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With the BCEC Church Retreat finished only yesterday many of us are going back in mind to what a good time we had praying for one another, listening to God’s Word preached and discussing it in our small groups. Seeing people being touched by the Holy Spirit and wanting to follow and serve Jesus Christ. Making new friends and experiencing the encouragement and help from those with whom we share our faith. Many of us must have felt that we touched heaven, or at least a small glimpse of what heaven could be like.

The retreat was for me a time of spiritual high, but since arriving at Birmingham the spiritual down started to emerge.

The apostles also had a spiritual high. It is described in the Matthew 17:1-9 (ESV):

[17:1] And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. [2] And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. [3] And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. [4] And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” [5] He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” [6] When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. [7] But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” [8] And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
[9] And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”

The apostles surely wanted to stay at the mountain top for longer. They had such a good experience being in the fellowship with Jesus and the prophets. Similarly, we also had a good time of fellowship with Jesus and one another at the church retreat.

We all love mountaintop experiences – “spiritual highs”. We never want to loose the good feeling and their warm afterglow. Like the good feelings we had at the church retreat: moment of salvation, or an encounter with the Holy Spirit, or when we cried our eyes out, when God’s presence seemed so thick you could slice it.

The problem with those kinds of experiences is that we tend to fixate on them, and then rate the rest of our Christian walk against them. Unfortunately, nothing can quite live up to the warms of a mountaintop high.

We love to stay on the mountaintop with Jesus, don’t we? That feels so good, and going back down to the valley where life is lived is so…well, so mundane. But following Jesus always means we have to “come down from the mountain to do as he commands” in verse 9. Jesus Christ rose from the dead; He is alive! We have to leave the sanctuary, the worship service, the warm incubator of our small group Bible study and get back into the extending the Kingdom of God to those who don’t know Jesus yet.

In the last session at the retreat we heard that our work for the Lord in evangelism is never in vain. As we come down from the mountain top, let us be encouraged by words of apostle Paul:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)


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