We had a powerful retreat with over 50 men from ages 16 to 70 at Jumonville Camp over the weekend. Our theme was: Living the Dream – Our Father’s Love Changes Everything.
Our theme verse was 1 John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
Our brother Ray Sartori kicked off on Friday night with the story of his amazing journey of suffering, abandonment, addiction and his redemption through Christ He also shared reconciliation of broken relationships and the covenant friendships of his brothers. Doug McCary was our feature speaker who led 3 sessions on the Father’s love. He used the incredible story, through many pictures and video, of their families’ (Wife Lori and 3 biological children) adoption of 5 girls (4 abandoned in China, 3 of the 5 have special needs, one needed a heart transplant!). He used their family journey of love and redemption to portray the Father’s amazing love for us in our heart transplant, replacing our heart of stone (Ezekiel 36:26) and adopting us into his family as “sons” of God (1 John 3:1, Romans 8:15:-17). Stu Hayes and the worship band led us all weekend into the Lord’s presence and Mark Geppert (Founder of South East Asia Prayer Center) led our session on missions with their young Cambodian leader Sopheap. Mark also led us in a powerful communion service Saturday night. Men loved Ray’s testimony, the worship and teaching and the close fellowship that grew out of the discussion group times. Men also were moved by the time at the Jumonville Cross at the top of the mountain and our hike at Ohiopyle. Many thanks to all who served us over the retreat including: brother Jim Buchanan, our barista, and the staff at Jumonville. Special thanks to our brother who provided a generous donation to cover 5 men from the Washington City Mission and our two young brothers from Wilkinsburg (Qiydar and his younger brother Qiyshan). Thanks as well to the fathers who brought their sons to join us as well!
Coming Down from the Mountain: Here are a few questions that should be at the heart of our journey.
Is your heart connected to our heavenly Father? God has no biological children. We become his children through adoption by faith in Jesus Christ. Are you hearing the voice of your Abba-Father? Is the inner witness (Spirit of Sonship) bearing witness with your spirit that you are a “son” of God? Are you experiencing great assurance of his amazing love for you? How is he leading you? Are you going to obey? “Those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14