First Annual Semi-Silent New Year’s Day Retreat
Welcome! If you’ve arrived during a silent time…. Please grab some drinks or snacks and make yourself at home! The instructions below will guide you through the reflection time, and we will use the space by the fireplace for conversation and prayer at some point. If you finish and want to just journal, or grab a Bible or other book around here to keep reading on your own, please do!
Take some time to really soak into this experience in a relaxed manner. Shoulders, down…. Celebrating the arrival of 2018! This is basically a four part process in which you will
- Take an inventory (individuals and couples)
- Reflect on scripture
- Answer the “Three Questions”
- Make your commitment
When enough folks are ready to talk, we’ll gather in front of the fireplace and share some of our thoughts.
During the inventory phase, consider your life’s journey so far. What do you “own”, both literally and figuratively? If your life were a large warehouse, and everything you have and are is stacked on shelves…. Take an inventory! Obviously, it won’t be complete but write a list of those things that seem significant. What passions and desires do you have? What have you achieved? Where have you failed? Who are you? What gifts do you have? What experiences have you had, both hard and good? How has God used you?
If you are part of a couple, be sure to also do a “Yours, Mine, and Ours” version of this exercise as well.
Next, take some time for prayerful imagining. If you were God…. what might you have had in mind for someone who had this inventory? How might you be shaping this person for your purposes (as God)? This is obviously only an imagination exercise…. But play with it; perhaps God will reveal something as you step outside your life circumstances and consider the bigger picture.
What comes to mind? (write it down!)
At the beginning of a year we reflect on what God’s will is for us, so that we might be available and obedient to it, above any other interest. Reflect on Romans 12… mark it up. What strikes you? What if anything stands out?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12, NIV)
Luke 5: 1 – 11
Ezekiel 37: 1 – 10
John 5: 1 – 8
What questions do you have for God in 2018 based on these readings?
What might God be speaking to you through these (or other passages on your heart) today?
For the next portion of your time, reflect on these three questions. We have found them to be very helpful in considering what’s unique about this “moment’ of time that we are in. To get you started, think through what milestones will be happening this year? What decisions need to be made? What key transitions, important growth or other change might be needed? Answer them in the space provided (and/or in your own journal).
- What’s important about this year?
- What must get done?
- What’s important about the future?
Pray about what might be an over-arching theme or word that best reflects your vision for 2018. Record it here:
My 2018 word:
Also, pause to ask God what is one thing you could do to draw closer to Jesus this year? (May be something new, or may be something you already do … but want to particularly commit to today!) Can you commit to that? If so, record it here:
My one thing to draw close:
Finally, the main point of this entire exercise is to spend time in prayer, officially “surrendering” your entire life and future back to God. An official living sacrifice. You might want to lie on the floor, or even think through each part of your “self” in surrendering… mind, eyes, ears, mouth, neck…. feet!
All as an offering for his purposes. Go ahead and sign your name below if you feel you can do that with integrity. Then be careful to watch and see how God works. I’ve seen it many times before… mountains really do move.
Write a prayer of surrender in your own words in the space below, and then sign and date below.
All to Jesus I surrender; all to him I freely give I will ever love and trust him; in his presence daily live
I surrender all, I surrender all. All to thee, my blessed savior; I surrender all
We look forward to hearing from you during the prayer & sharing time!
It’s going to be a GREAT NEW YEAR!!