The speaker for the retreat was Dave Peterson, Pastor of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston, TX. His messages were engaging, inspiring and challenging. I took some notes and am still thinking about the things he said which have been causing me to evaluate the use of my time.
The theme for his five talks was BLESS. He used BLESS as an acrostic and had a message for each letter of that word:
- Bless someone Acts 3: 1-10
- Listen to God John 10: 1-10
- Eat with someone (I was working during this message.)
- Study God John 1:29-33
- Serve Generously Romans 12:1-2
Day 1 was encouragement to "Bless" someone as Peter and John blessed the crippled man who begged for alms at the temple gate. The crippled man hoped for alms but Peter and John gave him something far more valuable. They elevated his sense of worth by having meaningful contact with him. They pictured another future for this man than he had for himself. Those listening to Dave Peterson were encouraged to bless someone - help someone think the impossible and take a hand to help them get there. Peter took the hand of the crippled man,"helped him up and instantly the man's
feet and ankles became strong.
He jumped to his feet and began to walk.
Then he went with them into the temple courts,
walking and jumping, and praising God."
Dave Peterson concluded his talk with this thought-provoking, somewhat uncomfortable question:
"Who will leap and dance because you lived?"
So I'm pondering that question. There are people I know who appear to need alms but perhaps their greater need is for a blessing - the thought of a different future from the "survival mode" state in which they currently find themselves. It will require something of me to make this determination. The requirement is first of all my time and my focused attention. So...
This is where 2008 ended and 2009 began for me. Am I willing to BLESS those whose hands reach out to me as I pass by on my way to the temple? It will cost me something but if "walking and jumping and praising God" is the result, it will be worth it.
Note: I added family photos as a slideshow on my blog site. You may wish to take a few minutes to see some of the special people in my life - children, grandchildren, family, friends - here and abroad. Thanks.