Crosswalk Retreat 2012

Between Now and Then.

How much do I look forward to our glorification, when we will be brought up into the sky and back into perfect fellowship and community with the Lord, Most High? Whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Between Now and Then.

I can’t wait to live apart from this sinful body. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Between Now and Then.

O For That Day! Haste the day when my hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight, prayer to praise!

When we’ve arrived, stunned and surprised, all things resolved in the blink of an eye; No more distractions, no sin left to fight. That first glimpse of Jesus and faith becomes sight!

(Italicized text from Rom. 8:30, Matt. 26:41, Ps. 73:26, “Jesus I My Cross Have Taken” (c) Public Domain, “Arrived” (c) 2008 Resolved Music)

If you haven’t guessed yet, the theme of this year’s Crosswalk Retreat was “Between Now and Then”. Our youth pastor Alan Leung helped us to examine several truths of our eschatological future (then) and the resulting impact it should have on our lives today (now). The hopeful goal of the conclusion of the retreat would be that we would be changed to modify our behavior now and live our time between now and then in light of the final days of glory.

Looking back more than two months after the retreat has reached its conclusion, it’s been difficult piecing my thoughts together regarding what I’ve learned and gained from retreat. I’ve had continuous writer’s block as I continue to struggle with what I remember learning and taking into heart from retreat. Looking back at the different sermons and discussions I’ve had with some of the people I grew up with ever since a child as well as those I’ve watched that followed in our footsteps has been inconclusive for the longest time. This, piled with the burdens (and joys) of other responsibilities such as reading, house errands, and later school have taken up the time that I could reflect and write about my experiences at retreat. But ultimately I believe that this experience has allowed me to extrapolate several new dynamics on small group leading and pushing me to work diligently, faithfully, and full-heartedly with other Christ-followers despite differences in theology, however major they are.

The first takeaway was learning the different dynamics of leading a small group. From my experience at Grace On Campus in large group Bible study as well as most small group meetings, most of the studies were lecture in style, especially large group meetings. And it makes sense; with almost 300 people attending our fellowship every night, it wouldn’t be feasible to go around a circle in a discussion style, but rather allow our shepherd Chris Gee to faithfully proclaim the truths of Scripture, exegeting and interpreting the true meaning behind the passages for us. In small group, it was similar; while we had discussion, most of it was guided by our small group leader by looking at selected portions of a passage of Scripture and forming convictions that lead to life change. Accountability and updates were also included in our small group discussions.
Retreat was drastically different: As Allen led most of the small group discussions, we used something I learned from InterVarsity’s websites known as the “inductive study method”. This includes 1. observing the text, 2. asking questions and noting things that leave strong impressions on us as readers, and 3. applying one truth from the reading to our lives. As one who usually was guided into Scriptural study, this method of study was definitely a new experience to me, and leading Bible study a responsibility that I wasn’t sure if I could faithfully take. This reflected in my own presentation when I switched with Allen to lead Bible study for one morning; rather than allowing and facilitating discussion, I began a monologue on emphasizing the main points of our youth pastor Alan’s sermon and critiquing those points rather than spending time in discussion for the youths I was attempting to minister to. Overall, the process was unfamiliar and I wasn’t sure how to facilitate a discussion on my own, leading to me drawing conclusions for those in my group. While neither method is more “correct” than the other, the overall experience opened up my eyes to more ways to study the Bible rather than simply preaching the Word expositionally. While I do believe there are wrong ways to study the Bible, such as applying bad hermeneutics or trying to derive multiple interpretations from a single passage of Scripture, ultimately I believe that any method that recognizes that there can only be one true interpretation in the inerrant and infallible Word of God and seeks to draw out that interpretation, preferably through exegesis and historical-grammatical analysis, works as the best methods of finding true applications for Scripture in life. The dynamics of study can be different, but the principle must remain core and the same.

A second lesson, and more difficult for me, was learning to work with those who had developed different theologies than me over the year. While not seeking to slander anyone, there were times when I struggled with the necessity to believe correct theology and doctrine in order to worship our Lord “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, with emphasis). Because this necessity to worship God in correct and informed doctrine, whenever something came up that conflicted with my convictions and beliefs, I wasn’t sure whether it was necessary to correct them, and if so how to go about doing that. Nonetheless, it was a lesson in humility for me as I put down my unforeseen pride in my theological beliefs and instead did my best to respect others’ beliefs for the sake of working with them in order to further the kingdom of Christ through the power of the gospel (Col 1:16). While I still struggle in identifying my duties to correct “misinformed” doctrine (if such exist), my hope and joy would be for all to come to saving faith and active repentance, and being able to partner with others in ministry despite varying doctrinal beliefs.

But ultimately, as I focus on “between now and then”, more and more I realize how much I look forward to the day of Christ’s return. First developing at Resolved 2012 and continuing on throughout my summer listening to Enfield’s album O For That Day and reading countless literature causes me to long for the day when my pilgrimage on earth has ended and I am brought up to be with my Savior and Lord. It would be a glorious day indeed! Christ will bring us up to heaven and unite Him with us as His bride, where endless praise for our Redeemer will begin, never to cease for the eternity to come.

O For That Day! When our journey has ended,
All of our hope in heaven’s reward;
When we will have our Messiah forever
And we will dwell in the house of the Lord! 

O For That Day! When we’ll sing with the angels:
“Hallelujah! O Ancient of Days!”
When we will have our Messiah forever
Offering glory, and honor, and praise!
Offering glory, and honor, and praise!

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