to be people of constant transformation.
He encouraged us not to be governed by our five physical senses, but to learn to live from our spirit and to learn not to pray our problems, but to call forth the solutions and take the answers from the realm of the Spirit in the word of God. He also reminded us that because Christ suffered, leaving us an example, we are called to follow in His footsteps. The idea that believers suffer, however, requires a shift in our Western thinking, where everything is designed to pamper our flesh. But we were not to receive the word with fear, but to mix it with faith.
The session opened with praise and worship followed by the speaker, Pastor David Patterson. Pastor David reminded us of the book by Charles M Shelden entitled “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?” He focused on Peter, pointing out that he was the only disciple that actually got out of the boat and walked on water. He also rebuked the Lord Jesus Christ and having promised never to forsake Him, he denied Him three times.
Trials, tribulations and testing’s are allowed in order to produce pure gold in us. God will use them to purify our hearts to make us pure. Jesus is our example. Pastor David said that Jesus loved us enough to become one of us. We are to know Christ and the power of His resurrection (Phil 3:10) and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings. We’re to be conformed to the likeness of the Son (Rom 8:29).
He said that it takes time and trust in the Holy Spirit to be conformed to the image of the Son. It will include some discipline and suffering for us to be conformed. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who died for the sheep.
As His sheep we need to tune in and hear and recognise His voice. He calls us all by name.
After lunch on the Saturday afternoon, as usual there was free time during which many activities took place. There was football on the field, some went for a walk, there was a birthday party in the main hall while some people simply took advantage of the free time to catch up on some much needed rest.
At 5pm there was fellowship hour – an opportunity for delegates to meet each other and get to know people outside their own circle. Everyone was given a number and had to go and sit in a group with those who had the same number. There was an exercise in remembering details about the new people you had just met and a group dancing competition. Finally, each person wrote down a prayer need anonymously on a piece of paper and folded it. The papers in each group were mixed up and each person picked out someone else’s prayer need to pray.
After dinner, the Transformers, the 11-14 year olds, met for a session. Finally from 9 pm there was Praise Jam which incorporated a variety of high quality performances of dances, songs, poetic performances and musicianship, all done to the glory of God.
After a time of worship, Pastor Kenny spoke, reminding us that Christ is our example, not other people. He said that if we were really serious about God we should expect people to laugh at us and say that we were crazy. We should expect to suffer for doing right.
Pastor Kenny then gave an extensive list of characteristics of Christ that we should follow. These include:
- Christ’s prayerful dependency on God;
- His willingness to forgive all injuries and offences;
- The mark of authentic servant hood;
- The power to take any situation and turn it to an advantage;
- Singleness of heart;
- Dependency on the Holy Spirit.
After he had finished preaching, he called out different groups of people for prayer. First, people with addictions were prayed for, followed by children aged 9 to 14. He said that the devil was after their lives.
He also suggested that there were children, who were rude or disrespectful to their parents and others, who needed to change. He said that the youth should allow at least one youth leader access to their Facebook pages. He encouraged them to make a decision that they would be obedient to God, submissive to their parents and humble themselves before God. He also prayed that where the devil had a mark on any child that God would rub it off. Pastor David Shosanya was then asked to lead them in prayer whilst the congregation stretched out their hands to pray. There was an opportunity for any young person to invite Jesus into their life. After that, parents were called forward to stand with their children and put right anything that needed to be put right.
Finally the youth aged 15 and over were called and prayed for by the youth leadership team.
People who worked in professions were asked to stand and Pastor Kenny prayed that God would help them to lift up the banner of justice and fairness where they worked. He also prayed for wisdom to deal wisely in the affairs of this life that God would use them as conduits.
Finally, he prayed for the unemployed. The congregation was dismissed for lunch.
The last session of Retreat 2011 was taken by Pastor David Patterson, following a time of worship.
He pointed to the fact that it was Easter, which focused our attention on Christ’s death and resurrection.
He said that there is hope and victory over the grave. He reminded us that no situation in our lives is hopeless, because even our greatest enemy, death has been conquered. We can focus on the fact that Jesus has power over death, which means He has power over other things too.
We’re to walk in obedience to His word with the desire to follow Him. Our desire is important, because that is what determines our success or failure. It is the object of our affection that gets our attention (1 Pet 2:1-3).
Sometimes we put time and effort into things that don’t really matter, but we need that same ambition and service for God. Desiring what He offers makes the things of the world seem less important. We must hold on to godly desire and keep the longing fresh. (Jas 1:14-16)
Jesus’ disciples learned to witness, demonstrate faith, live a life of holiness and so on by walking and talking with Him. He will woo us by His Spirit, not twist our arms behind our backs.
As disciples, we need to deny our ability to direct our steps (Jer 10:23). It’s not for us to make our own plans in life - Titus 2:11-13.
He reminded us that we are to take up our cross. He said that in New Testament times, if anyone took up a cross it was for one reason only – to die on it. He asked if we were willing to die? Living sacrifices need to die.
Afterwards, there was prayer for the over 60s and for those who had yet to make a commitment to the
After some tea and refreshment, the delegates began to make the journey back home.
“Follow His Steps”
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