By: Jason Heppner
“He reminded me that I am His child and even though I might not be enough for people on earth, I am everything to Him.” High School Student
Remember the days of old when you went to a far distant land to retreat away from your normal life-rhythm, away from your parents, away from homework, and away from distractions? Remember the sounds of walking on gravel paths…laughing, sharing stories, talking about God, and singing songs of praise to God?
Well, those days still happen. For our High School Fall Retreat we loaded buses full of eager students and adult leaders and traveled 2.5 hours down to Westminster Woods Camp for what would be a weekend packed full of worship, jumping around, laughing, sharing stories, an epic Lip Sync Battle, reading Scripture in stillness, hearing God’s voice, hiking, and encountering the living God.
It was a different kind of retreat. It was our first time at Westminster Woods Camp, and we were excited to experience a retreat at a new place just for high school students. We had meaningful conversations, dug deep into God’s Word, and engaged in small groups with authenticity. Even the cold didn’t keep us from walking the trails, playing basketball, gaga ball, and archery tag, or walking down to the lake to skip rocks and fish.
Our theme was Tune In and our speaker, Steve Weatherford, helped focus our attention on listening to God’s voice of truth and tuning into the gospel, rather than listening to all the noisy distractions that so easily grab our attention. Steve challenged us to consider:
“If you want to hear from God, you have to spend time with God, you have to listen, and you have to have a relationship with God.”
Powerful words of truth.
It was a device-free weekend with the goal for students to have meaningful face-to-face conversations. That was exactly what some of our students needed to reorient their lives back to God. For other students, it was the first time they heard the voice of God or were awakened to God’s relentless love through the person of Jesus Christ.
Living in a culture that has a problem with silence, do we take time to enter into silence to hear God’s voice? Are we afraid of silence? We fill up the silence with distraction and doubt when we should be intentional in getting to know God. Students discovered that God is not a distant God and that He desires to be in an intimate relationship with each of us. They realized they have real access to God through His written Word and that we can be even more in tune to what He’s doing and saying if we take intentional steps to pause and spend time with God.
Kate, an 11th Grader, shared this about her experience while at Fall Retreat,
“God is your cheerleader…you should just go to Him because He’s always there for you and you don’t have to fear anything with Him.”
What do you need to tune out in order to tune in to God’s voice? How are you pausing to seek and listen for God’s voice in your life? What are you hoping to hear from God? How can you enter into silence to be with God?