DFCC Family Spiritual Retreat 2018
Date: January 20, Sabbath
Title: “Sabbath Morning”
Author: Sharlene Lubiran
Rising to a beautiful Sabbath on a wonderfully crisp morning was the beginning to an exciting and eventful day that awaited the Durham Fil-Can SDA Church. On such a day as this, we would realize that God was calling us to open our minds and hearts to His word.
During Sabbath school, each family was able to participate in two activities that drew us together in Christ. The first was a teambuilding activity that involved building various structures – towers or bridges – using materials that were weak and fragile – paper or dry spaghetti. As several families worked together to form the structure assigned to them, each project developed into a masterpiece that held a powerful story. Through each presentation, it was emphasized that joining together and aligning our will with God’s, would allow us to minister to others in faith and obedience so that we could bring many to Him. The importance regarding God as our foundation was the highlight of the discussion. We concluded that through life’s challenges and triumphs we can remain in the hands of God, protected and safe.
Another exercise that we participated in was a discussion amongst each family regarding three specific topics: the family’s happiest moments, the challenges they had overcome, and expressing encouragement towards each family member. Having the opportunity to reflect on blessings and challenges in life seemed quite easy for many but the last discussion seemed to be daunting because it was realized that although we have the chance to be the nicest to those within our families each day, we have developed a sense of “comfortability” and as a result, there is a difference in the way we treat our families in comparison to those around us. This exercise opened our eyes to see that that moment of love and affection should not only be experienced during the retreat but through everyday despite the disagreements that may circulate amongst us. This became a touching experience for many because it was an opportunity to reflect on how the bonds could be strengthened within the family and how we would allow God to work in our families as our Provider and Sustainer in order to reach others.
As we transitioned into the Divine Service, Pastor Chris Holland continued his series with his sermon entitled, “Burning Love.” Relationships specifically, marriage had become the circulating theme all throughout the sermon. Four statements were emphasized: “Marriage is not for selfish people”; “Marriage is for helpers”; “Marriage is not for “compromisers””; and “Marriage is for “growing people.”” Pastor Holland conveyed that without a foundation, relationships would gain a great magnitude of “unhealthiness.” But in order to re-establish our foundation, it would require our willingness to have Him work in our lives so that our homes would be the result of a home that emanated God’s light to those within our communities. There were several tips that were presented throughout the sermon but 1 Thessalonians 4:3 was a message that had reflected what God purposes for our lives, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” God wants us to be defined by a light that shines all around; Ellen G. White (1977) says the we have became Christ’s by faith and in order to grow we must give all – “your heart, your will, your service” – and take all, “Christ, the fullness of all blessing…to give you the power to obey” (p. 47). Therefore, reflecting who Christ is in our lives is the greatest ministry that we as a family can do to draw others near to God.
Sabbath morning was a spiritual experience that allowed us to fully immerse ourselves to gain an understanding about what it means to “Ignite.” Receiving the opportunity to open our hearts and minds to God’s word allowed us to meditate on His loving grace. Seeking God’s leading in our lives may result in an unsteady path but with Christ, He will give you “…the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13) and by His grace, we will be able to draw many others to His glory.