Retreat To Advance

Those of us who have attended or administered Christian retreats, camps, and conferences know too well the tendency to “pig out” on Bible teaching for several days only to see it make little difference when we get back home.  Andrée Seu has seen it, too.  Here are her thoughts from today’s post at the WorldMagBlog:

I got picked up by a couple at the airport in Austin, Texas, this past weekend, and asked the husband what the men would be doing while the women had a retreat. He said that as we were retreating, they would be advancing. Fine. There were plans for depopulating Texas of a few deer and a few beers. Which didn’t pan out, which is neither here nor there.

Retreats should be advances too, of course, but I am cognizant that they are not always. Jesus said the wise man is the one “who hears my words and does them” (Luke 6:47). But the danger is that we be collectors of new knowledge and not do it. What’s needed to profit from the Word of God is conscious effort, and many of us don’t have that. The etiology of this malady could be sheer laziness, but it seems equally likely to be a certain pernicious indoctrination many of us received that equated exertion with “works righteousness” (this, in spite of plain teaching from Scripture that we should “make every effort”-2 Peter 1:5).

I spent most of my Christian life in a state of grace passivity or paralysis. “I’m waiting for the Lord to change me, but no rush. I prayed about it-a little on Sunday morning-and God will do it when he’s good and ready.”

If you ever speak at a retreat, I recommend the giving of homework, maybe something like this: “Think about one relationship in your life that would be different if you really believed that God is committed to loving you. Be specific, and follow through.”

And be sure to do the homework yourself.

Whether you’ve attended or administered these get-away-with-God trips, what have you found helps you and others advance the application of what you learned to your life back home? Share your thoughts or suggestions in the comments section.

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