OIL 2008: How can I sum it up? Freezing snow/wind, everyone getting sick, concentrated in a small school gym, amazing worship, heart-opening seminars, a glimpse of heaven...
I didn't understand why I went to OIL. All these people had such a passion for God, but for me I still didn't know if I fully gave my life to Him, if I fully understood why His Son is my Savior. Everything else made sense: prayer is powerful, God wants sex to be for Him [emergency seminar], sin is all around us. Yea everything sounds the same in ccf, IV, church... maybe what's different is me. Where was my heart? Was it with God? I questioned the reason I went to OIL, my faith in God, my belief in His Son.
My Testimony for OIL 2008 (actually on the website, pretty cool):
It was my first retreat as a new Christian so I expected many of my questions to be answered. But I did not expect the truly amazing blessings that happened. God truly blessed me in numerous ways, to pick just one would be difficult. But for this testimony, I shall. I tend to doubt myself alot, so naturally this happened at OIL. I doubted myself as a Christian, why couldn’t I say wholeheartedly that Christ saved me? that He is my Savior? At first I thought it was perhaps because of my lack of knowledge. I just don’t know the history, that’s all. But the doubt came back. I felt so alone, helpless, and scared that everything I was doing was for the wrong reasons, that I was straying away from my walk with Christ. I spoke about it with my small group and asked for a prayer request regarding that. The very next day my prayer was answered. The speaker spoke about surrendering your sins and problems to God. So simple, and yet so powerful. After the whole message, I realized, all the aloneness I was feeling shouldn’t exist! I know that God has always been with me through my walk ever since I was saved two years ago. How did I doubt that He was with me at that moment during my solitude? I finally realized, that not only was God with me to help me with my doubt in myself, but I can surrender it to Him, and He’ll take care of me. That was the best lesson I could have learned. I was saved yet again by God’s grace.
Now you know the author. If you're going to OIL this year or any retreat in the future, I truly encourage you to pray with all your heart for change. Many of the seminars can sound repetitive, especially if your heart isn't prepared. It's easy for us to hear the same thing over and over again and not take in anything. But what's amazing about God is that He can take that same lesson that you've heard for years and make it seem like you're hearing it for the first time.
Pray for an open heart, for God to break you, to open your eyes, allow His will to be yours, to show you His ways.
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Luke 11:9
What are you asking God for this retreat? To meet and embrace Christians from different backgrounds? To have fellowship with your brothers and sisters? For change in your heart? To see God's will in your life?
Make sure your heart is right, don't wait for the speakers to put your heart in the right place. Pray and prepare to receive the amazing things God has to offer you. Don't doubt that He will.