Monday, November 22, 2010

Celebrate Recovery Retreat

I want to celebrate the amazing ministry of our Celebrate Recovery Leaders. They serve selflessly week in and week out, never taking a break even for a holiday in case someone comes who is need of a loving touch and a caring person.

Saturday my ministry partner, Sharon and myself, led a leaders retreat to pour into them a portion of what they pour into others. Sharon and I are delighted to have a kingdom ministry of Celebrate Recovery shared by Missio Lux and its parent church, Pine Lake Covenant.

Our theme for the retreat was "The Heart of the Father." This has been a significant theme for me as my Heavenly Father meets me lately and shows me that his love for me goes far deeper than I have ever experientially realized.

He gives us a picture of that Father in the parable of the Compassionate Father. Wait, you don't know that parable~that's because it was severly misnamed by someone who needed to experience greater amounts of the Father's love. We know this because he named the story the Prodigal Son, focusing on the sons failure, rather than the compassion of his Father.

The Father didn't shame or condemn his son for his poor choices, but instead came out running at record speed, threw his arms around him, called for his coat, his ring and his shoes to be restored to him, and then threw a gigantic party for his son! What a welcome he received.

We also watched a clip from Blood Diamonds, a very moving segment of a Father who had been searching everywhere to find his son, only to find him as a brainwashed child soldier who was pointing a gun at his head. He didn't run in fear, but kept speaking to his son about his true identity and his love for him. Eventually the boy put down the gun and fell crying into his arms.

We listened to a song by Kim Walker called "Oh, How He Loves Me," where she sings that if grace were an ocean, we would all be sinking, and heaven reaches down and gives us a sloppy wet kiss. Her songs rings through my head these days as I experience deeper waves of my Father's love.

We reflected on where we weren't yet living life fully with our Father. Then we took the powerful and living Scriptures and confessed our lack and replaced it with the full generosity of the Father.

And, we committed to support and hold one another accountable to continue the journey of freedom to the Father's heart as we experience the abundant life Jesus purchased for us.

Even though Sharon and I were leading the retreat, it was a time of rest and peace for us as we experienced that deeper place with our Father and one another.

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