How can I sum it up? It's been 4 days since the retreat. Already my spiritual "high" is wearing off. But nonetheless, the lessons that God taught me at OIL stands strong and I pray I'll be able to reflect that in my actions and the way i live my life.
At first OIL was a struggle. I had many expectations of OIL, i was hoping to feel emotional, perhaps even cry again [like last year], feel many revelations [like last year], and meet an amazing small group [like last year]. Alot of things were in comparison to last year. And alot of things did feel like last year. The worship had the same leader, so as i remembered worship was amazing and where i truly felt passionate about God. Alot of the same speakers from last year came, and again, their words and lessons were profound and taught alot. Small group was different, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. And the relevations... well.. profound yet nothing new?
I felt spiritually low. I had no awe of what OIL was offering since i had experienced everything before. Yes the speakers/worship was still amazing but didn't hit anything in my heart. [I felt passionate during worship but i feared it was only because of the musical instruments.] I had no motivation to love God. Yes, i know it sounds harsh but thats how i felt, as the speaker put it "spiritually dead" meaning apart from God. I knew why i should love Christ, but i didn't feel that in myself. It was like studying for school, but having no real passion for it. I was scared, i mean come on, i was at OIL! if i were to get a spiritual low, this was not the time....
What did i do? I prayed earnestly and i talked to my sg members and ccf/R8 about it. but i felt like i had actions of faith without faith. i felt like a lukewarm christian, one of those people that claim to be a christian but was just an empty shell. i felt ashamed to call myself a christian. i prayed that God would break me and teach me what was in His heart.
Last sermon on the last day of OIL, Dr. Murray spoke about giving your life for God. He taught that normally, christians will give God a list:
1) go to school, graduate
2) go to college, graduate
3) get a good job
4) get married, have a family
5) find a church and serve
at the bottom we ask for God signature of approval. we present to Him a list of stuff and then we involve Him. But what God really does is this:
God gives us a blank list and asks us to sign. no strings attached. it can say singlehood, full time ministry, missionary. it can say anything and all you have to do is sign the paper and give it all to God. Dr. Murray printed out cards with this on it saying if you truly give your whole life to God, for Him to use you in His plan, sign it. Alot of people went up to get a card, but i truly couldn't. in my heart i couldn't lie to myself or others around me, God knew my true heart. He knew i truly couldn't do it.
Wow, when you pray God answers prayers. God truly showed me that first, i didn't need to cry in order to feel His presence. God never left me, even though i felt that i left Him. I was also reminded that emotions sometimes are just involved in spiritual highs but what truly matters are the lessons you learn and how you apply it to your life to glorify God. Second, i am a sinner from beginning to end. in no way will i be righteous in God's eyes by my own ways. which includes how i question my ability to give my life truly to Him, all of me. Yet, by God's grace, He still loves me! can you believe it? i turn from Him, i have no motivation to love Him, and i question the very essence of my faith! and yet... He still loves me, sinner though i am. Wow.. its amazing how things you've heard over and over again hit you like it's the first time you've heard it. and finally, i know that ill have alot of trouble if God calls me somewhere because its just hard when you're comfortable where you are. But i know Phil 1:6 says that Christ started a good work in me and He'll bring it to completion. God has good stuff for me, even though i'm a dirty rag, he still finds value in me. praise God!
In conclusion: OIL was a big roller coaster for me with ups and downs. Although the relevation i had this year wasn't as huge as last year's (actually it sounds like the exact same lol) we always need reminders of God's love for us and the world. and we need to remember that we live our life for HIM and Him alone. I'll write a shorter, condensed version of what God taught me on the retreat based on my notes.
Praise God! Amen.