2014 Christian Men’s Retreat

Leoni Meadows Retreat Center; Grizzly Flats, CA
May 2–4, 2014

To all of you who prayed for this event, I want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to each you. Some beautiful things took place over the weekend, as the lights came on for some for the very first time. It was good to see old friends again and to get the opportunity to make some new friends.

Here is a rundown of the presentations I shared.

Does God Really Look Like Jesus?
What does it mean to say that God looks like Jesus when Jesus forbids retaliation and violence and when, if we refrain from these practices, Jesus said we would look like our Father in Heaven?

The Embrace of God
Whenever we draw a line in the sand and differentiate ourselves from others for the purpose of coming together against them, whether for political, economic, or religious reasons, we in that moment have just placed Jesus on the other side of the line, according to the Jesus story. If people are left in outer darkness at the end, it will not be because they could not accept God’s love for themselves, but because they could not accept God’s love for someone else whom they feel should be excluded.

The Day Love Died
In the first of a two-part presentation, we asked ourselves what it means to place ourselves among the crowd which was satisfied by unjust execution of Jesus, instead of looking at the Crucifixion as an event that somehow satisfied God. Both perspectives have very distinct results for our daily lives.

The Dawn of a New Day
To have a salvific effect, our theories concerning Jesus’ death must also adequately understand the relevance of His resurrection. As covered in part one of this series, yes, WE are the people who don’t see what we are doing, even when our actions are religiously motivated. WE are the people who always turn to violent means to eliminate tensions within our culture, whether political, economic, or religious. It was WE who crucified the Lord of Glory. AND it is GOD who, through the Resurrection, decisively declared that He whom we scapegoated (politically Pilate, economically Herod, and religiously Caiaphas), whom we crucified … was innocent. That identification of Jesus as our victim moves us from persecutor to desiring to stand in solidarity with Him whom we previously persecuted. Identifying Jesus as the one whom we persecuted “converts” us to stand with ALL those whom we once persecuted, to see that God is with “them” and that I am with God when I, too, am with “them.”

On Earth as it is in Heaven
The story of this Resurrected One marks the end of the sacrificial systems that demanded the death of the innocent, whether from a political reliance on violence, religious fears, or economic greed. This story demonstrates that the Presence of God is not found within the most exclusive holy places belonging to those systems. The true dwelling place of the Presence is found in the One shamefully suspended on a cursed tree upon the orders of those Powers that Be (political, religious, and economic). The Resurrection is the start of a whole new world where we need not fear the consequences of our struggle against those Powers. We stand in the Victory of the Christ over all injustice. A Victory which has already been won.

You can find all of these presentations on our website at https://renewedheartministries.com/AudioPresentationSeries.aspx?series=45

For those who could not attend (either because of where you live or your gender; after all, it was a men’s retreat), I encourage you with every fiber of my being to give these presentations a contemplative listen. The Jesus movement of the first century turned the world upside down (or right-side up again, depending on your perspective), and it has the power to do the same in our world today!

“May Your Kingdom Come!” Till the only world that remains is the world where love reigns. The revolution starts now!

Thank you to all of you for your support and prayers for this event. I pray that, as you listen, you, too, will feel yourself moving further up and further into what Jesus called “the Kingdom.”

I love you guys!