THIS IS US

hear from stephen on our 2018 retreat theme & why

Some will recognize this as the name of a heartwarming and emotional TV Series about a unique set of triplets, their struggles, and their wonderful parents. The show portrays the diversity, hopes, joys, conflicts, discouragements, losses, sufferings and all the highs and lows of living together in family. As I prayerfully considered God’s leading for district retreat this year I was drawn to the scripture in Ephesians 1:9,10... "And he made known to us the mystery of His will… to bring all things in heaven and on earth together again under one head, even Christ", and to the realization that THIS IS US! This one statement envisions us. It reveals God’s ultimate plan; God’s gift; God’s End, and God’s pleasure. It is the Father’s business. We are the “all things” and the mission of God the Father is the reunification of US.

We live in a very performance-oriented world. Love and acceptance are conditional. Perfectionism is expected. Expectations govern our relationships. Identity is determined by function and possessions. Significance is measured by comparison. Diversity is feared. Unanimity is mistaken for unity. Rejection is inevitable and division is normalized. In this world how do we model the counter culture of God’s kingdom?

Into our fallen system God sent the Prince of Peace with a message of reconciliation to reunify this fractured and broken world. The purpose, plan, promise and predestination of God is summed up in God’s mission statement… "to bring all things in heaven and on earth together again under one head, even Christ."

Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote—"this verse states what is the central theme of Scripture. In verse 10 we are taken right up into the heavens and find ourselves looking at God’s final purpose with respect to this world. There is nothing higher than this, nothing beyond God’s final purpose. It is bigger and greater than our personal salvation. In this verse we are transported above the matter of our personal salvation into the realm of the ultimate things—God’s grand, comprehensive, final ultimate purpose"…to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
 

But how do we realize God’s ultimate plan for us? To realize something does not mean to become aware of it. It means to bring a theory or concept into reality so as to make it visible. This is the focus of retreat this year. God has put it on my heart to be the speaker at retreat this year and I am excited about the following outline of the ministry sessions.


Session 1 | This is Us: God’s Ultimate Plan
Session 2 | Sonship: God’s Gift
Session 3 | Family: God’s "WHY"
Session 4 | Unity: God’s Pleasure

Please make every effort to come to district retreat on November 6-8, 2018. It is important for us to be there. Come expecting the Spirit of God to speak to your hearts, illuminate your minds and refresh your spirits by His Word. I sincerely hope to see you all there.

Your brother in Christ,
Stephen

Stephen Harbridge