We kicked off Thursday night with finger foods and fellowship. Stephen Glover gave a great seminar on how to strengthen our families and our churches. He spoke on the importance of men and women being accountable for their respective roles in family life, holding up Jesus’ relationship with His Father as a model for our relationships. He also invited us to join weekly conference calls dealing with this and many other subjects. Go to Haggai114.net for the details.
After the seminar, we commenced Round One of the sandwich brigade to aid the Open Door Community. We started strong with ten volunteers and two hungry little girls. We worked, laughed, and sang until 11:00 that night. All told, we were able to make 860 sandwiches that night.
Friday morning, we dropped the first batch of sandwiches at the Open Door Community. They were very happy and surprised by the amount we were able to give them. It was a real blessing to be able to do that for them. Wynn Skelton started off the Friday seminars talking about the heart of God. If you really want to know God’s heart, then you need to read Psalms. After all, they were written by a man after God’s own heart.
Church of God, Rocky Mount’s David Freeman was up next and talked to us about how to be on the offensive rather than the defensive when people question you or your faith. Very often the best tactic is to turn the queries back at your questioner. The world very infrequently challenges and proves its own doctrine and it gives you insight into where they stand.
Friday afternoon, we had lunch at the Zoo Atlanta and took a little tour afterward. Everyone had a great time, even in the Atlanta heat. The Zoo Atlanta is one of the few zoos in North America that exhibit pandas. They had a mother and her twin babies. Twins are very rare with pandas, so it was especially wonderful to get to see them. You can check them out on Zoo Atlanta’s Panda Cam. The children had a blast and it was great looking at all the animals God made and how different they all are.
Afterward, we had pizza and fellowship in the much-appreciated air conditioning before the next set of seminars, lead by Dennis Thomas and Morgan Pinkerman. Dennis discussed building upon a solid foundation. The construction of a building must have a foundation that can support the framework and the weight of all other material that will be attached to it. The foundation usually will have a cornerstone that sets the parameters so that other supporting structures can be aligned in their proper place. If Jesus is our cornerstone, our foundation has a proper rule by which to measure.
Morgan asked if there is any actual scientific proof that God exists. Looking at the evidence provided by astrophysical measurements, the theory of relativity, and Newton’s Laws, science has begun to debunk the Big Bang Theory and its cyclical nature. The universe and statistics continue to point not only to an origin point of time and space, but as well an intelligent, deliberate designer.
After the seminars, we were back at the sandwich brigade. We made almost a thousand sandwiches. We had so many bags that we had to ask people to store bags of sandwiches in the mini fridges in their rooms until we could drop them off in the morning. The total for the two nights ended up being 1,846 sandwiches. The people at the Open Door Community were surprised that we were back the next day with even more sandwiches than the day before and even more so that such a small group had provided the effort. Every one worked very hard and had a great time acting as part of one team working together to accomplish a goal.
Saturday morning we were able to sleep in a little bit before services at the Independent Church of God, Atlanta. We had eighty brethren at services and enjoyed a bountiful potluck provided by our gracious hosts. Kyle Wilkes gave a sermonette considering Sun-Tzu’s notes on military disposition. He compared them to Scripture to illustrate our spiritual battle with the forces at work in the world and how God has provided our defense. Mike Nolen gave a sermon on some of the basic truths of the Bible and the world around us in this dark time, referencing poignant stories from the recent news.
We had dinner at the Golden Corral and planned to go to the laser light show at Stone Mountain later that evening, but we were rained out. The McIntyre family opened their home to us. We fellowshipped and sang karaoke for hours. Paul did a great Elvis, but the resident diva Jeremy showed us all how it was done.
Sunday morning we started off with technical difficulties, but once we worked out the bugs, Jennings Pinkerman led a great seminar detailing the biblical evidence in the argument of Sabbath or Sunday.
Freddie Carroll finished us out strong with a seminar on the light of the world. In life, there are three main options: move forward, move backward, or stand still. Sideways often presents itself as an option, but many people live their lives moving from side to side. The result is often a ditch. The only light that is a remedy for the darkness the world offers in abundance is the light of life, provided by our Lord and Savior and shining out from those who move forward on the path to salvation.
Leading up to the retreat we collected items before the retreat for the local VA hospital in Atlanta and Covers for Cancer patients. This weekend was one that brought forty of us together from all over the United States. We made new friendships and reconnected with old friends. The fellowship was fantastic, the food was wonderful, and we were able to help the local community. We are already gearing up for next year’s retreat!