Every year in the fall, men from the Churches of Christ from all the New England States drive to Raymond, Maine, and meet at Ganderbrook Christian Camp. The purpose for this annual migration is to "retreat" from the world to focus upon spiritual matters. This is a time to forget about all the responsibilities of life; work, home, family and anything else that occupies us on the daily journey that is our lives. It is also a time to renew acquaintances with brethren from all around New England who you had met at retreats over the years.
The retreat begins on Thursday afternoon and adjourns at about noon on Saturday until the following year.
Every year a noted speaker from one of the Churches of Christ or affiliated Universities and Colleges nationwide presents a series of lessons over the course of the retreat, following a theme. This year's speaker, F. Laggard Smith, will be bringing thoughts on the Old Testament Book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament.
Some of the things that bring me back, year after year, are... (1) The natural beauty that surrounds the camp; (2) The peace and quiet of the Maine woods; (3) The chance to get away by myself and spend time in prayer, quiet reflection, or thinking about the future, uninterrupted by phones or other noise; (4) Spending time in prayer, in song, in conversation, with other like-minded men; (5) Making new acquaintances and getting to know them; (6) Hearing how the work of the Church is going in the various states.
I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, is God incarnate. I believe that His death on the cross of Calvary was for the purpose of redeeming sinners, like me and like you, from eternal damnation. I believe that by believing that Jesus died for me in my place, by repenting of my sins, by confessing that Jesus is God and by being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I now have eternal life.
By claiming to be a Christian I am NOT saying, in any way, shape or form, that I am perfect or that I don't sin anymore. I do, everyone does! That doesn't excuse me, it is just a fact. Every person who claims to be a Christian is in the same boat, not perfect...just forgiven.
So, in a way, the Men's Retreat is kind of like a support program for sinners. We are not alone in this world. Those of us in the Church are blessed to have like-minded brothers and sisters who support and encourage each other for no other reason than...it is the right thing to do.
So, my friends, this is why Men Retreat. If you have any questions, if you want to know more about salvation or the Gospel please do not hesitate to ask. If I don't know the answer, I'm sure I know someone who does! May God richly bless you.