Misty Forest Reflection

Jesus said...

 

"Are you tired?

Worn out?

Burned out on religion?

Come to me.

Get away with me and you'll recover your life.

I'll show you how to take a real rest.

Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

Going on a retreat is simply accepting the invitation Jesus has given us to come away with Him.  We are also following His model of going off to a solitary place to pray and communion with His Father. (Mark 1:35)

We often facilitate retreats for times of quiet, connection and community.

Upcoming Retreats - Save the Date!

coming soon...

ALL RETREATS ARE subject to the Covid 19 restrictions of the State & the Retreat Center.

If you are not feeling comfortable yet meeting in person, here is a resource for an at home guided retreat.

What is a retreat?

An Individual Retreat is a time when you get away on your own (or on a silent or group directed retreat), to remove yourself from responsibilities, your regular routine & distractions and allow time for quiet reflection, giving God your full attention. 

It's a way of devoting time to yourself and to God to reboot & refresh in the midst of a busy life, in a centered and spiritual way.  Leave behind the daily routine and shed the roles that rule your life.  It’s easy to get caught up in the details of the daily grind. At a certain point, especially at vulnerable times of our lives, all the pressures and stress of life can feel like ties holding us down, binding us increasingly in ways that strangle out our spiritual life. Our sense of emotional coherence and genuine spiritual connection seems to give way. It's easy to lose our bearings. as well as the mental focus and emotional resilience we need to continually receive from the Lord.

Anyone who’s taken a retreat understands the restorative power a retreat has in setting time apart with God. In stripping away your daily roles and routines, you’re able to unearth elements of yourself long neglected, even unrecognized.  It's a dedicated time for yourself and with God so you can heal, transform, rest, refocus and gain clarity.

 

 At the retreat we will help with these things and help guide you to remember God's vision for your life, the strength already within you and His help in receiving more fully your true identity in Christ.  You will recall the interests that you’ve had, that which delights you, you purpose for being, dimensions that enrich who you are and what you have to offer to yourself and the world. Most of all, it’s a time for opening up your sense of life and deepening your relationship with God.

We all have busy lives. We do our best to incorporate all the healthy activities we can. Nonetheless, we find times when the everyday strategies aren’t enough. Stress is building up, difficult events turn our lives upside down, and we seem at a loss to keep up.

A retreat is a time to fill the well, so to speak. A retreat in that respect can be the best solution to recharge and reconnect with the Lord and your life.

"The Christian retreat can be defined in the most simplest of terms as a definite time (from a few hours in length to weeks) spent away from one's normal life for the purpose of reconnecting, usually in prayer, with God. Although the practice of leaving one's everyday life to connect on a deeper level with God, be that in the desert (as with the Desert Fathers), or in a monastery, is as old as Christianity itself, the practice of spending a specific time away with God is a more modern phenomenon, dating from the 1520s and St. Ignatius of Loyola's composition of the Spiritual Exercises.  It is a practice that we all desperately need in this day and age.  Jesus fasting in the desert for forty days is used as a biblical support of retreats and the numerous times He went off by Himself to pray."

Spiritual retreats may have various themes that reinforce Christian values, principles, and scriptural understanding. They may be individual or involve a group."

Retreats are for everybody – for ordinary people at any time in our lives, giving us the chance to step aside from life for a while, to rest and become refreshed in a nurturing and peaceful environment.  Those concerned with their spiritual lives tend to make taking retreats 2-3 times a year a priority, they value them so highly.

Different Types Of Retreats:

Silent Retreat:

A silent retreat is one spent in complete silence.  The retreatant goes away alone, often to a hermitage or retreat center where they have a private room.  The retreatant plans their own time, often prepares their own meals, and does not have any contact with the outside world or technology during their time away.

Private Directed Retreat:

This type of retreat is also a silent retreat but includes meeting with a Spiritual Director during your stay.  The retreatant meets regularly with the SD and receives some direction and guidance based on the need or what is brought to the session.  The SD will also meet with you throughout your stay, and listen with you to what God is saying, while offering support and giving further guidance where needed.

A Guided/Preached Retreat:

A guided retreat, is just that, it offers guidance and an itinerary for you to follow.  It is often taken with others and is led by a teacher or experienced retreat guide.  Although it may included extended times of silence, the Retreat facilitator leads meditations throughout (often around a theme) and offers guidance, where needed.  There are usually set times to gather for prayer & bible reflections. The atmosphere is still one of quiet reverence, and invites a posture of openness to God and a willingness to be guided.  Often this can be a relaxing way to enter a retreat, in that you do not have to plan anything and can relax into what has been planned for you.  (This is the type of retreat we often offer)

What to Expect During a Retreat

Are you having trouble connecting with God?  Do you no longer feel Christ's presence in your life? Maybe you're thinking of the next deadline at work or having to pay your bills on time. It's difficult to maintain a clear mind when we're stressed and even harder to make that alone time for our relationship with God.  A Christian retreat can offer a peaceful environment where you can let go of that stress and reconnect with God.  Often a time of retreat brings great clarity on decisions & discernment.

If you've never been on a Christian retreat, keeping reading on what you may expect.

A Typical Day at a Retreat

There are many different varieties of retreats.  Some with no guidance at all - to others with a planned scheduled for you to follow the entire time.

Our retreats try to blend and balance both of these elements.  We plan things for you each day, but we also encourage you to do what you need and what is life-giving to you during your stay. 

