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01-17-2014 A FIRST AND FINEST

June 16th, 2014 by Carl Buffington

Dear Members of New Covenant,

 

A FIRST AND FINEST

 

It was a first and finest for me – a combined retreat for the worship team, staff, a couple intercessors, a “tag-a-long” or two, and the vestry. Our leaders were fantastic as were the participants!

From a vestry person: “It was the best vestry retreat ever.” Question, “Why?” Answer, “Because we had good singers!”

Ron Rand spoke Sunday morning and as someone said,

“Dr. Ron Rand really hits the nail on the head.” (You had to be there and have a 4” twisted nail in your hand.)

And I had forgotten what an anointed worship leader Bill Blomquist is. From what I have heard, the Holy Spirit was mightily present among the worship team. Here’s one comment,

“The song we created was sung over me specifically. How powerful! I haven’t danced with Jesus in 15 years…”

Here are some more responses. There are quite a few and my hope in sharing so many is that in some way this allows you all to share in the experience and the blessing of the retreat.

“I was a "tag-a-long"...neither a sheep nor a goat!  Yet, the Lord knew I was to be there.  I was overwhelmed by the love of Jesus, and hearing once again, that I WAS qualified to spread his word.  I heard that I need to step out of my comfort zone and have more initiative.  A staff member said on Monday that I was "glowing.”  If he only knew ....

“Dr. Rand was an awesome speaker...his enthusiasm, knowledge, energy and joy for the Lord was great. Yet he brought it to our level...what a blessing!

“Words from the weekend for me: Encouraged; empowered; enlisted.”

“I went into the weekend with no real expectations. I really didn’t think God would work the way He did. But should I be surprised? All I know is that I REALLY needed this retreat.”

“I was so blessed by Ron and his teaching. I felt like God reached into my heart, took the broken, hurt and seemingly dead areas and restored it.”

“The inclusion of the worship team topped off the weekend, with God reassuring me that I have been restored.”

“I felt overwhelmed by His Spirit as we worshipped on Saturday's end. What a joy!”

“This vestry retreat was so refreshing and seemingly uncontrolled, yet orderly, if that makes sense. It was fun, yet serious.”

“I felt the Spirit was free to move as He pleased without us getting in the way.  Ron has such a great way of teaching relationally. He was such a gift last weekend.”

“Bob Wilson was so tenderhearted and added to the reverence of the weekend as well.”

“It was pretty awesome!

“I was really inspired by the retreat through Ron's heart for God's word, his passion through the Holy Spirit for what God is doing at New Covenant, and his practical "get out there and do it" attitude. It gave me a greater passion for the lost and reinforced everything we have been learning about obedience through the 10 Second Rule.

“I was touched by the Trinity of salvation: From judgment by God’s law, to mercy, and then grace. He explained it in such a simple yet effective way. I am constantly judging myself by the law and lacking in faith that his actions on earth was the mercy I need. I cannot give myself mercy for I am the accused. Only through Jesus is there mercy.  And, the grace is the promise. It makes more sense now.”

“Being with our leadership as they took seriously the act of confession, searching and applying scripture, interceding for our church members and speaking into each other's lives.”

“A sense of God's holy presence was so strong throughout our time, but especially during confession and worship times.”

“What a blessing it was to see new gifts of the Spirit released in people's lives as they worshiped and prayed for others, not even seeking these gifts for themselves. Isn't that just like God?”

“It was an energetic time of calm reflection and encouragement.”

“I am always touched by the way New Covenant Citizens almost instantly come together in trust. It was especially close this time. I wish everyone at NCAC could experience these Advances at least yearly. I also was traveling and felt both blessings and assault this week. I am very thankful for the recharge of last weekend. Maybe we should call them recharges instead of retreat or advance.

“The speaker presented an arsenal of tools that we can use to intentionally allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into Christlikeness.  As we use these tools in daily living, it can also help others in our church and community desire and choose to be transformed.”

“The time of confession, and the time of affirming one another provided assurances that the Holy Spirit was with us, and was binding us tightly together in Truth and Love.”

“The retreat was a clear reminder that our faith and our leadership is rooted in the quality of our relationships, with God, one another, and with those we are called to reach.”

“I just looked around, knowing so many people’s stories. It’s like a stunning mosaic to look around and see this.”

“… a strong faith here kept me holding on.”

“Feeling of acceptance, family.”

“This weekend there was a lot of stuff, and folks were impacted by different parts of it. So while we may not have come away with a shared sense of one message, we did come away with the shared experience of having been blessed, albeit in different ways, maybe, and I think that's unifying in itself. A bit like Closer.”

“What continually comes to mind are the characteristics of a positive leader.  I appreciated the characteristics along with the scriptures in general.  And, then, on reflection, my strength (service) and area for opportunity (immersion in the word).”

“The time together with the group was valuable so we could actually talk and spend time together.”

“Singing with the worship team was an amazing experience.  Although we can/may do the same in the future, I really feel as if that particular moment, those particular emotions, etc., will not be replicated.  It was very special.”

“For me, I especially appreciated the times of affirmation, and thought the "commissioning" was a neat time...”

“The fact that my New Covenant family has always been for me any time I needed them. Always loving me no matter what.”

“Worship and budgets and meals and plans all tie back to the privilege and duty to steward our relationships well.”

“A great way to begin a new calendar year together.”

 

These quotes come from members of the vestry, staff, tag-a-longs, and the worship team. Feel free to ask them about this retreat, or as Ron called it, “An Advance.”

 

Blessings to You All!

Carl+

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Carl Buffington

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