Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Retreat Review: Thanking God for Your Prayers

I knew very little about the setting or schedule of the retreat going into it--three talks and a sermon to Yale grad students and New Haven young professionals--that's about it. When we arrived in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts I was pleasantly suprised. What a wonderful setting for discussing creation, culture an our role in God's creation project!

The talks were well-attended in the basement of the large holiday house nestled in the woods. Forty plus crammed into the basement sitting on blow-up mattresses, chairs, whatever they could find in order to consider the biblical-theological basis and a practical paradigm for participating in culture to promote human flourishing and the glory of God!

Using the heuristic of a web browser, I proposed that we all too often use different browsers to surf the Worldwide web of culture and ideas. For movies and music we use secularism, for work and commerce we use consumerism, for church and bible studies we use christianity. Our worldview and approach to culture is seriously flawed and fragmented. Therefore, my aim during the talks was to promote repentance of using multiple fallen browsers and faith in the Creation-Fall-Redemption-New Creation browser our triune God has provided. To that end, the talks were: 1) Creation and the Goodness of Culture 2) Fall and the Brokenness Culture/Work 3) Redemptively Engaging Culture: Colossians as a Test Case 4) New Creation and Culture: How Will We Glorify God Forever?

Running on about four hours sleep, I gave my first talk and stayed up discussing it and other things with a table of students until 1AM. Saturday morning things went really well. The break out groups were so good I took notes on their discussions! Saturday evening was difficult. We were all tired, but God gave me strength to get through it, presently the material fairly clearly.

Sunday was awesome. Tolivar Wills led the worship service and I preached from Revelation 21.22-27. We took communion in the basement and sensed God's presence in Christ. This was followed by lunch and a spectacular cleaning job of the entire house (talks applied!).

Thanks for your prayers and support. I especially felt God's presence during the sermon.