Want to know what you missed and what you should remember from Spring Retreat?
Keep reading for the insider scoop on the weekend and what the Lord revealed to our ministry:
The College Ministry had a great weekend away at Lake Murray focusing on how the Lord so values our relationships and the ways in which we can understand each other better in an effort to glorify Him in all interactions. We looked at the point of relationships, our roles in certain types of relationships, the ways to reconcile those broken relationships and how to above all push each other closer to Christ in each friendship, dating relationship and family role.
The Lord was so faithful to be in the midst of all of our conversations, breaking down walls and insecurities as we were able to talk candidly about past hurts, confusions and misunderstandings when it comes to the aim of relationships. Below we have included some resources we used, lists created throughout the weekend and thoughts evoked by some of our students.
As we looked to understand the point of relationships, we learned that the simple answer is to glorify God in each relationship. What we learned was the hard truth that we are still learning what this looks like and how to do it well. We learned that we must first be fully rooted in God, able to carry our own load, before we can reach out to help others with their heavy burdens. Jeremiah 17:5-8 became a verse we saturated the weekend with as we continued to reference back to it as a picture of what the healthy spiritual life should look like.
Below is a list of verses we continued to root the weekend in. As there are so many thoughts and opinions on relationships thrown at us constantly, we wanted each session, each conversation, each answered question to be drenched in the truth, not just personal opinion on the matter.
Relationship References we Focused On:
|Relationships to all||5 Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield
|Hebrews 10:24–25||24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.|
|1 Peter 4:8||Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.|
|Ephesians 4:1–3||1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.|
|Colossians 3:12–17||12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.|
|2 Corinthians 5:17–20||17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.|
|Proverbs 27:6–7||6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. 7 A sated man loathes honey, But to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet.|
|“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?|
|Exodus 20:12||“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.|
|1 Peter 3:3–4||3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.|
|1 Timothy 5:1–2||1 Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, 2 the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.|
|1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.|
|Genesis 2:18||Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”|
|Ephesians 5:22–31||22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.|
|Ephesians 5:33||Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.|
|1 Peter 3:8–9||8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kind hearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.|
|2 Corinthians 6:14||Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?|
As we entered a session that was focused on dating relationships, we looked to come up with a better dating guide than what the world throws at us. Below is a set of scripture based guidelines for healthier and more glorifying relationship goals. The list is in no means exhaustive, but we thought it was worth sharing:
Better Dating Rules:
- You are complete….without him or her (Prov. 27.7)
- You actually do know how far is too far (1 Thes. 4:3-5)
- Lean into true Discernment, there is peace that will come. (Phil. 1:9-10)
- There’s one place to always seek advice first (James 1:5) (Prov. 3:5-6)
- Don’t Tempt him, and don’t be easily tempted! (Prov. 7:21-22)
- Don’t always follow your heart (Prov. 28:26)
- Consider your friends, they know you best (Prov. 27:6)
- Always be honest with yourself (1 Peter 2:11)
- Girls: Understand your power, and don’t abuse it; Guys: don’t fall for the outward things (1 Tim. 2:9-10)
- Seek to understand where true beauty comes from (1 Peter 3:3-5)
- Have high standards for love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
- Thank Jesus first before you are overly thankful for “him” or “her” in your life (James 1:17)
- Consider if the relationship is making you better together than you were separate (Hebrews 10:24–25)
Throughout the weekend we had many conversations about relationships with friends as well as what it looks like to progress from friends to dating and considering marriage. We thought it would be helpful for the girls and guys to have a space to “explain” and make known some thoughts and questions that had about this topic. We gave them the task of coming up with 10 truths/ things to be known about them as well as asking them to come up with 5 questions they wanted answered by the opposite gender. Below is what they came up with. The conversation was helpful but also reminded us that relationships are in a way similar for all, but there are so many nuances and details that make each person and relationship different. That being said, these are generalized statements that are not exhaustive of how each gender felt or wanted to be represented.
List from the Girls:
The girl’s list of thoughts about them and how they think:
- We shouldn’t have to be the one to address intentions, we assume you’re the pursuer (don’t leave us guessing it’s a date)
- We want open and mutual communication
- The pursuing doesn’t stop when you change your status to “in a relationship”
- Ambition (not perfection) is sexy in your life, relationship with God, and with us
- Chivalry is not dead, we truly notice it
- Seek understanding….not fixing
- As a girlfriend, we want to be set apart publicly form your other female/male friends
- If you’re constantly singling me out, I’m going to overthink it (refer back to clear intent)
- Don’t think you’re the only one with sexual temptations, we struggle too
- Talking about women in general, reveals your character
Questions from the Girls to the Guys:
- What is the best way to encourage a gut spiritually? (Friendship or dating)
- Would you prefer for a female friend who has feelings for you to tell you or keep it quiet?
- How can we befriend you without leading you on?
- How can we help you resist temptation?
- What do the first steps of a pursuing a relationship look like to you (vs. a friendship)?
List from the Guys:
Guys list of things to be known about them:
- We want to help you! We don’t want to confuse you
- We don’t always think about the future quite like you do
- Being nice doesn’t necessarily mean we are flirting
- When you text us first, we don’t automatically assume you like us
- We need grace b/c we often time don’t know what we are doing
- Tell us directly what you want us to know, it may be easier than expecting us to just know!
- We do have feelings- we sometimes just don’t know how to express them
- Don’t over interpret what we say- sometimes we just say stuff
Questions from the Guys to the Girls:
- How can I be your friend without confusing you?
- You are sometimes not straightforward with us about your feelings, what may be going on when that happens?
- How do you come to the conclusions you do? (show us how you think more, walk us through a typical thought process)
- Why at times do you talk to others about the complaints you have about us, versus coming directly to us?