Last week, Julie and I were able to take 8 of our college kids on a 2-day retreat in Crossville to enjoy a time of fellowship, games, lots of food, laughter, the beauty of nature around us, and most importantly reflect on our individual Christian walks and how we can grow spiritually to become better disciple makers.
We all stayed in a large cabin which provided a sense of community and togetherness. My time with the youth and young adults of our congregation motivates me to be better. They love and support each other so much better than most older adults. They share their faith outwardly and are proud to be followers of Jesus.
I intentionally left my work computer and phone at home to unplug and focus my time, energy, and emotions on the group we were leading and on providing opportunity for God to be in our presence. On the second day of our retreat, we enjoyed a great breakfast and then headed out for a 4-mile hike. The landscape and sounds changed throughout our walk as we crossed small streams, observed mountains in the distance, heard squirrels and woodpeckers engaging in their normal activities, and witnessed many types of trees and shrubs. Since our hike occurred during December, almost all the trees were without leaves and weren’t quite as pretty as usual. Most everything I saw was dormant, until I looked a little closer at the beauty that God put right in front of me. I was truly missing the forest for the trees.
Sprinkled throughout the walk was small evergreen trees as vibrant in December as they are in the Spring. This immediately made me feel the presence of Jesus and served as a reminder that God is always active in our lives. When our prayer life is dormant, he is there. When we treat others improperly, he is there. When we fail to glorify him, he doesn’t quit on us. He lives in us though the Holy Spirit and we are called to live for him. Let your spiritual life be like the evergreen tree that never goes dormant.