We are challenging you to download a devotional (below) and spend two hours with Jesus. Read on, download and then put it on your schedule.
Earlier this month 90+ men from Uptown Church fled the city and met up together in the North Carolina mountains. This was not some secret ritual, this was the men’s retreat. The Lord richly blessed our time away and it was amazing to watch him work and answer prayers throughout the weekend. Our Topic was “Connecting to Christ: Finding Rest in Jesus,” and we focused on this topic through a talk, small group discussion, and an extended two-hour solo devotional time where we all sought rest in Christ.
The two-hour devotional time was guided by a devotional guide which prompted bible study, reflection, and prayer. It was a joy to look out over the grounds of Montreat and see guys sitting, praying, reading. Some were sitting on benches by the creek others set up the camping hammock that each received when they checked in (well we did run out because we only ordered 80, but the second batch has arrived).
This was a new part of the retreat. While we knew it would be stretching for some guys, we prayed many prayers about this specific aspect of the retreat:
- We prayed that guys would get a taste of what it means to get away for some intentional extended time with the Lord and that they would enjoy it and want more.
- We prayed that the Lord would meet these guys in this time in his word and prayer and that doing so would draw them closer to him and would encourage them to go deeper in devotions when they returned from the retreat.
- We prayed that through this retreat we would be handing the guys a tool that they could use for the rest of their lives.
Although many guys admitted that two hours alone with God seemed daunting, the reactions we got were amazing. In our post-retreat survey, we got some very encouraging responses. On the survey, we asked, “What were your thoughts about your two-hour devotional time?” Here are a few of the responses:
- The two-hour devotional was probably the best part of the weekend. I cannot remember the last time I took 2 hours to be alone with God. It was amazing, and I am looking forward to doing it again.
- Restorative focused. Felt like I didn’t have enough time in the end!
- I really enjoyed the two-hour devotional time- it was restful both physically and spiritually, and helped me draw closer to Christ.
- A humongous highlight for me and for many others; really applying the lesson of rest, not just being taught about it. I would love to see this become a regular part of the retreat
- It was my favorite part of the weekend; I would definitely recommend we do it again…it was cool that we could all do it together and spend time talking about it the rest of Saturday.
We also asked “What was one major take-away you had from this retreat?” and received these responses:
- As men, we have a tendency to not lean on one another for guidance. I felt a real connection to the fellow uptown men and the ability to open up about personal struggles, issues, etc.
- Two takeaways: rest is rooted in and an outworking of the gospel. Really good reminder. Also, that I want to calendar mini-retreats for myself and my wife quarterly.
- For me, it showed me that my devotional life has turned into one more item that I do on my list. More duty that desire these days. It was a great awaking and helped me re-prioritize some things in my spiritual life.
- Delight in the Lord HIMSELF and not the quiet time. HE is my rest. Life changing for me to say the least
- God delights in me. Because he delights in me and sees Jesus’s righteousness in place of my sin, I can let go of my sin as well. Through God’s grace, I can be more secure in who God made me to be.
One of the most amazing things about the retreat was that most of the discussions throughout Saturday were about the topic, the talk and the devotional time. It was so great to hear how God met each of the guys in these times, and it was so enjoyable to hear guys humbly share about what they felt the Lord was calling them to focus on. The Lord answered many prayers for this weekend, and I am praying he continues to answer many of the requests that came out of that weekend. It was a joy to be a part of this retreat, the men of Uptown are a great bunch.
If you were not able to join us I have a challenge for you: Here is a link to the devotional guide that we created for the event. I encourage you to download it, print it out and put a time on your calendar when you will take two hours for an extended devotional time. You don’t have to go far, wherever you are he can meet you. It’s a simple idea, but it is also a practice that could be life-changing. Give it a chance. Also, you were missed and we hope you can meet us next time.
To all the guys that came on the retreat: thanks for making it a great weekend. Have you scheduled your next day away with God?
To God be the Glory.
Author: Rev. Dave Kulp