Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
Finding God in All Places Retreat
We have had a very special time with the Lord in this retreat. Though we come from different places (Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines)
and are of different demographic groups in terms of ages, occupations, gender, experiences and personalities, yet there is a bond that
binds us together in love as we seek Him together. In the guided times of quietness, silence, reflection, sharing and working with our hands
(on plasticine/playdough) to conceptualize our experiences we come to recognize how close God is in all we do. Individually and corporately,
we have experienced and understood what it is truly to find God in all places.
Soli Deo Gloria
This is a Remembrance Guided Retreat. Certain portion of the retreat will require you to be ‘silent’. What this means is that you do not talk to your friends (including spouses) during this period (colored blue in your retreat schedule) especially during meals time. You are in solitude and bring your solitude along with you wherever you go. Do not worry. You will be allowed time to talk. Please restrict your reading to the Bible and this retreat note.
What to bring
· No expectations
Come with no expectations. Do not expect God to speak to you. No expectation of spectacular divine revelations, projects to complete, KPI to be achieved, or great stories to tell. Just come open and free to the Spirit.
· No intention to fast from food
Unless you really want to fast, I usually discourage fasting in such a short retreat. The reason is that you will be distracted by your hunger pangs from what is happening during the retreat.
· Intention to fast from connectivity
It will be good to ‘fast’ from your handphone and Internet connectivity. Do plan not to be contactable during the time of the retreat especially during the ‘silent’ part. If you are worried about emergencies during the time your phone is off, you can arrange for a member of the group to be contactable for emergencies only while the rest of you can keep your phone switched off.
Bring yourself and other comfort items you deem essential to your well being. This is a retreat, not a monastery.
Facilitator: Dr Alex Tang
The retreat process
Reflection #1 Rest
Find rest in your present circumstances. Where do you stand spiritually? What is the state of your spiritual journey? Describe it in words here. Use the plasticine/playdough provided to make an object that represent your present spiritual state.
Reflection #2: Remembrance
But God is present in reality no matter what unreality our practices and our ponderings imply. He is forever trying to establish communication; forever aware of the wrong directions we are taking and wishing to warn us; forever offering solutions for the problems that baffle us; forever standing at the door of our loneliness, eager to bring us such comradeship as the most intelligent living mortal could not supply; forever clinging to our indifference in the hope that someday our needs, or at least our tragedies will waken us to respond to his advances. The Real Presence is just that, real and life-transforming. Nor are the conditions for the manifestation of his splendors out of the reach of any of us! Here they are; otherness, openness, obedience, obsession.
Albert Edward Day, The Captivating Presence
Why is it that I think I must get somewhere, assume some position, be gathered together, or separated apart in the quiet of my study to pray? Why is it that I feel that I have to go somewhere or do some particular act to find you, reach you, and talk with you?
Your presence is here—in the city—on the busy bus, in the factory, in the cockpit of the airplane, in the hospital—in the patients' rooms, in the intensive care unit, in the waiting room; in the house - at dinner, in the bedroom, in the family room, at my workbench; in the car—in the parking lot, at the stoplight.
Lord, reveal your presence to me everywhere, and help me become more aware of your presence each moment of the day. May your presence fill the nonanswers, empty glances, and lonely times of my life. Amen.
Robert Wood, A Thirty-Day Experiment in Prayer
Charting your year 2013
The spiritual life is not a process of addition, but rather of subtraction.
We obey him right now in everything we can and in everything we know. We take up the prayer of Elizabeth Fry: "O Lord! enable me to be more and more, singly, simply and purely obedient to Thy service."
If we fall down—and we will fall down—we get up and seek to obey again. We are forming the habit of obedience, and all habits begin with plenty to slips and fall and false starts. We did not learn to walk overnight. .. But in time we will see that it is God who inflames our heart with a burning craving for absolute purity. . . . One taste of obedience and we want more.
Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home
One of the most compelling images of the Christian life is that of the pilgrim, traveling through life towards God.... This is the journey of the heart, which is being shaped by desire for Christ, our Lord, and its movement is an upward one.
This ascent, however, is like that of a helicopter or a jump jet, which remains horizontal while it ascends....Yet as long as Christ is our treasure, we are going in the right direction. [George] Herbert speaks of this as "my crooked winding ways, wherein I live." But, he corrects himself, "wherein I die, not live; for life is straight, straight as a line and ever tends to Thee." Like the contradictory movements of desire in the human heart, the horizontal life of the pilgrim is indeed a zif-zag, as George Herbert well knew.
James Houston, The Heart’s Desire
To pray is to take notice of the wonder, to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living.
Reflection #3: Receiving
Somehow, Jesus, I like praying with a cup of coffee in my hands. I guess the warmth of the cup settles me and speaks to me of the warmth of your love. I hold the cup against my cheek and listen, hushed and still.
I blow on the coffee and drink. O Spirit of God, blow across my little life and let me drink in your great life.
Richard Foster, Prayers from the Heart
Prayer does not occur in the heart of a man who think God will do it all or who supposes he himself can do nothing. Prayer is a willingness to admit we can do something even if not everything and that, although nothing is done without God, God does nothing without us.
Anthony Padovano, Dawn Without Darkness
"You know what I've always thought?" she asks in tone of discovery, not smiling at me but at a point beyond. "I've always thought a body would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord.... and it's
been a comfort.... But I'll wager it never happens, I’ll wager at the very end a body realizes the Lord has
already shown himself. That things as they are"—her hand circles in a gesture that gathers clouds and kites and Queenie [the dog] pawing earth over her bone-"just what they've always been, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes."
Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory
Who has not found the Heaven below. Will fail of it above.
God's residence is next to mine, His furniture is love.
Emily Dickinson, Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
A man who works with mentally and physically handicapped people said that he asks himself this question at the end of each day: "How did I experience the presence of Jesus in the pain of someone today?" And I have also abandoned the glib notion that all those who believe in God will experience perfect peace and prosperity. Life is difficult, no matter how much faith you have. But in the midst of it there is a Spirit of comfort that cannot be destroyed.
James Bryan Smith, Embracing the Love of God
Reflection #4: Respond
Reflection #5 END-OF-RETREAT REVIEW
1. What was most life-giving for you this weekend/retreat?
2. What surprised you?
3. What was hardest for you?
4. What did you wish had happened but did not?
5. Consider your spiritual state at the beginning of the retreat. Where are you now at the end of the retreat?
6. What image would you draw to represent your ‘take-home’ weekend experience?
7. In terms of logistic, comment on the venue and food or any other logistic matters
8. Any other comments.
Retreat Photo Gallery
(please click on photo to enlarge)
27 October 2013
"treat, heal, and comfort always"
"spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"
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