energized, or something like that.

This was the altar set-up on Saturday night in Lambuth Chapel. Nothing fancy, but simply beautiful. THAT was how the weekend was. It could have been boring, or even underwhelming. But thankfully, God showed up and it was neither.

Also, check out the musician who played for the retreat: Anadara. She was as great in person as she is on her cd.

I've never been to blue lake. As a drove through the long leaf pines and down what seemed like endless country roads, I continued to get nervous. There is some kind of equally challenging and gut-wrenching excitement before I know I will be preaching. And yeah, I do feel like a tad bit of a putz. I am neither a youth anymore, nor a youth minister. The only reason I've been asked to speak is because somebody knew me who knew somebody, yada yada. Everything was hunky-dory tho. Basically the retreat was an attempt to give youth some form of expression with which to respond to God (or, communicate with God, thereby becoming energized. Get it?)

Four "stations" that I did not come up with myself:
  1. Labyrinth - The Alabama/West Florida (AL/WF) Conference has a canvas labyrinth that we educated the kids in. They were reminded that they could reserve the labyrinth at their home church.
  2. "Connect the Dots" - This was the Bible study aspect. It was the, "hey, read your Bibles if you want to know God" talk with some helpful pointers on organizational skills.
  3. Taize - Worship! Loved it when I was at Candler, and I'm not skilled enough to lead it myself. But we exposed the kids to it and filled them in on what it was.
  4. Art - yep. No fancy name. Just art - the kids painted ceiling tiles to express themselves.
There was no missional emphasis, but I made sure to express to the kids the fact that WE are called to be blessings (like Abraham), and that if you really want to imitate God, you'll empty yourself like Christ. I focused on four things myself that Christians do to experience/communicate with God: Worship, Confess, Listen, Bless. Catchy, I know.

I have two hopes from the weekend. First, that the kids experienced something they might not get in their own church every Sunday (Holy Spirit). And second, I hope the kids felt God giving them permission to step outside the bounds of what they experience in their local church.

Of course...those things kind of happen when most of us go to college, but why not impress that upon them at the ripe old age of 12?

My favorite "God moment" for me was Saturday night in Lambuth Memorial. That room is a huge, old school church, and those kids were singing with their hearts that night. To quote a popular Taize song that is still running through my head:

Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom!