If you know me at all, you know how difficult it is for me to be concise. I appreciate pithy prose and exact speech; I just have a difficult time producing it myself. This made the challenge placed before me this past weekend quite a stretch! I was to develop five 15-minute devotionals for a retreat, each covering one essential of following Jesus Christ. This task was such a joy to work on! I have been pulled and forced to work against my natural proclivity.
The retreat—10 Truths—was for the high school girls from Northside Christian Church in New Albany, Indiana. This is the same group I had the honor of meeting at last year’s retreat—so fun to reconnect and solidify names and faces. My dear friend, Krista, developed the 10 Truths theme and asked me to split the delivery with her, which I was delighted to do.
We hoped to leave the girls with clear, solid statements of faith by the retreat’s close. We decided to produce a card for each truth, with the truth statement on one side and the Scriptural support on the other. The 10 Truths were:
1. Know the Word; know God.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. —Psalm 119:11
2. Salvation begins and ends with God.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). —Ephesians 2:4–5
3. Don’t be busy; be fruitful.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. —John 15:5
4. Discipline brings Life to the disciple.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. —2 Corinthians 10:5
5. The journey is sweeter with friends.
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. —1 Thessalonians 2:8
6. Life in Christ is birthed in death to self.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13
7. God is sovereign, and He is good.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. —Romans 8:18
8. There’s bound to come some trouble to your life.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. —1 Peter 5:10
9. Hear who God says you are.
What is justification? Justification is an act of God’s free grace, in which He pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone. —Question 33, Westminster Shorter Catechism
10. The journey is a marathon. Keep running!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:1–2
My five topics were salvation, fruitfulness, spiritual disciplines, dying to self, and God’s sovereignty. Each of these truths challenged me. Preparing and studying these messages helped me to learn so much (and exposed how much I still have to learn).
These young women were eager and attentive—just what any speaker wishes for. I had the chance to chat with a few of them individually—hey gals!—which is such an honor. We met at Silver Heights Camp and Retreat Center in New Albany. It was perfect! Krista and I stayed in a sweet little log cabin—so peaceful! The retreat center itself was lovely, as were the camp directors, Tom and Linda, who have a heart for pouring into the people who come to them.
All in all, this was a fabulous weekend, full of the things of God and soul talk. I am so grateful to have the chance to speak of Jesus and His mercy.