What a special blessing from God for Gary and me to be able to spend three extra days in Black Mountain, NC, after our 4-day Student Venture Staff Conference ended Friday morning, August 6. Our time at the conference was so refreshing and encouraging, and to spend a few extra days enjoying the area, as well as having moments to reflect on all that we learned is an extra gift from God.
During one of our three vacation days, I walked up the hill from our Mountain Laurel Inn on the Ridgecrest Conference Center grounds, to a secluded little Prayer Garden. I spent a few hours there, reflecting, and soaking in God's presence.
There was a peaceful, bubbling mountain stream that wound it's way through the Prayer Garden. I wondered if I could capture it's beauty on video ... here is a little glimpse into what I experienced.
So much to think on and process from the four days that we spent together as staff, hearing from God through the great worship times, and the various speakers and workshops.
A few of the many things I wrote down in my journal as I listened ...
~ we don't need more programs, or even more people, but ... we need more of Jesus
~ lift Jesus up, and He will draw students to Himself
~ focus on John 15 ... walk closely to God, cling to the Vine
~ it is not about what we do, but about who we are in Him
~ live our daily lives as a "sent one"
~ easy to focus on activity for God, but remember our "first work"
~ focus on our "first work", which is to love Jesus
~ fight to guard our love relationship with Jesus
~ do not serve through SV out of duty, but out of our love for Jesus
These are the main things that resonate in my heart and mind as a result of our time together. And these are the things that have continually filled my thoughts in the past weeks and months.
I spent some time beside the rippling mountain stream, thinking on loving God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind. (Matthew 22:38) And also, on loving others. (Matthew 22:39) The second commandment flows out of the first ... if we are loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind, love for others will naturally overflow from our lives.
"As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God." (Psalm 42:1)