2018 Arrow Fall Retreat Recap

39 hours, 18 students, 1 survivor! No, this wasn’t the latest twist on the long-running reality show. CBS’s “Survivor” was theme of the 2018 Arrow Fall Retreat, and it was definitely “worth playing for”. The Arrow Fall Retreat is an annual reality-check for Harvest students and any friends that they invite; a temporary pause on the routine of life for a focused jolt of gospel truth. Each year, the complete message of sin, salvation, and sanctification is presented during a weekend of food, fun, and fellowship.

This year, in spite of a van accident, a fall snow & ice storm, and a near county-wide power outage, the retreat successfully ensued bringing glory to our Great God! With Survivor as the theme of our skits and the backdrop of the messages, God ripped through the veils of our individual, reality-tv-show lives to reveal a higher reality of what Christ has done for each of us in His life, death, and resurrection. In response, many students made recommitments to Christ and some may have even heard this for the first time! God be praised for His ever-present faithfulness and love! It was also great to “form an alliance” with Harvest Community Church leaders and students to expand the impact of this weekend. Special thanks to Fred Neal for making this “merge” happen!

Oh, and because of the growing fan following of Arrow skits, we will be airing the “Survivor: Hands Of Fate” Season during the 2019 HBCPN Annual Chili Cookoff in January. You don’t want to miss out on which castaway ends up as the sole survivor - if you do, you might get voted off the island. Sorry, the tribe has spoken…

A Parable for the Church...

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I wanted to share this Sunday, as it illustrates what happens to a church that drifts from fulfilling her mission out of sincere love for Christ, His people, and the lost.

Take a couple of minutes and let this sink in:

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was a once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost. 

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some of the new members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.

So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they re-decorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club.

Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work.

The mission of life-saving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the life-saving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people.

They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin, and some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal life pattern of the club.

But some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the life of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded.

If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, only now most of the people drown.

-Author unknown

May we never become a “club”. Stay on mission.

-pastor jeff

Q&A - Questions We Didn't Get To: Are You There, God?

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What is the point in continuing searching for God if every time I read or pray, he is NOT there? Every time I ask others, they say “You gotta get in the word...” but I’ve already been there, and keep trying, but GOD APPEARS TO BE NOWHERE, so what is the point in searching for God, if he’s not there? How come he seemingly appears for others but not me?

With all sincerity, I would like to ask the person who submitted this question what exactly s/he is looking for from God. Dealing with the very last question first – I don't know anyone (sane) who says God “appears to them” in a visible sense. He has never appeared to me that way, either.

His presence in this age is His Holy Spirit, who resides within you and changes you. Someday, we will be in His actual presence, we will be face to face with our Lord, but until then, He has ordained faith as the way of walking with Him.

I would also tell this person to ask those “others” who say they experience God's presence to please explain what they mean by that. Hear them out – maybe they experience God in a way that you never understood before – but can have opportunity to yourself.