Scribbled Bits of Wisdom from the Arise Spiritual Retreat

Posted on by Brian Marsh

Hey Guys!

I wanted to share a brief summary of the bounty of awesome wisdom that I gained through last weekend’s spiritual retreat. (This will be a rough translation of my scribbled notes from Jeremy’s teaching sessions, please forgive the seemingly random nature)

Firstly I wanted to mention that I heard the testimonies of Monica, Bree, and Katherine. I am starting to enjoy more and more hearing about peoples’ stories, and this weekend proved to be no exception! God has done (and is still doing) so much in each one of these girls’ lives. It was a good time to remind myself that we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ, and we can draw so much inspiration from other peoples’ lives as well as our own. A dominant theme in each was that God will always be with us, and never leaves us. (also, dog vomit is gross)

Knowing God:

Jeremy started this section off with a quote from Billy Graham that I believe will inspire me deeply for a long time. In a recent interview Mr. Graham said that he wished he had spent more time with the Lord during his life. This is huge coming from him, because here is a man who has spent his life on God. He spends hours a day praying and reading his Bible. Even now in his old age after he has retired from a lot of his duties and has more free time than ever, he wishes he could spend more time with God. This tells me not only the importance of spending time with him in our own lives, but how overwhelmingly inexhaustible he is. Someone could spend their whole lives doing nothing but praying and reading the word, and they still would not get enough. Of course, it’s still worth every second!

I also scribbled this: “Knowing God -> A balm for every wound” isn’t that neat?!?

Jeremy also shared a cool anecdote about President Obama. Stick with me… Imagine you are in a political conversation with some folks, and Obama comes up. Everyone starts angrily ranting about how bad of a job he is doing. They talk about Obamacare’s ineffectiveness and how awful his foreign policy is, and that he just makes a lot of bad decisions every day. Imagine further that you chime in. You say “Actually, I know Barack pretty well. I used to live in Chicago when he was a senator and we were riding the same elevator once. The elevator broke down so we had a chance to really talk before it got working again. We exchanged numbers, became good friends, and have been in contact ever since. He talks about a lot of his decisions with me and why he made them, and the intentions behind them. He’s a great guy.” Now, how much more will they listen to you after you say that you know Obama personally? The same goes for knowing God. People will listen, and you will be in so much of a better position to talk about His love when you are constantly experiencing it yourself. Other people usually just throw opinions and accusations about God, but don’t spend time with him and get to know him. It just seems foolish, doesn’t it?

“Don’t just keep knowledge in your head, but put it in your heart and worship him with it!”

(Again, I apologize for the seemingly random nature of this summary)

Meditate on God, and talk to yourself about God: Psalm 42 – 43

We should humble ourselves with God’s glory so that we can be light in any situation. Matthew 7 21-23

Another story Jeremy shared was that of a Pastor. I didn’t write down his name but he had a real name and this really happened. (what more proof do you need?) The people of the church he was pastor of kicked him out, basically firing him, because he believed that the Bible was the direct word of God (crazy right?!?) A friend of his talked to him shortly after he was fired, and the pastor didn’t seem to mind much. When asked about it, he said “It matters not a thing, I know God.” It reminds me that often times we’re so afraid of risks and tribulations in this world, where we should only look at our relationship with the father as the most important thing.

A Biblical equivalent is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (one of my favorites!) Nebuchadnezzar made golden idols for everyone to worship, but those three would not. Nebuchadnezzar threatened to burn them in a furnace of fire, but even still they would not worship idols. Again, “It matters not a thing, we know God.” Of course, spoiler alert, they were thrown into the furnace but kept alive by God’s power.

“Do not focus on the wood, hay, and stubble of life that will burn away in the end. Focus on the gold, silver, and precious stones that is love” (I forget if there was a Bible verse connected to this, but I liked it anyways)

God talks to us through scripture. He speaks to us individually. Doesn’t that blow your mind??? He already knows us. He knows the darkest thoughts in our brains and the worst things that we have ever done. That’s more than any one of our friends here on earth can say. Yet he STILL longs to be our friends, longs to be in a relationship with us, and he gave his son for this purpose. WOW!

My notes wrap up nicely with this: Knowing God – Enjoying God *Same thing!

The Trinity

If you’re still reading I’ll share a little bit about Jeremy’s talk on the Trinity. It is a topic that is not preached on very much, and admittedly is difficult to grasp. It is for this reason that I ask for your forgiveness when you figure out that this entire section is pure gobbledigook.

Firstly, the father purposes redemption, the son secures redemption, and the spirit applies redemption.

Jeremy mentioned a theory of why the trinity is necessary. 2 persons’ love for each other is communal, but when there are 3 then the 2 are unified by their love for the third. -> and we are invited into this eternal community.

Jeremy pointed out the amazing fact that every time the trinity is referenced in the New Testament, it has an immediate wonderful bearing on our lives. (check out Matthew 12:28) I don’t normally use emoticons or anything like it, but

John 15 affirms our salvation and assurance – our foundation is firm. Jeremy mentioned that, even though on most of the days of our lives we are able to avoid disaster, our survival on earth is far from guaranteed. But our salvation is!

It was also a powerful reminder to hear that the Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead is also in every single one of us!

Now, I forget which verse this was in, but one verse we read mentioned that the Spirit reminds us of everything God has taught us when we need it. This is very convicting to me seeing as, when faced with an opportunity to tell people about the good news I am often afraid of getting tongue tied. How great is it to know that the Holy Spirit will help us in these situations?

My notes are wrapped up with a speech bubble that says “Lord, help me know you.”

The Psalms

Wow, you’re still reading? bravo! As a prize you get to read my note scribblings of Jeremy’s talk about the Psalms. I’m sure you have important things to do, so I’ll try to keep this one a short summary. (the other two may have been summaries, but I don’t know about short!)

Basically, the book of Psalms is awesome! They expose the heart of God for us. Jeremy mentioned that this book can be described as a mini Bible, because it has everything in it, from creation to the end, from early prayers to messianic prophesies, from grieving to rejoicing chapters. I am more excited than ever to dig deep into the Psalms, as well as the entire Bible itself!

Jeremy also told us the value of knowing the context of the Psalms, which are known of most of the Psalms.

That’s it. The retreat was a blast! It was a great way to relax, to focus on God, and to get to know my brothers and sisters in Christ all the better. We missed whoever couldn’t make it, and I will see you all soon.

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