Our first annual congregational retreat was such a success. It was well-planned, well-run, and well-attended. Every age demographic was represented, and brothers and sisters who normally do not get to spend time together enjoyed the weekend in sweet fellowship. We sang, worshipped, listened to five lessons, participated in ice breakers, played card games, did recreation time together (hiking, putt-putt, basketball, volleyball, roller skating, and the like), and took our meals together. By the end of the weekend, we felt a special closeness that was still being felt when we reunited for the evening worship service. We left with no doubt that we wanted to do more of this, already anticipating next year!
James tells us every good and perfect gift comes down from God (1:17). Paul reminds us that every spiritual blessing is found “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), which means these are found in “the church, which is His body” (Eph. 1:22-23). God’s eternal purpose was to bring together all believers (Eph. 2:8) in that church (Eph. 3:9-11). One of the metaphors for the church in an epistle full of them is “the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).
God is our Father (Eph. 1:2; “Father,” referring to God, is found eight times in Ephesians). He adopted us (Eph. 1:5) and wishes to give us an inheritance (Eph. 1:11). We are fellow-heirs with all others He adopted into His family (Eph. 3:6).
At a time when some are so down on the church, can I remind you what our being in His family means to God?
It means there is something He wants to give us (Eph. 1:14-17)–“Fellowship.”
It means there is something He wants us to know (Eph. 1:18-19)–“His love.”
It means there is something He wants to do for us (Eph. 1:20-21)–“Far more abundantly above all we ask or think.”
Paul ends the first section of Ephesians exclaiming, “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:21). We left that patch of ground between Tabernash and Granby on a spiritual high because of a greater closeness we felt for each other. We understood, appreciated, and loved each other more. We were changed by the time together. It wasn’t geography, background, skin color, age, or economics that drew us together. It was Jesus, who made a way for us to be a part of God’s family! I’ve never appreciated that more than I do today. My prayer is that we will continue to build on that marvelous, spiritual foundation.