 

At a typical guided retreat -each day you will receive an itinerary. This itinerary will give you information on what opportunities there are and at what time. Having a planned schedule allows you to focus on being present and not worry about anything other than your time with God.  This itinerary is sometimes given to you at check-in or is provided each morning, but one thing you can be certain of, there is always included a good amount of free time for self focus, reflection and rest. 

  

You will be encouraged to follow the retreat itinerary only as it seeks to serve you.  Retreats are an individual experience, a time for you to receive what you need and to be with God in whatever way He is inviting you to come.  Retreats are not like a conference where gaining information is a top priority.  We do provide you with times of light teaching to further add to your understandings, but more emphasis is placed on your own personal reflections and communications with God and on deepening your connection with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.   All activities, meditations, and schedules are there as a scaffolding for your time if you are in need of more structure and help in quieting your mind and connecting with yourself and with God.  Attend or don't attend the activities, do what is life-giving for you.

 

If it is your first time going on a retreat or not something you do often, then following the itinerary might be a better choice for you.  It can be so freeing to come and not have to plan out your time or meals.   If you are a seasoned retreatent and just needed the accountability and support to get away, you might come only to the beginning and ending gatherings or the scheduled times of prayer for group connection and reflections, and then be on your own the remainder of the time- doing whatever might best fit your needs.

Why is some silence important?

A time to keep silence, And a time to speak

Ecc 3:7

Dallas Willard writes... 'Only silence will allow us life-transforming concentration upon God. It allows us to hear the gentle God whose only Son “shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice above the street noise” (Matt. 12:19). It is this God who tells us that “in quietness and trust is your strength”(Isaiah 30:15, NAS).

We can benefit immensely in the practice of silence and not speaking.  James, in his Epistle, tells us that those who seem religious but are unable to bridle their tongues are self-deceived and have a religion that amounts to little (James 1:26). He states that those who do no harm by what they say are perfect and able to direct their whole bodies to do what is right (James 3:2).'

From The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. Copyright © 1988 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved

Offering some silence during a retreat is all about receiving peace and quiet.  We spend most of our time talking to others, we are constantly listening to TV, podcasts or people, and even talking to ourselves in our own heads. Silence is our opportunity to receive the beauty in nature, meditation, God's Word, the present moment, His voice and care for us in the simplicity of just being.   We need quiet- to hear.

When we come away on retreat, it is often to hear and be with God.  We can not hear when we and others are still speaking.  We cannot hear when we are continually preparing in our minds what to say next out loud.  The silence gives space to actually listen to your own inner thoughts (which might be a little scary at first, but don't worry, the meditations and prayer times will assist in guiding your thoughts) and then direct your listening towards the One who is longing to be with you and speak life.

“Silence is God's first language;

everything else is a poor translation.” 


― Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation

“Truth is the offspring of silence and meditation."

Sir Isaac Newton


We share the retreat space together like a library where each person is doing their own individual inner study and reflections. By not talking or sharing our personal thoughts all day, each person has the opportunity to stay with their own thoughts, their own inner experience. These are precious days free from our daily life and all that we are doing, a break from caring for others.  In the quiet we open to the peace that is in our hearts and give space to the God who is peace.

 

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10



The quiet helps us find this inner place of God's love and beauty that is always present but mostly covered up by busy-ness and the noise of our lives. The gift of silence is having nothing to do, nothing to say, having time to enjoy solitude, gentleness, a quiet mind. When we are not busy talking, our mind takes a rest. Our heart becomes more available. The silence outside helps us to find the still quiet place inside. A few days of simple peace and we feel new again, more in touch with our true selves.  The silence is the doorway into our own spirit and Truth.  Receive the silence as a gift.

“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

Hab. 2:20

“Times come,” Emilie Griffin says,

“when we yearn for more of God than our schedules will allow.

We are tired, we are crushed, we are crowded by friends and acquaintances, commitments and obligations. The life of grace is abounding, but we are too busy for it.

Even good obligations begin to hem us in.”

Why do we need to "come away" and leave our homes?

Solitude...

"It is a profound truth about human beings that our first area of freedom concerns where we will place our mind. Until solitude and silence have had their effects, our minds will very likely continue to be focused on the wrong things, or on good things in an anxious attitude of trying to dominate them. But as we, through relocating our bodies into solitude, escape and change the inputs that have constantly controlled our thoughts and feelings, we will have additional freedom to place our minds fully upon the great God, his kingdom, and its peace and strength.

This, in turn, will transform our emotional state, and thereby the very condition of our body. Most of those around us will sense that and begin to act differently themselves. The social context will change for the better, and what we have to respond to will be much more in the spirit of the kingdom. I have observed this on many occasions."

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved HarperCollins Publishers.

"The longing for solitude is the longing for God."

Still need more reasons to retreat? click here

 "I was burned out from serving on committees and longed for something more.  When we reach the threshold where how we believed, how we functioned and who we thought we were no longer works for us we land at the threshold....  I was at that threshold.  It is when I started going on silent retreats.  This is where we gradually let go of our attachment to who we were before, how we functioned and the attachments...  We begin to turn within to find God rather than in the previous external ways."   -Joanne Nesser
  __________________

Do You Hear

Jesus' Invitation to You

to Come Away With Him?

Jesus said to them,

`Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.'

Many people were coming and going.

They could not even eat.

So they went away in a boat to a lonely place by themselves.'

Mark 6:31-32

How will you respond?

We often facilitate retreats for times of quiet, connection and community.