This past weekend Jennifer and I had the opportunity to “get away” for a couple of days. We had a guest speaker at Graystone Church, a free babysitter for the kids (Jennifer’s sister in Greenville, SC), and money that was given to us for the sole purpose of getting away for a little rest and relaxation. We decided to go to the Ridgecrest Conference Center in Black Mountain, North Carolina. We chose Ridgecrest because it is a short drive from Greenville, it was cheap ($34 a night for pastor), and it is the place that I became a Christian 21 years ago.
This was the first time that I had been back to Ridgecrest since making a decision as a 17 year old to become a follower of Jesus Christ. I have forgotten a lot since the Summer of 1986 but walking on the campus of Ridgecrest brought back several memories:
– Friends from High School (I thought a lot about my old youth pastor, Jimmy Stewart…not the actor.)
– Our youth group dominating every other youth group in basketball (We were big Boston Celtics fans back then and I was the Larry Bird of our team…at least that is how I remember it)
– The song: “I looked over Jordan and what did I see”…I remember the words and the hand motions.
– The 15 foot wall that we scaled as a team building exercise.
– The conference room that I committed my life to Jesus Christ.
The decision that I made at Ridgecrest 21 years ago has OBVIOUSLY changed my life. It’s hard to describe in words, but it was really special for me to go back to my spiritual birthplace. As I have thought back over my adult life, 99% of my decisions have resulted from that one decision to follow Christ. I am so thankful for the path that God has me on and the people that He has brought into my life to help me along the way. There are countless people who have impacted my life over the years and I am so thankful for each one of them.
This weekend, it was really good for me to look back over my life and see how God has worked in so many ways. As I look back on my life and see God’s perfect plan, it gives me renewed passion and vision for the future. As I’ve been saying over the last several weeks, we are in a battle…we are in a spiritual war for the souls of men, women and children. Sometimes, in order to win the war, we have to retreat from the front of the battle lines. This weekend retreat reminded me of who I am, where I have come from, and what God has called me to. I am refreshed, refocused and ready to take the next hill for God.