We started the morning with ham and cheese omelettes, cereal, toast and pop tarts. We headed upstairs for morning worship, where we opened up God's word to Daniel 6: 1-28 and studied the story of Danile and the Lion's Den. We talked about how Daniel was a high official for King Darius and that the was promoted to a higher position which caused the other officials to get jealous. They wanted to get rid of Daniel, but they couldn't find fault in him for anything! Therefore, they went to the King and encouraged him to make a rule that no one could pray to any God and if they did, there would be consequences. They let their jealousy of Daniel drive them to have him accused of doing something wrong, when he actually wasn't wrong at all. Daniel knew of this rule, yet he still prayed to God. The officals heard him and told on him. Their plan was working like a charm! King Darius knew deep down that Daniel wasn't doing anything that was wrong and he knew Daniel didn't deserve to be thrown into the Lion's Den. He had trouble coming to terms with it, however the officials reminded him that this was a law, so he went through with it. The night that he put Daniel in the Lion's Den, King Darius didn't sleep or eat. When he came to check on Daniel, he expected to find just the lion, however, Daniel was STILL there and STILL alive! He trusted that God would redeem him, he never stopped praying and trusting God! King Darius was surprised and acknowledge that the one, true living God delivered Daniel from the mouth of the lion! By seeing Daniel's faith, King Darius was made a believer! Sometimes our trials and our trust in God is being used to show others how God is our true Lord and Savior and plants seeds of salvation. Also, those deceitful officials were thrown into the lion's den along with their families. They were eaten before they made it to the bottom of the den. When we lie, our sin is caught up to us and we suffer the consequences. God moved in our morning service. His sweet spirit has filled these cabins all week.
After morning worship, we got all cleaned up and headed out for a day of fun. We walked around the The Island in Piegon Forge. Some rode the SkyWheel, shopped, ate ice cream, and had lunch together. A rain storm came up and so Richard and I ran to the buses and came back to get the kids. We made a stop at Walmart for a few items and then headed over to ride go-carts. When the rain washed that plan away, we found the sunshine over the mountain roller coaster and made our way there. Many of the kids faced their fears and rode the coaster. You could here laughter and a few screams as they made their way down the mountain. On the way to the bus you could hear, "that was fun" and "I'd do it all over again!"
When we arrived back at the cabin we had some snacks and ate leftovers from our hot dog night and then headed upstairs for our last worship service together, where we met the Prodigal Son. We spent time talking about how the prodigal son went off on his own and thought he could do it by himself, but quickly found himself broke and hungry. It was in that brokeness that he realized he had sinned against God and his father. He wanted to come home and so he made his way, feeling unworthy of his father's acceptance and love. As he walked up to his home, his father spotted him from far off and came running to him. We talked about how this is a perfect image of the Gospel and how when we come to Jesus in our brokeness and sin, that he takes off running to us, grabs us up, forgives us, restores us and we are redeemed! He hears our cry and there he is., ready to forgive and ready to take control and break our chains of bondage in sin! During the invitation tonight, hearts poured out and many of our kids cried out to God in repentance, in brokeness, and I stood in awe as their fellow youth grabbed them up, loved on them, prayed over them and encouraged them. Now THAT is the TRUE representation of the Gospel! My babies have shown each other the true reflection of the love of Jesus Christ this week. We are tired, we are missing home, but we are renewed and restored because of the love of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful week. I am sad to see it come to an end.
I want to thank the chaperones and our church family at Second Baptist Church, the parents and those who have prayed for us and this retreat. Your support has kept us lifted, encouraged and has helped mountains move. Without you all, this retreat would not be what it is for our youth. These boys and girls are our future church. Their hearts are on fire for God and I challenged them to keep the flame burning and to fan it and make the flames grow. To keep in touch with each other. To encourage one another and to start working as the hands and feet of Jesus. To start sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God is good. So, so good and I stand in awe of it all.
See you soon Cherryville.