God is Near//Fall Retreat
This past weekend was all that and more.
I came into the weekend dealing with my own self mostly. To be completely honest—I wanted it to be a profitable space. I was working so hard on ideas for merchandise (trying to force God into blessing me financially) instead of going in it with the expectation to simply hear from God. Friday, I scrambled through my thoughts before leaving home to head to Lake Placid Christian Conference Center for Ball State Cru, Impact Movement, AIA, Greek Cru and Cru Kokomo’s fall retreat. I sent out an email to those of you who subscribe to my Pack Light Community newsletter in which I shared my desire to really just “fly”, far away from my thoughts and deeper into the identity that God has for me.
I’m here to witness to you this—I think I did it!
The first night:
I had to work through some nerves and some crowd reaction feelings. Ya know, CRU and many of the organizations’ I worshipped in front of have more of a rote, mechanical way of standing up to praise as a form of normality. I am not saying that this is bad—I’m just saying I could feel the spirit behind it.
There’s a spirit that says that if we do certain things then God will be pleased. It’s custom. Normative. Religious.
Think of it in our daily lives as children when we just said the pledge of allegiance to the flag without truly knowing the history of said flag? Or we celebrated Columbus for all his stealing territory, horribleness without doing the proper research. We were fed a truth and ran with it without any true detective work. WE let mystery be mystery.
I began my set with an original song—which was probably not the right move. If there is one thing I have learned——teaching new songs as the initial interaction isn’t usually a good warm up. Especially in a culture so dependent upon lyrics on a screen.
Again, I GET IT. It’s comfortable and easy and we like to hear what we know. But, what if God was asking us to get outside of the box and do something new or just innovative?
Are we truly open and welcoming to these experiences?
I worked through the first set with about as much confidence as Monday pretending to be Wednesday, but I made it and towards the end when I pulled myself from beyond my guitar and my thoughts of how I should lead, I became more free.
Pastor CJ Neal led us through the book of John 4 about the Samaritan lady at the well. WHEN I SAY THE WORD WAS SPEAKING TO MY LIFE as he continued to expound upon it through Saturday night?!—I’m not exaggerating (and we know I can do that well).
I mean—wow. One thing I had to do while listening was to be present and expectant. I was yearning for God to just speak to me on another level. I kept thinking: Miracles, signs, wonders. I kept wanting the well inside of me to flow freely.
I was reminded over and over that Everything I needed was already inside of me and that I never had to thirst again. Nah, I didn’t sell none of my t-shirts of that design, but I wore it so vibrantly as we transitioned into Saturday Morning. With more confidence and honest boldness I came truly more refreshed and ready to not focus solely on leading people in worship, but experiencing the Father for myself.
What a beautiful experience.
Clearly, I can make this post very long. I could say so much more—but I’ll let this video speak to you.
God is near to all who call on Him, to all who call out to Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).
In your journey to authenticity, be reminded of John 4’s call for us to not even worry about what mountain or temple you worship in, but to adhere to the new time that which God has called us to worship in spirit and in truth. that there is Be a river of living water ready to burst forth. That the Spirit within your spirit knows YOU. That God just is so extra dope and certainly is rooting for you.
I’m grateful for your listening ears and attentive hearts,