What follows are comments from Pastor Erin Beckerink concerning the Call of Duty retreat held February 17 – 18:
What is God’s Call of Duty on your life? What is God calling you to do, to be? How is He calling you? Is He calling you to be a more prayerful mom? A more faithful spouse? One who forgives? One who is more bold with your friends about sharing His truth? One who denies all to follow Jesus? We are all called by God, and Paul prays that we will know the hope to which He has called us (Ephesians 1:18). Many here in Clymer, NY experienced the life transforming power of God’s call this weekend…
“Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord…Our God, You reign forever…our Hope, our strong deliverer…!” the cry went forth as hands began to clap, feet began to stomp, hearts began to soar, & the power of praise filled hearts & souls in Clymer, NY on a Saturday night in February.
What happens when God’s people, who are called by His name, humble themselves and pray and seek His face? God will hear from heaven and forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14). Those of us who were blessed to be at the Teens on Fire “Call of Duty” retreat now know this powerful truth of God’s Word. As we gathered together to pray and seek out God’s call for each of our lives, He worked in mighty and amazing ways, providing above & beyond our wildest hopes & dreams. We had more food than we could ever begin to eat as people brought in home baked goodies, we had people praying around the clock, and God reminded us that He works all things together for His good!
Speakers shared messages God laid on their hearts and as only He can do, He weaved it all together in a way that you just knew He was behind the scenes at work the whole time. We were challenged to take up the whole armor of God and stand strong against the schemes of the devil, to not just put on the helmet of salvation and be satisfied we are ‘saved for heaven’…but to truly put on the belt of truth which sets us free and holds us together, to don the shoes of peace, to use our shields of faith, our breastplates of righteousness, our Swords of the Word of God…and stand STRONG & live into freedom and abundance daily! Jesus didn’t just die on the Cross to save us for heaven, but to empower us to live in daily victory here and now! We were challenged to guard our hearts when it comes to media (and shocked by statistics that convicted us as to how we spend our time)-to make sure what we watch and consume is edifying to God and to spur one another onto love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:23).
We were challenged to put God 1st in our lives, we prayed, we laughed, we cried, we shouted Amen (yup, yup!)…my heart was filled with joy each time someone shouted Amen to affirm what God was saying or doing and in unison, kids hollered to affirm the Amen “yup, yup!”. God reminded us that we all have gifts from God and He has a purpose and plan for each of us, and each day we can choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19) and turn to God’s Word to answer the tough questions: who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose? How do I live out JOY (Jesus, Others, You) in my finances, my dating relationships, my daily life?
During a panel session, the teens were given the chance to ask the tough questions in life and it was amazing to hear how they are wrestling through their struggles to truly become disciples of Jesus who walk in His truth. “How do I really KNOW when God is asking something of me & it is not just something I want?” Together we all discovered how important it is to dig deep into God’s Word and hide His Word in our hearts to find the truth that sets us free. How vital the Scriptures are to guide us on our path.
Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:10, which was our theme verse for the retreat, that YOU are God’s masterpiece…created in Christ Jesus…to do good works…which He has already prepared for us to do. To see teens answer the question and hear the truth of who they are in Jesus: God’s masterpiece…overwhelmed my heart with joy! It was obvious God had prepared for this retreat in His amazing timing…many have prayed for months and years for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit, and as one pastor preached on Acts 1:4 & 8, we began to experience the powerful reality of those verses…as we prayed and sang, God drew the youth forward as we all joined in huddles, gathered around His throne, and poured out our hearts to Him…praying for Him to fill us with the power of His Spirit…and as the tears flowed and the Spirit poured forth…lives were transformed, in the mighty name of Jesus. As youth shared how God moved in them throughout the weekend, testimonies were given as to the love and joy felt, and how God had been preparing us all to receive His gift of grace in our community. There is nothing better than to see God’s love poured out on His people as they draw near to Him and He changes their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh, filled with His Spirit. Nothing is impossible with God!
For me personally, this powerful weekend in Clymer came right after a powerful weekend in Florida, gathering with over 500 leaders from the RCA to pray, talk, converse, discern-what is God’s call for our ministries? Our churches? Our future? The big screen on our 1st night in Florida reminded me of the call on us all: “God has a plan for you, plans not to harm you but to prosper you & give you hope & future!” Jeremiah 29:11. I savored conversations with people from around the world who are answering God’s call in their context and it thrills me to hear how God is on the move! My prayers are that we will get out of the way and allow the Holy Spirit to move. God wants to pour out His Spirit on us all!
God is calling you. Why not say yes? Answer the call. Will you abandon it all, for the sake of the call? Don’t delay-if He is asking you today to give something up, pray for someone, call that person you need to reconcile with, give that $ away…DO IT! Oh yes, “strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord…” And trust me, it is well worth the wait. His strength is perfect in our weakness. His strength heals us, sustains us, guides us. Indeed, our God reigns. Forever and ever. Amen (yup, yup!) To God be the glory!