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high-life winter sabbath

high-life winter sabbath

Wedged between more seemingly popular commandments, we have this funny word and frequently misinterpreted commandment to “Sabbath.” If you have a middle child, consider this the middle “commandment” syndrome. It can often be overlooked while the other “siblings” get most the attention.

If we’re following the Biblical story, readers who are commanded to engage in this thing called “Sabbath” should not find this odd or surprising. At this point in the narrative, we are blessed to participate in Sabbath in the context of the Creator’s Sabbath rest after the six days of creation in the previous book (Genesis). They are also to read this commandment through Sabbath rest he provided for Israel after Egypt’s captivity (Ex. 16:23). And throughout the rest of the text, New Testament included, readers are reminded of the eternal rest that the Creator will provide when Jesus returns to usher in the New Jerusalem. With every Sabbath we take, we point to the greater one to come…call it the Eternal Sabbath.

Now, change gears, and consider the average 15-18 year old Jones Valley Student. They are most likely attending a large school that is trying to give them the best GPA with as many advanced classes as possible so they can attend the college of their choice and live the American dream. Not only that, but their coaches are building programs and players in hopes of feeding athletes into major colleges in the SEC. And if they’re lucky and financially capable, they’ll get an edge with some extra training at D1. Oh, and in the midst of pressure to perform academically and athletically; throw in parents in a struggling marriage, private addictions, and broken peer relationships. This highly competitive and broken environment is where we find most of our students.

This February, your community and youth department will exodus Huntsville for nothing less than Sabbath rest. It is a facet of High-Life ministries where we can facilitate the emotional and spiritual needs of our students. For those that are not aware of the retreat details, this retreat is not akin to a traditional Bible camp, a free babysitting weekend for parents, or spiritual busywork guised as Christianity. We will diet on the preached Word, process in small groups, pray, and sing in a spirit of silence and solitude away from the buzz and hype of our everyday lives. In Mark 6:31, Jesus does the same thing with his disciples. Check it out.

Here’s the irony, we will find this Sabbath rest in Pisgah, Alabama (of all places!). There are times when the lights and splendor of Vegas or Times Square are appropriate. But there is something that only the silence and tranquility of Pisgah can offer us! This is where we will find our true rest. And like Israel of old, we’ll ask the Lord to deliver us from the things holding us captive so that we might have our Creator in the fullest sense of the word. And in the process, we’ll sample a little taste of Sabbath Rest that will one day put any retreat or camp to shame.

To sign up for the High-Life Winter Retreat visit southwood.org/winterretreat