Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)

TITLE: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
By Al Boyce


We listened to talks, prayed, worshipped and sang an all-but-incomprehensible song loosely translated from Spanish -- all in the name of strengthening our walks with Jesus.

After the three-day retreat, we had new friends, new tie-dyed shirts, new songs and an age-old problem: How to smuggle a mountaintop experience back into our humdrum lives.

Like many such weekends, Cursillo didn't give us the answers; just the tools we would need to craft one ourselves.

We needed to give ourselves a SPA treatment -- equal measures of Study, Piety and Action -- if we wanted to breathe new life into our faith journeys; life that might begin to recharge our churches.

It sounded easy at first.

-- Study the Bible every day and reflect on its meaning. Only in this way can you learn to recognize God's voice in your life.

-- Pray every day. This is how you bring your will in line with God's, because when you end a prayer "in Jesus' name" it's pretty hard to pray about your own selfish wants and desires.

-- Act on your faith. Jesus said our hearts will be known by how we treat "the least of these" during our tenure on earth.

The organizers of the retreat knew long before we did that we'd never be able to do this on our own. For that reason, we were encouraged to develop support groups of other "cursillistas" to hold each other accountable.

At each meeting, we would go around the table and recount what we had learned through our studies, where we had seen God acting in our lives, how we had used our prayers, what action we had taken.

Our engines of faith sputtered at first, but those who stuck with it were soon rewarded with a steady sense of God's presence.

Even more daunting was the task of bringing a radical faith in the power of Jesus back to churches that were quite content with the status quo.

Our songs were not in the hymn book. Our hands were in the air and, like Moses, when they started to sag, the battle turned against us.

The question was: Which way do we go?

Some wanted to give in, join the crowd, be accepted again. Others wanted to be recharged with another "spiritual retreat." Still others found the idea of a "spiritual retreat" something of an oxymoron. Hadn't we been told in Scripture to go and make disciples of all nations?

As it turns out, under God's rules, the act of charging ahead can serve the same purpose as a "retreat." When we carry His banner into the fray, we are strengthened by His mighty hand and our faith is renewed by the visible signs of His intercession.

Or, as we often hear these days, "The best defense is a good offense."

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 1400 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anthony Tophoney08/08/05
Amen! My first memory of your closing line came from Mel, the cook on the 70's sitcom "Alice". Nice work on an encouraging piece!
Beth Muehlhausen08/08/05
Good closing thought to support an expectant faith: "When we carry His banner into the fray, we are strengthened by His mighty hand and our faith is renewed by the visible signs of His intercession."
Dixie Phillips08/08/05
Loved the last line with the spiritual twist to it!
Nina Phillips08/08/05
I liked the point: It seemed easy at first.
and then the end hit the mark. God bless ya,
Debra Brand08/10/05
Good truths in this lesson. Thanks for sharing.
Linda Watson Owen08/11/05
SPA--makes a 'lotta' sense! Great message!
Maxx .08/11/05
I wish there were answers to the mountain top experience being swallowed by the status quo. Carrying God's banner is the right choice! Thanks for submitting
dub W08/12/05
Loved the twist, thanks for submitting.
Suzanne R08/12/05
So true with any 'retreat' - and the concept of advancing - well done!
Sandra Petersen 08/12/05
I've experienced the same thing: just when you've got alone with God and ascended the mountaintop, you are called to get back to the humdrum of the real world. Good points made!!
Julianne Jones08/13/05
Some interesting imagery: "How to smuggle a mountaintop experience back into our humdrum lives" and "Our engines of faith sputtered at first". A much needed spiritual lesson presented in an enjoyable - yet challenging - way. Thanks for sharing.