1st Annual MCF Spiritual Retreat

mcf-newsletter-2016-09-16-spiritual-retreat 

Life is busy. 

Early in my military career I was an operator and I loved it. Every day featured one drama or another, problem solving, decision-making, learning, training etc. Life was like surfing. However, in the midst of my second tour, my CO it was time for me to train to become a staff officer. Gag! I knew staff officers, my occupation had its share and what I saw was operators who were stuck behind a desk longing to get back into operations. Yet, the CO is the CO and his intent was my mission, so off to the staff course I went. Gratefully, the course was interesting. We learned about current and anticipated events from excellent guest speakers, we learned from each other about the various operations that the military was conducting and we learned what was on the hearts and minds of senior leaders as they shared their stories and intents. And yes, we also learned how to be good desk jockeys. 

One of the most startling lessons was that staff officers are in a constant state of overload. Always more to do than time permitted. The staff work was relentless and the inbox was constantly in a state of overflowing. I and the rest of my colleges endured the course, all the while thinking that there is no way that staff officers had this much work. 

I returned to my unit, back to operations, glad I had done my duty and I could put that course behind me. However, one year later the posting message arrived and I was assigned a staff position in Ottawa. My family was excited to go to the Nation’s capital, but I mourned leaving operations. My new role as a staff officer started somewhat slowly, for about a week, and then, what my instructors had stated, came true –overload. It was relentless. My time as a young operator was over. 

Life as a military member is generally like that, too much to do and not enough time to do it. If it isn’t work, it is family responsibilities, and if it isn’t family it is the varied volunteer activities we naturally participate in and lead. Thank God for the energy He gives us to maintain the pace of life we find ourselves in. Yet, God also gave us direction to Stop! Spend time with Him. Psalm 46:10 states “Be still and know that I am God.” 

Some of us have learned to stop and spend time with God, even practicing this spiritual discipline daily. But, it is hard to carve out that time. Time with God in not just an obedient response to God’s command, it is exactly what He designed it to be, it is refreshing, spiritually refreshing. Once you have experienced it, you can’t wait to be back in His presence, quietly meditating on God and His Word, hearing Him speak to you. And then sharing your experience with others who are on the journey with you. Just like sleep, our souls need to be still and know that God is God. 

To this end, the MCF will conduct its first annual spiritual retreat in Ottawa to coincide with the annual general meeting. On Friday, November 11th, there will be an MCF prayer breakfast, which will be followed by attendance at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony in downtown Ottawa. Lunch is available at the Chateau Laurier, or at the various Messes. 

In the afternoon, beginning at 1:30 pm, at Greenbelt Church, we will spend time reflecting upon the Jesus’ call to us to make disciples. The session will start with a tutorial on disciple-making and then continue with individual prayer and meditation on the scriptures that discuss the concept. We will then come together again to share what the Lord has been communicating to us individually. We will close the day at approximately 5:30 pm. 

On Saturday, November 12th we will recommence at 8:30 am with prayer and worship. Our second session will consider the concept of discipleship. Following a similar agenda to the previous afternoon, we anticipate ending the session at 12:30 and then share lunch together before we begin the annual general meeting. 

As we get closer to the weekend of the spiritual retreat, more details will be forth coming, yet in the meantime I welcome your thoughts on this initiative. 

Life is busy, there are many demands to which we must respond. God knows this and he gives us strength to endure, but He also instructs us to Stop! Take time to be still and know that He is God. I invite you to come and stop together on the 1st annual MCF spiritual retreat.