We participated in the Marvelous Light retreat this weekend at Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian, Texas. Nearly forty people from five churches recently planted in DFW came together for the event—Christ Journey (Burleson), New River (Forney), Storyline (Dallas), Sunrise (Grand Prairie) and VineLife (Savannah). Four of the five churches are associated with Mission Alive, our church planting resource organization.
I’m biased because I helped to plan it, but I think it was a tremendous success.
Many people came carrying heavy burdens and left with lighter loads. Many came with brokenness and left on the pathway to healing. Many came with darkness and left with more light in their lives.
One of our Storyline people said something to this effect:
When we lived in Los Angeles, going through a body “detox” was a popular thing to do. Marvelous Light was like a spiritual detox for my soul. I poured all of myself out through confession in my ministry group. It was hard, but by the end of it, I felt so much lighter.
I think that’s such a great description of the cleansing and renewal that occurs at Marvelous Light—spiritual detox for the soul.
Testimonies were hands down the favorite element of the weekend listed in our evaluation forms. They were vivid examples of how our lives change when God transfers us from darkness to light.
- One woman talked about being freed from bondage to anxiety and aversion.
- Another woman talked about learning by the power of God to forgive the man who raped her, and after that, to forgive herself.
- Still another shared her story of growing up in a very legalistic environment, hating the god behind it, and then finding the true and living God.
- One young business entrepreneur shared the panic attacks he experienced because he trusted money too much and how he learned to trust God by giving large chunks of his money away.
- Another man shared how he had been enslaved by sexual addiction to pornography for more than thirty years and how God had given him sexual purity for more than three years.
What I love is that a couple of these testimonies were shared by previous Marvelous Light participants who were enabled to share the light they’d found because they had let God deal with their darkness in the Marvelous Light retreat.
Confession of sin is an oft-neglected discipline in the church. It’s much easier to stay in the realm of pretense and superficiality.
The gospel, however, calls us out of darkness and into light.
We have therefore made a rigorous commitment to authenticity, acceptance, confession and life change by the power of the Holy Spirit.
That’s why we put so much energy into experiences like Marvelous Light.
When’s the last time you dealt with your darkness and confessed your brokenness to someone you trusted?
God’s forgiveness—his marvelous light—is waiting for you…
and what a great experience it was! I have never felt so light and filled by God’s grace in my life. I will definitely be going next year if it’s on….
I am again touched by what God does in these spiritual renewal and cleansing retreats. God’s light shines into our darkness so that we begin to reflect the radiance of His glory (2 Cor. 3:18).