Treasures Old and New | Winter Retreat 2019

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In a sense it was fresh and clear like so many years before; the gospel was the same and felt both old and new.

 

Winter Retreat, back again at Mt. Hermon in the Santa Cruz Mountains, was both classic and novel for a lot of us. It had been two years since our last retreat there, and while for some of us that meant a first time visit, for the rest of us (myself included) it was good to be “home”. Same powerful sermons at the Field House, same ping-pong and Foosball tables, same misty mornings under the redwood trees, and the same guy serving me coffee at the dining hall. He’s great.

One of the things that was standout this Winter Retreat were the many testimonies. We usually hear testimonies but this time they felt more close, more vulnerable than usual. Maybe it’s because the post-grads sharing were younger and closer to my age. Maybe it’s because the scope of their stories included not just struggles to obey God, but also long-time struggles, like with depression and addiction and broken families. It was very real, and amazing to see God working in and starting to heal His people after he had saved them from their sin. Praise God!

I think we were all challenged to live openly before God and our friends, to “confess our sin as sin” like Roy Hession says, and to “bear one another’s burdens” like the Apostle Paul says, and find the love of God waiting in response. Messages from Luke 18 and 1 John 1 impressed that upon us, and messages from Matthew 25 and Mark 12 gave us the clarity of God’s claims, to live for Him. In a sense it was fresh and clear like so many years before; the gospel was the same and felt both old and new. Just like Mt. Hermon.

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