Just got back from City on a Hill Church’s first ever Men’s Retreat MAN UP! It is a truly amazing time, heaven and earth were moved and men’s lives were changed forever. We experienced a powerful move of the Holy Spirit on Friday night with the gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation among the body. I would call it a mountain top experience for many of us. Reports have come back from men who came home and have already began making the changes they were instructed to make by God. But here is what I know and have learned by experience. We can not strike into the heart of darkness and expect not to pay a heavy price. Thursday night, the night before the retreat, I couldn’t sleep I was experiencing heavy anticipatory anxiety. I was worn out Friday before I even set foot on the retreat center. I pushed through and God carried me by His grace. The retreat exceeded my expectations and I was totally blown away by God’s presence corporately and individually. Got home Saturday still reeling in the back of my mind from Thursday nights struggle and still weary from an awesome weekend. Saturday afternoon and evening I fell into a funk. I felt like I was surrounded by darkness and it was closing in. Every hour felt like the darkness surrounding me got tighter and tighter. I awoke Sunday morning still feeling that same sense of being surrounded. I felt it so strongly that I drove a few extra laps around the neighborhood before even heading into COAH for the servant’s service. Quite honestly I was heavily concerned about leading and preaching. I lead and preach from a place of trust, transparency and authenticity that just can’t be faked. I’ve always heard fake it till you make it but that just doesn’t work for me. I’m not plastic I am flesh and blood. I came in and spoke with a few folks, prayed for a few folks. Even though I felt surrounded I know without the shadow of a doubt that God is faithful! When prayer time arrived in the servant’s service I went up and had Tammy and John pray with me about the oppression and darkness I felt surrounding me. That prayer empowered me and led me to pray a powerful prayer over our servant’s and became a catalyst to a second wave of prayer in our service. I felt like Elisha’s servant when they were surrounded by the enemy and Elisha prayed that God would open his eyes to see they may have been surrounded by the enemy but the enemy was surrounded by God and the armies of the Lord!
We had powerful services at City on a Hill Church. We saw salvation, encouragement, re-dedications and experienced a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit among us calling us to live lives worthy of Jesus Christ. While I may have started the day surrounded by my enemy, the enemy was not aware that actually he was surrounded by a Higher Power, the God of the universe. The enemy may have thought he had the upper hand and that he was going to steal, kill and destroy all the while he himself was surrounded by the armies of the Lord. You may feel surrounded today. You may feel like the darkness is closing in. I encourage you to open your eyes and see the armies of the Lord surrounding both you and the enemy of your soul. Be encouraged! You are not alone! We are not alone! God is present. The heavenly hosts have us surrounded. Fear not! Darkness is not as dark when light penetrates the darkness, darkness flees. Jesus is the light! Let Jesus light up your world and push back the darkness with just a flick of His finger! We are surrounded for sure, surrounded by God’s grace, love and mercy. Be encouraged!