It’s not often that I become a cheerleader for things, but this year’s Launch Retreat of The Porch at Sky Ranch leaves me no choice but to be that voice. What else can I do when I’ve been filled with three days of worship, service, friends, fun, outdoors, competition, music, and so much more??
Near and dear to my heart, we’ll start with Team Colombia! Vaya! Vaya! Vaya! Luche! Luche! Luche! Gooooooooooo COLOMBIA!!!!! The men and women that formed our team were more and better than I could have asked for, and did indeed pray for. Each and every one dove into the weekend, spoke up in our huddles (yea! for no awkward silences :), and encouraged me and one another. In our competitions on Saturday and Sunday, they gave it their all–to the point of passing out and beyond it! A special shout out to Alex and Maris for their heroic battling on the egg-blowing field! And because of these folks–all 11 of us–we emerged victorious among the community Launch groups. Erik & Alyssa, take some good pictures from the plane on your scenic tour and dinner :).
In addition to the worship we had through fellowship with one another, we had the amazing privilege of praising our great and matchless God and Savior through music led by Patrick Ryan Clark. Like Asaph of old, we were led to the throne room as we lifted up the power, love, and character of the Lord and declared how He has transformed our lives. Indeed, “where would I be without my Savior?” The pressures of life and the allures of sin often seem so captivating and worthy, until we are taken higher, above it all, to the place where blind men, once dead, now alive, can see. Then the trappings of this world are revealed for what they are–traps–and the supremacy of Christ becomes clear. To borrow from two of Patrick’s other songs, “I cry mercy, mercy, mercy…” and am left with no rational choice but to be “chasing Your light”, Lord God.
And the preaching from the Word was no less magnificent than the music which preceded it. Todd Wagner (Watermark Community) opened us up with Psalm 73 and Asaph’s words referenced above as he struggled with the temporal success of the wicked. Then Ben Stuart (Breakaway) told us what God wants, based on Hebrews 11:6 and its context. God exists and rewards those who seek Him–believe and pursue Christ! From there, Will Pavone (McLean Bible) fed us from Philemon and the picture that Paul painted of the forgiveness that flows from an understanding of God’s redeeming work for us in Christ Jesus. And last but surely not least, Afshin Ziafat (Providence) showed us how to outlive our lives for the gospel as Paul did in Acts 17:6 and later wrote in 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10. Who will stand at your funeral to testify to the gospel or discipleship that you poured into their life?