Leoni Meadows Retreat Center
The Kingdom of Jesus is a radical new way of doing life based on a radical new way of seeing God, ourselves and everyone around us. The Gospel is the announcement that this Kingdom has come!
This past week, I had the incredible privilege and pleasure of being the “camp pastor” at a unique annual family camp that gives families a chance to reconnect and deepen their love and commitment to one another. This year was spectacular on so many different levels. One reason was that I had my own family with me, too, for the entire week. We had a blast.
My days consisted of four presentations each day with lots of events with my kiddos in between. At 7:00 a.m. each morning, I moderated an open, mutually participatory-style gathering during which every day we looked at a different aspect of Jesus’ Kingdom found in the beatitudes. THIS really was the highlight of all the events in which I participated. Then, for all the families present, at 9:00 a.m. we came back to look at another unique aspect of Jesus’ Kingdom. The children present repeatedly shared with me that their favorite morning was when we talked about being “weeds” for Jesus. We talked about how gardeners are careful to weed their garden, lest the weeds take over and crowd out all the other plants, taking over the entire garden. We looked at how Jesus said His Kingdom is just like that! It’s a weed (a mustard seed) that will subversively take over the garden of this entire world with love, joy and peace, and we are called to be His weeds! (The kids loved being weeds for Jesus that day.) At 2:00 each afternoon, I gave a study on Jesus’ teachings in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John showing how Jesus gave us a radically new picture of what God was really like through inviting us to embrace certain moral ethics that are impossible to embrace unless one experiences a change in one’s picture of God. We looked at Jesus’ peace teachings on nonviolence, Jesus’ teachings on enemy love and forgiveness, the ethic of God’s grace even for our own enemies, Jesus’ teachings on sharing with the poor and how that rescues us from the scripts of this world, and affects our picture of God. We looked as well at Jesus’ call among his followers, not to hierarchy, but to egalitarian, mutually loving relationships with each other just as we find among the Godhead. This session was especially geared to parents. Each evening, I spoke once again to everyone, kids and parents together, all ages. During this time we also looked, as a group, at what it means to follow Jesus and be part of His revolutionary new Kingdom of radical other-centered love.
This week was amazing for me personally on so many levels. I don’t think anything compares to watching little ones really capture and grab hold of Jesus and His beautiful picture of the Father.
For those of you who saw this event on our calendar and were praying for this event, I want to thank you for your prayers. God showed up, and we were all tremendously blessed. Thank you, each of you, for your support of Renewed Heart Ministries. Together, we are changing lives for time and for eternity. Last week, it was families. If you had been there, you, like me, would have gained a fresh appreciation for why Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”
Keep building the Kingdom, wherever this finds you today.
I love you guys.
Thank you for your support of RHM.